Aug 312021
 
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Kaden Smith, New York Giants (August 29, 2021)

Kaden Smith – © USA TODAY Sports

QUICK RECAP

The preseason finale (yes, 2 weeks prior to the start of the season rather than 1) was a home matchup against the New England Patriots. Throughout my short lifetime of being a Giants fan relative to many of you, the exhibition game against the Pats has always meant we are right around the corner from week one. After 2 losses, NYG was looking to come out on the winning end of this one, as their starters on both sides of the ball were planning to play at least through the first half.

Daniel Jones, entering the vital-third year, was forced off the field after a third down that saw him sacked by NE edge rusher Josh Uche. The sack was allowed by Andrew Thomas, who had trouble sealing the edge all night. Cam Newton and the NE offense started near midfield after a poor punt before gaining 31 yards on 4 plays, three of which were on the ground. Consecutive incomplete passes brought kicker Nick Folk onto the field for a 41-yard field goal, which he made.

NYG had a bit more flow on their second drive with a solid 1st-down, play-action pass pick up of 13 yards and a 3rd-and-1 conversion by running back Devontae Booker. They crossed midfield before converting a 4th-and-1 by sending power back Elijhaa Penny up the middle. They shot themselves in the foot again, however, allowing a dual-outside sack by the tackles and a drop by Darius Slayton on a 3rd-and-13. NYG had to punt again.

After a solid punt that pinned NE inside their own 5-yard line, Newton was intercepted by linebacker and defensive leader Blake Martinez. It was a slight underthrow to Jakobi Meyers but he managed to get both hands on the ball. It was a brilliant, impressive play by the linebacker that resulted from him sticking with the receiver down the field. Good linebackers know that you just need to be near the action and good things will eventually bounce your way. NYG now had 1st-and-10 near the NE 40-yard line for the second time in as many drives. It took them 9 plays, including two 3rd-down conversions, to reach the 1-yard line. A failed run up the middle and then a horrific interception by Jones left 0 points on the board. 0 points came from two 1st-and-10s near the NE 40-yard line.

NE rookie quarterback Mac Jones came in and led a drive into field goal range, largely helped by a defensive holding penalty by cornerback James Bradberry. Quinn Nordin nailed a 48-yarder to make the score 6-0. How would the anemic starting offense respond? They failed to reach midfield after starting at their own 31-yard line. An Andrew Thomas holding penalty and a near-interception by Jones really brought the vibe down. The NE offense went 3-and-out on the next drive, however, as the backup offensive line was now protecting the rookie Jones.

Once again, NYG began with good field position, just 8 yards shy of midfield. They went into a 2-minute offense and Jones completed 6 straight attempts for an average gain of 5+ yards per. With just 30 seconds left, he threw his best ball of the night, a 23-yard touchdown that was put in the best possible spot for Kaden Smith to haul in despite minimal separation from the defender. NYG carried a 7-6 lead into halftime.

Backups filled the field for the second half, although there was plenty to still watch. NE first- and second-year skill players took care of business right away, marching down the field for a touchdown that ended with a throw from Jones to receiver Isaiah Zuber. They went for two to lengthen their lead to 7, but it failed. NE led 12-7. NYG, led by backup Mike Glennon, went 3-and-out just to watch the NE offense put another score on the board to make it 19-7.

Glennon’s second drive of the night had much more rhythm and success to it. He hit Alex Bachman for a 21-yard pickup but three straight incompletions forced NYG to go for a field goal. Graham Gano, who missed just one attempt in 2020, went wide right from 41 yards to keep the score at 19-7. Mac Jones then ended his night with a poor drive, holding onto the ball for too long, resulting in 2 sacks before punting back to NYG.

The Giants’ running game started to heat up at this point. Corey Clement and Penny combined for 46 yards in addition to a 15-yard face mask penalty by NE defensive lineman Montravius Adams. Glennon then hit Bachman for a 12-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-6 with Gano following it up with an extra point to make it 19-14 with 13:00 left. Brian Hoyer, one of the best backups in the league from a play + presence perspective, dinked and dunked his way down the field on a time consuming 12-play drive that put another 3 points on the board for NE.

The NE pass rush was all over Glennon on the next drive and they were forced to punt the ball back with under 4 minutes left, down by 8. NE gained a couple first downs and in typical preseason fashion, opted to start taking a knee just a tad early. Joe Judge wasn’t having it. He used his timeouts to get the ball back with under 30 seconds left following a missed 54-yard field goal attempt, setting them up near midfield again.

Glennon chucked a borderline-desperation pass into the end zone from midfield and a receiver that keeps making splash plays, Damion Willis (a former starter in this league), came down with the touchdown catch. NYG was within 2 with mere seconds left on the clock. Even though there is no overtime in preseason, it was still intriguing to watch this offense go for two. Glennon slightly rushed his 50/50 ball to Dante Pettis, preventing his target from being able to high point the ball, and the pass fell incomplete.

NYG loses, 22-20.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 17/22 – 135 yards / 1 TD / 1 INT and 1 att / 4 yards

This was the first time we saw Jones in live game action. He will go into the third year, the T in the road of his career, having played 40 snaps before Week 1 against a very good defense. I still disagree with the approach but won’t touch on it anymore. Jones was forced into making a lot of throws underneath. The pressure was at his feet in a hurry and the NE defense dropped a lot of defenders into zone. He did a nice job of checking down and threw an accurate ball. The black eye of the night was a rookie-type interception on 3rd-and-goal from the 1, running to the outside while throwing back inside. His touchdown to Smith, however, was a great downfield throw with elite touch and placement. Jones can excel when throwing vertical, I am confident there. The question is, will he program himself and will the play-calling allow for more shots.

RUNNING BACK

-Elijhaa Penny continued his surge this preseason. The no-nonsense, north-south runner gained 35 yards on just 4 carries. He ends the 3-game run with 53 yards on 7 carries. We can’t get excited about such a small sample size, especially from preseason, but he proved he deserves a shot to be the short yardage guy or at least get a few looks in those situations.

-Roster hopeful Corey Clement gained 24 yards and Devontae Booker, potentially the Week 1 starter, combined for 38 yards on 11 carries. The one standout here was rookie Gary Brightwell. The former wide receiver had 20 yards on 3 catches and added 10 more yards on the ground. He was on the field with the ones, in front of Clement. I thought that was interesting and it is another reason why I think Clement may have a hard time making the 53 (I am writing this early Tuesday morning).

WIDE RECEIVER

-Sterling Shepard, who has averaged 10 yards per catch over the past 2 years (22 games played + 10 games missed), led the team with 5 receptions. They only accrued 42 yards (8.4 per). I bring the numbers up because he is likely going to be the most targeted player on this offense in the passing game. He is making $9 million this year, $10.5 in 2022, $11.5 in 2023. For an offense that needs to make bigger plays in the passing game, it is hard to see that kind of money going to a guy who won’t make big plays. I love the player, I love the route running and aggression after the catch, both of which showed up in this game. However, I question what he can do outside of the short window and then I ask myself if a player like that is worth top 5-7 money on this team. Something to look at this year.

-Darius Slayton had 1 catch for 6 yards and dropped a 3rd-down pass. He was also flagged for offensive pass interference. Dante Pettis was the one who came on the field once Slayton tweaked a foot injury (again). He had 1 catch for 8 yards and I charged him with a drop as well, although it was a tough one to bring in. It was interesting to me that he seemed ahead of David Sills on the depth chart. Sills had 1 catch for 14 yards where a defender was all over him. Once again, solid ball skills but he struggled to get open.

-Alex Bachman had 2 catches for 33 yards and a score. He also dropped one, his second of the preseason. Damion Willis made 2 big-time plays in the 4th quarter as NYG mounted their comeback. He finished with 70 yards on 3 catches and keeps making plays when the opportunities are put in front of him. I think he deserves a shot.

TIGHT END

-The story of the night will be Evan Engram. Judging by the look of how the injury went down, I would expect him to miss a few weeks. By the time this review gets posted, we should know more. Anyway, the writing will be on the wall for Engram if he misses more time. Hard time catching the ball, hard time staying on the field, below average blocker in an offense that needs to focus on running the ball. This makes the position group look mighty thin if he ends up being out.

-Kaden Smith, who went scoreless in 2020, brought in a touchdown catch for 23 yards. It was a high-level catch. He blocked well but did allow a TFL on a bizarre play call. He struggles to really hold the point against defensive linemen.

-If NYG loses Engram for some time, the waiver wire could be the route they take but Nakia Griffin-Stewart looks interesting to me. Perhaps as a PS guy at first, though. He had 3 catches for 30 yards and plays a physical brand. He showed angry, violent hands as a blocker. He plays like he wants it.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Really poor night by the two young tackles, especially Andrew Thomas. He played 40 snaps (just over half of what you would see on a normal Sunday), and allowed 1 sack, 1 pressure, and was flagged for a hold. He looked like he lacked confidence in his outside foot, as he wouldn’t reach and plant with any sort of anchor. His outside shoulder looked soft. Carl Banks (who I respect a ton), noted he looked afraid of losing inside. I disagree. He looked like he didn’t have the confidence in his footwork and overall lower body strength to anchor himself into the ground. Matt Peart allowed a pressure and was flagged for a false start. Both were solid in the run game, however. Really good movement off the ball.

-Will Hernandez is one of the winners of the preseason. This was the best I’ve seen him (albeit just one half of football). He looks much more fluid and active with both his feet and hands. If NYG can have that RG spot locked in, it is a huge benefit when considering the questions marks up front. Nick Gates played well in the running game but did allow a pressure. He was late to see a twist. This was a solid NE front they were up against, and both played well.

-Ted Larsen got the start at left guard and he struggled. He allowed a TFL and a sack before injuring his left leg when he got rolled up on. Kenny Wiggins came in and continued to struggle, allowing a pressure and TFL. The team traded for Billy Price and I will touch on that below.

-Nate Solder looks very lean and a little quicker. He started at RT, and I think that is what we will see early on but with a few rotations per game. Solder gets off the ball well, but he isn’t sustaining good contact. There are balance issues, and he just doesn’t stay square to his man. He isn’t powerful enough on the move and it will cause issues weekly. He allowed a sack.

-Jackson Barton looked much better at left tackle than what I have seen the previous 2 weeks. I also liked Chad Slade at right guard next to Peart. I think he is better inside where he can think more about power and violence.

EDGE

-Nice to see Lorenzo Carter on the field. After watching the group of edge rushers on this team over the first 2 weeks, it is easy to see how advanced Carter is in comparison. More twitch, more pop on contact, faster decision making. He finished with 2 tackles and a sack.

-Azeez Ojulari and Oshane Ximines are likely going to split snaps opposite of Carter. They should lean more toward Ojulari in my opinion, as he looks better against the run, and he simply plays faster. Both finished with a pressure.

-Trent Harris finished with a sack and 3 tackles while Ryan Anderson, who will start the season suspended because of PEDs, nearly came up with a sack as well. At the time of this writing, I think both will end up on the 53-man roster. They won’t ever be reliable every down guys but they offer a niche respectively. Harris has pop and explosion in addition to an aggressive style. Anderson is powerful and stout. There are roles for both.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-B.J. Hill didn’t play, as he was a part of a trade to CIN that I will discuss below. Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Johnson, and Austin Johnson were the starters, all of whom played under half of the team’s snaps. Lawrence bull-rushed his way into a sack but was also flagged for a defensive hold on a screen.

-The trade of Hill will open a door for both Raymond Johnson III and possibly Willie Henry. Both had yet another active game, with the latter finishing with a pressure, a sack, and a pass break up, and the former added another pressure. I’m not sure what their roster status will be as of this writing, but I bet we see them on the field at some point. Let’s see if they can do it against starters.

-David Moa truly has done everything he could to make this team and maybe even carve out a weekly role. He is active and has shown surprising pass rush capability. There was an ugly 3rd-down run where he got pushed back 5+ yards, however.

LINEBACKER

-Play of the night by Blake Martinez on an interception in the first half. Man, it feels good to have a true general who can make an impact all three downs in the middle. Best linebacker they’ve had since Antonio Pierce and I mean that. He also had a pressure.

-Tae Crowder and Reggie Ragland will likely split snaps next to Martinez. I hope they lean hard toward the former. Crowder had a TFL and just shows week-to-week how much more speed he has on the field. Ragland is a thumper and may see snaps here and there, but he is best suited for specific roles and situations.

-Devante Downs has a trade market? News to me. I haven’t heard anything there at all. He finished with 6 tackles in this one, including one on special teams. He excels at straight-ahead, physical play, but he misses too many tackles and can’t cover.

CORNERBACK

-James Bradberry was flagged for a hold on a third down. Otherwise, I liked what I saw of the true, credible number one corner. He easily turns and runs down the field with speed and shows good control out of his breaks.

-Adoree’ Jackson was out with an ankle injury, thus we saw Darnay Holmes start. He shifted inside on nickel and rookie Rodarius Williams came on the field. The 6th rounder led the team in snaps this preseason and I think we should be ready to see a lot of him early in the season. You know he will be tested often. He was up and down this preseason, but he has a really nice blend of tools. Can he think and react fast? Can he get used to not grabbing? We will see.

-Sam Beal played a solid game. He played physically against the run after a poor effort against the Browns in preseason game #2. He had a TFL on a 2-point conversion and was solid in catch-up coverage. I just see too many losses at the point-of-attack for my liking.

-Madre Harper was picked on for the third week in a row. He just doesn’t have it mentally. There is some impressive size and speed there, but he isn’t a pro corner. He just isn’t.

SAFETY

-We got to see the full gambit of how this team will use the abundance of talent they have at safety. This is one thing I feel really good about. Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, Julian Love, and Xavier McKinney all got on the field in a rotational manner. I love what they offer when it comes to versatility and hustle. Love has had a nice preseason, capping it off with a nice 3rd-down PD.

-Jordyn Peters had an awful game. He was beat on a touchdown pass where he was late to the seam route and then was barreled over on a touchdown run later. I can’t see any situation where he makes this team, but he is new to the position and could be worth a PS spot.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-Graham Gano: 0/1 (missed 41) – 2/2 XP
-P Riley Dixon: 5 punts / 43.0 avg / 33.4 net

3 STUDS

-OG Will Hernandez, WR Damion Willis, LB Blake Martinez

3 DUDS

-CB Madre Harper, OG Ted Larsen, S Jordyn Peters

3 THOUGHTS ON NE

Man, I could write a book on my admiration for how NE builds their roster year in, year out. I won’t because I know nobody wants to read that. But just in short, they excel at finding players to help their plan in every possible facet. The 2021 offseason was the most aggressive I have ever seen them in free agency by a wide, wide margin. They did it because their other strategies weren’t working. They didn’t fold, they didn’t double down. They quickly altered their approach and added talent to a team that had the second-most injured roster in 2020 (including Covid opt outs). They are so good at this stuff.

As I write this, Cam Newton being released just came across the ticker. I promise, I’m not even a little surprised. I said it last year: He simply looks done. Will he get scooped up? Perhaps, but keep in mind you really have to change the offense around him for that. Maybe BAL takes a look in a backup role? I don’t see the upside with him. We may have seen the last of the 2015 league MVP.

How far will NE go? After years and years of automatic bids into the postseason, they are in the tier of a dozen (if not more) teams. If things break right, they can win 10-11 games. If things break wrong, they’ll win 6-7. They have a really tough schedule from a rest perspective, and they have a lot of really good offenses they’ll have to defend. Mac Jones can play; I think we saw enough in college and preseason to confirm that. But “play” and trying to score 22+ points per week don’t always coincide. I think they will be in the playoff hunt, but they may be too easy to defend without a deep threat. Maybe someone emerges there or maybe running back J.J. Taylor breaks out into a big-time playmaker (yes, that is very possible). But the likes of Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry, and Nelson Agholor won’t scare anybody. I’m calling for 8-9 or 9-8.

FINAL THOUGHTS

I want to offer a few thoughts on the B.J. Hill vs Billy Price trade. Again, I will try to keep it short. Hill is a quality defensive lineman who could make almost every roster in the league. I can only think of maybe 3 or 4 where he would be cut. He can offer something against both the run and pass. He is limited though, and he didn’t play a ton last year. This defense isn’t the ideal fit for him. I think some had an inflated outlook on him because in 5.5 sacks in 2018. He has had 2 since. He has had 2 TFL in the running game since. In 32 games. That isn’t good. Billy Price on the other hand, hasn’t been good either. He has been a horrific pass blocker, but a very solid run blocker. That doesn’t solve the issue with the NYG offensive line fully, but I do view him as an upgrade over what NYG has tried along the interior this year. Wiggins, Larsen, Fulton, Looney, Harrison….etc. They aren’t going to get it done. Price has seen his fair share of injuries (pec and foot), he has been moved back and forth between OG and OC, and the CIN offensive line coaches they’ve had are not highly regarded to say the least. NYG isn’t going anywhere without a better starting group than what they’ve had along the OL or more adequate depth. Is Price better than the names I mentioned above? Yes. He played well end of 2020 and this preseason. Could he crack the starting lineup by mid-year? Yes. All in all, this was a move that may or may not help this offensive line, the black hole of this franchise. It will not hurt the DL one bit, in my opinion. Worth the gamble.

Roster cuts from around the league will start pouring in as, and after, I send this review in. Don’t make any final judgements on the 53-man roster until the weekend is my suggestion. A lot will happen between now and then. The one group I would like to see NYG add to is tight end. Rudolph and Smith are fine, but if Engram goes down, I want another guy here who can be trusted to block. This passing game may need an extra body in there to help on the outside. Another place I would look is linebacker. If a guy with speed gets cut loose, I may want to start a Downs-type experiment over. Meaning, hope to get lucky off another team’s trash. Downs doesn’t have it.

As we enter the 2021 season in decent shape health wise, it is time to really turn on what we think will happen this year. I may get another post out there next week, but I think this team is actually similar to what we will see out of NE. If things break right (Jones + the OL turn it up a couple levels), we could see 10 wins. It would be on the heels of this defense though. They have a shot at being a top 10, maybe even top-7 unit. The pass rush is what concerns me, but I trust Graham to manufacture pressure when needed if the outside guys can’t get it done. Can the offense be “good enough?” They won’t get away with scoring 15-19 points per. They won’t get away with low red zone scoring percentages. Even if the NYG defense ends up doing well, they need to score 22+ per game to have a shot at 10 wins. If it gets ugly, you’re looking at 6-7 wins and a new quarterback in 2022.

Aug 292021
 
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Blake Martinez, New York Giants (August 29, 2021)

Blake Martinez – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 22 – NEW YORK GIANTS 20…
The New York Giants fell to the New England Patriots 22-20 in the preseason finale for both teams. The Giants finished the preseason 0-3. This was the only game of the preseason where New York’s starters saw extended playing time, playing until intermission.

The bad news for the Giants offensively was two-fold. First, tight end Evan Engram (calf) and wide receiver Darius Slayton (ankle/foot) both left the game with injuries, as did guard/center Ted Larsen (knee), who actually started the game at left guard. Second, the first-team offense struggled for most of the first half with poor offensive line play, no running game, and a bad interception by quarterback Daniel Jones.

Perhaps the most telling sign of the night was the starting offensive line. Nate Solder started for Matt Peart at right tackle, while Larsen started for the injured Shane Lemieux at left guard. That said, the Giants ran all kinds of offensive line combinations throughout both the first and second halves of the game.

Jones and the first-team offense had five possessions in the first half:

  1. The first ended with a 3-and-out after Jones was sacked on 3rd-and-5 and LT Andrew Thomas was cleanly beat.
  2. The Giants moved the ball on their second drive, reaching the New England 34-yard line, but on 2nd-and-7, Jones was sacked again and New York could not overcome the 3rd-and-13. Punt.
  3. The Giants moved the ball again on their second drive, gaining 40 yards and reaching the Patriots’ 1-yard line. RB Devontae Booker was stuffed on 2nd down. On 3rd down, Jones badly missed Engram and his pass was intercepted in the end zone.
  4. The Giants gained one first down on their fourth drive before a holding penalty on Thomas put them in a 2nd-and-17 hole that they could not recover from. Punt.
  5. With 2:30 on the clock before halftime, Jones led the Giants on a 9-play, 58 yard scoring drive that resulted in a perfectly-thrown 23-yard touchdown pass to tight end Kaden Smith.

Meanwhile on the defensive side of the ball, the Giants held the Patriots to just seven first downs and 106 total net yards in the first half. Two drives did result in field goals, from 41 and 48 yards out. Linebacker Blake Martinez ended one possession with a remarkable interception 35 yards down field when he stole the ball away from the intended receiver.

At the half, the Giants led 7-6.

The Giants appeared to use the second half to get a gauge on defensive bubble/fringe players and it showed as the Patriots easily took control of the contest as their second-team offense shredded a largely third-team defense in the 3rd quarter. In their first two possessions of the half, the Patriots first drove 75 yards in six plays to go up 12-7 (2-point conversion failed) and then 50 yards in four plays to extend their advantage to 19-7.

The Giants second-team offense went three-and-out on their first possession. After driving 52 yards on their next possession, place kicker Graham Gano missed a 41-yard field goal. The Giants forced the Patriots to punt and New York finally responded late in the 3rd quarter and early in the 4th quarter with a 7-play, 77-yard drive that ended with a 12-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Glennon to wide receiver Alex Bachman. Fullback Eli Penny gained 32 yards on three carries on this possession.

Unfortunately for the Giants, New England extended their lead to 22-14 on their next possession, driving 58 yards in 12 plays, taking 6:32 off of the clock, and finishing with a 37-yard field goal. Glennon was sacked twice on New York’s next drive, resulting in a punt.

The Patriots had a chance to put the game away, but missed a 54-yard field goal with 27 seconds left. After gaining 13 yards on one passing play, Glennon then connected with wide receiver Damion Willis on a 43-yard Hail Mary pass to cut the score to 22-20 with just seconds left on the clock. The 2-point conversion attempt, a pass from Glennon to wideout Dante Pettis fell incomplete.

Offensively, Jones finished 17-of-22 for 135 yards with one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked twice. Glennon finished 9-of-17 for 147 yards and two touchdowns. He was also sacked twice. The leading receiver was Sterling Shepard with 5 catches for 42 yards. The leading rusher was Eli Penny with 35 yards on four carries. Overall, the Giants gained 96 yards on the ground in 22 carries.

Defensively, Martinez intercepted quarterback Cam Newton. Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, linebacker Lorenzo Carter, linebacker Trent Harris, and defensive lineman Willie Henry were all credited with sacks. 

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT AND HEALTHY SCRATCHES…
RB Saquon Barkley (knee), WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring), WR Kadarius Toney (unknown), WR John Ross (hamstring?), WR Austin Mack (hamstring?), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), OG Shane Lemieux (knee), NT Danny Shelton (unknown), LB Elerson Smith (hamstring), CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle), CB Aaron Robinson (PUP – core muscle), and CB Josh Jackson (unknown) did not play.

DE B.J. Hill and QB Brian Lewerke were the only healthy scratches.

TE Evan Engram (calf) and WR Darius Slayton (ankle/foot) left the game in the first half and did not return. OG/OC Ted Larsen left the game late with a left knee injury.

RYAN ANDERSON SUSPENDED…
The NFL has suspended without pay linebacker Ryan Anderson for the first six games of the regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program on Performance Enhancing Substances. If Anderson makes the team, he will be eligible to return to the Giants’ active roster on October 18, following the team’s Week 6 game against. the Los Angeles Rams.

GIANTS RE-SIGN DEFENSIVE BACK…
The Giants re-signed safety Jordyn Peters on Friday. The 22-year old, 6’1”, 200-pound Peters was originally signed by the New York Jets as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2021 NFL Draft. The Jets waived him in early July. The Giants then signed him shortly before training camp in July 2021 and cut him on August 13th.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge will address the media on Monday.

Aug 282021
 
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Trent Harris, New York Giants (August 22, 2021)

Trent Harris – © USA TODAY Sports

THE STORYLINE:
Preseason is much different now. Aside the obvious of it being reduced to three games, it is becoming clear that many coaches see joint practices as more important. For the Giants, another major difference is the last preseason game, and not the third preseason game in the old 4-game format, is now the primary dress rehearsal. For those who have not been paying attention, this is the FIRST and ONLY time that most of the starters will play in the preseason. The only first-string unit to receive playing time up to now was the offensive line, which only got in a couple of series against the Jets in the first game. That’s crazy. The game has changed.

THE INJURY REPORT:
Since Coach Judge usually does not provide much information on injuries, we don’t really know the true status of most of the people listed below. Some may play. Judge has said Barkley, Golladay, and Rudolph will not. Robinson is still on the PUP. It’s not likely we will see Toney, Ross, Mack, Lemieux, and Adoree’ Jackson.

  • RB Saquon Barkley (knee)
  • WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (unknown)
  • WR John Ross (hamstring?)
  • WR Austin Mack (hamstring?)
  • TE Kyle Rudolph (foot)
  • OG Shane Lemieux (knee)
  • OT Nate Solder (shoulder?)
  • NT Danny Shelton (unknown)
  • LB Tae Crowder (unknown)
  • LB Elerson Smith (hamstring)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle)
  • CB Aaron Robinson (core muscle)
  • CB Josh Jackson (unknown)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
On paper, the Giants had a strong offseason. Coming off a dreadful offensive performance in 2020, the team added WR Kenny Golladay, WR Kadarius Toney, TE Kyle Rudolph, WR John Ross, RB Devontae Booker, and RB Corey Clement to upgrade that side of the ball. They also tweaked the offensive line by signing Zach Fulton and Joe Looney.

But those plans have unravelled. Fulton and Looney retired and the Giants were forced to scramble and sign 34-year old Ted Larsen late in camp. Golladay and Ross have been out all month with hamstring pulls, receiving very little practice time. Toney has been a train wreck, for all intents and purposes not practicing since the team drafted him due to COVID and unknown issues. Rudolph has been brought along slowly as expected, but it is still unknown when he will be able to be a significant contributor. On top of all of this, the team’s most dangerous play-maker, Saquon Barkley, has yet to allowed to practice with contact. When he first plays, Barkley will likely be on a low pitch count.

What this all means is that, as of late August, the Giants’ offense remains eerily similar to the unit that finished 31st last year. Golden Tate is gone, but Darius Slayton, Sterling Shepard, and Evan Engram are the main targets for 3rd-year quarterback Daniel Jones. Oddly, Judge decided not to give the embattled Jones any playing time this preseason until this game. Until Barkley is fully back, Booker, Clement, and possibly fullback Eli Penny will receive the bulk of the carries. They won’t scare many teams.

Then comes the offensive line. Not only were the depth losses of Fulton and Looney unexpected, but the Giants lost starting left guard Shane Lemieux for all of camp and the preseason with a knee injury that he still has not completely recovered from. Lemieux needed that practice time. We don’t even know if he will be ready for the opener. On top of that, the starting unit has only played in a couple of series up until this point. Matt Peart has been up-and-down. Lemieux’s replacement, the 33-year old Kenny Wiggins, has struggled.

It’s not a rosy picture. Things can rapidly change when and if Barkley is nearing full strength and Golladay, Toney, and Rudolph return. But they will be rusty and not completely in sync with Jones. Helmuth von Moltke once famously said, “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy.” Well, the Giants plans didn’t even survive camp. Coach Judge and his coaching staff will have to adjust. There are some very tough defenses coming up to start the season.

So with some understanding, fans are going to overreact to what they see on Sunday against the Patriots. After all, this will be only time we’ll see the first-string offense before the real bullets fly. If the Giants struggle to move the ball and score in the first half, The Corner Forum is going to be pretty ugly.

The second half of this game will be last hurrah for many. On Tuesday, the Giants must remove 27 players from the roster. The most interesting decisions will probably be at wide receiver.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The Giants fielded a surprisingly strong defense under apparent Miami Dolphin castoff Patrick Graham last season. On paper, the Giants look like they have upgraded that unit too with the additions of CB Adoree’ Jackson, NT Danny Shelton, LB Reggie Ragland, LB Ifeadi Odenigbo, LB Azeez Ojulari, CB Aaron Robinson, and LB Elerson Smith. Unfortunately, Robinson and Smith have missed all of camp and the preseason and are way, way behind. On the positive side, 6th-round CB Rodarius Williams has been a pleasant surprise to the coaches, even though he has been up-and-down.

Still, the defense appears to be the strength of this team, with a strong defensive line and secondary. The Giants have a very good inside linebacker in Blake Martinez. Tae Crowder and Reggie Ragland will likely battle for playing time at the other spot. Crowder has been nagged by an unknown injury and we don’t know if he will play on Sunday.

The most interesting decisions will come at outside linebacker. Is rookie Azeez Ojulari an opening day starter along with Lorenzo Carter? Oshane Ximines has flashed as a pass rusher, but appears to still have issues setting the edge in run defense. Trent Harris is making a strong push to remain on the team. How does the team handle Elerson Smith, who has missed way too much time? Then there is Ifeadi Odenigbo, Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, and Niko Lalos. Since Brown and Coughlin have received time inside, that could create room for others.

One of the pleasant surprises of camp has been the performance of two guys who were regarded as camp fodder on the defense line: Raymond Johnson and David Moa. Is there room for both on the roster?

Fans will not get a true good look at their secondary on Sunday since Adoree’ Jackson will likely be out. Also, keep in mind the team felt Aaron Robinson was a 1st-round talent, and he is still on the PUP. The biggest concern right now is the slot corner spot. Darnay Holmes has been a bit shaky. He could be pressed by Julian Love if necessary, but this where the team also misses Robinson. The coaches seem to really like Rodarius Williams, but he’s been up and down. He is still learning. What do the Giants have in recently-acquired (by trade) Keion Crossen and Josh Jackson? Jackson’s been hurt. If he gets cut, the team may have been better of keeping Isaac Yiadom in the short term.

Nevertheless, with the Giants being able to field James Bradberry, Adoree’ Jackson, Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan, Xavier McKinney, this unit should excel. The team just needs to settle down the slot corner spot.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
As expected, Ryan Santoso was traded. Another pick was added to the 2022 NFL Draft (now up to 11 picks). The kickers and long snapper are the same from last year. What we still don’t know is who will be actually returning punts and kickoffs on opening day when the games count. The unofficial depth chart says Jabrill Peppers and John Ross. Will the Giants want to risk Peppers in that role? Ross may not even make the team.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Joe Judge on the final preseason game:We’re going to handle this as truly the dress rehearsal for the season. We expect to play the majority of our players for a minimum of one half. We’re going to make sure there’s some key positions where we have to see some guys with a little bit of an extended exposure and make the right decision on the roster. There’s still some jobs that are very competitive for the final 53. We’ll make sure we have enough film and evidence and exposure to make the right decision.

THE FINAL WORD:
The only time fans get to see the first team in a true dress rehearsal is the final game of the preseason. Different times. I hope Coach Judge has this team ready in two weeks. There are a lot of parts missing.

Aug 262021
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (August 19, 2021)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 26, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
Thursday was the second of two days of joint training camp practices between the New York Giants and New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Giants play the Patriots on Sunday in the team’s third and final preseason game.

Today is going to be very situational, we’re almost going to jump right into team from the beginning,” said Head Coach Joe Judge before practice. “We’ll have some brief individual periods, we’ll have a quick seven-on-seven, get the guys juiced up and rolling, then what the rest of today is going to look like is we’re going to create a situation and just play it out – all fourth quarter situations. We’ll start with the ball in four-minute offense mode. We’re going to manufacture some things to make sure we get in the situational part of the game, so you may see a manufactured penalty or a manufactured first down or whatever it may be, or an ignored sack for both sides at some point to make sure we manage to get the emphasis of the drill, to build in more of the two-minute mode, the end of game situations, the substitutions and everything that comes with it.”

RYAN SANTOSO TRADED TO PANTHERS…
The New York Giants have traded back-up kicker/punter Ryan Santoso to the Carolina Panthers for a conditional 7th-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. If Santoso plays for at least two regular-season games for the Panthers, the Giants will receive the pick.

Santoso was originally signed by the Detroit Lions as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Lions (2018-2019), Montreal Alouettes (2019, 2020), and Tennessee Titans (2019). Santoso spent 2020 on the Giants’ Practice Squad after the team signed him in early September. Santoso has only played in three NFL games, solely as a kickoff specialist.

INJURY REPORT – MINOR ANKLE SPRAIN FOR ADOREE’ JACKSON…
CB Aaron Robinson (core muscle) remains on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List.

WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring), WR Kadarius Toney (unknown), WR John Ross (hamstring?), WR Austin Mack (hamstring?), TE Evan Engram (unknown), OG Shane Lemieux (knee), NT Danny Shelton (unknown), LB Tae Crowder (unknown), LB Ryan Anderson (unknown), LB Elerson Smith (hamstring), CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle sprain), and CB Josh Jackson (calf) did not practice on Thursday. Lemieux, Shelton, and Crowder were left behind in New Jersey for treatment.

According to multiple press reports, Jackson’s injury is a “minor” low-ankle sprain and he is expected to be ready for the regular-season opener. “We’re going to check to see how he is today,” said Head Coach Joe Judge. “He’ll be with the trainers a little bit, we’ll see where we can ramp him up to. Looks like we dodged a bullet right there, but we’ll see day by day how it is and we’ll move him around a little bit today with the trainers.”

When asked what is wrong with Toney, Judge responded, “I’m not going to get into anybody’s individual medical right there, but this guy is getting better every day. He’s working with our trainers and doing everything they ask him to do, so I’m pleased with the progress he’s making. He’s doing everything we ask him to.”

RB Saquon Barkley (knee), TE Kyle Rudolph (foot), and OT Nate Solder (shoulder?) practiced on a limited basis.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • CB Rodarius Williams received reps with the first team at cornerback, starting with the walk-thru.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, WR Sterling Shepard made a one-handed, diving catch at the sideline. In the same drills, RB Saquon Barkley (wearing a red, non-contact jersey) caught a pass in the left flat from QB Daniel Jones and scored. Barkley also cleared out room for Shepard to score.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, QB Mike Glennon made a nice throw to WR David Sills for a touchdown.
  • TE Kaden Smith dropped a pass at the goal line.
  • LB Azeez Ojulari flashed on the bull rush in 2-on-2, pass-rushing drills.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, the Giants’ offense started with a three-and-out after a run and two short passes to WR Sterling Shepard. QB Daniel Jones actually may have been “sacked” too on one of these plays.
  • On next drive, the offense was worse with a short completion to WR Darius Slayton and then back-to-back sacks (one given up by LT Andrew Thomas and the other by RT Matt Peart, who also held on the play). After a reset, the first play was a false start. The offense finally turned things around with long completions by QB Daniel Jones to WRs C.J. Board, Darius Slayton, and Dante Pettis. Drive was completed with a 1-yard touchdown pass to FB Eli Penny.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, the first-team Patriots’ offense drove 80 yards and finished the possession with a RB Damien Harris touchdown run. CB James Bradberry dropped an interception on this drive.
  • On next drive, S Xavier McKinney broke up a pass from QB Mac Jones. That was followed up with an interception by S Logan Ryan on a seam route. Slot corner Darnay Holmes was replaced by Julian Love after Holmes was called with defensive holding.
  • CB Sam Beal forced two incompletions by QB Mac Jones, but Beal finished this possession by allowing a touchdown in the corner of the end zone and then the 2-point conversion. This drive would have ended earlier if not a practice as there were sacks by S Jabrill Peppers, LB Lorenzo Carter, and LB Ifeadi Odenigbo. CBs James Bradberry and Rodarius Williams also broke up passes.
  • Giants’ offensive line had issues in next team drill. RT Matt Peart in particular struggled, giving up another sack and multiple pressures. QB Daniel Jones did throw a deep seam pass to TE Nakia Griffin-Stewart. RB Corey Clement finished the drive with a touchdown. RB Saquon Barkley was in for two plays on this possession.
  • In next 11-on-11, 2-minute series, RB Saquon Barkley caught two slants from QB Daniel Jones, including one that would have gone for a big gain (possible score). Jones then connected with TE Jake Hausmann and WR Darius Slayton to set up a 49-yard field goal by PK Graham Gano.
  • On the day, QB Daniel Jones unofficially was 23-of-29; QB Mike Glennon 1-of-3; QB Cam Newton 4-of-6; and QB Mac Jones 9-of-20. RB Saquon Barkley received eight snaps in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
  • For a good in-person review of the action, see Thursday’s camp report from BBI poster “mittenedman.”
  • Giants.com also provided a camp report on today’s practice.

    HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
    The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Thursday 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:

    WHAT’S UP NEXT…
    The Giants return to New Jersey and will practice at MetLife Stadium on Friday.

    Aug 252021
     
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    Freddie Kitchens, New York Giants (August 22, 2021)

    Freddie Kitchens – © USA TODAY Sports

    AUGUST 25, 2021 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
    Wednesday was the first of two days of joint training camp practices between the New York Giants and New England Patriots in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Giants play the Patriots on Sunday in the team’s third and final preseason game.

    Our focus today as a team is to come up here and compete against a quality opponent,” said Head Coach Joe Judge before practice. “The series of practices both today and tomorrow will be very geared towards situation. Situation meaning third down, red area and two-minute. We’ll work some specific drills and setups to make sure we work some techniques on both sides of the ball, offense and defense, for both us and the Patriots to help us address some issues or some areas that maybe we hadn’t had enough work on in camp based on the opponents we’ve worked against or things that haven’t specifically come up in the preseason games as of yet.

    “So, we’re going to structure this working together. The pace of the practice will be a working tempo. We’re going to work together. We’re going to stay up, stay off the ground. There’s no cutting. We’re not looking to go ahead and live tackle at any point in any of these drills. There’s going to be guys on both teams at different points in practice wearing red jerseys. We would treat any player with a red jersey the same as we would treat a quarterback, punter, kicker or whatever it is. We’re going to stay off them. It’s going to be a non-contact portion.”

    INJURY REPORT – KYLE RUDOLPH ACTIVATED OFF OF THE PUP LIST…
    CB Aaron Robinson (core muscle) remains on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) List. However, TE Kyle Rudolph (foot) was activated off of the PUP List. He practiced on a limited basis for the first time this year.

    RB Saquon Barkley (personal excuse), WR Kenny Golladay (hamstring), WR Kadarius Toney (unknown), WR John Ross (hamstring?), WR Austin Mack (hamstring?), OG Shane Lemieux (knee), NT Danny Shelton (unknown), LB Tae Crowder (unknown), LB Elerson Smith (hamstring), and CB Josh Jackson (calf) did not practice on Wednesday. 

    OT Nate Solder (shoulder?) and LB Azeez Ojulari (unknown) practiced on a limited basis.

    On Solder, Head Coach Joe Judge said, “Nate will be limited in practice today. You’ll see him do some things. He’ll definitely be continuing to do the individual with the group. He’ll do a little bit against the Patriots in some team drills. Really, it’s going to be kind of based on ramping him back up from missing some time right now.”

    On Ojulari, Judge said, “We’re going to increase him today and tomorrow we expect him to be full speed. We’ll see where he goes with that. But this guy, we’re just kind of managing some loads with him right now.”

    CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle sprain) left practice early. He will undergo tests to determine the severity of the injury.

    PRACTICE NOTES…
    Some snippets from various media sources:

    • Overall, Patriots out-practiced the Giants on both offense and defense.
    • Offensively, Giants worked some on the read-option.
    • LT Andrew Thomas impressed in 1-on-1 drills.
    • In 7-on-7, goal-line drills from the 6-yard line, QB Daniel Jones was 3-of-5 with two touchdowns, two to TE Evan Engram and one to TE Kaden Smith. One pass was thrown away due to good coverage.
    • During 1-on-1 offensive line versus defensive line drills, there was a big fight and both groups were forced to run a lap.
    • LB Blake Martinez had trouble covering RB James White in 1-on-1 drills.
    • S Julian Love dropped an interception from QB Mac Jones. S Xavier McKinney almost intercepted Jones on a pass on a play where he provided excellent deep coverage.
    • S Kyle Duggar intercepted a pass thrown into double coverage from QB Daniel Jones that was intended for WR Darius Slayton.
    • In 2-minute drills, the first-team offense of the Patriots successfully set up a field goal after QB Mac Jones was 5-of-5. CB Darnay Holmes gave up one completion and was flagged with pass interference. RB James White also beat LB Blake Martinez.
    • In the 2-minute drill, QB Daniel Jones was 3-of-6 with two short completions to WR Darius Slayton and one to WR C.J. Board. TEs Nakie Griffin-Stewart and Jake Hausmann dropped passes. PK Graham Gano connected on a 54-yard field goal.
    • LB Lorenzo Carter flashed on the pass rush with two “sacks.”
    • QB Mac Jones had no problem completing passes in 11-on-11, full-team drills against the New York secondary.
    • LB Ifeadi Odenigbo “sacked” QB Mac Jones on a play where the ball was tipped.
    • The Giants’ first-team offensive line gave QB Daniel Jones good protection in 11-on-11 drills.
    • In full-team, red-zone drills, QB Daniel Jones threw three touchdowns, one went to WR Sterling Shepard and another to TE Jake Hausmann on rollouts to the right.
    • QB Mac Jones threw an excellent deep pass beating both CB Adoree’ Jackson and CB Darnay Holmes for the touchdown on a corner route.
    • For a good in-person review of the action, see Wednesday’s camp report from BBI poster “mittenedman.”
    • Giants.com also provided a camp report on today’s practice.

    HEAD COACH JOE JUDGE…
    The transcript of Joe Judge’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

    WHAT’S UP NEXT…
    The Giants and Patriots will practice together again on Thursday in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

    Oct 132019
     
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    Golden Tate, New York Giants (October 10, 2019)

    Golden Tate – © USA TODAY Sports

    New England Patriots 35 – New York Giants 14

    QUICK RECAP

    Just four nights after the NYG loss to MIN, the Giants found themselves at a windy Gillette Stadium to take on the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots. The short week combined with a couple of injuries to key players on offense likely contributed to the massive underdog tone going in to this one. However, NYG has had this overlooked-label attached to them heading into a match-up against Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and company before.

    NE drove down the field on the opening drive but consecutive stops at the NYG 19-yard line with just 1 yard to go, the second of which being fourth down, gave NYG the initial momentum. As was the case for most of the night, the NYG offense couldn’t respond as they went 3-and-out. They were without Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, and Saquon Barkley against a team that is 12-0 at home against rookie quarterbacks since Belichick took over.

    The two teams traded 3-and-outs before Daniel Jones threw his first interception of the night, this one to John Simon. However Brady, continuing his streak of sub-par play against the Giants in white, threw an interception to Janoris Jenkins on the next play and the messy football we are used to seeing on Thursday nights across the league appeared to be back in full effect.

    NYG was not able to take advantage of their 50-yard line starting field position and the defensive battle continued all the way to the point where the first score of the game came on a “blocked” punt. Linebacker Nate Stupar, the personal protector to punter Riley Dixon, was pushed backwards to the point where the trajectory of the ball was right at his helmet. Rookie Chase Winovich caught the live ball and carried it into the end zone.

    Brady and the NE offense continued to stall because of a quality pass rush by NYG with perhaps a little help from the wind, which made it hard to really force the ball downfield. That wind, and perhaps the best defense in the NFL, had the tough impact on Jones as well. He threw his second interception of the night, this time to safety Duron Harmon, giving NE the ball at the NYG 20-yard line. Five plays later Brandon Bolden crossed the goal line as NE took a commanding 14-0 lead.

    As we have seen multiple times already, Jones showed a short memory by standing tall in the pocket on the next drive while continuing to go through his reads. On the third play, Jones hit Golden Tate for a 64 yard touchdown on a perfectly-thrown deep ball that Tate tipped to himself before outrunning the NE secondary to the end zone. It was the first time NE had allowed a touchdown through the air this season.

    Brady was sacked and fumbled on a hit by Lorenzo Carter on the next drive and the surging Markus Golden scooped it up before returning it for a 42-yard touchdown. All of the sudden NYG had this game tied up at 14 but NE responded with a smooth, steady drive that ended with a Brady 1-yard touchdown. Even though NYG had been out-gained 228-129, Jones had thrown 2 interceptions, and the NE special teams had scored a touchdown on a blocked punt, the game still very much felt within striking distance at halftime.

    The ever-important first possession of the second half ended in Jones’ third interception of the night, this time to cornerback Stephon Gilmore. New NE kicker Mike Nugent missed a 40-yard field goal after a marathon drive and NYG just couldn’t get past midfield. The offense was sputtering all night besides the one deep ball to Tate. On the ground, Jon Hilliman couldn’t get going. Even worse on their next drive, Hilliman fumbled and it was scooped up by linebacker Kyle Van Noy who returned it for a 22-yard touchdown, the Pats second non-offensive score of the night.

    NYG was down 28-14 with the just over 7 minutes left when they were faced with a 4th-and-2 from their own 33-yard line. Would they run? Would they pass? Head Coach Pat Shurmur, owner of a 17-38 record as a Head Coach, opted to punt. NE then scored another touchdown on another 1-yard Brady run while taking off another 3+ minutes of game clock. The night was all but over after that.

    Giants lose 35-14.

    QUARTERBACK

    -Daniel Jones: 15/31 – 161 yards – 1 TD / 3 INT / 35.2 QBR. We knew these past 2 games against MIN and NE would be a different level test for Jones when compared to the two teamse started off against (TB/WAS). On a short week; traveling to NE on a windy night; up against a coach that has feasted on rookie quarterbacks; without his number one receiver, number one tight end, and number one and two running backs had the look of near-impossible. Jones did compete and showed plenty of physical and mental toughness, but when evaluating his play, it was poor. Big picture we can talk about this being a learning experience for him, which is fine, but Jones played bad. Three interceptions and another one that was dropped were the lowlights. He looked confused multiple times and at the end of the day, QB play like that against a team like NE makes a loss inevitable.

    RUNNING BACK

    -Jon Hilliman: 11 att / 38 yards – 2 rec / -3 yards. Hilliman got his second shot at carries with Barkley and Gallman out and, like last week, it did not go well. His fumble was scooped up for a defensive touchdown and he failed to make an impact otherwise. The all-22 tape showed cutback lanes on three of his carries that he simply didn’t see. Prime example of how important vision is for a back, as Barkley could have taken those 1-2 yard gains and turned them into something huge.

    WIDE RECEIVER

    -Golden Tate: 6 rec / 102 yards / 1 TD. Tate was targeted underneath and intermediate often but the one deep shot he got was turned into a 64-yard touchdown. A week after he subtly complained about not getting enough looks against MIN, he responded. His routes are a thing of beauty and once he, Shepard, and Engram are on the field at the same time, they will be a tough trio to cover on sub-3rd-and-7 situations.

    -Darius Slayton added 3 catches for 32 yards. He was targeted 8 times and if there is one positive to the offensive weapons being hurt, it is more playing time for the gifted Slayton. He was up against a guy who I think is the best CB in the league right now, Stephon Gilmore, a bunch in this one. Good for him to see how hard it is to get open in addition to competing for the ball when a guy like that is on you. Slayton showed some downfield acceleration that is going to be a weapon here once he gets more confident in his reads and routes. He did have a drop and there are some inconsistencies I see play to play, but he is going to be a difference-maker here.

    TIGHT END

    -Rhett Ellison: 3 rec / 30 yards. Ellison saw an uptick in snaps with Engram out. He gave NYG what he has been giving for a couple years now, limited ceiling across the board but reliability and consistentcy. NE squeezed running lanes from the outside a few times and it was partially the fault of Ellison who just couldn’t get a push as a blocker.

    OFFENSIVE LINE

    -While a lot of the difficulties Jones experienced came from quality coverage by the NE back 7 and him simply holding onto the ball for too long, the line was still very shaky. Nate Solder and Mike Remmers each allowed 2 pressures in addition to poor run blocking. Their grades on a week-to-week basis are just above what Ereck Flowers was putting out. While their basements aren’t as low as Flowers was, they need to be more reliable. As much as I want NYG to get a premier pass rusher in next year’s draft, I think OT is going to be offseason priority number one.

    -Inside, Kevin Zeitler had a really good game, the top grade on the OL. Hard to always tell who is playing well when a team can’t get the running game going but he was a bright spot. Jon Halapio had another below average game, leaving just week 1 vs DAL where I came away impressed with his effort. Will Hernandez allowed a pressure and was flagged for a hold. One of the sacks could have been attributed to him as well but Jones should have gotten rid of the ball.

    EDGE

    -If there is one bright spot from this game and recent weeks, the edge play has steadily improved. Markus Golden had a half-sack. That makes 5-straight games with a sack for Golden and he now ranks sixth in the NFL with 5 this season. He also scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery caused by a Lorenzo Carter sack, who also added 2 pressures. Carter is still the guy who makes a play every now and then that makes you dream. There is still hope regarding his upside.

    DEFENSIVE TACKLE

    -Dalvin Tomlinson was a solid presence all night, turning in easily his top performance of the year, maybe even the past two years. He made a crucial 4th-and-1 stop on the NE opening drive. Dexter Lawrence remains active and disruptive. He had 5 tackles and a pressure. What’s most impressive lately are the amount of plays he is impacting away from the point-of-attack. He is getting to the sidelines, he is reaching receivers on screens and short passes. Just a really disruptive force on every level you can think of.

    -B.J. Hill put in another quiet night. While I don’t have any legit concerns with him, I do think the expectations got a little high on him because of a 5.5 sack rookie campaign. Just another example why the volume of sacks in one season shouldn’t be considered too heavily when evaluating a player. He is getting a lot of dirty-work done this year so it isn’t easy to see what he is doing well and what he isn’t, but the past two weeks haven’t been quality performances.

    LINEBACKER

    -Huge games for both Alec Ogletree and David Mayo. Ogletree returned after missing time with a hamstring injury and led the team with 12 tackles / 1 sack / 1 TFL /1 pressure. He was all over the field, and like I said last week, having a real ILB in there makes a huge difference. While he is inconsistent, it was nice to see him out there filling lanes, getting off of blocks, and making plays after watching what we had to watch last week against MIN. Mayo also had 12 tackles along with a half-sack. He did get exposed multiple times in zone coverage, however, and he missed 2 tackles. Mayo played his heart out though and he is a really physical player.

    CORNERBACK

    -Janoris Jenkins came out strong for the second week in a row, finishing with 3 tackles / 1 INT / 1 PD. He nearly returned his interception for a touchdown. As he has always been, Jenkins really is amazing with the ball in his hands. I wonder if it is worth trying to give him a touch or two in the return game.

    -Deandre Baker is getting more confident and it is easy to see from the all-22 angle. The balance looks better, there are less false steps, less recovery steps. He is also playing more physically and that is one of the best signs indicating the confidence is increasing. Confidence is not important for a cornerback, it is vital.

    -Grant Haley had 6 tackles, including 1 TFL. He is still having a hard time sticking to the better slot receivers. While a really good nickel is hard to find, NYG is going to have to try out a new body there at some point this season. Teams have been torching the middle of the field for far too long.

    SAFETY

    -Jabrill Peppers had 10 tackles / 1 TFL / 1 pressure, but his most notable play was a missed tackle on 3rd down when the score was 14-14. This was the drive after NYG scored a defensive touchdown and the momentum was swinging to NYG. That missed tackle ended up being really costly, as NE scored a touchdown on this possession right before halftime.

    -Michael Thomas also missed a tackle on the play noted above. He finished with 6 tackles on the night, one too short. Antoine Bethea had a quiet game and wasn’t contested much, but still found his way to 6 tackles.

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    -K Aldrick Rosas – No field goals attempted.

    -P Riley Dixon: 5 punts / 39.2 avg / 31.1 net. Second poor week in a row for Dixon.

    3 STUDS

    -LB Alec Ogletree, WR Golden Tate, CB Janoris Jenkins

    3 DUDS

    -QB Daniel Jones, RB Jon Hilliman, OC Jon Halapio

    3 THOUGHTS ON NE

    1. Bill Belichick was hired by the Patriots in 2000. This may be the best defense he has put together over those 20 seasons. NE has never had the #1 ranked defense (yards allowed) but they have had two seasons where they allowed the fewest points. They currently rank #1 in both categories albeit against the easiest schedule in the NFL to date. Opponents aside, the defense, and more specifically the secondary, is in a league in its own right now. Combine that with the Belichick brain, they are going to be so difficult to beat this year.
    1. Are we finally starting to see Brady show signs of age? I’m not talking about athletically (he’s never been a good one), but his ball has less juice on it and it just seems the accuracy isn’t what it was a couple years ago. This was the fourth time I’ve seen him this year, and minus the cupcake schedule, he looks off.
    1. One of the most underrated reasons why NE remains competitive year after year is the play of their OL. It is such a rock-solid unit year after year and most fans can’t name 2 of their starters. I remember scouting all of their current starters and the one thing I can say about all of them – they are all gamers. They lack the ideal measurables, but they usually didn’t get beat one-on-one in college, they are blue-collar tough, and they all have high football IQs. The interior of Thuney-Karras-Mason were drafted rounds 3-6-4 respectively. Starting right tackle Marcus Cannon was drafted in the 5th round. They are smart guys who developed within the system. It’s worked out really well for New England.

    3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

    1. While NYG did have it tied up at 14, I’m not sure I understand the narrative that this was a good game. Yes, multiple offensive weapons were on the sideline for this one but NE didn’t play a clean game themselves. NYG was 2-of-10 on 3rd down, they were out-gained by 2:1 in total yardage, and they had a punt blocked. This was an all around ugly game.
    1. As I always say, I am slow to criticize coaching. There are far too many factors that I don’t have access to, but there are some simple game-management tactics that I just don’t think Shurmur is doing a good job with. The decision to not go for it on 4th-and-2 in the fourth quarter, down 14 points, was mind-numbing. That screams “unprepared” to me.
    1. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves in regard to the 2020 NFL Draft, but you guys know most of my time right now is spent scouting that class. And I am going to say this right now… the WR talent coming into the league next year is ridiculous. I may have 10+ grades on receivers that are higher than anyone from the 2019 class. That is not an exaggeration. I think it is important NYG really finds out what they have in Slayton and Tate because there may be a talent that is very tough to pass on in the first 2 rounds next April.
    Oct 112019
     
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    Janoris Jenkins, New York Giants (October 10, 2019)

    Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports

    NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 35 – NEW YORK GIANTS 14…
    In a game that was closer than many expected for much of the contest, the New York Giants fell 35-14 to the New England Patriots on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Giants are now 2-4 on the season.

    New York’s defense kept the team in the game for most of the contest and also scored. On the other hand, New York’s special teams allowed a touchdown on a blocked punt and the offense turned the ball over four times, one resulting in a defensive score for the Patriots.

    New England’s first five offensive possessions resulted in a turnover on downs with nose tackle Dalvin Tomlinson stuffing the run on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1, a punt after a three-and-out, an interception by Janoris Jenkins that he returned 62 yards, and two more punts.

    But the Giants had even less success, with their first five possessions ending with three punts, and interception, and a blocked punt for a New England touchdown that gave them a 7-0 advantage late in the 1st quarter. After both teams exchanged punts early in the 2nd quarter, quarterback Daniel Jones threw his second interception, this one returned 27 yards to the New York 20-yard line. Five plays later, running back Brandon Bolden scored from one yard out on 3rd-and-goal to make it 14-0.

    The only points generated by the Giants’ offense on the night came on the ensuing drive. After New York had picked up 11 yards on two plays, Jones connected with wide receiver Golden Tate on a 64-yard touchdown pass – the first touchdown pass given up by New England this season. Even better, the Giants tied the game at 14-14 a few plays later when linebacker Lorenzo Carter sacked quarterback Tom Brady, forcing a fumble that linebacker Markus Golden recovered and returned for a 42-yard touchdown.

    New England responded with an 11-play, 75-yard drive right before halftime that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by Brady and a 21-14 lead at halftime. This was the only long scoring drive the defense gave up in the first half.

    Neither team scored in the 3rd quarter. Jones threw his third interception of the game on New York’s first drive of the half, turning the ball over at the New England 18-yard line. A clock-killing, 9-minute, 16-play, 60-yard drive by the Patriots ended with a missed 40-yard field goal. The quarter ended with another punt by Riley Dixon after one Giants’ first down.

    The 4th quarter began with the Patriots turning the ball over on downs on a 4th-and-5 incomplete pass. But then disaster struck for the Giants. On 3rd-and-9, running back Jon Hilliman fumbled the ball after a catch. The loose ball was recovered by the Patriots and returned 22 yards for a defensive score, giving New England a two touchdown advantage with just over eight and a half minutes to play.

    On the ensuing possession, the Giants faced a 4th-and-2 at their own 33-yard line with just over seven minutes to play. Head Coach Pat Shurmur decided to punt the ball away. Dixon’s punt only traveled 30 yards. And New England then went on to put the game away by driving 63 yards in seven plays, with Brady rushing for his second 1-yard touchdown run of the game.

    With the Patriots now up 35-14 with just under four minutes to play, New York could only gain one first down before turning the ball over on downs. The Patriots then ran out the clock.

    Minus three of their best offensive players, New York could only gain 10 first downs and 213 total net yards against the NFL’s #1 defense. Jones finished the game 15-of-31 for 161 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. Sixty-four of his yards came on his touchdown throw to Tate, who finished the game with six catches for 102 yards. Giants’ backs only gained 52 yards on 16 carries. As stated, the offense turned the ball over four times.

    The Giants’ defense allowed 27 first downs and 427 total net yards, but they kept New York in the game, allowing only two long touchdown drives, one of which came late in the contest. Brady was picked off once (by Jenkins) and sacked three times, one leading to a defensive score. Aside from Carter, the other sacks were accrued by linebacker Alec Ogletree (1), linebacker David Mayo (0.5), and linebacker Markus Golden (0.5).

    Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

    INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
    RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), RB Wayne Gallman (concussion), WR Sterling Shepard (concussion), TE Evan Engram (knee), LB Tae Davis (concussion), OT Eric Smith, and OT/OG Chad Slade were inactive.

    Defensive lineman Olsen Pierre left the game with a concussion and did not return.

    ROSTER MOVES…
    Before the game, the New York Giants signed running back Austin Walter from their Practice Squad and terminated the contract of quarterback Alex Tanney.

    The 5’8”, 190-pound Walter was originally signed by the San Francisco 49ers as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The 49ers cut him in late August 2019 and the Giants then signed him to their Practice Squad.

    Tanney was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs after the 2012 NFL Draft. The well-traveled journeyman has spent time with the Chiefs (2012), Dallas Cowboys (2013), Cleveland Browns (2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2014), Tennessee Titans (2014), Buffalo Bills (2015), Indianapolis Colts (2015), and Titans again (2015–2018). The Giants signed him in May 2018 after he was cut by the Titans. He surprisingly won the team’s back-up quarterback job in 2018.

    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 Daniel Jones (Video)
    • S Jabrill Peppers (Video)

    WHAT’S UP NEXT…
    Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media by conference call on Friday.

    Oct 092019
     
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    Game Preview: New York Giants at New England Patriots, October 10, 2019

    THE STORYLINE:
    Last Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings was a litmus test, and the undermanned New York Giants failed miserably. The team wanted to be 3-2 heading into New England, not 2-3. They will soon to be 2-4. That’s not doom-and-gloom pessimism but simple reality.

    • The away team on Thursday night football is always at a serious disadvantage.
    • The away team rarely wins in New England.
    • The Patriots are defending Super Bow champions.
    • The Patriots currently have the NFL’s #1 defense, allowing only two touchdowns in five games.
    • The Giants’ best running back, wide receiver, and tight end are out.
    • The Patriots currently have the NFL’s #11 offense.
    • Tom Brady, arguably the best quarterback in NFL history, faces a secondary that Kirk Cousins just tore apart.
    • Bill Belichick versus Pat Shurmur?
    • The Patriots are well on their way to another Super Bowl appearance. The Giants are in the eighth year of their 20-year rebuilding program.

    It’s no wonder why the Giants are more than two touchdown underdogs.

    Honestly, if I were Pat Shurmur, I would treat this game as a glorified preseason game. I would use it as an opportunity to experiment both in terms personnel and play calling. For example, this may be the time to give players like Corey Ballentine and Julian Love some playing time. The team may also want to try some things on offense and defense that are out of character. What do you have to lose? You want to be predictable and undermanned against Bill Belichick? “You play to win the game!” Screw that, let’s have some fun!

    THE INJURY REPORT:

    • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – out)
    • RB Wayne Gallman (concussion – out)
    • WR Sterling Shepard (concussion – out)
    • TE Evan Engram (knee – out)
    • LT Nate Solder (neck)
    • LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring)
    • LB Tae Davis (concussion)
    • LB Lorenzo Carter (neck – questionable)
    • LB Josiah Tauaefa (knee)

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
    This is a horrible spot for Daniel Jones to be in. Barkley out. Gallman out. Shepard out. Engram out. Offensive line struggling. Now on a short week, the rookie quarterback faces the #1 defense and the #1 defensive mastermind of all time without his best offensive weapons. The Giants have no running game without Barkley. None. His two security blanks – Shepard and Engram – will not play. Yikes!

    Instead of focusing on this mismatched contest, let’s use this as an opportunity to look at the bigger picture moving forward:

    Quarterback: Barring a devastating injury or complete meltdown during the last 11 games, Daniel Jones is the franchise quarterback. As I’ve talked about in previous game previews, he’s the central focus for the rest of the season. Regardless of his and the team’s performance, these games are invaluable learning moments for him. Really, for Jones, this is about preparing more for 2020 at this point. Eli Manning won’t be on the team next year. The Giants have to decide if they can do better than Alex Tanney as Jones’ back-up after Manning is gone.

    Running Back: The Giants’ offense is a completely different animal without Saquon Barkley. As great as it has been for Giants fans to get to watch Daniel Jones earlier than expected, it sucks that Barkley’s high-ankle sprain has taken away one of the few reasons to watch this team. That all said, the Giants may have learned a valuable lesson here about making sure they have proper NFL depth behind Barkley. Is Wayne Gallman the guy you want backing him up? I think we’ve seen enough of Jon Hilliman. In this game, I would like to see Eli Penny receive the bulk of the carries.

    Wide Receiver: The Giants need to upgrade this position. Pray Sterling Shepard’s concussions are not an issue moving forward because they can ill-afford to see yet another one of their promising receivers have his career end prematurely (Plaxico Burress, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, etc.). With Shepard out, this will be Golden Tate’s opportunity to shine. But he and Cody Latimer don’t look like the answers moving forward. On the other hand, the Giants may have hit the jackpot with Darius Slayton in the 5th round.

    Tight End: As long as he can stay healthy (a big if), Evan Engram looks like one of the more dynamic receiving-threat tight ends in football. He’s a weapon. Pat Shurmur obviously loves tight ends. There are currently four on the 53-man roster (and the team had five at one point). Rhett Ellison is steady, but as this season progresses, Shurmur may want to get a better look at Garrett Dickerson and Kaden Smith in real games.

    Offensive Line: It’s beyond ridiculous now. The Giants simply can’t seem to field a legitimate offensive line. As has smartly been pointed out in The Corner Forum this week, when you have a good offensive line, everything looks better. See the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers as prime examples. The Giants made a huge mistake signing Nate Solder to that contract. He’s been terrible. Mike Remmers was signed to be a temporary stop-gap but he’s only marginally better than Chad Wheeler, who replaced Bobby Hart. I still don’t know what Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur see in Jon Halapio, who has played for five other teams, including the Boston Brawlers and Brooklyn Bolts. Making matters worse is that Kevin Zeitler is playing with a bad shoulder that is clearly affecting his play. The Giants NEED two new starting offensive tackles, and ideally a starting center. That’s a tall order in one offseason.

    Offensive Summary: On paper, the Giants look like they have their starting quarterback, running back, and tight end. But 3/5ths of the offensive line needs to be replaced and another outside receiver needs to be added to complement Slayton and Shepard.

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
    I grew up spoiled on great New York Giants defense. As much justifiable criticism as Eli Manning, the offensive line, and the offense as a whole have received for the past eight years, in my mind, the defense may be even more guilty for the team’s demise. Good defense can cover for a multitude of sins and keep teams competitive. Even in terrible seasons like 1995, the Giants were in just about every game because the defense kept them in every game. In the last eight years, the New York defense has finished:

    • 2011: 27th
    • 2012: 31st
    • 2013: 8th
    • 2014: 29th
    • 2015: 32nd
    • 2016: 10th
    • 2017: 31st
    • 2018: 24th

    They are currently 30th.

    Like the offensive line, the Giants can’t seem to fix the defense. They keep changing players, coaches, and schemes. But the team remains at the bottom of the league in defense. Until the defense markedly improves, it won’t matter what Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley do on the field.

    Defensive Line: This is currently the strongest area of the team. Dexter Lawrence, B.J. Hill, and Dalvin Tomlinson are good enough to win with, although I’d like to see more flash from Tomlinson. Lawrence is starting to give offensive linemen fits. Depth is shaky with only R.J. McIntosh and Olsen Pierre on the 53-man roster as back-ups.

    Edge Rusher: Some fans still think Lawrence and Hill are supposed to be like Michael Strahan or Justin Tuck in the Giants’ old 4-3 scheme. In James Bettcher’s 3-4, the outside rush has to come from the outside linebackers or “edge rushers.” Lost in the crappy defensive play is that Markus Golden (4.5 sacks) is quietly averaging just under sack per game. More was expected of Lorenzo Carter, but it’s still early and he has been dealing with injuries. Oshane Ximines and Tuzar Skipper have flashed but as their play against the run last week showed, they both still has a lot to learn. Ideally, this team needs an edge rusher who scares opposing offensive coordinators and quarterbacks. That’s not on the roster right now.

    Inside Linebacker: Long gone are Sam Huff, Brian Kelly, Harry Carson, Gary Reasons, Pepper Johnson, Antonio Pierce. Hell, even Michael Brooks, Michael Barrow, Corey Widmer, or Chase Blackburn would look great right now. The Giants have gone from Linebacker U. to Linebacker Hell. And when they finally draft a good one for the first time in years and years (Ryan Connelly), he tears his ACL in his third start. Look at the outstanding defenses around the NFL and they all have good linebackers. The “help wanted” sign has been out here since Antonio Pierce left. This group can’t play the run and can’t play the pass. They make the entire defense worse.

    Cornerback: The Giants focused on rebuilding this position in the 2019 Draft. The jury is still out on Deandre Baker, but he is starting and learning. That’s about as good as  you can expect from a rookie corner. Sam Beal missed most of the offseason with a nagging hamstring injury but has returned to practice and will likely be added to the 53-man roster soon. Corey Ballentine should be seeing more playing time. The Giants need to start reducing Grant Haley’s role. At this point, the Giants may want to shop Janoris Jenkins in advance of the trade deadline. He won’t be a part of the rebuild.

    Safety: The good news is that after a slow start, Jabrill Peppers is starting to make some plays. The bad news is that Antoine Bethea looks done. At some point very soon, perhaps even this game, the Giants need to sit him. Julian Love should start playing more. Sean Chandler didn’t look good against Minnesota but he should also see his workload increase so the Giants can fully evaluate him. If Love or Chandler can’t handle the position, the Giants have a huge need at this position entering the offseason.

    Defensive Summary: A great edge rusher will make everyone better. If you can’t rush the passer in this League, you’re in trouble. Much depends on Ryan Connelly moving forward. Will he be the same player? Regardless, the Giants need to add one or two more inside linebackers as well. Safety remains a sore spot unless Julian Love can handle the transition to free safety.

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
    Ironically, after years are dismal special teams units, the Giants are in pretty good shape here.

    FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
    Head Coach Pat Shurmur on his team being 16.5-point underdogs: “I have no reaction to it.”

    THE FINAL WORD:
    I doubt my words will be heeded, but I suggest most Giants fans don’t get too upset over this game. The Giants are going to get their asses kicked by the best team in the NFL. And this year, it’s the Patriots’ defense that is carrying them. I’ll be happy if Daniel Jones gets out of this game healthy.

    Based on needs alone, this team is more than one offseason away from seriously competing again. It has to start with the offensive line, edge rushers, and inside linebackers.

    Aug 312019
     
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    Spencer Pulley, New York Giants (August 29, 2019)

    Spencer Pulley – © USA TODAY Sports

    New York Giants 31 – New England Patriots 29

    QUICK RECAP

    Preseason game number 4. The point where coaches have made most of their roster decisions and are now hoping for no serious injuries to their backups and rotational players. The Giants headed to New England to face off against the Patriots, as per usual, in the final game prior to the regular season. The Giants kept their starters on the bench for this one, giving roster hopefuls a shot at showing what they can do with an extended amount of snaps.

    The Patriots, led by rookie Jarrett Stidham, marched down the field and put NE up 3-0 after the first drive. He had Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon, and Demaryius Thomas running routes and catching balls for him. If this were 2013, that could have passed for the best WR trio in the NFL. It was a good, true test for the youthful NYG defensive backs to be up against such established pass catchers even though they are past their primes.

    Daniel Jones started for NYG, pulling an Eli Manning and staying out there for just one series. He remained near-perfect on the preseason, going 4/4 and 47 yards. The fact that Shurmur pulled him after one series has to tell you something.

    The Giants forced a turnover via pressure from Jake Ceresna, which caused an errant pass by Stidham, landing in the arms of safety Sean Chandler. With Alex Tanney at the helm on ensuing drive, it took just two plays for NYG to reach the end zone. A perfectly thrown ball to Alonzo Russell gave them the 35-yard score, putting Big Blue up 7-3. It didn’t take long for the Giants to get the ball back, one play actually. A poor exchange on an attempted reverse resulted in the ball being put on the ground, which was recovered by Keion Adams. The Giants turned that turnover in 3 points, giving them a 10-3 lead as the first quarter came to an end.

    With the all-2013 wide receiver group still in, Stidham was able to get the NE offense back on track, hitting Thomas for a 35-yard score. After a NYG three-and-out, Stidham again hit Thomas, this time for a 3-yard score and all of the sudden NE was up 16-10. Things were getting ugly for the NYG offense via penalties and eventually an interception by Tanney. It was the first of two INTs by Tanney on the night.

    The Patriots offense took over the rest of the first half and entered halftime with a commanding 29-10 lead. The Giants offense couldn’t convert on 3rd down and the Pats offense was continuing to play their simple but efficient style of football.

    Kyle Lauletta came out under center to start off the second half and led a nice resurgence. He was on the money for the rest of the night and led this team to within striking distance. Despite several dropped balls and some of his targets going down with lower body injuries, he looked very smooth and efficient. He threw a perfect deep pass to Scott Simonson for his first of two touchdowns. Wayne Gallman, who saw the most preseason action of the year, scored a physical 6-yard touchdown and Aldrick Rosas hit a 27-yard field goal.

    The Giants defense came up with several key stops and applied a lot of pressure from the middle of the line. John Jenkins and Ceresna were standouts.

    The dramatic finish had NYG facing a 29-25 deficit with 4 seconds remaining. Lauletta, who was dominant on 3rd down all night, was in his highest-pressure situation of the night, one play left from the NE 14-yard line. He hit Russell for the touchdown as time expired to complete the 19-point comeback and 21 unanswered points.

    Giants win 31-29 and end the preseason a perfect 4-0.

    QUARTERBACKS

    -Starter Eli Manning didn’t play in this one, giving Jones his first unofficial start of his career. He was able prepare for the game as the number one guy on the depth chart all week, another check mark on the QB progression list. Jones had a quick night, just one series, and completed all 4 of his attempts. Two of those completions were to Golden Tate, a combo we are sure to see later in the year. Jones has a superb preseason and instilled as much confidence as one can during preseason action.

    -Alex Tanney had a night to forget while Kyle Lauletta had arguably his best half as a Giant. The former went 4/12 – 1 TD – 2 INT, while the latter went led a 19-point comeback, going 22/40 – 247 yards – 2 TD. He was also the victim of multiple drops and could have easily wound up over 300 yards, in just one half. Perhaps the most impressive part of his game was the performance on 3rd and 4th down. He went 12/15-166 yards-2 TD. It was truly dominant.

    RUNNING BACKS

    -Paul Perkins ended the preseason strong with two straight strong weeks. He rushed for 54 yards on 11 carries, displaying outstanding ability in space to miss tacklers and gain yards after contact. Still not a good between the tackles runner who can push piles, though.

    -Wayne Gallman added 29 yards on 7 carries to go along with 3 receptions for 24 yards. His 6-yard touchdown run caught me by surprise with how physically he finished it off and pushed multiple defenders into the end zone. I was surprised to see him get so much action late in the game, but I’m glad he did. It is important for running backs to knock heads a few times in live action before the season starts.

    WIDE RECEIVERS

    -Long-winded night for the likes of Alonzo Russell, Reggie White Jr., and T.J. Jones. It was the most they all played during preseason and you could tell it impacted their performance late in the game. Russell was the star of the group, going 5-92-2 on an amazing 15 targets. Some analysts who are overly-obsessive about numbers will tell you that was an inefficient game, but Russell all but stamped his name onto the roster. He ran good routes, he tracked the ball well, and made physical catches. With the uncertainty at WR early in the year, he will get his shot. He did, however, drop a pass and another one on a 2-point conversion.

    -T.J. Jones hobbled off the field a couple times, the second appearing more serious. He has had a few issues staying healthy and even though I think his versatility can land him a roster spot, I’m not sold he has a spot locked in.

    TIGHT ENDS

    -Scott Simonson, whom has had a problem with drops this preseason, made arguably the best catch of his Giants career on a 27-yard touchdown. He got downfield in a hurry and made a diving grab. Unfortunately, he injured his ankle on the play and had to be carted off. As of typing the review, no final result has been publicized but it didn’t look good.

    -C.J. Conrad stepped up and had a nice game in the trenches. Very stifling blocker who rarely gets beat. He has been a consistent player all preseason and continued to show he can catch the ball when it is thrown his way as well. Jake Powell got some extra action after the injury, catching three passes and dropping another.

    OFFENSIVE LINE

    -As I have been saying all preseason, the NYG second-string offensive line is the best it has been in quite some time, most notably on the right side. Chad Slade and Nick Gates are playing powerfully and balanced. Their footwork has been on point and both play a violent game with their hands.

    -Really rough game for left tackle Brian Mihalik. He was flagged 3 times, gave up 2 pressures and allowed 1 TFL. He may win the backup left tackle job by default unless this team thinks Gate or Slade can handle it, which I would prefer.

    -Evan Brown and James O’Hagan both struggled to contain the NE interior defenders. They got minimal push, if anything. There appeared to be some miscommunication on blitzes as well.

    DEFENSIVE LINE

    -Really active game from R.J. McIntosh and that is a word that keeps coming up every time I watch him. He gets off the ball fast and there is plenty of quick-twitch reaction and movement to his game.

    -One of my NYG favorites of the preseason has been Jake Ceresna. I first noticed him in practice and then he popped up a few times in the games. He saved his best effort for last, as he finished with 2 TFL, 1 sack, and 2 pressures. This kid still has some developing to do, but the second-year undrafted free agent has done everything a back end roster player can do to make a spot for himself on the practice squad.

    -John Jenkins had 2 tackles and a sack. He has really improved his quickness and game speed since coming into the league from Georgia back in 2013. The former 3rd round pick makes me feel good about the depth on the interior of this defensive line.

    LINEBACKERS

    -B.J. Goodson is proving he belongs on this team and can make an impact when called upon. I won’t bang the table for him to start (yet) because he isn’t the ideal schematic fit, but this guy needs to make the team. He is a tackling machine and plays with a lot of speed. He finished with a team high 6 tackles in addition to a sack. He also showed some solid downfield coverage on two occasions.

    -There may be a quiet roster battle going on between Josiah Tauaefa and Nate Stupar. The latter is a leader on special teams but the former has been making plays when he gets on the field. Really fast reaction and sure tackling in addition to fitting the scheme well. Interested to see what happens there.

    -Avery Moss is likely to get another shot here in 2019, but I think Jake Carlock has earned the right to take his roster spot. He had a sack taken away by a defensive hold and we have already noted the energy he brings to the table every play. Moss just doesn’t seem to have it.

    CORNERBACKS

    Terrell Sinkfield got beat up by the savvy veteran Demaryius Thomas. He continues to show a lack of ability to track and locate the ball. He has an impressive physical package but the skill set is inconsistent. Henre’ Toliver got some good experience in as well against the rusty but still effective Josh Gordon. His results were a bit more mixed, as he did flash here and there.

    -Ronald Zamort had arguably his best performance of the preseason as he makes a push for a roster spot or a practice squad allocation. He broke up 2 passes early on.

    SAFETIES

    -Sean Chandler intercepted a pass and broke up 2 others. He is the one guy who I think this coaching staff really likes, as he can play multiple roles back there and has a knack for the ball.

    -Solid game for Julian Love, who I loved coming out of Notre Dame but even I am surprised by how quickly he seems to have taken in both S and CB roles. Smart player who showed a physical side in this one. His future can be wherever this team needs him most, a really valuable asset.

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    -K Aldrick Rosas: 2/2 (Made 32 and 27). Perfect on the preseason.

    -P Riley Dixon and P Johnny Townsend continued to split duties with the latter outperforming the former yet again.

    3 STUDS

    -QB Kyle Lauletta, WR Alonzo Russell, LB B.J. Goodson

    3 DUDS

    -OT Brian Mihalik, CB Terrell Sinkfield, QB Alex Tanney

    3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

    -Now comes the most active day of the personnel/team building year. At the time this is posted, several cuts may already have been made. Before you get surprised by anything both with the NYG and around the league, just consider there is a lot of information we don’t have access to when it comes to the “why”? Money, undisclosed injuries, schematic needs…etc.

    -If there is one guy I really want NYG to keep around, it is B.J. Goodson. If he an stay healthy and readily available, I think he can be a difference maker in the middle especially with what they have up front along the defensive line. He has holes in coverage, but I think he has shown improvement there and the attitude he brings as a run defender elevates the physicality of this defense.

    -When it comes to my outlook of the 2019 season, I have to say I have leaned more towards being optimistic. Much more so than last year, anyway. There is something to this team and the way they come together. Nobody is walking around like they are bigger than everyone else. The team is relatively healthy. The trenches are strong. There are legitimate concerns at a few spots, namely the pass rush, but I think this team will be in the wild card hunt for most, if not all of the season.

    Aug 302019
     
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    Alonzo Russell, New York Giants (August 29, 2019)

    Alonzo Russell – © USA TODAY Sports

    NEW YORK GIANTS 31 – NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS 29…
    The New York Giants finished their 2019 preseason with a perfect 4-0 record after defeating the New England Patriots 31-29 in a dramatic come-from-behind victory on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Trailing 29-25 with four seconds left, quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alonzo Russell with no time left on the clock for the win. Although the Giants sat half their team, including virtually all starters, the game was a bit costly in that at least six Giants left the field with injuries and did not return (see injury report below).

    The Patriots also sat the bulk of their starters except they did decide to play receivers such as Julian Edelman, Demaryius Thomas, and Josh Gordon against a New York Giants defense that fielded a mix of second, third, and fourth teamers. The Patriots put together a 10-play, 62-yard drive to start the game that ended with a 31-yard field goal.

    With Daniel Jones at the helm for his only drive of the night, the Giants moved the ball 62 yards down to the Patriots’ 13-yard line but were stuffed on 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1, turning the ball over on downs. Jones was a perfect 4-of-4 on the drive for 47 yards. The Giants got the ball back when DE Jake Ceresna hit the Patriots’ quarterback Jarrett Stidham as he threw, leading to an easy interception by safety Sean Chandler who returned the football to the New England 37-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Alex Tanney threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Russell. The Giants immediately got the ball back again when the Patriots botched a handoff and linebacker Keion Adams recovered at the Patriots’ 14-yard line. The Giants could not move the ball, however, and settled for a 32-yard field goal. Giants 10 – Patriots 3.

    The second quarter was a disaster for the Giants. With Tanney at the helm, New York’s five possessions in the quarter resulted in one first down, three punts, and two interceptions. Meanwhile, the Patriots scored on five of their six possessions, including three touchdown drives and two field goals. New England scored 26 unanswered points to go up 29-10 at the half. 3rd/4th string cornerbacks Ronald Zamort, Henre’ Tolliver, and Terrell Sinkfield had issues covering veteran receivers such as Demaryius Thomas and Josh Gordon.

    The script completely flipped in the second half with Kyle Lauletta now starting at quarterback. Jarrett Stidham no longer was throwing to top receivers and the Patriots’ four second half possession ended with three first downs, three punts, and a turnover on downs, the latter occurring when New England was trying to run out the clock. Meanwhile, Lauletta and the Giants’ offense scored four times in five drives, including three touchdowns and a field goal.

    The first drive, a 12-play, 66-yard effort, resulted in a 27-yard field goal after wide receiver Reggie White, Jr. dropped what should have been a 9-yard touchdown pass. On the next drive Lauletta threw a 27-yard touchdown pass down the seam to a diving tight end Scott Simonson on 3rd-and-2. Unfortunately, Simonson seriously injured his ankle on the play. Alonzo Russell could not bring in the 2-point conversion attempt and the Giants trailed 29-19. The Giants scored another touchdown on their next possession (8 plays, 42 yards) on a tough 6-yard run by running back Wayne Gallman. The two-point attempt failed again and the Giants now trailed 29-25.

    After New England’s third punt in three possessions, the Giants drove from their 24-yard line to the New England 33. However, the drive ended when Lauletta’s 4th-and-3 pass to wide receiver T.J. Jones was dropped. Jones was also injured on this play and did not return.

    With 6:27 left in the game, the Patriots picked up two first downs and ran over four minutes off of the clock before turning the ball over on downs at the Giants’ 30-yard line when defensive lineman John Jenkins sacked Stidham on 4th-and-4.

    The Giants got the ball with 2:16 left and were pushed back to their own 23-yard line when Lauletta was sacked on the first play of the drive. But Lauletta and the Giants methodically moved the ball down the field, converting on 3rd-and-6, 2nd-and-15, 3rd-and-10, and 4th-and-6. With only four seconds left on the clock, Lauletta threw a 14-yard, walk-off touchdown throw to Alonzo Russell to win the game. The Giants had scored 21 unanswered points despite not kicking one extra point and missing two 2-point conversions.

    Jones completed 4-of-4 passes for 47 yards. Tanney completed only 4-of-12 passes for 53 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Lauletta completed 22-of-40 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Alonzo Russell was the leading receiver with five catches (on 15 targets) for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Paul Perkins carried the ball 11 times for 54 yards and Wayne Gallman carried the ball seven times for 29 yards and a touchdown.

    Defensively, linebacker B.J. Goodson, defensive end Jake Ceresna, and nose tackle John Jenkins all had sacks. Linebacker Keion Adams recovered a fumble and safety Sean Chandler had an interception.

    Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

    INJURY REPORT AND HEALTHY SCRATCHES…
    RB Rod Smith (adductor), WR Sterling Shepard (thumb), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), WR Alex Wesley (ankle), TE Garrett Dickerson (quad), OT Chad Wheeler (back), OT George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), LB Alec Ogletree (calf), CB Antonio Hamilton (groin), CB Sam Beal (hamstring) and S Kenny Ladler (hamstring) did not play.

    WR T.J. Jones (ankle?), WR Brittan Golden (calf), TE Scott Simonson (ankle), LB Keion Adams (knee), LB Nate Stupar (concussion), and CB Ronald Zamort (ankle) all left the game with injuries and did not return. Simonson left the locker room on crutches and wearing a boot on his left foot.

    QB Eli Manning, RB Saquon Barkley, WR Cody Latimer, WR Benny Fowler, WR Russell Shepard, TE Evan Engram, TE Rhett Ellison, OG Kevin Zeitler, OG Will Hernandez, OT Mike Remmers, OT Nate Solder, OC Jon Halapio, NT Dalvin Tomlinson, DE B.J. Hill, DE Dexter Lawrence, DE Olsen Pierre, LB Markus Golden, LB Lorenzo Carter, LB Tae Davis, LB Kareem Martin, LB Oshane Ximines, CB Janoris Jenkins, CB Deandre Baker, CB Grant Haley, CB Corey Ballentine, S Jabrill Peppers, S Antoine Bethea, S Michael Thomas, and LS Zak DeOssie were healthy scratches.

    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)
    • RB Paul Perkins (Video)
    • WR Golden Tate (Video)
    • WR Alonzo Russell (Video)

    WHAT’S UP NEXT…
    Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media by conference call on Friday. The players are off on Saturday and Sunday and return to practice on Monday. The Giants must reduce their roster to 53 players on Saturday.