Aug 182018
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (August 17, 2018)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

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NEW YORK GIANTS 30 – DETROIT LIONS 17…
Minus quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., and running back Saquon Barkley, the New York Giants soundly defeated the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on Friday night, 30-17. Despite the overall team stats being similar, the game was not as close as the final score as the Giants led 24-3 and 30-10 in the 4th quarter. Manning and Beckham were healthy scratches from the contest and Barkley is still recovering from a hamstring strain he suffered in practice on Monday.

Detroit received the ball first but the first-string defense of the Giants forced a three-and-out. Defensive end Kerry Wynn sacked quarterback Matthew Stafford for a 10-yard loss on 3rd-and-8. New York retained possession despite a muffed punt by wideout Hunter Sharp. With quarterback Davis Webb starting for Manning, running back Jonathan Stewart for Barkley, and wide receiver Cody Latimer for Beckham, the Giants also went three-and-out as Stewart lost five yards on a 3rd-and-1 conversion attempt.

On their second possession, the Lions generated their only lead of the game as Stafford found running back Theo Riddick for a 42-yard gain against linebacker Alec Ogletree. The 57-yard drive resulted in a 44-yard field goal and a 3-0 advantage.

Webb and the Giants’ offense responded with a marathon 17-play, 79-yard drive that culminated with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Webb to running back Wayne Gallman. The drive was spurred by a perfect 27-yard deep pass from Webb to wide receiver Sterling Shepard on 3rd-and-17, an 7-yard pass to tight end Evan Engram on 3-and-7, and a successful quarterback sneak on 4th-and-1.

After two punts by the Lions and a turnover on downs by the Giants, New York added to their lead when Webb threw another perfect deep pass, this one a 40-yarder to wideout Russell Shepard. While the Giants only gained three more yards on the next three plays, place kicker Aldrick Rosas connected on a 55-yard field goal attempt and the Giants went up 10-3. The Lions missed a 49-yard field goal on the ensuing possession and the Giants maintained their 7-point advantage at the break.

The Giants went three-and-out to start the 3rd quarter, but the Giants got the ball back when linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong intercepted a deflected pass from quarterback Matt Cassel and returned it 24 yards to the Detroit 12-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Kyle Lauletta rolled to his left, juked out the defense on a cutback, and scored from 10 yards out. The Giants now led 17-3.

Detroit responded by driving from their own 25 yard line to the Giants’ 9, but on 4th-and-2, running back LeGarrette Blount was stopped by linebacker Mark Herzlich and a host of Giants for a 1-yard loss. Both teams exchanged punts, with linebacker Romeo Okwara sacking Cassel for an 8-yard loss on 3rd-and-14. The Giants then put the game away early in the 4th quarter with a 4-play, 59-yard drive that ended with an 11-yard cutback touchdown run by Gallman. The Giants were now up 24-3.

The Lions did cut into the lead by driving 77 yards in nine plays, including an 11-yard touchdown pass. However, New York followed that up with a 7-play, 78-yard drive that ended with a 16-yard touchdown run by running back Robert Martin with just over four minutes to play. The Lions added a meaningless touchdown with seconds to go in the game after driving 71 yards in 14 plays.

Offensively, Webb finished 14-of-20 for 140 yards and one touchdown (QB rating of 106.2). Lauletta was only 2-of-5 for 27 yards but did have the impressive 10-yard touchdown run. The only target to catch more than two passes was tight end Jerell Adams who caught three passes for 31 yards. As for the running backs, Martin gained 47 yards on seven carries and Gallman 26 yards on five carries.

Defensively, Herzlich led the team with seven tackles and the stop on 4th-and-1. The Giants accrued four sacks, including by Wynn, Okwara, linebacker Olivier Vernon, and safety Mike Basile. Armstrong had the sole turnover on his interception.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Not playing for the Giants due to injury were running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), receiver Travis Rudolph (quad), tight end Ryan O’Malley (ankle), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (“soreness”), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

Running back Jalen Simmons left the game with a concussion. Wide receiver Russell Shepard dislocated a finger. Linebacker Calvin Munson left the game late after a hit to the head.

Quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. were healthy scratches.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Saturday. The players are off on that day.

Aug 102018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (August 9, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND BROWNS 20 – NEW YORK GIANTS 10…
Although the starters did not play long, the New York Giants were clearly out-played in a preseason match-up between the NFL’s two worst teams last season. The Giants fell to the Browns 20-10 on Thursday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The highlight of the night for the Giants came on their very first offensive snap when rookie running back Saquon Barkley broke off a 39-yard run, demonstrating vision, shiftiness, power, and speed. (Barkley’s other four carries picked up a total of four yards before he was pulled for the evening). Despite the big initial gain, the Giants’ first drive stalled at the Cleveland 23-yard line as New York settled for a 42-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas.

The Browns responded with a big play of their own, a 32-yard strike from quarterback Tyrod Taylor to wide receiver Jarvis Landry over cornerback Janoris Jenkins. But Landry was flagged for taunting on the play. The defense then held and Cleveland punted.

The Giants’ first-team offense only played one more series (and two overall). The drive ended when with a 10-yard sack on quarterback Eli Manning by a free blitzing linebacker coming up the middle. Manning finished the night 4-of-7 for 26 yards.

Taylor carved up New York’s first-team defense on his second series, completing a 21-yard pass against cornerback Eli Apple and then burning inside linebacker Alec Ogletree on a 36-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Njoku. Browns 7 – Giants 3.

Quarterback Davis Webb entered the game with the second-team offense on the third series and played into the 3rd quarter. The jittery Webb was awful, completing just 9-of-22 passes (41 percent) for 70 yards. The Giants’ offense ground to a halt. In six straight possessions with Webb at the helm, the Giants punted five times and watched the clock expire before halftime at the Cleveland 21-yard line.

Meanwhile, the #1 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, quarterback Baker Mayfield entered the game and put on a show, completing 11-of-20 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns, including a second touchdown catch by Njoku (from 10 yards out, 2-point conversion attempt failed). Mayfield also completed a 54-yard catch-and-run score to wide receiver Antonio Callaway, who got away from cornerback Leonard Johnson and safety Orion Stewart, early in the 4th quarter.

The Giants’ only other score in the game came early in the 3rd quarter after defensive end Kerry Wynn forced a fumble on a punt return that was recovered by long snapper Zak DeOssie at the Cleveland 14-yard line. Three plays later, running back Jalen Simmons scored from five yards out. This was Webb’s last possession and his sole contribution here was a 6-yard scramble.

By the 4th quarter, both teams were playing their third and fourth teamers, with both Kyle Lauletta (6-of-9 for48 yards) and Alex Tanney (3-of-7 for 49 yards) seeing time at quarterback for the Giants. Neither team scored after Mayfield’s last pass early in the 4th quarter that went for the 54-yard touchdown.

Overall, the Browns out-gained the Giants in total net yards (372 to 310) and net yards passing (322 to 176) while the Giants were superior in first downs (19 to 15) and net rushing yards (134 to 50). The Giants did not turn the football over. Defensively, nose tackle Robert Thomas accrued New York’s lone sack on the night.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Not playing for the Giants due to injury were wide receiver Travis Rudolph (unknown), tight end Ryan O’Malley (foot/ankle), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), safety/cornerback William Gay (hamstring), and cornerback/safety Curtis Riley (hamstring).

Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and safety Mike Basile 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:

GIANTS SIGN SAFETY MIKE BASILE….
The New York Giants have signed undrafted rookie free agent Mike Basile (Monmouth University). The 6’1”, 185-pound Basile lacks ideal speed, but he is a hard-working, tough, smart, and instinctive football player with good foot quickness.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Pat Shurmur will address the media by conference call on Friday. The players are off on Saturday, the same day the team’s summer training camp officially ends. The players will practice on Sunday and Monday (no public access) before traveling to Michigan to practice against the Detroit Lions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday (open to public).

Aug 032018
 
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Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (August 1, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 3, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eighth full-team summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

“Another morning practice, and tomorrow what we’re going to do is we’re going to go back to the afternoon and then we’re going to have a little barbeque after that for the families,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “But, good work. You’ll notice I took the pads off them. Four days in a row here, I thought we banged really well the last two days, very physical, went back today to a lot of individual, a lot of isolated drill work, some ball security, ball disruption stuff, stuff you work on all the time but we put a little bit more of an emphasis on it. Then we got some good team work, especially stuff we did in the red zone. So, productive day, I thought it was very competitive, thought there was good energy, and now we’ll keep moving on.”

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN LEONARD JOHNSON…
The New York Giants have signed cornerback Leonard Johnson. The 28-year old, 5’10”, 194-pound Johnson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Buccaneers (2012-2015), New England Patriots (2015), Carolina Panthers (2016), and Buffalo Bills (2017). In six NFL seasons, Johnson has played in 77 regular-season games with 27 starts, including seven starts with the Bills in 2017, when he was the team’s slot corner. Johnson has five career interceptions, but the last came in 2014.

To make room for Johnson, the Giants waived cornerback Kenneth Durden again. The Giants signed Durden in June 2018, cut him, and re-signed him in July 2018. The 6’1”, 180-pound Durden was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Oakland Raiders after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Raiders’ Practice Squad before being cut in September 2017. The Tennessee Titans then signed him to their Practice Squad and cut him in October 2017.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Friday were safety Curtis Riley (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (hamstring), and defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list).

Cornerback William Gay (hamstring?) left practice early with his thigh wrapped.

Cornerback Teddy Williams was excused from practice due to personal reasons.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Giants were in helmets and shells today with no tackling.
  • Tight end Evan Engram appeared to beat cornerback William Gay deep down the field, but Gay was able to recover and knock the pass away.
  • Running back Jonathan Stewart picked up a blitzing cornerback Janoris Jenkins, but quarterback Eli Manning was still chased down by linebacker Olivier Vernon for a “sack.”
  • John Jerry was back at second-team right guard with Victor Salako now the third-team right tackle.
  • For the second day in a row, cornerback C.W. Webb, who has been taking some first-team snaps at slot corner, picked off quarterback Davis Webb. Later, Webb was picked off again, this time by linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong.
  • Brett Jones practiced with the first team at center and John Greco with the second team at center. Jon Halapio was back as the first-team center by the end of practice.
  • Safety Orion Stewart picked off quarterback Alex Tanney near the goal line on a deep pass intended for wide receiver Alonzo Russell.
  • Cornerback William Gay, who has been playing nickel corner and some safety, did a nice job of covering tight end Evan Engram in the end zone.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple broke up a deep pass from quarterback Eli Manning intended for wideout Sterling Shepard.
  • Giants continue to split running back Saquon Barkley out wide as a receiving target with good success. He beat cornerback Janoris Jenkins for a touchdown on a slant route.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. made a diving catch in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown on a pass from a scrambling quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Running back Rob Martin flashed some explosiveness on a run up the middle. He also made a one-handed catch on a screen pass.
  • Wide receiver Jawill Davis made a sliding catch in the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Linebacker Connor Barwin continues to give second-string tackles Nick Becton and Chad Wheeler fits.
  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas was 3-of-4 on field goal attempts.

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

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

ARTICLES…

Aug 012018
 
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Evan Engram, New York Giants (July 26, 2018)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 1, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their sixth full-team summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GIANTS CLAIM VICTOR SALAKO OFF OF WAIVERS…
The New York Giants have claimed offensive tackle Victor Salako off of waivers from the Cleveland Browns. The 24-year old, 6’5”, 316-pound Salako was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent time on the Practice Squads of both the Eagles and Browns in 2017. Salako has good size but lacks ideal athleticism.

To make room for Salako, the Giants waived offensive tackle Jarron Jones, who was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Giants cut him in September 2017, but re-signed him June 2018 after he had spent time with the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday were safety Curtis Riley (hamstring), cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), linebacker Thurston Armbrister (unknown), tight end Garrett Dickerson (hamstring), and defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list).

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Linebacker Olivier Vernon beat left tackle Nate Solder around the edge to “sack” quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Darian Thompson teamed with Landon Collins as the first-team safeties. When the Giants went to “dime” coverage, the extra corners were William Gay and B.W. Webb.
  • Second-team defense included Grant Haley and Teddy Williams at corner and Michael Thomas in the slot.
  • Chad Wheeler practiced at second-team left tackle today with Nick Becton at second-team right tackle, flipping from where they had been lining up.
  • John Jerry was working with the third team at right tackle.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a perfect deep pass to wide receiver Kalif Raymond for a 40-50 yard gain between cornerback Grant Haley and safety Andrew Adams.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta hit wide receiver Marquis Bundy deep down the left sideline.
  • Returning kickoffs were Hunter Sharp, Wayne Gallman, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, and Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Left tackle Nate Solder did a good job of picking up a blitz by linebacker Alec Ogletree.
  • Linebacker Mark Herzlich slammed wideout Kalif Raymond after a short catch over the middle.
  • Linebacker Alex Ogletree tipped a pass from quarterback Eli Manning that was intercepted by safety Landon Collins and returned for a touchdown during the 2-minute drill.
  • Defensive end B.J. Hill expertly sniffed out a screen pass for running back Saquon Barkley and tackled him for a loss.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning and wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. worked together after practice.

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

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

ARTICLES…

Jul 302018
 
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Robert Thomas and Will Hernandez, New York Giants (July 26, 2018)

Robert Thomas and Will Hernandez – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 30, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fifth full-team summer training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Monday were cornerback Donte Deayon (hamstring), running back Jonathan Stewart (unknown), defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list) and tight end Garrett Dickerson (hamstring).

Safety Curtis Riley and linebacker Avery Moss left practice early with an unknown leg injuries.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • There was a heavy focus on the running game today at practice.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, linebacker B.J. Goodson clobbered running back Wayne Gallman in the backfield.
  • Running back Jalen Simmons ran over linebacker Calvin Munson.
  • Tempers flared after linebacker Olivier Vernon hit running back Wayne Gallman hard after he caught a swing pass and Gallman threw the ball at Vernon.
  • Cornerback Kenneth Durden made a couple of plays, including a diving interception in the end zone.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. made a touch catch on the run in traffic and scored in red-zone drills.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning found wide receiver Sterling Shepard for a touchdown in the red zone. Manning completed a lot of short, high-percentage passes today.
  • Returning punts were wide receivers Kalif Raymond, Hunter Sharp, Sterling Shepard, and Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Tight end Jerell Adams beat linebacker Romeo Okwara down the seam for a catch.
  • Wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo made a nice catch over cornerback Grant Haley.
  • Linebackers B.J. Goodson and Ray-Ray Armstrong were very active. Goodson came free on a blitz for a “sack.”
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. beat cornerback Eli Apple one-on-one along the sideline and turned upfield for a long touchdown. Overall, Apple had a solid day in most 1-on-1 situations however.
  • Jordan Williams had back-to-back sacks.
  • Wide receiver Travis Rudolph caught a pair of touchdowns.
  • A scuffle broke out between offensive lineman Jarron Jones and defensive lineman Kristjan Sokoli.
  • Wide receiver Kalif Raymond was the first one to return kickoffs at practice.
  • Linebacker Olivier Vernon and left tackle Nate Solder practiced one-on-one after practice was over.

THE COACHES SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following coaches are available in The Corner Forum and 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:

Audio clips of ESPN Radio interviews with the following players are available at ESPN.com:

ARTICLES…

Jul 252018
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (July 25, 2018)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

VETERANS REPORT TO NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP…
New York Giants quarterbacks, rookies, and select veterans reported to summer training camp last Sunday. The rest of the players reported today. Also, the first rookie practice open to the press (but not public) was held today.

“You got a chance to see the third day of our rookie camp; rookies, select vets and quarterbacks,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “Very valuable time for those guys. I think I mentioned a little bit earlier, but they get a chance to get the first, second, and third installment before the veterans get here. That is very helpful for the rookies. Then the selected vets that didn’t get a bunch of work in the spring, that kind of gets them up to speed, so that’s the idea. As we move forward here, we’re certainly looking forward to the 2018 season. As the coach, I’m going to try and keep the focus on playing football, keep the focus on trying to determine who our initial 53-man roster is, and keep the focus on playing Jacksonville and beyond. So that’s the goal, for us to keep getting better and trained up for what we hope to be a very productive season.”

The first full-team training camp practice and the first practice open to the public will be held on Thursday. The complete training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

WITH THOMAS MCGAUGHEY AILING, TOM QUINN RETURNS…
The New York Giants simply can not get rid of Tom Quinn. It appeared that the Giants had finally parted ways with Quinn, who served as the team’s special teams coordinator from 2007 to 2017, when they hired Thomas McGaughey to replace him in January 2018. But McGaughey has a medical issue and Giants have hired Quinn as assistant special teams coordinator. Anthony Blevins remains the team’s new assistant special teams coach. Ironically, McGaughey served under Tom Quinn from 2007 to 2010. Now their roles are reversed.

“Tom was in town and available and is back assisting us,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “T-Mac (Thomas McGaughey) had some health issues, so Tom is here to assist in anyway possible. Outstanding coach and was in town, so he’s here. So T-Mac is running things and will have two assistants.”

INJURY REPORT – SAM BEAL LIKELY DONE FOR THE SEASON…
Various media sources are reporting that cornerback Sam Beal, who the Giants selected in the 3rd round of the 2018 Supplemental Draft, will likely miss the entire 2018 season with a shoulder injury. While other options are being discussed, Beal will likely need surgery, which would end his rookie year.

Beal aggravated a pre-existing shoulder issue in Monday’s practice. NJ.com is reporting that Beal had shoulder surgery in February. Oddly, Beal did participate in practice on Wednesday before the injury was revealed to the public.

Defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh (unknown) remains on the Active/Non-Football Illness list and did not practice.

Linebacker Avery Moss (unknown) and safety Darian Thompson (unknown), who were sidelined during spring workouts, both practiced.

REPORT – DAVE GETTLEMAN’S CANCER IS IN REMISSION…
According to The New York Post, New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman’s lymphatic cancer is in remission. Recent scans have come back clean. Gettleman is expected to continue to undergo chemotherapy treatments for the time being.

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN IZAAH LUNSFORD, CUT TWO PLAYERS…
The New York Giants have signed free agent defensive lineman Izaah Lunsford. The 24-year old, 6’3”, 310-pound Lunsford was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Green Bay Packers after the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent all of 2017 on the team’s Practice Squad.

The Giants also waived punter Taylor Symmank, who the team signed in June, and tight end Kyle Carter, who the Giants claimed off of waivers from the Minnesota Vikings in January.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Quarterback Eli Manning was given the day off. He did participate in the first two training camp practices on Monday and Tuesday.
  • Veterans present included linebacker Avery Moss, safety Darian Thompson, and safety Orion Stewart.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb made two excellent deep passes.
  • Wide receiver Jawill Davis beat cornerback Grant Haley, but Davis let the ball pass through his hands.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’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:

NY POST Q&A WITH DAVIS WEBB…
Davis Webb talks new mantra as he enters Year 2 with Giants by Steve Serby of The New York Post

BUFFALO BILLS SIGN KEENAN ROBINSON…
The Buffalo Bills have signed New York Giants unrestricted free agent linebacker Keenan Robinson,who was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2017 with a quad injury. Robinson played in six games with three starts and had 32 tackles. He missed the season’s first two games with a concussion.

Robinson was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, where he missed time in 2012 (four games with right pectoral tear), 2013 (entire season with left pectoral tear), 2014 (three games with a knee injury), and 2015 (four games with a shoulder injury). The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2016.

In 2016, Robinson officially only started 6-of-16 regular-season games, but he was second in playing time on the team among all linebackers (71 percent of all defensive snaps). Robinson finished 2016 with 83 tackles and seven pass defenses.

ARTICLES…

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

Alec Ogletree – © USA TODAY Sports

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Linebackers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long story short… the linebackers are back baby!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apr 242018
 
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Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (January 1, 2017)

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

APRIL 24, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The first day of the New York Giants 3-day “voluntary” mini-camp was held on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The only players under contract who appeared to be missing were offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, and safety Landon Collins (who had surgery on Monday). The mini-camp will continue with practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Well, I think the big thing for us is our game is very simple – it’s about the ball, it’s about negotiating the ground and it’s really about man whipping man,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “Now this time of year there is not any contact so to speak, so that third part you can’t work on very much. But, we can work on throwing and catching; the defense can work on defending and trying to strip. We can work on the coordination of running plays and defending plays and the kicking and the punting and all of that. So those are the things we are trying to do. We’ve given the guys two weeks of meetings and we’ve put together a mini-camp, there’s not a whole lot of scheme, but there is enough here to challenge them mentally and then hopefully by the end of these three days we’ll walk away and know a lot more about our players as we move forward.”

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday were wide receiver Odell Beckham (recovering from ankle surgery), safety Landon Collins (recovering from arm surgery), running back Paul Perkins (arm in a sling), and linebacker/defensive end Avery Moss (unknown).

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Olivier Vernon, Romeo Okwara, Kareem Martin, and Jordan Williams were working at linebacker during individual drills.
  • The starting offensive line from left to right was Nate Solder, Patrick Omameh, Brett Jones, Jon Halapio, and Chad Wheeler.
  • John Jerry was with the second unit at guard.
  • Eli Manning and Brett Jones botched one center exchange as did Davis Webb and Ethan Cooper.
  • Davis Webb badly overthrew wide receiver Keeon Johnson on one play, but then connected with tight end Jerell Adams, who made a nice, leaping catch over the middle.
  • Jonathan Stewart was the starting running back.
  • Defensive end Josh Mauro tried his hand at long-snapping and did not do well.

REPORT – GIANTS TRYING TO TRADE ERECK FLOWERS…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants “have had trade discussions centered around” offensive lineman Ereck Flowers. According to media reports, Flowers has not participated in any of the voluntary workouts that began on April 9th. He was also a no-show on the first day of the current 3-day “voluntary” mini-camp.

“He’s not here, so there’s not really much to say,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He’s not here. We understand that this is a program that is voluntary. I tend to believe it is very necessary, but he’s not here. So, when he is here, we will start to talk about him.”

Flowers improved his play at left tackle in 2017, but he still remains a far too inconsistent player at the position with sloppy technique. Flowers was drafted in the 1st round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Giants. In his first three seasons, he has started 46 games. After a rough start in 2017, Flowers went through an extended stretch where he did not allow a sack, but then struggled somewhat again towards the end of the season.

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

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

Dec 072017
 
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Landon Collins, New York Giants (December 3, 2017)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports

JONATHAN CASILLAS PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants placed linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist) on Injured Reserve on Wednesday. Casillas suffered through an injury-plagued season, playing in eight games and missing four others due to injuries. He finished the season with just 35 tackles and one pass defense.

To fill that roster vacancy, the team has signed wide receiver Darius Powe from the Practice Squad. The Giants originally signed Powe as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft and he spent the 2016 season on the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him to the Practice Squad again in October 2017. Powe is a big receiver with decent overall athleticism.

The Giants signed linebacker Derrick Mathews to the Practice Squad. Mathews was originally signed to the Practice Squad of the Washington Redskins in November 2015 as an undrafted rookie free agent. The 6’0”, 232-pound Mathews was signed by the Green Bay Packers in August 2016 and spent parts of 2016 and 2017 on the team’s Practice Squad.

The Giants also waived linebacker Nigel Harris from Injured Reserve. Harris was placed on Injured Reserve with a rib injury in November.  The 6’2”, 230-pound Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the San Diego Chargers after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Giants claimed Harris off of waivers from the Chargers in October 2017.

Other players recently waived (since November) from Injured Reserve include defensive end Evan Schwan, linebacker J.T. Thomas, wide receiver Kevin Norwood, offensive lineman Adam Gettis, defensive tackle Corbin Bryant, and defensive end Nordly Capi.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Running back Orleans Darkwa (illness), offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (finger), and cornerback Eli Apple (hip/back) did not practice on Thursday.

Pugh is back on the sidelines after practicing on Wednesday. “It’s been one of those things where I came back and I came back probably too soon,” Pugh said, who is awaiting the results of an MRI. “We’re trying to avoid doing that again, so we’re not trying to rush it. But at the same time, there’s obviously a timeline because there’s only four weeks left in the season. So we’ve kind of backed off a little bit and we’re going to try to get it going again and see if we can go next week.”

Running back Wayne Gallman (hip), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hamstring), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (concussion), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (elbow), and linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

“Sterling Shepard is headed in a positive direction,” said Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo. “He did some things today so hopefully we’ll get him back knock on wood.”

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Friday at 10:55AM. Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo and players will address the media after practice.

Nov 302017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 23, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Defensive tackle Damon Harrison (elbow) and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist) did not practice on Thursday.

Offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (illness) and linebacker Calvin Munson (quad) fully practiced.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Ben McAdoo and select position coaches and players will address the media on Friday.