MAY 20, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…
The Giants held their first voluntary organized team activity (OTA) practice on Monday. No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed.
The nine remaining OTA practices will be held on May 21, 23, 28-29, 31, and June 10-13. A mandatory mini-camp will also be held June 4-6.
INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Quarterback Kyle Lauletta (recovering from knee surgery), left tackle Nate Solder (recovering from ankle surgery), right tackle Mike Remmers (recovering from back surgery), cornerback Corey Ballentine (recovering from a gunshot wound), and safety Sean Chandler (unknown) did not practice.
“(Ballentine) is making progress,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “I think it is still going to be a little bit of time, but he is getting better. This is something that he is going to make a full recovery from, it is just going to take a little time…I don’t know (if he will be ready by training camp), hopefully sooner, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
“We’ll have to see (when Remmers is able to practice),” said Shurmur. “He is working his way back, just like some guys this time of year, so we’ll just have to see.”
“(Solder) just had a little clean up in his ankle,” said Shurmur. “Something that happens for guys. We felt like it started to flare up a little bit, and felt like we should take care of it. He will be back soon. He will be ready for training camp…I am certainly not a doctor but it is just one of those things we had to clean up a little piece of it. Nothing major. We have time. He is a guy that is a real pro about getting ready to play. He will be able to do that.”
“(Lauletta) has been out there working his way back,” said Shurmur. “He would have had what I call a knee clean up.”
Not present at the voluntary workout were defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson, defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence, and safety Antoine Bethea. Shurmur said Lawrence and Bethea were delayed due to inclement weather that affected their travel plans.
Some snippets from various media sources:
First-team corners were Janoris Jenkins, Sam Beal, and nickel corner Grant Haley. The starting safeties were Jabrill Peppers and Michael Thomas.
R.J. McIntosh worked with the first team at defensive end, while Tae Davis started at inside linebacker along with Alec Ogletree.
In the 2-minute drill during 11-on-11s, CB Sam Beal tipped a QB Eli Manning pass intended for WR Cody Latimer that was intercepted by S Jabrill Peppers on 4th down.
WR Golden Tate made a nice adjustment on a deep ball from QB Eli Manning, beating CB Julian Love.
During red zone drills, running back Saquon Barkley beat LB Alec Ogletree for a touchdown.
LB Kareem Martin stripped RB Wayne Gallman of the ball on a running play.
Alex Tanney was the second-team quarterback with Daniel Jones with the third team.
Eric Dungey did not work out with the quarterbacks but with the tight ends and on special teams.
Brian Mihalik worked at first-team left tackle while Chad Wheeler was at right tackle.
CB Tony Lippett picked off a pass that went off of the hands of WR Darius Slayton and returned it for a score. Slayton did have a couple of nice catches earlier in practice, including one excellent pass from QB Daniel Jones on a flag route.
LB Tae Davis intercepted a pass during 1-on-1 drills. LB Alec Ogletree also tipped a pass that CB Janoris Jenkins intercepted.
MAY 4, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants rookie three-day mini-camp was held on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Seventy-five (75) players – draft picks, signed rookie free agents, first-year players who have not completed a season of credited service, and street and rookie free agent tryout players – were in attendance.
The final day of the mini-camp will be held on Sunday, but it will not be open to the media. The rookies will then be off until returning to the team’s offseason program on May 13.
INJURY REPORT – TWO ROOKIES MAY NEED KNEE SURGERY…
Not practicing on Saturday were OLB Nate Harvey (knee) and S Jacob Thieneman (knee). Head Coach Pat Shurmur said after practice that both were injured during non-contact drills and both injuries may require surgery.
Some snippets from various media sources:
Chris Slayton saw reps at nose tackle with Dexter Lawrence at defensive end.
Mark McLaurin, who played safety in college, has seen some reps at linebacker.
Tryout player Tenny Aduwesi played at first-team safety.
QB Eric Dungey flashed with his deep ball.
CB Deandre Baker knocked away an underthrown QB Daniel Jones deep pass intended for WR Reggie White, Jr. that was intercepted by CB McKinley Whitfield.
CB Julian Love broke up a deep pass over the middle; he played slot corner with the first team.
QB Daniel Jones hit WR Nehari Crawford in stride on a deep seam pass, beating CB Julian Love.
LB Ryan Connelly dropped what would have been a pick-6 interception in the flat on a pass from QB Daniel Jones.
According Paul Dottino, QB Daniel Jones finished 8-of-11 with one interception and one throwaway.
HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Saturday 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:
MAY 3, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The first day of the New York Giants rookie mini-camp was held on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Seventy-five (75) players – draft picks, signed rookie free agents, first-year players who have not completed a season of credited service, and street and rookie free agent tryout players – were in attendance.
“Alright, first day of the mini-camp, it was actually really good,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “We have 23 of our guys that we either drafted or brought in as free agents. The rest of those guys are tryout guys. It was a pretty competitive day. We saw a lot of good things from a lot of the guys that we drafted. They competed well. This is the first day for some of them of hopefully a long career. There were certainly mistakes, but you clean those up as you go. It is fun to be back out on the field, I think I can speak for all the coaches, it is good to get the young players going. As you know, we will work them through this weekend, they will go away and come back and join the team (on May 13). I think the advantage of them doing it this weekend is that they’ll have another week to learn the stuff before they get back here with the vets.”
2019 NFL Draft Picks (9):
QB Daniel Jones, Duke
NT Dexter Lawrence, Clemson
CB Deandre Baker, Georgia
LB Oshane Ximines, Old Dominion
CB Julian Love, Notre Dame
LB Ryan Connelly, Wisconsin
WR Darius Slayton, Auburn
OT George Asafo-Adjei, Kentucky
DL Chris Slayton, Syracuse
Cornerback Corey Ballentine, the team’s 6th-round draft pick, has an excused absence as he is physically and emotionally recovering from an April 28th shooting incident where he was wounded in the butt and a former teammate and friend was killed.
When asked if Ballentine is expected to fully recover, Shurmur responded, “Yes, that is what they are saying, but it might take a little bit of time… We are hopeful (that he will be here on May 13 with the rest of the rookies). Again, this is a unique situation. We want him to get full closure on his end. We are sensitive to that. This is a real life situation. We want to make sure he gets full closure. It is May. We play in September. We want to make sure he gets done on that end what he needs to and gets the help that he needs.”
2019 Signed Rookie Free Agents (13):
QB/TE Eric Dungey, Syracuse
RB Jonathan Hilliman, Rutgers
WR Reggie White, Jr., Monmouth
WR Alex Wesley, Northern Colorado
TE C.J. Conrad, Kentucky
OC James O’Hagan, Buffalo
OT Paul Adams, Missouri
LB Nate Harvey, East Carolina
LB Jeremiah Harris, Eastern Michigan
LB Josiah Tauaefa, Texas-San Antonio
S Jake Carlock, Long Island-Post
S Jacob Thieneman, Purdue
S Mark McLaurin, Mississippi State
Contrary to earlier media reports, the Giants did not sign DE/LB Breckyn Hager, but he is in camp as a tryout player. In addition, the team has officially signed two other free agents not previously reported: QB/TE Eric Dungey and LB Nate Harvey. Scouting reports on the 13 undrafted rookie free agents are available in our 2019 NFL Draft review.
New York Giants First-Year Players (4):
WR Alonzo Russell
OL Victor Salako
DE Jake Ceresna
CB Henre’ Tolliver
There were also 49 rookie and veteran tryout players in attendance.
Some snippets from various media sources:
Jake Carlock, who played both defensive back and linebacker in college, participated in some individual drills with the linebackers.
In 1-on-1 drills, CB Deandre Baker jumped a route and broke up a pass.
QB Daniel Jones completed a pass against CB Julian Love. He then threw a perfect deep pass to WR Darius Slayton, who dropped the ball. Jones demonstrated good arm strength throughout practice.
In team drills, Dexter Lawrence lined up both at right defensive end and nose tackle. Deandre Baker played left corner and Julian Love played at slot corner. Love also saw time at safety.
In 11-on-11 drills, QB Daniel Jones completed his first pass on a quick out to TE C.J. Conrad that picked up good yardage. A deep pass over the middle was then off the mark.
WR Darius Slayton dropped at least four passes during practice. But he later redeemed himself with three catches in a row, including a nice reception on an in-cut from QB Daniel Jones.
WR Alex Wesley made a nice diving catch along the sideline.
Paul Dottino tweeted that QB Daniel Jones was 8-of-14 with three drops in 11-on-11 drills.
GIANTS SIGN THREE OF THEIR DRAFT PICKS…
The New York Giants have announced they have signed the following three of their 2019 NFL Draft class:
CB Julian Love (4th round)
OT George Asafo-Adjei (7th round)
DL Chris Slayton (7th round)
NEW YORK GIANTS CUT JAWILL DAVIS AND JYLAN WARE…
The New York Giants have waived wide receiver Jawill Davis and offensive tackle Jylan Ware.
The Giants signed Jawill Davis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He was signed to the Practice Squad after the final preseason cutdown and then signed to the 53-man roster in September. Davis injured his knee during the last practice of the year and was placed on Injured Reserve before the last game. He played in seven games for the Giants, catching four passes for 40 yards. He also returned 12 punts (7.4 yards per return) and seven kickoffs (24.4 yards per return).
The Giants signed Ware to the Practice Squad in October 2018. The 6’7”, 317-pound Ware was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. The Raiders waived him before the 2018 regular season started.
NEW YORK GIANTS SCOUTING CHANGES… ESPN is reporting two changes to scouting staff of the New York Giants. Scout Mike Murphy has apparently been let go while scout Steve Devine is retiring.
HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum.
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:
With the 6th and 17th picks in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, the New York Giants selected quarterback Daniel Jones (Duke University) and nose tackle Dexter Lawrence (Clemson University), respectively. The Giants also traded up into the first round, the 30th overall pick, and selected cornerback Deandre Baker (University of Georgia). In exchange, the Giants traded away 2nd (#37 overall), 4th (#132 overall), and 5th (#142 overall) round picks to the Seattle Seahawks.
QB DANIEL JONES SCOUTING REPORT: Jones is a junior entry and a 3-year starter at Duke. He was mentored by David Cutcliffe, who also coached Peyton and Eli Manning. Jones has classic quarterback size and is a good athlete who can hurt teams with his feet. He has decent but not great arm strength. Quick release. Jones is a fairly accurate quarterback who throws with good touch on the football. Jones is very competitive, smart, tough, and hard-working. He has a high football IQ and reads defenses well. His decision-making has been inconsistent at times.
SY’56’s Take on QB Daniel Jones: Fourth year junior entry. A three year starter and two time team captain. Despite playing with inferior talent both up front and at the skill positions nearly every week, Jones put together a productive career as both a passer and rusher. The prototypical quarterback when it comes to size and playing style showed glimpses over the past two years of what a first round QB should look like. His NFL-caliber mechanics from head to toe give him the look of a professional passer and him being coached by David Cutcliffe, the college coach of both Peyton and Eli Manning, only helps strengthen the notion of how ready he is. Jones pairs that with toughness and grit that doesn’t come around often. However, there were constant red flags in his tape that are hard to ignore. He didn’t see things well and his decisions were too inconsistent. There just seemed to be a lack of a true feel for the pocket, the defense, and angles. Jones checks a lot of boxes but there is a lot of gamble in the team that takes him even though he comes across as a “safe” bet to some.
*I wanted to like Jones more than this, I really did. I have a thing for tough quarterbacks and I do think he brought his teammates to another level. That’s a trend that can really make a kid break out in the NFL. While I do have a 1st round grade on him and I do think he can be in play at 17 because of the position he plays, I think NYG may need to steer clear here. Jones has enough arm strength, touch, and athletic ability. But there isn’t a quick mind here, he doesn’t see everything a top tier QB does whether it is coverage or pass rush based. After a long time scouting him, he is a pass for me.
NT DEXTER LAWRENCE SCOUTING REPORT: Lawrence is a junior entry and a 3-year starter at Clemson. Lawrence is a prototypical run-stuffing nose tackle with excellent size and strength. He often needs to be double-teamed. While Lawrence can generate a power rush, he lacks dynamic pass rush moves.
SY’56’s Take on NT Dexter Lawerence: Junior entry. A blue chip recruit that made an impact right away, winning the ACC Freshman of the Year Award in 2016. He then went on to earn two straight 1st Team All ACC placements even though his production wasn’t anything noteworthy. Lawrence can be a missing piece to a defense that struggles against the run. His mere presence demands attention from multiple bodies and he is no slouch when it comes to pursuing the ball. Even though he is almost always the biggest and most powerful player on the field, Lawrence needs to shore up techniques and be more consistent. He is not an every down player, but certainly one that can dominate in stretches.
*If there is one non-QB I think NYG may be looking at with their 17th pick, it’s Lawrence. He fits the bill with what Gettleman wants up front and the trade of Harrison left that NT role wide open. Lawrence was the piece that made that loaded Clemson front go. I can remember seeing him play as a true freshman and at that moment in time, I said he was ready for the NFL. There is a rare combination of size, speed, and power to go along with more awareness and intelligence than you may think. Big time potential here that can change a defense right away.
CB DEANDRE BAKER SCOUTING REPORT: Baker was a 3-year starter at Georgia. He is an average-sized corner with average overall athleticism. However, he plays with fine instincts, football smarts, and confidence. Baker plays bigger and more athletically than his numbers indicate. He can play both man and zone coverage with equal adeptness with fine awareness and reaction time. He is a physical and aggressive player both against the pass and the run.
SY’56’s Take on CB Deandre Baker: Baker was a three year starter for the Bulldogs that progressively improved as a prospect from the beginning of 2017. The two-time all SEC defender (1st Team in 2018) brings the kind of confidence and swagger that can take on the numerous challenges of playing cornerback in the NFL. He can be left alone on an island and stick with anyone on all levels of the route tree as well as make plays on the ball like a receiver. His issues can be correctable, mainly the technique-based and mental ones. The lack of power presence can be an issue at times but in a league where contact is allowed less and less in coverage, the corners that can get the job done via instincts, agility, and speed stand out a bit more.
*Another safe pick here that may have a limited upside, but at this position you just want reliable. That is Baker is a nutshell. I love the competitive spirit, the swagger he shows on the outside. Do I trust him against a Michael Thomas on an island? Probably not. But at the end of the day that isn’t the job of a #1 corner on most teams. He can fit in to any coverage scheme and any role, right away.
MEDIA Q&A WITH GENERAL MANAGER DAVE GETTLEMAN AND HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR: (Video)
Gettleman: It’s a wonderful thing when need and value match. We are thrilled to get Daniel (Jones). He was up there with everybody else on our board in terms of value and he was just perfect for us. I really believe in this kid. I really believe he is going to be a really nice, quality quarterback for us, for our franchise. He understands what’s in front of him. We’ve spoken to Eli (Manning) and talked to him and Daniel is coming in here to learn. Learn how to be a pro, learn how to be a professional quarterback. He’s the right kid for us. He’s just the right guy, he has the right head. He’s a very mature kid. I have no doubt he is going to come in and do everything he can to prepare himself to follow Eli.
The second guy, we got me a hog mollie! Dexter Lawrence, he might have been the biggest player in the draft, I don’t know. He’s a quality run player and he’s more than just a two-down run player. This kid can push the pocket and he can have an impact on the pass rush. That’s why we took him at 17 and we are thrilled. He is a great kid. All three of these kids are great kids. We had Dexter in here and he can play the one, the three and the five. He’s versatile, he’s got hips, he can flip to rush the passer and we are thrilled to have him.
The last guy we traded up for we feel is the best cover corner in the draft, the kid from Georgia, Deandre Baker. We feel like we got three guys that are going to impact this franchise for a long time.
Shurmur: Yeah, I don’t have anything other to add than Jones, for us, he’s very accomplished, he’s very smart, he’s very talented and when we spoke to Eli, I told this to Eli a couple times already, it’s not his job to teach the next quarterback that comes in here. It’s his job to be the very best player he can be and then the quarterback that we bring in, it’s his job to be smart enough to learn from Eli. And I think that’s the scenario that we are presented with. So we are thrilled. Here’s a guy that has played a lot of football, but he’s still very young, he’s tough, he’s competitive and he really has all of the things we are looking for. Good decision making, he has a sense of timing, he is an accurate passer, he’s athletic and mobile, which is important in today’s game. So we are thrilled about him.
Dexter, I was with (Vikings DT) Linval Joseph, who all of you know, in Minnesota and he sort of reminded me of him. He’s sneaky with the pass rush, but he’s really good on first, second down and the run game stuff. Tremendous human being and he’s a big guy and I think you win with big people
And then Dave did it, he got Deandre Baker. He’s a cover corner. The thing that impressed me most on tape was how stinking competitive he is. He’s very confident and he’s very competitive and I think when he’s faced with a challenge of a good wide out, he’s going to accept the challenge. Again, as Dave mentioned, the fact that our board met with some of the needs and some of the things that we wanted to answer, we were fortunate enough to get those three players. So we are thrilled to have them and get them in here as quickly as we can and get them going.
Q: Was Daniel Jones your best player available at 6? Did you have a higher grade on him than Josh Allen?
Gettleman: First of all, it is legal for guys to have the same grade. So when we set up our horizontal, they were on the same line.
Q: At what point did you realize he was your guy?
Gettleman: For me, it’s been a while. It’s been a while, to be frank with you.
Q: What stuck out to you?
Gettleman: I loved him on film. I absolutely loved him. I loved everything about him. And then I went to the Senior Bowl and I watched him that week and I (had) decided to stay for the game. During the season, I had gone to see Dwayne (Haskins) at Ohio State, I had seen Kyler (Murray) and Will (Grier) play each other on that Friday night game (on) Thanksgiving weekend in West Virginia, so I had seen those two play each other. I saw Dwayne play in the Big (10) championship game in Indianapolis, so I’ve seen those three guys play and to me it’s really important to see quarterbacks play. Watching them on tape is one thing, seeing them in the environment is definitely, I think, very important. Saw Drew (Lock), Daniel, Jarrett Stidham, (Gardner) Minshew, (Trace) McSorley, all of these guys were at the Senior Bowl, so I decided to stay. I made up my mind that I was staying for the game and, frankly, he walked out there and I saw a professional quarterback after the three series that I watched, I saw a professional quarterback. I was in full bloom love.
Q: How much of your decision was Daniel Jones the quarterback on the field versus Daniel Jones, the person he is off the field?
Gettleman: That’s a nice piece. Obviously, (Duke Head Football Coach David) Cutcliffe, he’s a hell of a coach. He didn’t fall off a turnip truck yesterday. The kid has been well trained. The huge part of this, and I’ve said it before, a big part of this is his make-up. Every single kid that was taken in the first round has had very little adversity. So, we get into it and we talk about this when we have our meetings – and the scouts and the area guys will go out, the regional guys are out, (Director of College Scouting) Chris Pettit is out, and we talk about what kind of adversity has this kid ever had. That’s what you want to know, because what kind of adversity and how they’re going to react, which is huge – and very honestly, how they’re going to react to you guys. Not because you’re meanies, because some of you are nice, but really because of the volume – it’s the volume that’s different. Now, that’s a big part of it. That’s like a bonus here. This kid is really talented, a really talented football player, and the head makes him more better.
Q: Forgetting about the head for a second, what about his talent level did you like more than the other quarterback prospects?
Gettleman: I just thought his pocket presence and his poise were really important to me. I’ve been saying it for a long time: if you can’t consistently make plays from the pocket, you’re not going to make it in the NFL. You’ll be just another guy. You look at Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, they consistently make plays from the pocket. That’s what this kid can do, and he is not by any stretch of the imagination an average athlete. He’s a really good athlete. This kid can extend, make plays with his feet, buy time in the pocket. He’s got feel. He really has all the things you’re looking for.
Q: Does he remind you of Eli as a player? Or, how is he different?
Gettleman: That’s hard for me because very honestly, I didn’t scout Eli in college. I watched film of Eli. After we took him, I thought it would be a nice idea to watch some film. Back then, I was a pro (personnel) guy. Similar in that they both were playing, at that time, Eli at Ole Miss at that time, both playing in difficult conferences with maybe fewer players around them. Eli had a wide receiver that probably ran a 4.65 (40 yd. dash), and he had a little scat-back running back and an okay offensive line. Daniel had about the same thing.
Q: Do you think you could’ve gotten Jones at No. 17?
Gettleman: You never know.
Q: And you weren’t willing to risk it?
Gettleman: I was not willing to risk it.
Q: Is the goal for Eli to start 16 games next season and for Daniel to sit 16 games next season?
Gettleman: The goal is for Eli to be our quarterback, yes.
Shurmur: I told Eli when we visited, it’s your job to win games and keep this guy off the field.
Q: It’s a challenge almost.
Shurmur: Well, not necessarily. I don’t think you need to challenge him that way. I wouldn’t phrase it that way, but that’s the kind of things you talk about when you put quarterbacks together.
Q: When did you know Daniel was the right guy for this organization? Did you have a similar process as Dave?
Shurmur: Yeah, I went through the process. I probably spent more time even this year than last year on the quarterbacks – from watching them play, to interviewing them, all multiple times, to doing all the research on them, because I think it’s important to put these quarterbacks through the full process. We took a trip down to Duke and visited with Coach Cutcliffe, and he kind of connected some of the things, because there were some comparisons to Eli, and I’m not sure I would share them. How is he similar? How is he different? I knew by watching him play that he was tough. That’s very high on the spectrum for me, is toughness, and Daniel has that. As we went through it, when you watch guys throw – and there’s some very talented throwers, very talented, very accomplished quarterbacks in this year’s draft. It’s quick that you can fall in love with them at each exposure, but by the end of it, we really felt like he was our guy, and I felt the same as Dave.
Q: If I’m not mistaken, that was the week of the owners meetings, so you weren’t at his Pro Day, but were with him privately a couple days later. Do you get a different feel when you’re with a guy privately rather than at his Pro Day?
Shurmur: Yeah, but we had private meetings with all the quarterbacks. We had private meetings with them at the Senior Bowl. So, we had many exposures with all the quarterbacks in question, but yeah, I think when you’re with them privately, you get a feel for who they are. I think it’s really important to sort through how they’re wired above the neck. It’s so important for a quarterback. That’s why all these exposures are very important.
Q: Can you talk about where (CB) Deandre Baker is going to fit into the equation? You have (CB Janoris Jenkins) Jackrabbit, you have (CB) Sam Beal, who I believe you said if he was coming out this year, he’d have a second-round grade. Where do you anticipate he can fit in?
Gettleman: He’s going to walk on, he’s going to compete for a starting job.
Q: Is he a slot cornerback? Can he play the nickel?
Gettleman: He’s really an outside guy, but he can play inside. We see him as an outside guy.
Q: When you look at Daniel Jones’ production, his production is not there. Is that a product of him playing at Duke, or is there something about the numbers that says something about him?
Shurmur: For me, I think when you watch him play, you can’t just look at the raw numbers and say this guy can do it or can’t do it? There’s reasons why a ball is complete or incomplete. I really wouldn’t share with you why that is. I thought he was very productive, I thought he was competitive and gritty, and he helped his team win football games. It’s not a fair comparison sometimes, so you have to watch the player compete and work with what he has. I thought he did a heck of a job leading the Duke football team.
Q: When did you talk with Eli and what is his reaction?
Shurmur: I’ve spoken to Eli throughout this process.
Q: When did you tell him that you were going to draft Daniel?
Shurmur: As it was happening. I spoke to Daniel and Dave called Eli. All along, we’ve spoken to Eli about how we are evaluating quarterbacks in this year’s draft, and there is a decent chance there may be a new guy here. It doesn’t bother Eli.
Q: Dave what do you think his reaction was?
Gettleman: He was fine. I told him it’s your job, let’s go.
Q: If Eli thinks he can play multiple seasons, does this end that possibility here?
Gettleman: Absolutely not. Maybe we are going to the Green Bay model, where Rodgers sat for three years. Who knows? It’s one of the deals where it doesn’t make a difference what position it is, you can never have too many good players at one position.
Q: Are you saying you drafted a quarterback number 6 and he might sit for 3 years?
Gettleman: Who knows? I may go out there in my car and get hit. You don’t know. We drafted a quarterback that we believe is a franchise quarterback. We feel he’s a franchise quarterback.
Q: If Eli plays 3 more years, wouldn’t you take somebody at 6 to help Eli do that?
Gettleman: It’s the same question, ‘why didn’t you wait until 17?’ We don’t know. Life’s too short, you don’t know how this is going to work. It’s people drafting defensive tackles when they already have two stud starters, why are you doing that? It’s where value fits and meets the draft pick.
Q: Have you considered extending Eli so he is not a lame duck quarterback?
Gettleman: That’s a hypothetical.
Q: Were you as enamored as early with Daniel Jones as Dave was?
Shurmur: I tried to slow my roll with all the quarterbacks. My first exposure to all of them was their tape. With the way technology is you can watch every one of their throws or any of their actions. As I got to know them, I wanted to go slow on them. I wanted to be deliberate. John Mara and Dave Gettleman said they wanted a consensus on this. I wanted to give them an educated answer as to who I thought was going to be our guy. I was very deliberate about it because this was going to be a big draft pick. We drafted a guy that we think can start and be a starter for a very long time, and when he gets on the field, we will see.
Q: Just curious of how serious the discussions with Arizona were about trading for (Cardinals QB) Josh Rosen?
Gettleman: There was no discussion. I admitted I had reached out and told them if things happen, then we might have an interest. That’s it.
Q: Do you see Lawrence as a rotation with (DT B.J.) Hill and (DT Dalvin) Tomlinson? Or, do you see a guy that can play with all three of those guys across the defensive line?
Gettleman: We can play them all three across at the same time.
Q: When you traded (DT Damon Harrison) Snacks, you moved Tomlinson to the nose because you said that was the spot he was best-suited for…
Shurmur: That was the unintended consequence of that, but I would say this, when we play base defense, you have a five-technique, a three-technique and a one-technique, and we can certainly play all three of those guys. Then when we get into our even fronts, certainly there will a little bit of a rotation there, I think, which is good. Again, we can’t have too many good quarterbacks. You can’t have too many good corners, and when it comes to defensive linemen, you can’t have too many good front people. They’ve all got to compete. We’re really thrilled about him. If you haven’t been around him, this is a big human being. He moves well, he’s sneaky quick, and I think he’s going to be a really good addition to our front.
Q: He’s 345 pounds and has a screw in his foot. Did that play into the process at all?
Gettleman: Medically, he’s cleared.
Q: He’s only had four sacks in the past two years.
Gettleman: He was playing on a bad foot.
Q: So you attribute it to that?
Gettleman: Here’s what I want you to understand. This is where numbers don’t tell all the story. Defensive tackles can affect the pass rush if they get consistent inside push. How many times have you guys watched a game, and the ends come screaming off the corner, and the quarterback steps up, and there’s nobody there. You get inside pass rush, those ends come screaming off the corner, they’re going to affect it, and if the guy is getting push, the quarterback is going to step up and Dexter will give him a kiss.
Q: But who are the ends screaming off the corner?
Gettleman: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Oh and by the way, (LB) Lorenzo Carter had 5.5 sacks last year.
Q: But the Giants two most recent Super Bowl teams had around 50 sacks.
Gettleman: I was with them.
Q: But you know both of those teams really affected the quarterback.
Gettleman: Rome wasn’t built in a day, it wasn’t built in a day. This takes time.
Q: Daniel Jones was booed by Giants fans at MetLife Stadium tonight. What would you tell those fans who are angry and upset that you picked Daniel Jones?
Gettleman: In time, you’ll be very pleased.
MEDIA Q&A WITH QB DANIEL JONES:
Q: Is this beyond your wildest expectations to go to the Giants?
A: Yes, I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations going into tonight. I was just excited to be here, and however it worked out I was going to be thrilled. I’m certainly thrilled to be in New York and I can’t wait to get started.
Q: What do you think you did to impress the Giants?
A: I think I was confident in myself and showed the best version of myself throughout the process. The process is a long one where you are going to be tested in a number of ways. I think more than anything, I stayed confident in myself and stayed true to that.
Q: What is your relationship like with Eli Manning?
A: He’s been up at Duke a couple times to throw with his guys and workout so I have gotten to see him then. I have been down to the Manning (Passing Academy) camp a couple times, so I got to know him through those two things.
Q: I know you’ve been busy so far, have you heard from him tonight?
A: No sir.
Q: When did you know you were the Giants pick?
A: When they called me, 20 or 30 minutes ago.
Q: Did you have any inkling from your meetings with them that they liked you at (pick) six?
A: I thought they went well, and I certainly feel like I connected with them. I certainly liked them a whole lot, I wasn’t sure how it would work out. The draft is a tough thing to predict, I didn’t have a whole lot of expectations. I thought the meetings went well, I thought we connected and that certainly made me confident. Like I said I didn’t have any expectations or any idea what would happen.
Q: How do you feel about the possibility of sitting for a season behind Eli?
A: I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to learn for a young quarterback. He is a guy that’s had a whole lot of success in the NFL and there is a reason for that. I’m looking to understand that and do my best to learn as much as I can from him while he’s in New York.
Q: How do you feel being viewed as his successor?
A: I’m going to be myself and not try to be Eli or be anything but myself. I think staying confident in that and staying confident in who I am is what’s going to be key to that process.
Q: What was your interaction like with the head coach when you met him?
A: I thought it was great. I think we connected and he is certainly someone who I have a lot of respect for and he’s been a really good coach in the NFL for a long time. So getting to know him and being able to interact with him through this process was great and I thought it went well.
Q: For those of us who haven’t seen you, what do you do well?
A: I think physically, I can make every throw on the field. My accuracy is certainly I feel a strength of mine, and I think I have the athleticism to extend plays and play outside the pocket if I need to. So physically I think I can do both those things well.
Q: What can you get better at?
A: I think I can get better at times making that decision to lay the ball off or throw it away. Coach Cut (David Cutcliffe) at Duke said understanding when to stop competing, understanding when a play is over with. I think I can do better with that.
Q: How much did Coach Cutcliffe talk about the Manning brothers over the years?
A: Yeah, we certainly did watch a whole lot. It was cool going to Duke and being with Coach Cut and being able to hear those stories from when Eli and Peyton were in similar positions to me. Whether it was my first year there, second year, whenever it was just hearing those stories and being able to learn from some of those experiences was an awesome perspective for me and certainly a great situation.
Q: The Giants wanted a quarterback that has faced adversity before. What adversity have you faced?
A: If you look back at my recruitment, I came to Duke as a walk-on, a guy who wasn’t recruited very heavily and I think that was part of it. Not being immediately obvious that I would play college football somewhere or at the level I thought I could, but it worked out and Coach Cut gave me the opportunity to walk-on and I eventually earned a scholarship, but I had to overcome it and I’m glad it went the way it went and I wouldn’t do it any other way.
MEDIA Q&A WITH NT DEXTER LAWRENCE:
Q: What were your interactions like with the Giants? Did you have any sense that they liked you in the first round?
A: Yeah, just my first meeting. I felt that, especially the first time I met them. Every interaction with them was pretty good. I was just being myself, honestly. That was kind of my goal throughout this whole process. Making a team like me for who I was, and not being somebody that I’m not. I feel like with the Giants, we were vibing a little bit. I’m just happy right now.
Q: When most people think of you, they’re going to think of Snacks (Lions DT Damon Harrison). Are you playing like Snacks?
A: I feel like my game is very powerful, a smart player, non-quit effort kind of guy. That’s just my mindset every play, and how I want to attack every snap.
Q: What was your reaction to finding out you landed in New York and with the Giants?
A: I grew up a New York Giants fan. So, it’s a great moment. My goal is to come in day one and challenge the defensive line as being the greatest unit in the world kind of thing. That’s just kind of what my mindset is going to be and what is has been since I’ve been in high school. Let’s not settle, let’s go get it. Right now, I’m real happy to be a Giant.
Q: How’d you end up a Giants fan?
A: Growing up watching the D-line, (former Giants DE) Justin Tuck, and (former Giants DE) Michael Strahan, and (former Giants DT) Fred Robinson, (former Giants DE) Osi Umenyiora. Growing up just watching them kind of inspired me.
Q: You had six and a half sacks as a freshman and only four the next two years. What was the key as a freshman, and what happened the last two years?
A: As a freshman, nothing changed with anything. I feel like my sophomore year, I was battling an injury playing on one leg kind of deal. My junior season, I got my confidence back a lot more the second half of the season. The first half of the season, I was kind of timid on it a little bit, but I’ve gotten over that hump.
Q: Do you consider yourself a pass rusher?
A: I do consider myself a pass rusher. I just got to unlock it, that’s all. A lot of times, I didn’t set myself up for things. I know that’ll be the difference, and that’s a big focus of mine is to stop all the doubting.
Q: What was the leg injury?
A: I got a screw in my fifth metatarsal, but that had healed. The problem was they did a nerve block in the back of my leg and it irritated the nerves in my leg and I couldn’t do a toe raise or push-off with it or do anything with it for like a year and a month.
Q: When did you feel like your old self again?
A: I felt like my old self probably halfway through my last season. Like the first half I was a little timid and I wasn’t quite confident with it and then I just had to sit down and talk to myself and be like, ‘You know how you felt playing on one leg, you got both of them back, take advantage of it. Just go out there and use it to the best of your abilities.’
Q: How much did you have to answer to the suspension throughout the process?
A: Every meeting, everywhere I went, every media source. But it was something I had to deal with. It was unfortunate that happened to me. I was innocent, but God had a plan for me and I felt like that helped people learn who I truly was. It got people to know me, I got to express myself. I had the choice to go to the media, I didn’t have to, but I wanted to so that I make the narrative kind of deal and not let people put their little spin on things that they do. So I mean it was really unfortunate, but I had to change my role as a player and I had to become a coach and support my team and make sure their minds were right and just be there for them and just let them know that it’s good, I’m still here and just play like you’ve been playing the whole season.
Q: What can you tell us about Daniel Jones?
A: I like him a lot. Playing against him when we played Duke, I gained a lot of respect for him. He did not quit and he’s deceptively fast. His arm is really accurate, I feel like a lot of his balls were dropped so his stats weren’t really there watching film, but I think he’s really special.
Q: Did you have any sort of bet with (Christian) Wilkins and (Clelin) Ferrell?
A: No, I wouldn’t say we had a bet. We were just all excited for each other. It’s something that we all worked hard for. The reason why those guys came back was to prove who they really were and that’s what all of our goals were me, Austin (Bryant), Clelin and Christian, just go in to this next season and give it our all and play balls out, play like you got to prove yourself right and others wrong kind of deal.
Q: How impressive is it that you have three guys from the same school, on the same line drafted in the first round?
A: It’s great. When I saw that those guys were up I could not stop smiling. I teared up, I felt like I got drafted with them kind of deal. It’s just special that bond that we have and it’s something that will never be broken.
Q: Your first game you get to face Ezekiel Elliott, how do you feel about that?
A: That will be fun, that will be fun. He’s a great running back and I’m ready to compete and help the Giants win some games.
Q: What do you weigh now?
A: Right now, I am 344. My playing weight is going to go down. I’m trying to play between 342 and 335. I’m trying to get my body fat down, that’s really been a focus of mine. I know becoming a pro that’s your number one objective, taking care of your body and that is just my mindset with the right food and the right exercise and everything.
MEDIA Q&A WITH CB DEANDRE BAKER:
Q: When you are sitting there towards the end of round one, did you think your phone was not going to ring?
A: No, I just kept faith, I kept praying. I knew somebody was going to give me a chance. The Giants called and they made my day.
Q: Did you have an inkling that the Giants would be interested in you?
A: I met with them at the combine but that was my only meeting with them. I didn’t know they were going to draft me, I’m just happy right now.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?
A: A confident player who is always going to come work. A guy that teammates can always count on to be there on Sundays and any other day of the week. A player that my teammates can count on.
Q: Do you feel you were the best corner available in the draft?
A: Yes sir.
Q: Why is that?
A: Just by the production I put in, and the consistency throughout the years I played.
Q: You weren’t a guy that lit up the combine, how much do you think what you did on the field mattered to the Giants?
A: It mattered a lot. I didn’t have the top numbers at the combine, but nobody’s game film can match mine, nobody’s production can match mine. The Giants knew that, and they took me with the 30th pick.
Q: Do you remember the last touchdown you gave up?
A: It was 2016, the only touchdown I gave up in my career.
Q: What was it?
A: It was a back-shoulder fade from the 1-yard line against TCU in the bowl game.
Q: Does that say something about you, that you can go back and recall what happened on a play from 2 and a half years ago?
A: It just says that I’m up to date and I study the game. I watch the things I did wrong more than the things I did good.
Q: If there was a knock on you it was that you didn’t get enough interceptions?
A: It’s hard to get interceptions when you are not targeted much.
Q: Did you hear from Lorenzo Carter?
A: Not yet, I know Lorenzo Carter is probably trying to call me right now. I have a million calls at one time right now. I’m just waiting to call them when I finish everything.
Q: What is your relationship with him?
A: That’s my boy, ever since I stepped on campus at the University of Georgia. My first day on campus he took me under his wing. I played a couple years with him, that’s my boy.
Q: Have you looked the Giants cornerback depth chart yet?
A: I know a few people. Jackrabbit (Janoris Jenkins) and one more person, but I forgot his name. I know Jackrabbit definitely.
Q: Do you expect to come in here and start?
A: I just want to come in and work. Wherever I land at on the depth chart, I’m ready to work. Go out there and compete with the guys and hopefully get a chance to help my team.
Q: What was it like being in the green room?
A: It was a dream come true. I knew one team would call me before the first round was over with. When the Giants traded back up (into the first round), I kind of had a feeling.
Q: Are you mostly an outside guy or can you play the slot too?
A: I can play outside or slot. I can adapt to any situation. Wherever the team needs me to win that’s where I will go.
Q: Do you consider yourself a shutdown corner?
A: Of course.
Q: How do you define the term shutdown corner?
A: In college I covered the opposing team’s number one receiver that’s how I got the term shutdown corner. In the league I just want to come in and work with my team.
NEW YORK GIANTS OFFSEASON PROGRAM BEGINS…
The New York Giants offseason program began on Monday, April 15th, kicking off the 9-week “voluntary” program that by NFL rules is broken into three phases:
Phase One (Two Weeks): Consists of activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
Phase Two (Three Weeks): Consists of on-field workouts that may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
Phase Three (Four Weeks): Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
The team’s OTAs will be held on May 20-21, May 23, May 28-29, May 31, and June 10-13. A rookie mini-camp will be held on May 3-4 and a mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 4-6.
PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Monday:
Good afternoon. As you know, today started our offseason program. Guys were energetic and excited to get going. We had alternating running and lifting. We had good meetings so it was a good first day. I am looking forward to getting this thing going for the 2019 season. We have the draft here on the horizon but we like the group of guys that we have assembled to this point. Just put them through the paces and get them prepared so we can put them through the OTA’s and the mini camps to work our way toward training camp.
Q: Did everyone show up today and did anyone tell you they were not going to be a part of this?
A: We had one player that is showing up today and he let me know that. Other than that, we had everyone here.
Q: Can you share who that was?
A: No. As you know, this is a voluntary. This player had a prior arrangement and he let me know way ahead of time that he had something he had to take care of. He is arriving today so he will be here working tomorrow.
Q: How different is this from last year in regards to what you are trying to accomplish? What is the biggest difference?
A: Well, we certainly know the players much better. By playing a season, we know the areas we need to improve. I talked to the team about finishing. I felt that we did some things throughout the games that were good. We just have to do a better job of finishing. The schemes and the systems, things we like to do schematically, are more ready to go for the players. They can watch themselves on the cut-ups. Anything you do on the second time around, you will be smoother. The idea is that you get off to a better start starting next season.
Q: Is Sam Beal 100 percent and ready to go?
A: Yes, he is ready to go. He is bright-eyed and ready to go. He is coming back from a shoulder surgery and has rehabbed it well. He is 100 percent at this point so he will be able to take part in everything we are doing.
Q: How much easier is it at this point now knowing the strengths and weaknesses you have in your players?
A: It is a huge advantage. To be able to know what the players can do, we have a lot of really good players. A lot of players that were young last year had an opportunity to play more than they typically would. You get a chance to watch them and see their development, you can project and see the improvement they are going to make this year. It really helps, also, if you have not worked with a player, I think back to the offensive line and how we had it structured last year. We made changes to it. Having worked with players, seeing their strengths and their weaknesses, it helps you more even as we get ready for the draft.
Q: What are your thoughts on where your secondary is right now? What types of challenges does that present having some new guys in there and having a lot of changes?
A: We have made a lot of changes, especially bringing in Jabrill and Antoine Bethea, but we still have Michael Thomas, Kenny Ladler is still here, Kamrin Moore and so is Sean Chandler. There are some guys that were here a year ago. Michael Thomas is a special teams captain and he probably played more safety a year ago than we anticipated, so he has some experience. Kenny is an experienced player and then we have the young players Moore and Chandler, they have done some good things for us. At safety, we have brought in two guys that we anticipate being starters for us, Jabrill and Antoine. They are bright guys and they will get going here quickly. At corner, we have Jackrabbit, who looked good today, and I am anticipating he will have a great offseason. Sam Beal is here and we signed Michael Hunter. Then we got Antonio Hamilton, Tony Lippett and Henre’ Toliver, along with Grant Haley. It is a good group. A lot of young players that have a lot of experience. We just have to see how it comes together so we can determine who our three corners will be in the starting rotation and then really our two starting safeties and the primary backup.
Q: This is the first time you addressed the team since the season ended, did you talk or address the team on any players that left the team? Odell? Landon?
A: No, I think the important thing was bringing the group that we have here together. We talked about why our players left from a year ago and how we wish them well. While they were Giants, we were rooting for them and doing everything we could to get them better. We are rooting for them now that they are out of our building. We crossed that bridge then. As we move forward, I think it is important that we move forward with the group we have.
Q: Do you think you can come out of this draft with two or three defensive starters right away?
A: That is the idea. We have some high picks, so you look to get some guys that can help. A lot of times, guys that are significant role players function in roles as starters. We are looking at everyone we pick to be able to contribute. That is the exciting thing about the draft. There are plenty of really good players at all positions. We are going to pick guys that we feel can contribute.
Q: With Dwayne Haskins visiting and your players in the building, can you branch those two together and see how he fits in with other players in the building?
A: We try and keep that part separate. We have a couple more days of visits, as you know. It just so happens that Dwayne is in today. It will be somewhat separate. They really are not allowed to be involved too much with what we are doing. His visit will be similar to the ones we have had with the quarterbacks we have already brought in.
Q: Do you trust that Eli will handle this situation OK being in the last season of his contract and what might happen the next couple weeks? Do you feel the need to talk to him?
A: I don’t feel the need to talk to him about his contract. Eli does a great job of staying in the moment. He was here today and we got going. He is excited to get into this, the second year of our system and build on what we did the last half of the season. Eli is really terrific at staying in the moment. Right now, it is offseason training. Just trying to get comfortable with his receivers and try and master his decisions. I think that is where he is at. I don’t feel the need to talk about that with him.
Q: Just curious with the commitment to Sterling Shepard that you have made, do you see much more potential than what he has already shown?
A: Certainly. He still is a young player. I saw some things from him last year that were improvements. He is very durable, very sturdy. He is good in all phases of the game. He blocks well, catches the ball well and is very competitive. In all aspects of playing receiver, you have to continue to improve and ascend. We really like the football player in him, too. The competitive nature and the durability. All the things that he brings to a receiving corps. I am not saying that in comparison to anyone, that is just what we have appreciated about him.
Q: This team has a much different look this year as it did a year ago. How would you compare this team right now to the one you had a year ago?
A: It is hard to say right now. We liked the moves we made. With regard to our trades, we felt that both teams got value. We were able to add safeties to fill in for Landon leaving. We added an offensive lineman up front with Zeitler. We added pieces. That is probably a better question to answer later in the offseason, but we like the players we are working with. We look forward to adding a few players from this year’s draft.
Q: Where is Jon Halapio in his return from surgery?
A: Pio is back. He is working and getting ready to go.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Monday’s media conference calls with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:
PAT SHURMUR ADDRESSES MEDIA AT NFL ANNUAL MEETING…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media at the NFL Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona on Tuesday. Some topics of note (video):
On trading wide receiver Odell Beckham: “It is business. We didn’t want to get rid of Odell. We traded Odell and we got value. There are many things that I admire about Odell. I wish him the best… We are building. Obviously, Odell is an outstanding player, but it is a business and (General Manager) Dave (Gettleman) addressed that. I really believe that we got good value in return. I am one of those that believes a trade can be good for both parties. We came to an agreement with Cleveland and we sent them an outstanding player. We got good value in return… He is an outstanding player. It was business. The notion that we were tired of Odell is not accurate… We certainly talked a lot about (the trade). I am on board. I really believe that we have a plan. We have a way that we want to make our team better and we feel like this trade is something that will help us do that.”
On acquiring safety Jabrill Peppers: “Our impression is that he is a first-round pick. He is an outstanding player as well. He can play safety. We were looking to help ourselves on defense. He is going to step in and play good football for us.”
On losing safety Landon Collins: “Landon played really good football for a very long time. That is what happens in business. He went and signed a very lucrative contract. We wish him well. I said it earlier. Anyone that has ever played for me or that I have ever worked with that are no longer with us, I wish them all the best. I hope they go to their teams and win them games. The same can be said for Landon.”
On acquiring wide receiver Golden Tate: “I am excited about him. His skillset is like Sterling (Shepard’s). When we run the ball, they are gritty blockers and you can play them on the edge and in the slot. Then, when you throw the ball, they have both done good work in the slot and have had production outside. You can play both guys wherever.”
On acquiring guard Kevin Zeitler: “He is all about football. He has that old school feel. He came in and visited me. He was wanting to know about iPads and making sure he got a lift in that day. ‘Oh by the way, can you direct me to a realtor so my wife can get going?’ He is very task-driven. He came in with four or five things he wanted from me. He is a really fine pass blocker and an outstanding run blocker. He will be a solid piece for us at that right guard spot.”
On the offensive line as a whole: “I think we are making progress, and I am really pleased with how they progressed at the end of last year. To this point, we added a really good player. We are going to continue to do that. I think we also shined a bright light on the fact that it starts up front and we are going to do what we can to address the offensive and defensive lines up front as we move forward.”
On acquiring safety Antoine Bethea: “He is a very accomplished player. I watched the tape and I see why. You only have to meet with him for a few minutes to feel that leadership that he processes. I think he will help make our back end much stronger.”
On the 2019 NFL Draft: “I think there are numerous good players in this draft. We are putting our final evaluations on this class. We have done a heck of a lot of work on all the quarterbacks that we could potentially draft. As much work as we did last year. We will just have to see in the final analysis how it stacks up. There are some really good players in this draft…Our plan is to add more good football players. That is the plan. The diet that doesn’t sell is to eat less and exercise more. No one will buy that book. We are just trying to add more good players. We shined a bright light on some positions of need a year ago and we are going to address some of those needs.”
On the draft and the quarterback position: “We have options. We have some good picks and we have things we need to do to make our roster better. I think we all understand Eli (Manning) is closer to 40 than 20. At some point, there will be a new quarterback playing for the Giants. We will just have to see what happens.”
On if there is an urgency to address the quarterback position: “There is an urgency to get better at all positions. There are quarterbacks at other teams playing at the age that Eli is. The important thing for us is to make our team better. Have Eli play as good as he can. The draft and free agency drive where we make those changes. That is how we look at it… We are getting ready to play this season and make our roster as good as we can make it. Along with that, we all know that at some point there will be another quarterback playing. We will do the best we can to make the quarterback position the best it can be… If we are winning games, we are not disrupting anything.”
On how quarterback Eli Manning can help a new quarterback: “I certainly believe that Eli does everything the right way behind the scenes. I believe that a young QB could value that just by seeing it. That is part of Eli’s charm. How well he works and how well he prepares. How professional he is with doing his job. Any professional from any profession would value from seeing that. If we add a new player, it is not Eli’s job to train him. It is Eli’s job to be the best Eli he can be. It is the player’s job to recognize that it is a great example and take advantage of it. The important thing is Eli be the best Eli he can be. Play outstanding, winning football and don’t worry about that. Quarterbacks learn from each other and if we bring in the right guy, he is going to study Eli and learn a great deal just being around him. We have coaches to coach the players. Eli’s responsibility is to play winning football. I have been around him and I see the way he works. If a young player wants to study and learn, he will learn a lot. A guy that has done all the things that Eli has done, if we draft a quarterback and he becomes the future, being around Eli will only help him.”
On improving the defense: “Pass rush is something that we all want. We all want guys that can affect the quarterback. Being an offensive coach, I know how difficult it is for the quarterback to function when he is being rushed. We need to get someone who can affect the quarterback. There are a lot of them (in this draft).”
On the high number of touches running back Saquon Barkley receives: “We don’t track that. It is a good thing when he touches the ball. I do think the ball needs to be spread around. In games where you look at the final stat sheet and see six or seven guys touched the ball, I think that is the way you want to play offense.”
On whether the offense can improve without wide receiver Odell Beckham: “I think when you play offense, you try and get the most out of the players you have. You have to use their skillsets. I do believe that it takes a village to spread the ball around. The quarterback gets the ball out. We have a lot of fine players on offense. We will spread the ball. Unfortunately, Odell was hurt at the back end of the season and we were able to score our most points of the year. We will find a way.”
On tight end Evan Engram: “When he got healthier, he was able to produce in a way we think he can. He had production when he was in there, but then he got hurt a few times. By the end, he was feeling good, running well and playing well. That is a function of Evan doing his thing… He can block. I think he can block better than you do. I think his whole game improved when he became healthy. He is a willing blocker.”
On cornerback whether cornerback Sam Beal can start: “We feel like he has those skills. He is doing a really good job coming back from that shoulder surgery. He had an excellent fall in getting himself ready to go.”
JOHN MARA AND STEVE TISCH ADDRESS MEDIA AT NFL ANNUAL MEETING…
New York Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch addressed the media at the NFL Annual Meetings in Phoenix:
DAVE GETTLEMAN ADDRESSES MEDIA AT NFL COMBINE…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addressed the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana on Wednesday. (VIDEO)
Opening Remarks: Wow. How are you guys doing? How y’all doing? I used to do that down in Carolina, they didn’t believe for one moment that I was from there. Welcome to the Underwear Olympics. It’s good to see everybody. We’re in the roster building season part, there’s no offseason anymore, in case you weren’t aware of it. We’re in the roster-building season, we don’t play until September, I’ve checked the schedule, and so there’s going to be a lot of time to make a lot of decisions so I just want everybody to understand that. Just as a reminder, I’m not going to discuss negotiations, I’m not going to discuss timelines. As far as I’m concerned, that’s very personal between the club and the player, so don’t ask. Don’t waste your time. I’ll say this, it’s a repeat of what I said at my postseason presser – we didn’t sign (WR) Odell (Beckham) to trade him, ok? So I know that’s all over the place, so understand that and that’s all I need to say about that.
Then the other thing, I was here listening to the questions you guys were asking (Head Coach) Pat (Shurmur) and a lot of times we focus on numbers – how big a guy is, how fast a guy is, how strong a guy is, what’s his vertical jump, how tall is he, what’s his hand size, what’s his arm length – there’s all these, just a myriad of numbers, analytics’ delight of numbers. One of the things that we really focus on is instincts. Instincts are very important. You guys were asking Pat the question about the quarterbacks. You can write a laundry list of things you’re looking for and it’s not like you’re breaking new ground, it’s not like you’re splitting atoms, but one of the things that I focus on and my staff and we talk about all the time is instinct. Does he have a feel for the game? Is he a step ahead of everybody else? Instincts and play smarts allow you to play bigger, stronger, faster. That’s a fact of life. If you are a film watcher, when you watch it, try to focus on that – is this guy, does he seem to have it? I spent some time with an Aussie rules pro personnel guy a bunch of years ago and in Australia they say, when I was explaining what I was talking about instincts, he said, ‘So you’re saying to me, do they have the ‘chip’?’ That’s what they call it down there. So, to answer your question about tall quarterbacks, short quarterbacks, rollie-pollie defensive linemen, a lot of it is instincts and play smarts. With all that being said, let the games begin.
Q: Do you feel as though what you just mentioned exemplifies a player like Sam Mills, a player who doesn’t fit all the measurements but finds a way to make the play every time?
A: You do. Obviously, and I’ve said it before, it’s a big man’s game. You can talk about it all you want, the game’s changing and everybody’s going crazy about all the stuff the college guys are doing. Bottom line is it’s a big man’s game. So, if you don’t have size, if you’re missing a PQ – a physical quality, so to speak – you have to have what I call a compensating factor and the compensating factor a lot of times is instinct. Sam Mills was 5’9 – may he rest in peace – was 5’9 in high heel sneakers. He could find the ball. The other day I was watching (Panthers LB) Luke (Kuechly), I was watching Carolina defensive film and I was watching Luke, and I was saying to myself, it’s like he’s in the huddle. It’s amazing. That doesn’t just apply to a defensive player, it applies to every position on the field.
Q: You heard earlier that Pat said Eli (Manning) is back for 2019. You were a little vague on that at the end-of-season press conference. What led you guys to decide that?
A: Well, it’s a never-ending process. We haven’t even hit free agency yet, so like I told you, I had my conversation with Eli back right after the season ended and we are where we are. Like Pat said, there’s a million different models, there’s a million different ways to do this and you could cite a number of models where they had a veteran guy and they drafted a young guy, and at some point in time, the torch got passed and away everybody went, and it was a happy away everybody went. So, there’s still a lot of time to make these decisions.
Q: Is it safe to say you’re not looking for a veteran to (replace Eli)?
A: I can’t say anything like that. I can’t do it. You don’t know what’s going to happen, you don’t know.
Q: So you haven’t committed to Eli?
A: I just told you. We’re evaluating everything and we’ve just got to keep moving forward.
Q: How much does not having a third-round draft pick play into (your evaluation)?
A: It’s really funny. For what it’s worth, we really feel strongly that if (CB) Sam (Beal) were in this draft, he’d be a second-round pick. We feel pretty strongly about that. So while it’s aggravating that we don’t have a third, if Sam steps up and is doing really well with his rehab thing, surgery went well, and so if he’s the guy we believe he is, then we won’t be mad.
Q: Not asking about negotiations, long-term with (S) Landon (Collins), you have a deadline next week, so says the NFL. Will you tag him regardless of negotiations just to make sure you have him for 2019?
A: We’re still evaluating.
Q: How important is it to have him back?
A: Like Pat says, you always want good players on your team. Here’s what everybody has to understand – you’ve got 53 players on your club and you’ve got a salary cap. You don’t have 53 silos. Decisions like this can’t be made in a vacuum. You can’t do it. So, it’s a process.
Q: You talked about your film study with Eli. I’m curious about what you saw when you looked back that maybe you didn’t see live, and if that’s driving you toward your decision process?
A: The short answer is yes. You want a little more than that? (Laughter) The short answer is yes. Really and truly, like Pat said, we came in and it was a whir, and we evaluated the team as best we could, made decisions, move forward, and feel strongly we made some good strides. At the end of the day, we saw what Eli was capable of once we gave him help. He still can make big-league throws, he can still make the NFL throws, and it’s, I say it all the time, it’s the ultimate team game. It is, because 10 guys do everything perfect and an offensive lineman falls down, the guy gets whacked. So to answer your question, we looked at Eli and we feel good about him.
Q: Philosophically, though, and Pat talked a lot about this earlier when everybody’s playing at a high level and playing better around him, but is that feasible in today’s NFL where you need the quarterback to have everything perfect rather than a quarterback who can make the people around him better?
A: I didn’t say he needed everything to be perfect. What quarterback doesn’t?
Q: Brady? (Inaudible) Mahomes?
A: Well, you’re talking about a 38-year-old guy against a 21-year-old pup. Here’s what I’m going to say, and I’ve really been thinking about this. I got a headache, that’s why I hurt myself, I think. I’ve really been thinking about this: The narrative around Eli for the past four years, five years, since I was gone, was really negative. The narrative’s been negative. There’s an old saying, ‘tell a lie enough, you believe it.’ The narrative is so negative that when you take that position, most people struggle getting off that spot, most people struggle saying, ‘I’m going to look at this with fresh eyes.’ So for example, when you evaluate pro players, every year’s a new year. When you evaluate him, it’s a new year. Yes, before he was at this level, but that doesn’t mean when you look at him that he’s automatically at this level or at this level. You’ve got to take everything for what it’s worth at that time and I think that the narrative has been negative, and I don’t think it’s been fair.
Q: The narrative has been negative because the results have been negative.
A: Part of it, it’s going to go hand in hand. We live in a blame society, that’s what we live in. I got in a car accident and it’s his fault. No, maybe you ran the stop sign. Everybody’s pointing fingers, no one wants to take responsibility. It’s part of it. Like I said, it’s the ultimate team game. You don’t win it yourself, you don’t lose it by yourself.
Q: With all that being said, at the end of the season you were pretty clear about knowing your situation at quarterback, your 38-year-old quarterback.
A: Yes, we do.
Q: Is the perception that you’re sticking with Eli and, for all intents and purposes, kicking the can down the road to not have to make another decision at quarterback fair?
A: No, it really isn’t. It really isn’t. Free agency hasn’t played out, the draft hasn’t played out. I don’t think it’s fair. Listen, I have this crazy idea that my responsibility is that every decision we make is in the best interest of the New York Giants. I think I said this before, (Panthers Head Coach) Ron Rivera used to kid me, he used to say, ‘Wait until you have to cut one of your draft picks’, because when I first got to Carolina I didn’t know any of those guys so I had to make moves and you do what you have to do. When the time came, I picked and chose who we paid money to. I’m going to do the same thing here. These decisions are not made with my heart, they’re made with my head and with the experience I have. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been around a few Super Bowl teams. I know what it takes to build one, I know what it should look like, and at the end of the day, no, I don’t think it’s fair.
Q: So, conceivably, you could see Eli Manning back on your roster for this year, and another quarterback — whether it’s a veteran or a rookie — challenge him at that spot or for the future?
A: Yes. You can’t be afraid to draft over a player. You’re in the draft, you’ve gone through free agency, you’ve got all your stuff going, and you’re sitting there and you’ve got a good player at a position and a young kid comes up at that spot staring you in the face. You can’t be afraid to draft him just because you’ve already got one. The more competition you can create, the better your team will be. And you have to create competition at every position. You have to, because if you don’t, unfortunately human nature sometimes takes over and the guy gets a little lazy and he thinks is anointed, and all that other stuff. Does that make sense?
Q: Have you ever got to that situation where you look at Eli and think that because he hasn’t had any competition, or do you think bringing in competition might actually bring his game to the level that you’re expecting?
A: Absolutely, it’s very possible that that’s going to happen.
Q: Is adjusting Eli’s $23.2 million cap something you’d consider?
A: You have to look at everything, I’m not going to lie. I’m not saying I’m going to do anything (laughter). I’m just saying it’s my job. It’s my job to take everything into consideration.
Q: On Odell’s: (Inaudible)
A: You guys got to write about something, I guess. Speculate all you want. I’ve already made my statement on that.
Q: Do you expect Olivier Vernon to be on the team this year?
A: Again, we’re in the evaluation process. I hope I’m with the team this year.
Q: Why were you comfortable trading Eli Apple?
A: Why was I comfortable trading Eli? Because of the value we got in return. We thought it was in the best interest of the New York Football Giants.
Q: Did you pay attention to him after (he was traded to the Saints)?
A: You have to. Again, shame on me if I don’t check my hole card. So, yes I did.
Q: Being around a few Super Bowl teams, you haven’t drafted a franchise quarterback-
A: Me personally? No. I’ve been spoiled as hell.
Q: So you have been spoiled?
A: Are you kidding me? (Jim) Kelly, (John) Elway, (Eli) Manning, Cam Newton — not bad, huh?
Q: On what you’ll do now and if you’re confident he’ll be the right guy to have a major impact on the Giants in the next few years:
A: It’s really funny. I have one of the best consiglieres of all time. I talk to Ernie (Accorsi) all the time and what Ernie did for the Giants, it would be a dream for me to do the same thing. Does that answer your question?
Q: Inaudible – On scouting (Justin Herbert) and his decision to go back to college: How do you try to weigh this year’s (draft class) versus next year’s?
A: It’s an interesting question. I think at the end of the day, you can’t say to yourself, ‘I’m going to get him next year.’ You evaluate the Q’s, and you take the guy when you believe he’s the guy and it’s at the right spot. You can’t worry about the future because now someone else is going to say, well, in two years there are a couple college quarterbacks that are coming out that are really amazing. Who knows? I look at the NBA, and everybody says, ‘you’ve got to tank. We’re going to tank and we’re going to get this great player.’ What NBA team has tanked and it’s worked because they think they’re going to get (a player)? (Response: the Sixers) When they win a championship, we can have a discussion, but until that happens, it hasn’t worked. So at the end of the day, if the right guy is there at the right time who we think is the right guy, we’ll pull the plug.
Q: But in assessing this year’s class of quarterbacks-
A: Which is just at the very beginning of the process. You’ve got Indy, you’ve got the workouts, we’ve got private visits, we’ve got interviews. You can’t line them up now, and if anyone has them lined up now, God bless them. They’re smarter than me.
Q: You mentioned doing what Ernie did would be a dream for you. We know you won’t reach for a quarterback but you already gave up future draft picks, traded up so to speak, even though you have Eli. Would you be comfortable making that bold move if you have the guy you want?
A: No guts, no glory, kid.
PAT SHURMUR ADDRESSES MEDIA AT NFL COMBINE…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana on Wednesday. (VIDEO)
Q: On the return of Eli Manning:
A: I fully expect him and again, you’re going to ask me about particular players, Dave will tell you – you’ll speak to him later – I’m a body collector. I want to keep all the players we had and add a lot of new ones. I really feel that way about Eli.
Q: On your involvement in the evaluation process:
A: I’m intimately involved in it, both the free agents and then obviously the draft players. It’s very collaborative, we all want to hear what everybody has to think about every player and every situation. We talk about it frequently with ownership and we just try to make the best decision, and if it’s a matter of this player is no longer going to be here, let’s get a guy that’s better. That’s what we’re trying to do.
Q: You talk about being a body collector, and obviously there’s a couple quarterbacks that could be on the board at (the sixth pick). What do you look for in a young quarterback and what do you value out of a rookie quarterback?
A: I think they’ve got to have the traits you’re looking for to play the position. Times have changed, quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. Then you obviously have to watch them play. They need to be productive, they need to make good decisions, they’ve got to know how to throw the ball accurately, throw the ball on time, they’ve got to lead their teams to victories, and they’ve got to do all the things necessary to play the position. That’s what we look at. We evaluate all the quarterbacks every year regardless of whether it’s perceived we might be looking for one.
Q: On your evaluation of the Vanderbilt quarterback (son, Kyle Shurmur):
A: The Vanderbilt quarterback – well, I’m extremely proud of him. He’s made great decisions. He did an excellent job in high school giving himself the opportunity to go to a place like Vanderbilt, graduated in three and a half years, helped them win games. He’s a good player.
Q: There was a quote you said last year about preferring taller guys. That’s made headlines the last couple of weeks. How does that fit in with (Kyler Murray)?
A: I think you’re digging into something. Obviously the player has to be productive, and as I just mentioned, quarterbacks come in all shapes and sizes. Russell Wilson won a Super Bowl. I think you’ve got to look at the total player, look at his productivity, and you’ve got to look at whether he fits and then we as coaches will use their skillsets to the best of their ability to try to get the most out of him and help you win games.
Q: On what are you going to be looking for from Kyler:
A: We’re going to try to get to know him and watch him compete, try to find out who he is as a person and a player. Some of the quarterbacks we got a jumpstart on because of the Senior Bowl, but Kyler is a young player that I haven’t met yet. It’ll start with, ‘Hey, how ya doin’?’
Q: Does the baseball alternative scare you with Kyler?
A: No. That’s going to run parallel with our decision making of whether we like him or not.
Q: On how important it is to get the next quarterback in line with Eli coming back at 38 years old and on the last year of his contract:
A: We’re always trying to and, again, there’s all these narratives and the next franchise quarterback, replace this guy and do all this, and we’re trying to make our team better. We certainly, it’s no mystery Eli’s closer to 40 than he is 20. That’s no mystery and certainly we’re going to do the very best we can to get the best players, especially the one that’s playing quarterback.
Q: How do you scout the AAF guys?
A: We’ll watch the games. I haven’t had an opportunity to see much, I’ve kind of been following it and I’ve got some good friends that are involved in that league. It’s a league where guys are getting an opportunity to develop, especially at the quarterback position and some of the skill player positions. I don’t know much about the games yet, I haven’t had a chance to watch many of them or really any of them, I’ve just seen segments of games. Yeah, we’ll evaluate it and it’ll give us an opportunity to see these guys develop.
Q: In relation to Kyler Murray: How small is too small of a quarterback?
A: I don’t know what’s too small. Russell Wilson’s 5’10, we haven’t seen Kyler be measured yet, but when you watch him on tape he’s an outstanding player. For a sub-6’0” player, he only had five balls batted down. That’s why I say you’ve got to look at the player and how he competed, how he helped his team win games, how he moved his feet – you’ve got to look at all of it and then factor it in and decide if that player’s for you.
Q: On your position on changes to instant replay:
A: I don’t know. I feel like this is a human game, played by humans, officiated by humans. We’ve done a lot to help get things right and I think there’ll be conversations about making sure that that continues to happen and try to find ways. I don’t know how the language would read to expand it, but I think what’s interesting about all of it is if something’s wrong, we all want to find a way to make it right. I think that’s initially what replay was all about. We’ve got a lot of very smart people, much smarter than me, trying to figure out what’s the best thing. The good thing is we talk constantly about trying to make changes and improvements, and I’m sure we’ll do something.
Q: More on evaluating quarterbacks (inaudible):
A: You look at the core traits, and that’s why I say this, that once you’ve seen that they’re a really good player, you’ve got to determine whether they’re a very good decision maker. That crosses over into all areas of their life, because we all know what we’re looking for from the face of our franchise. And when the game is over, they ask a lot of people what happened, but every week, they ask the head coach and the quarterback what they think. That player is thrust into a position of leadership and being the face of the franchise, so decision making is important, accuracy, timing, all of those things, and I think we’re looking for all that.
Q: On once you get Kyler Murray’s measurables (inaudible):
A: No, we’re going to look at the player and decide whether he’s the guy that we want to be with the Giants.
Q: What’s your initial assessment of the overall quarterback class?
A: I’ve watched, there’s a lot of really good players playing quarterback this year that we’re evaluating. Nice try, I’m not going to sit here and evaluate them for you.
Q: Strong class? Stronger than last year?
A: I don’t know. There were a lot of good quarterbacks and I think there’s a lot in this year’s draft as well.
Q: Are there any important thresholds for quarterbacks?
A: Some of the numbers are important. We’re obviously looking for things that are elite in a player and, again, they come in all shapes and sizes.
Q: Have you talked to (S) Landon (Collins) in the last week?
A: Yeah, I’ve spoken to Landon throughout. He’s been in the building rehabbing and working out, but I haven’t since the report. I think it was reported with way more drama than what actually happened, but yeah.
Q: Do you expect him to be on the team next year?
A: As I mentioned earlier, I want all our players back, but beyond that, it’s free agency. This is the wrong time for me to be commenting on any of that.
Q: Are you aware if there have been active negotiations with Landon Collins?
A: I am aware that he’s a free agent and I’m aware of the fact that there have been conversations.
Q: On comparing last year at this time to this year:
A: Yeah, you bring up a good point. I stood up here last year and Dave, too, was very new. Dave was with the organization for many years and then was away for a few, so we were very new in the process listening to what those that were at the Giants were telling us about the players, but we have a much better view in our eyes of what our team is all about. We took over a 3-13 team, I think we made strides this year. We certainly are not good enough in really any area, we know though specifically those areas that we need to get better and I think that’s what that first year can do for you.
Q: To clarify, you said there have been conversations (about Landon Collins), do you know if you guys have extended an official offer on a multi-year deal?
A: I wouldn’t ’t talk about that. This is the business time of year. I know that there’s been conversations. Now, what those conversations are, I would never tell you.
Q: When you’re looking at prospects, is it the consistency of their unique traits that make them a full prospect, or just a good college player?
A: At all positions, yeah, there is. There’s things we’re looking for, and really as a coach, we go back to – we watch the tape, we watch them do what they do. There’s a lot of players where you turn the tape off and you say, ‘Darn, that guy is a really good football player.’ Then you go and look and maybe his measurables aren’t to what the standards might be, but you still love the player and you want to work with them. Then there’s other guys who have the elite measurables and you go watch the tape and you go, ‘Eh, he’s ok.’ That’s where it becomes a little bit subjective and that’s why getting to know the player, getting to know whether he’s going to be a good teammate, if he appreciates what it means to have relationships with coaches, that’s why all this is important because we get to know the player a little bit more intimately.
Q: There was a lot of talk last year on how instrumental you were in getting Odell Beckham to buy in even when he didn’t have his contract. A year into this, where does your relationship stand with Odell?
A: I think it’s good, I really do. I’ve communicated with him frequently in the last few weeks. It’s unfortunate he wasn’t able to finish the season, but it’s good, it’s solid. He’s like many of our other players, he’s off living, I think, in California now, but he travels quite a bit. He does a great job of staying in shape and look forward to having him back.
Q: Are you considering trading Odell?
A: I wouldn’t talk about that, but I’m looking forward to having him back here in April and moving forward with the rest of the guys.
Q: On whether or not you think there’s a difference between a quarterback that has it or not versus something that can’t be taught in quarterbacks:
A: There is. I think you can say, ‘OK, this guy has got it.’ I’ll go back to what I was saying about measurables, some of these guys have really good measurables or put up really good numbers but might not have as good a feel for the position as some other guys. That’s why this is really an important process. You’ve got some small college guys that played well and then you have guys who played on the big stage that have done a good job, but some of their success is based on the fact that they were playing with great players. That’s what’s really interesting about this is trying to predict and then pick the one that’s going to have success.
Q: On evaluating the potential development of a player:
A: I think it’s a little bit subjective, but you look at the young man and you just kind of look at him and say, ‘OK, this guy’s got potential to grow and get better’. I think at this stage, all the players do to some degree, but some certainly have more room to grow than others.
Q: On picking a new quarterback to learn from Eli Manning:
A: The decision to pick that player has got to be independent of that, but I think that’s going to be a great thing to happen to a player if that happens. I’ve spoken frequently about what I think of Eli and how he handles himself and how he prepares, and really everything he does behind the scenes, and I think a young player would greatly benefit from that. We all want to learn from somebody that’s done it – players, coaches – and he’s done it at a very high level and so being in a room with him I think would only help that player.
Q: You said your goal is to win as many games as possible. You also said that Eli is closer to 40 than he is 20. How do you balance a potential quarterback versus a guy you can plug and play?
A: I think the plug and play vs. the guy that – you’re still looking to play the best guy. I’ve been in situations where Sam Bradford started the first game. I was in another situation where Donovan McNabb didn’t start until Week 8. In fact, Doug Pederson was the starter. You’ve seen in Kansas City where (Patrick) Mahomes really didn’t play the first year, so there’s a lot of different models for that, speaking specifically to the quarterback.
Q: In relation to changes to the offensive line:
A: Oh yeah, we’re trying to get better in all positions and running parallel with that is all the things that everybody has questions about.
Q: How big is mobility while looking at a quarterback?
A: I really value a guy that can move around because it doesn’t mean he’s a runner, it just means he has a way to clean his feet in the pocket or scramble when necessary. Typically, if you’re going to have long drives and do it on a consistent basis, somewhere in that drive the quarterback has to do something with his feet to keep a drive alive or get a first down. Even guys that are not considered mobile, it might be subtle movement in the pocket. That mobility, I think, is very important. I think it’s essential really for a quarterback to have great success.
PAT SHURMUR DISCUSSES THE STATE OF HIS TEAM…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media on Monday to discuss the state of his team after completing a 5-11 season (the video is also available at Giants.com):
Opening Remarks: I just visited with the team, and so they’re going through their exit process. I think the important thing is we’ve talked about how one year can connect to the other and we made some progress as a team. I mentioned yesterday this is about leadership and team building. We’ve made some progress. We certainly didn’t reach any of our goals in terms of being in the playoffs and competing for the championship, but we’re a different team than this team was a year ago and it’s a credit to the players. They’ve been very coachable, they’ve done what we’ve asked – staying in the moment, continuing to fight, and every game matters, every play matters. I think we’ve made progress there. Now, right is right, we’ve got to get better in all areas and that’s the process that we’re going to begin. I have no answers for you about any player moving forward. I know Dave (Gettleman) is going to have a chance to visit with you. I’m probably going to visit with you less this time of year. This is about player acquisition, player evaluation and things that quite frankly we’re not going to be willing to share. I think that’s something we should keep private and move forward with. The players are finishing up their evaluations, I’m going to get a chance to meet with a lot of them individually. The way we did it, we had a team meeting, right now they’re meeting as an offense and a defense, then they’ll meet with their position coaches, and there will be a select few I visit with before they leave. Then anybody I don’t talk to, I certainly will be able to talk with on the phone. I appreciate all the hard work that you guys have done. I understand reporting on what we do is not easy. I’ve tried this year to be very open and honest and share with you things that are appropriate to be shared, and so hopefully we can keep that going. With that said, I will take your questions.
Q: How do you go about deciding who are the players, the select few that you said you meet with? What goes into that?
A: I just have a list, and that’s private. But I visit with the players all the time anyways, so along the way here the last couple of weeks with some of the rookies, I could do a drive-by on them and say, hey listen, you did this well, this well, this well, make sure you’ve got a plan this offseason. Part of what is going to be very important for our rookies is between now and when we come back in 15 weeks, and this is the first time in their lives where they’ve had to manage their offseason. If this thing’s about setting standards and putting habits in place, we’re going to help them make sure that they do the right things.
Q: You said you’re proud of the team and how it has grown. Have you thought about your own growth from when you first took this job to now, and what can you tell us about that?
A: I don’t know. I quality control myself all the time, I want to make sure I’m sharing a message that is the New York Football Giants message, and I think that’s important. I start everyday trying to do the things only I can do for this organization, and then help in areas where I have expertise. I constantly go through that. I try to grow every day as a person, and hopefully that rubs off on the job.
Q: What do you think went well or not as well this year when you look back?
A: We didn’t win enough games. What we did well is we took a young team and a new team and a new staff and we competed, and we had some good victories. But we’ve got to do a better job of winning those close games. We’ve either got to get a stop or get a score, and that’s where we need to get better.
Q: When you say self-evaluate, how about yourself in terms of some of the things you look back at?
A: Being I’m the play caller, there’s always a handful of plays. You make 70 decisions in 40 seconds or 25 seconds or less, as you all have watched, you’re not perfect. So what you try to do is become more perfect, make less mistakes, make more good decisions.
Q: When you look at the close games that you lost, are there things that you think you could do to help win those?
A: Yeah, I think each game, there’s a different story in each game. But like I said, in a close game, you’ve either got to get a stop or you’ve got to get a score. In the games that we’ve lost, we haven’t done those things. So those are the things you look at. Maybe there’s things we could do different tactically, we’ll look at that, that’s always part of it, the scheme evaluation. That’s what we spend our time on, at least half of each day is spent on that.
Q: When you look back from when you got hired until now, you obviously know a lot more about the organization, the players, everything. Looking back, was this more of a rebuild than even you thought it was? You talked a lot about distancing yourself from 3-13.
A: I don’t know what I expected from that standpoint. When you take these jobs, you really don’t know much about anything in the building other than the history and the tradition and some of the players, the ownership and the people in positions of authority. But having not worked with them, as coaches, we get a feel for players and people after we work with them. So I certainly have a much better view of what this organization is and I can help more or have more educated ideas as to what we can do moving forward because I know the players, and now I have a staff of guys that I’ve worked with. I mentioned it this week that other than Bill McGovern, I did not work with any of these coaches. I purposely didn’t hire some of my friends who are now no longer my friends, but I’m really pleased. And again, we can all grow, there’s things that we can all do better, but I’ve got a bunch of guys here that I’m looking forward to moving forward with.
Q: You will keep the staff intact?
A: Yeah. Again, you can’t ever say that. Some guys leave for whatever reasons, but again that’s part of the process that we’ll go through. We’ll meet as coaches and try to find ways to get better.
Q: What’s your policy if another team wants to interview one of your guys? Would you let them?
A: Individual basis. In terms of, I’m all for guys advancing, I really don’t want to stand in anyone’s way and I’ll have some opinions as to whether it’s advancement or not. But, listen, I had ambition as a young coach, you gain experience and want to move forward. I don’t want to stand in anyone’s way. I think as long as I replace that guy with a career coach that’s open-minded, understands the importance of relationships and can work together with the staff, we’ll make it work.
Q: If you look around the NFL, coaches seem to be on a short leash. Does that increase your sense of urgency to get things right?
A: I don’t know that. I think I’m pretty urgent, and I’m pretty disappointed when we don’t win every week. No, I don’t think so. I think we all understand the environment. Did I hear there’s eight guys that lost their jobs already? That’s a fourth of the league, and that’s pretty typical. I guess we all understand how that works.
Q: You always talk about blocking out the noise. Is today one of those days where you can’t ignore what’s going on around the league?
A: We don’t have an opponent to prepare for, so I’m certainly aware more of what’s going on. There’s no reason to block anything out today.
Q: You said you didn’t know anything about the organization really. What do you know now after a year here?
A: Very supportive. Really, there’s a lot of people in this building that have worked here a long time that live and breathe and sleep everything that we do well, and share the pain when we don’t win. We have a committed organization, we have a committed group of players, and it’s up to us now – as I’ve said, right is right. We’ve got to start winning these close games.
Q: What do you want Saquon to come back to you in April as?
A: A better version of his former self. I think that’s important. That was part of the message I already mentioned to the players, is making sure that they keep moving forward. All year, it’s been about team and tough and together, and that really doesn’t stop when the guys leave the building.
Q: How would you describe how your relationship with Odell has been over the year? How has it progressed up until now?
A: It’s good. I appreciate everything that Odell has done, I appreciate him as a player, I appreciate the fact that he’s tried to get back here in the last month. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to do that. Just like any player on our team, I’ve learned a lot about Odell and I think our relationship is good. It’s very honest and open, just like it is with every other player.
Q: Did Kyle (Lauletta) develop as you thought he would when you picked him in the fourth round?
A: I don’t know what I expected. Again, I think Kyle has a bright future, but there’s a lot to learn, especially at the quarterback position, to be able to function efficiently at this level. I think he’s made great progress. He’s one of those guys that he needs to continue to improve and work on the things necessary to do his job here in the next 15 weeks.
Q: When you sit down with Dave Gettleman, how much input do you have in conversations about your own free agents like Landon Collins and Jamon Brown and those guys, and free agents maybe across the league you’d be interested in? How does that dynamic between you guys play out?
A: It’s very open. As you might expect, we talk all the time about all the players. Dave is well aware of what I think of the players, I’m well aware of what he thinks, and we’re both well aware of how those players are going to fit moving forward. I don’t think any of us are looking for a percentage of impact on decision making, but it’s very open and honest what we think about players.
Q: Do you have guys who are going to need surgeries here or injuries you’re going to be watching?
A: A couple guys moving forward, but nothing super major. I don’t know if you had somebody specific. I don’t have all that information yet. I do know the ones that are probably going to need a little touch-up, I guess you’d say. I don’t have any details as to when that’s going to start.
A: Did you have somebody in mind?
Q: Is Odell one of them?
A: No. He doesn’t need surgery.
Q: How about Landon? What’s his situation with the injury and rehab? His timetable?
A: He had a labral tear on his shoulder, so it’s going to be a length recovery, three or four months, I guess. But he’s been around, I’ve had a chance to communicate with him throughout, so he’s fixed and he’s now coming back from his surgery.
Q: Does Saquon need anything?
Q: Eli is going to be 38 this week. The quarterback situation moving forward is going to be a topic I’m sure you guys discuss over the next few months. How do you look back and look at the full 16 games and view how that went specifically for Eli?
A: I think it’s all coordinated. The quarterback play, the line play, the ability to run the ball – I think what we want to be offensively was better showcased from the bye week on. Prior to the bye week, we were scoring 17, 18 points a game, and after the bye week we’ve scored 27, almost 28 points a game. That’s what you need to do. Part of that was we solidified the offensive line, which allowed Eli to do more of what Eli can do better, and helped our runner. I think we would all agree in the second half of the year, we played much better offense. So when you talk about a coordinated effort, I talked all along about the things I really appreciate about Eli in terms of playing the quarterback position. They’re like everybody else, they make mistakes. Andrew Luck threw a pick-six last night. When you’re making the decisions and you’ve got the ball in your hand every play, there’s mistakes that are made, but there’s also some great things that you’re doing. We’ll go back and look at it all, but I think he was better able to showcase what he could do once we solidified the offensive line. I think that’s a fair assessment.
Q: Was there a quarter or handful of drives at some point in the season where you looked at it and said, that’s it, that’s what we point to?
A: I don’t know, I think there’s always stretches of games, key moments throughout. I can’t say I would point to one or another.
Q: A lot of these young QBs in the league are going crazy with numbers and things like that. Is your philosophy of quarterback, Eli is not that, never really was that. Do you look at the quarterback and say, I want a guy who can win the game, manage the game, scores 28, 27 points a game and isn’t have to be a 50-touchdown kind of guy running around and things like that?
A: When you look around the league and let’s assume there are good coaches everywhere, you try to play to the strengths of the guys on the roster. The Baltimore Ravens are playing a different style of offense now that Joe Flacco is not their quarterback. I guess what you do is try to maximize and that’s what I was saying about the last eight weeks. You try to maximize the skillsets of the players that you have. It’s a coordinated effort – nobody can do this alone. Baseball is the ultimate skill sport, this is the ultimate team sport, and nobody can carry the team by themselves. It’s a coordinated effort. As much as everyone would like to say, Saquon did all these things, and he did a lot of great things, well, we blocked better and it was coordinated with the throwing game where he maybe got some two-shell runs. It’s coordinated.
Q: Is this version of the offense you played in the second half of the year, is that compensation or is that because of limitations? Or is this what you want your offense to look like?
A: I like offense where you’re able to run the ball throughout because play action is meaningful. Again, I think Eli ran more boots and nakeds, he hasn’t run this many boots and nakeds since he was at Ole Miss. But it works, and we changed the launch point. I think we’ve given up 40-some sacks. Since the bye, I think we’ve been sacked like 15 or 16 times, so again, it’s coordinated. I want an offense that’s going to score enough points to win. The last two weeks, we didn’t do that by a point.
Q: Both Dave and John (Mara) said that the offensive line was their number one priority for last offseason. Do you now feel at the end of this season this could be your offensive line going forward? Or does it need more tweaks?
A: No, I think you’ve got to always address the offensive line to some degree. I think sometimes the answers are on your roster. (Jon Halapio) came in and played really well at center until he got hurt, then we picked up Spencer Pulley who’s done a very, very good job playing center. (John) Greco stepped in and played center, we picked up Jamon Brown. I think you’ve got to always try to upgrade your offensive line to some degree because when you look around and you start to see teams that are playing bad offense, don’t look at the skill players first. If you can’t block them, then nothing fancy looks good, nothing normal looks good, nothing that you need to do in football looks good if you can’t block them. I think that’s where this game starts. I worked for Nick Saban, and I watch Alabama. Alabama’s got a lot of very talented players, but when push comes to shove, the teams playing Alabama can’t block them. You may make a play or score a touchdown, but when you’re trying to do it over and over and over, teams can’t block those guys. It’s important that we’re always addressing the fronts. This is a big man’s game, and we’ve got to make sure we’re doing what we can to get the O and the D-line right.
Q: Obviously Eli has won here. When he has done so, it has been with a good pass rush on the other side and a defense that has helped him – most quarterbacks have. Do you think you have a winning offense as constituted or close to it if your defense can make stops at the end and put more pressure on opposing offenses?
A: I think we’ll have a winning team when at the end of the game we can either stop the team or score against the team we’re playing, and again that’s part of being coordinated. We’re going to address all those things moving forward.
Q: We asked you about (DC) James Bettcher last week. Before the season started, one of the big storylines was how he would work with you and (OC) Mike Shula. What does he (Shula) bring to the table and how did that dynamic work with you calling plays?
A: I have a great deal of respect for Mike and having worked with him now, it worked great because along the way, we’re on the headset talking. He works with the staff, I think he’s done an outstanding job and he’s part of the reason for some of the success, at least offensively, we’ve had in the latter part of the season. I look forward to having him here moving forward.
Q: How is that? You say he’s part of the success, we don’t see that. What is it about him?
A: He’s smart. He was calling plays in the Super Bowl for Carolina. We work together. He’s a career coach, he works extremely hard, he’s smart, and we communicate well together. He does a good job with our offensive staff, and on game day, I get great suggestions as to what to call. There’s a lot of times when I’ll say, hey listen, I want to call apple or orange, what do you think? And he’ll say call orange. That’s the communication that happens. Again, you don’t get a chance to see it, but I certainly appreciate his efforts.
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:
GIANTS WILL PICK 6TH IN FIRST ROUND…
The New York Giants will have the 6th overall selection in the 2019 NFL Draft.
GIANTS 2019 OPPONENTS SET…
The New York Giants will play the following teams during the 2019 NFL regular season:
Green Bay Packers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New England Patriots
New York Jets
Although not officially announced, the New York Giants have reportedly signed defensive end Jake Ceresna and long snapper Taybor Pepper to reserve/futures contracts.
The 24-year old, 6’6”, 295-pound Ceresna spent the past two years in the Canadian Football League (CFL) after a brief stint with the New York Jets in 2016.
The 24-year old, 6’4”, 245-pound Pepper went undrafted in 2016. He signed with the Green Bay Packers in 2017, playing in four games, before being placed on Injured Reserve with a broken foot.
The Giants finished 2-6 at home, 1-5 vs. NFC East opponents, and 0-3 in division home games. This is the first time they lost all of their home games within the NFC East since 2003.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, they are the first team in NFL history to lose each of their final two games by one point.
The Giants lost eight games by seven points or less, the most such games by any NFL team this season.
The Giants lost all five games in 2018 when quarterback Eli Manning passed for 300 yards or more. The Giants are 19-31 in Manning’s 50 career 300-yard regular-season games.
Manning passed for 4,299 yards this season, the fourth-highest total of his 15-year career and the seventh time he exceeded 4,000 yards.
Manning completed a career-high 66 percent of his passes (380 of 576). His previous best was 63.1 percent in 2014.
Manning threw 21 touchdown passes, the 12th time in his career that he has thrown at least 20. Manning’s 11 interceptions were his fewest since he threw he threw 10 in 2008.
Running back Saquon Barkley finished with 261 rushing attempts for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns, and 91 catches for 721 yards and four scores. His 11 rushing touchdowns are a Giants rookie record. He had been tied at 10 with Bill Paschal, who set the mark in 1943.
Barkley is the first running back to lead the Giants in catches since Tiki Barber did with 69 in 2003, and the first player to lead the team in rushing and receiving in the same season since Barber in 2003 (1,216 rushing yards, 69 catches).
Barkley’s 1,307 rushing yards is the seventh-highest total in Giants history.
Barkley’s 1,307 yards are 477 more than the No. 2 rookie on the franchise’s list – Tuffy Leemans’ previous record of 830 yards, set in 1936.
Barkley’s 91 receptions are a record for an NFL rookie running back. The former record of 88 was set by New Orleans’ Reggie Bush in 2006. The 91 catches ties wide receiver Odell Beckham’s Giants rookie record.
Barkley had 2,028 yards from scrimmage. He is the third rookie in NFL history with 2,000 yards from scrimmage after running backs Eric Dickerson (1983) and Edgerrin James (1999).
Place kicker Aldrick Rosas made 32 of 33 attempts this season, a Giants-record 97 percent.
Barkley and left guard Will Hernandez started all 16 games. This is just the second time since the 1970 merger that the Giants had multiple rookies start every game. In 1981, linebacker Lawrence Taylor and defensive tackle Bill Neill started every game.
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman addresses the media on Wednesday.
DALLAS COWBOYS 36 – NEW YORK GIANTS 35…
The New York Giants ended their 2018 season on a losing note, falling to the Dallas Cowboys 36-35 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. The Giants were up 35-28 with 2:35 left in the game. But Dallas drove 70 yards in nine plays, scoring on a 32-yard touchdown pass on 4th-and-15 with with just over a minute to play. The successful 2-point conversion gave the Cowboys their game-winning points.
With the loss, the Giants ended the season with a 5-11 overall record (1-5 in the NFC East). The Giants have five losing seasons in the last six years.
The game did not start off well for New York. After a 38-yard kickoff return by wide receiver Corey Coleman, the Giants drove deep into Dallas territory, aided by a 24-yard reception by wide receiver Sterling Shepard and a 26-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley. However, quarterback Eli Manning was picked off in the end zone on 3rd-and-4 from the Dallas 6-yard line.
Dallas gained two first downs on their initial drive and then punted. The Giants picked up three first downs, but on 2-and-10 from the Dallas 43-yard line, Manning was sacked and he fumbled the ball away. The Cowboys drove inside the red zone on the ensuing possession but missed the 34-yard field goal.
After a three-and-out by the Giants, Dallas drove the ball 65 yards in 13 plays, the possession ending with a 13-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Dak Prescott to tight end Blake Jarwin. After another three-and-out by the Giants, the Cowboys went up 14-0 after a 9-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Jarwin.
With under two minutes to play before halftime, the Giants finally got on the board with a 10-play, 73-yard possession that ended with a spectacular, one-handed, 21-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Cody Latimer on 3rd-and-10.
At the half, the Cowboys led 14-7.
The 3rd quarter began with a three-and-out by the Cowboys. Coleman returned the ensuing punt 19 yards. The Giants’ offense was only able to gain 15 yards, but it was enough to set up a successful 48-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas. Cowboys 14 – Giants 10.
Dallas appeared to take command of the game again on their second possession of the half, driving 76 yards in eight plays, and capping off the drive with a 39-yard touchdown pass from Prescott to Jarwin. The Cowboys now led 21-10.
The Giants were ignited by a 68-yard run by Barkley on 2nd-and-20. Three plays later, Manning found tight end Evan Engram for a 6-yard touchdown reception and then the 2-point conversion. Cowboys 21 – Giants 18.
The Cowboys gained one first down and punted the ball away early in the 4th quarter. Aided by a 51-yard reception by Evan Engram, the Giants took their first lead of the game when running back Wayne Gallman scored from two yards out. Giants 25 – Cowboys 21.
However, a New York defense that has struggled to hold leads all year collapsed in the 4th quarter. On Dallas’ ensuing possession, the Cowboys easily drove 75 yards in five plays to regain the lead 28-25 with just over nine minutes to play. The Giants’ offense impressively responded with a 12-play, 74-yard effort. Latimer came down with a one-handed, 31-yard reception and three plays later Barkley skyed over the Dallas defense from two yards out. Giants 32 – Cowboys 28 with 3:21 left in the game.
New York appeared to pull off the upset on the very next offensive snap. After a short reception, defensive end Kerry Wynn forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker B.J. Goodson and advanced to the Dallas 18-yard line. The Giants lost two yards on the subsequent possession but kicked a 38-yard field goal to take a 35-28 lead with 2:35 left in the game.
Again, the Giants’ defense could not hold. The Cowboys drove 70 yards 83 seconds, unbelievably scoring on a broken play from 32 yards out on 4th-and-15. The subsequent 2-point conversion gave Dallas their game-winning points.
The Giants did have one final legitimate chance to win the game. Latimer returned the ensuing kickoff 34 yards to the New York 48-yard line. The Giants had the ball near midfield with 65 left in the game and two timeouts. But the contest ended with four straight incompletions by Manning.
Manning finished the game 24-of-41 for 301 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. His leading receiver was Engram, who caught five passes for 81 yards. Latimer, Shepard, and Barkley each had four receptions. Barkley also gained 109 yards rushing and a touchdown on 17 carries.
Defensively, the Giants gave up 419 total net yards, including 368 net yards passing. The Giants accrued four sacks (2.5 by linebacker Olivier Vernon) and forced one fumble.
INACTIVE LIST AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the New York Giants were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), defensive end Mario Edwards (calf), linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion), tight end Garrett Dickerson, and safety Kamrin Moore.
Cornerback Grant Haley (concussion) and wide receiver Corey Coleman (foot) left the game with injuries.
The New York Giants placed wide receiver Jawill Davis on Injured Reserve on Saturday after he injured his knee dancing in the locker room on Saturday (no joke). To fill his roster spot, the Giants signed wide receiver Alonzo Russell to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad.
The Giants signed Russell after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2018 rookie mini-camp and then signed him to the Practice Squad in September. The 6’3”, 206-pound Russell was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Bengals’ Practice Squad. The Bengals waived him in September 2017 and he was signed to the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals in November 2017.
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Pat Shurmur and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:
NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Friday were wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. (quad), wide receiver Russell Shepard (ankle), tight end Rhett Ellison (concussion), defensive end Mario Edwards (calf), and linebacker Alec Ogletree (concussion). All five players have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (hip), center Spencer Pulley (calf), defensive end Kerry Wynn (thumb), and linebacker B.J. Goodson (foot) fully practiced. All four players are expected to play on Sunday.
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: