Oct 242018
 
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Damon Harrison New York Giants January 1 2017

GIANTS TRADE DAMON HARRISON TO THE LIONS…
The New York Giants have traded nose tackle Damon Harrison to the Detroit Lions in exchange for a 5th-round pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

Harrison was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. The Giants signed him as an unrestricted free agent in March 2016. In his first season with the Giants, Harrison had a superb year, starting every game and finishing the regular season with career highs in tackles (86) and sacks (2.5). Harrison also was arguably the best player on the team in 2017. Despite dealing with nagging ankle and elbow injuries, Harrison started all 16 games and finished the season with 76 tackles, 1.5 sacks, three pass defenses, and one interception. This year, Harrison started all seven games for the Giants and accrued 31 tackles and one forced fumble.

GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have re-signed tight end Garrett Dickerson to the Practice Squad. The Giants originally signed Dickerson in June 2018 as an undrafted rookie free agent, and then signed him to the Practice Squad and 53-man roster in September. The Giants cut him from the 53-man roster last Sunday.

The Giants also waived linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong from Injured Reserve. Armstrong was placed on IR on October 16th with a concussion. Before suffering the injury, he had played in six games with one start, accruing 20 tackles. Armstrong was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Rams (2013-2014), Oakland Raiders (2014-2015), and 49ers (2015-2017). The Giants claimed Armstrong off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers in late November 2017. Armstrong played in five games for the Giants in 2017 with one start.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injury were linebacker Alec Ogletree (hamstring) and wide receiver Jawill Davis (concussion).

Guard Patrick Omameh (knee) and wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck) were limited.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and Friday in preparation for Sunday’s home against against the Washington Redskins. The team’s coordinators will address the press on Thursday.

Oct 162018
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 11, 2018)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS PLACE CODY LATIMER AND RAY-RAY ARMSTRONG ON IR; CUT DONTE DEAYON…
The New York Giants have placed wide receiver Cody Latimer (hamstring) and linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong (concussion) on Injured Reserve. The team also waived cornerback Donte Deayon.

The Giants signed Latimer as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in March 2018. He played in four games with one start, with six catches for 108 yards. The 6’2”, 215-pound Latimer was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Broncos.

Armstrong was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Rams (2013-2014), Oakland Raiders (2014-2015), and 49ers (2015-2017). The Giants claimed Armstrong off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers in late November 2017. Armstrong played in five games for the Giants in 2017 with one start. This year, he has played in six games with one start, accruing 20 tackles.

The Giants originally signed Deayon as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the team’s Practice Squad and Injured Reserve. Deayon began the 2017 season on the Giants’ Practice Squad and was signed to the 53-man roster in October. He was placed on Injured Reserve in late November 2017 with a fractured forearm. Deayon played in four games this year before he was cut.

To fill those roster vacancies, the team signed free agent wide receiver Bennie Fowler and signed linebacker Ukeme Eligwe and cornerback Grant Haley from the team’s Practice Squad.

The 27-year old, 6’1”, 212-pound Fowler originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Denver Broncos after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Broncos (2014-2017), Chicago Bears (2018), and New England Patriots (2018). Fowler has played in 45 regular-season games with five starts. He has 56 career catches for 698 yards and five touchdowns.

Eligwe was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2018 after he was waived by the Kansas City Chiefs. The 6’2”, 239-pound Eligwe was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Chiefs. As a rookie, Eligwe played in 14 regular-season games with one start. He finished the year with five tackles and one sack.

Haley was originally signed by the team as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed wide receiver Kalif Raymond, defensive end Myles Humphrey, and cornerback Ronald Zamort to the Practice Squad.

The 5’9”, 160-pound Raymond was originally signed by the Denver Broncos after the 2016 NFL Draft. Raymond has played in 12 NFL regular-season games, four with the Broncos, two with the Jets, and six with the Giants. The Giants signed Raymond to the Practice Squad in October 2017 and the 53-man roster in November 2017. They cut him in September 2018 before the season started.

The 23-year old, 6’3”, 238-pound Humphrey originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent most of September on the Ravens’ Practice Squad.

The 26-year old, 5’10”, 174-pound Zamort originally signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday due to injury were wide receiver Russell Shepard (neck), left tackle Nate Solder (unknown), linebacker Olivier Vernon (ankle), and linebacker Connor Barwin (knee).

Tight ends Evan Engram (knee) and Rhett Ellison (foot) both practiced.

Defensive end R.J. McIntosh, who is currently on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury List is now eligible to begin practicing with the team. McIntosh was drafted by the Giants in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft. An undisclosed ailment prevented him from practicing all spring and summer. The Giants have a 21-day window to activate him to the 53-man roster. If they do no activate him, McIntosh will remain on the Reserve List.

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

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants are off on Wednesday and return to practice on Thursday in preparation for Monday night’s road game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Aug 212018
 
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Kalif Raymond, New York Giants (August 17, 2018)

Kalif Raymond – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 21, 2018 NEW YORK GIANTS PRACTICE REPORT…
There are no more New York Giants training camp practices open to the public this summer. However, the team will continue to practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center each week, including Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday this week.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Tuesday due to injury were wide running back Saquon Barkley (hamstring), running back Jalen Simmons (concussion), defensive end R.J. McIntosh (unknown – Active/Non-Football Illness list), linebacker Connor Barwin (knee), linebacker Calvin Munson (concussion), and safety Darian Thompson (hamstring).

“As we all know, (Barkley) tweaked his hamstring, and he’s training really well and doing more and more each day,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We like the path he’s on.”

Defensive lineman A.J. Francis left practice early with an unknown injury, but later returned.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The Giants were in full pads for the second day in a row.
  • Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong continued to work with first-team nickel defense.
  • William Gay was the second-team free safety.
  • Donte Deayon received some reps at first-team slot corner.
  • Linebacker Kareem Martin penetrated into the backfield for a “sack” against right tackle Ereck Flowers.
  • Cornerback Eli Apple jumped a sideline toss from quarterback Eli Manning but dropped the potential interception.
  • For the second straight day, quarterback Kyle Lauletta hit wide receiver Jawill Davis deep. Lauletta later connected with Davis again on a fade pass for a score.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Evan Engram on a post pattern for a long touchdown. Manning later connected with wide receiver Sterling Shepard for another long score.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a touchdown strike to wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo who was being double covered.
  • Quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a fade touchdown pass to wide receiver Alonzo Russell over cornerback Leonard Johnson.
  • Cornerback Grant Haley knocked away a sideline pass intended for wideout Kalif Raymond.
  • Quarterback Davis Webb threw a fade touchdown pass to wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo, who made a one-handed catch, over cornerback Grant Haley.
  • Cornerback Janoris Jenkins broked up a deep pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon picked off a pass from quarterback Davis Webb near the goal line.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/1031986796303806464

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

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

ARTICLES…

VICTOR CRUZ RETIRES FROM THE NFL…
Former New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz (2010-2016) has retired from the NFL. In his seven seasons with the Giants, Cruz played in 70 regular-season games with 53 starts, catching 303 passes for 4,549 and 25 touchdowns. Signed as a rookie free agent after the 2010 NFL Draft, Cruz’s football career ended prematurely after suffering three lower-leg injuries that seemed to rob him of his quickness, including arthroscopic knee surgery in 2013, career-threatening patellar tendon knee injury in 2014, and a calf injury that required surgery in 2015. The Giants cut him in February 2017.

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

Alec Ogletree – © USA TODAY Sports

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Linebackers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long story short… the linebackers are back baby!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nov 272017
 
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D.J. Fluker, New York Giants (August 26, 2017)

D.J. Fluker – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS PLACE FOUR ON INJURED RESERVE, INCLUDING D.J. FLUKER…
The New York Giants have placed right guard D.J. Fluker (toe), linebacker Curtis Grant (knee), linebacker Deontae Skinner (hamstring), and cornerback Donte Deayon (fractured forearm) on Injured Reserve.

Fluker injured his toe in the November 19 game against the Kansas City Chiefs. The other three players were injured during the Thanksgiving game against the Washington Redskins.

The Giants also claimed linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong off of waivers from the San Francisco 49ers and signed free agent linebacker Jeremy Cash.

Armstrong was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Rams (2013-2014), Oakland Raiders (2014-2015), and San Francisco 49ers (2015-2017). The 49ers waived him in November 2017. The 6’3”, 220-pound Armstrong has played in 58 regular-season games with ten starts, five of which came in 2017 with the 49ers.

Cash was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Carolina Panthers after the 2016 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Panthers (2016-2017) and New York Jets (2017). The 6’0”, 230-pound Cash has played in nine NFL games with no starts.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Select New York Giants players will be available to the press on Tuesday. The Giants return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Oakland Raiders.