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.

Feb 212018
 
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John Greco, New York Giants (December 24, 2017)

John Greco – © USA TODAY

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN GUARD JOHN GRECO…
The New York Giants have re-signed offensive guard John Greco. The 32-year old, 6’4”, 318-pound Greco was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. He has spent time with the Rams (2008-2010), Cleveland Browns (2011-2016), and New Orleans Saints (2017). The Giants signed Greco in November 2017; he played in six games with no starts. Greco has started 70 of the 117 regular-season games he has played in, including starts at right guard (45), left guard (24), and center (1).

NEW YORK GIANTS CUT LINEBACKER ISHAQ WILLIAMS…
The New York Giants waived/injured linebacker Ishaq Williams on February 15. The Giants originally signed Williams after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2016 mini-camp. Williams had been out of football since 2013 after being implicated in an academic dishonesty scandal at Notre Dame. Williams was signed to the Practice Squad in September 2016 and the 53-man roster in December 2016. He did not play in any games. Williams was injured/waived and then placed on Injured Reserve in May 2017 (where he spent the entire season) after needing knee surgery.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Exclusive Giants.com interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • DE Romeo Okwara (Video)

ARTICLES…

Dec 222017
 
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Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants (October 17, 2017)

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS INTERVIEW KEVIN ABRAMS FOR GM POSITION…
The New York Giants announced on Friday that they have interviewed Kevin Abrams for the team’s general manager position. Abrams, who joined the Giants in 1999 to serve as the team’s first salary cap analyst and who was the team’s assistant general manager for 16 years, was named interim general manager when Jerry Reese was fired earlier this month.

Abrams interviewed with team President/CEO John Mara and former general manager Ernie Accorsi, who is consulting with the franchise on the selection process. Abrams is the fourth known candidate to interview for the position. Giants’ Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross, former Carolina Panthers General Manager Dave Gettleman, and former Washington Redskins and Philadelphia Eagles Director of Pro Personnel Louis Riddick interviewed earlier this week.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Tavarres King (concussion) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) did not practice on Friday. Both have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

“Yeah, it’s just been one of those injury-prone years (for Goodson),” said Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo. “And it’s hard to get in the groove at any position, especially mike linebacker, he’s the quarterback of the defense. So, it’s hard to get in a groove when it’s a couple games, then you’re out. I’m sure he’s frustrated. Sometimes those high ankles, they don’t respond real well.”

Offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (groin), defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (finger), cornerback Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring), safety Landon Collins (ankle), and safety Nat Berhe (hamstring) practiced on a limited basis. Pierre-Paul, Collins, and Berhe are all officially “questionable” for the game on Sunday. Flowers and Dixon are unofficially “probable.”

“(Collins is) questionable right now,” said Spagnuolo. “I mean, he got a little bit of work today and didn’t get much the other days, so we’ll have to see when we get to Sunday.”

Pierre-Paul revealed on Friday why he has been playing with a club on his right hand again. “I fractured my finger,” he said. “I basically broke it.”

Wide receiver Travis Rudolph (hamstring), tight end Rhett Ellison (groin/finger), offensive center Brett Jones (ankle), defensive end Olivier Vernon (not injury related), and safety Darian Thompson (knee) fully practiced. All of these players are unofficially “probable” for the game on Sunday.

INTERIM HEAD COACH STEVE SPAGNUOLO…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with Interim Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The Giants play the Cardinals in Arizona on Sunday afternoon.

Dec 192017
 
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Romeo Okwara, New York Giants (October 1, 2017)

Romeo Okwara – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS ACTIVATE ROMEO OKWARA FROM IR, WAIVE JEREMY CASH…
The New York Giants have activated defensive end Romeo Okwara from Injured Reserve. Okwara was placed on Injured Reserve in mid-October after injuring his knee in practice.

The Giants signed Okwara as an undrafted free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Okwara played in every game in 2016 with four regular-season starts (36 percent of defensive snaps), and finished the year with 25 tackles, one sack, and two pass defenses. This year he has only played in five games and has accrued just three tackles.

To make room for Okwara, the Giants waived linebacker Jeremy Cash, who the Giants signed as a free agent in November 2017. 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).

Last Friday, the Giants signed safety Ryan Murphy to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad to fill the vacancy created when Justin Pugh was placed on Injured Reserve with a back injury. Murphy was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks waived him in their final round of cuts in September 2015. He spent time on the Practice Squad of the Denver Broncos in both 2015 and 2016. The Giants signed Murphy to the Practice Squad in late December 2016 and again in September 2017.

The Giants have signed wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo to the Practice Squad. The 6’1”, 208-pound Etta-Tawo was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time on the Practice Squads of the Jaguars and Kansas City Chiefs this year.

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Nov 292017
 
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John Mara, New York Giants (October 15, 2017)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

JOHN MARA SPEAKS ABOUT ELI MANNING BENCHING…
New York Giants President/CEO John Mara addressed the media on Wednesday to discuss the team’s decision to bench quarterback Eli Manning in favor of Geno Smith. The transcript of Mara’s press conference is available in The Corner Forum.

JANORIS JENKINS PLACED ON INJURED RESERVE…
New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins has been placed on Injured Reserve with an ankle injury that has nagged him most of the season. He aggravated the injury on his touchdown interception return against the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving. The NFL Network is reporting that Jenkins will reportedly undergo ankle surgery today and that the recovery process is expected to be three months.

To fill that roster spot, the Giants signed defensive tackle Khyri Thornton. The 28-year old, 6’3”, 315-pound Thorton was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He has spent time with the Packers (2014), New England Patriots (2015), and Detroit Lions (2015-2017). He was suspended for the first six games of the 2017 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. The Lions cut him on November 21. Thorton has played in 23 regular-season games with six starts (those starts all coming in 2016 with the Lions).

The Giants may also be activating defensive end Romeo Okwara from Injured Reserve shortly. The team changed the status of reserve injured/designated for return. Okwara was placed on Injured Reserve with a knee injury that he suffered in practice in October 2017.

The Giants have also waived J.T. Thomas off of Injured Reserve. The Giants placed Thomas on Injured Reserve in late September 2017 with a groin injury. Thomas was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. The Bears waived him in August 2013 and he was claimed off of waivers by the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Giants signed Thomas in March 2015. In 2015 with the Giants, Thomas played in 12 games with 11 starts, missing four games with an ankle injury. The Giants placed Thomas on Injured Reserve in September 2016 after he suffered ligament damage to his left knee in the regular-season opener.

NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
Offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back), defensive tackle Damon Harrison (elbow), and linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist) did not practice on Wednesday.

Linebacker B.J. Goodson (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

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

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’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:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Thursday at 12:20PM. The team’s coordinators and select players will also address the media after practice.

Oct 172017
 
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Romeo Okwara, New York Giants (October 1, 2017)

Romeo Okwara – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants have placed defensive end Romeo Okwara on Injured Reserve with what was originally reported to be a sprained knee that he suffered in practice last week. To fill his roster spot, the Giants claimed linebacker Nigel Harris off of waivers from the San Diego Chargers.

Okwara is the 14th Giants player currently on Injured Reserve. The Giants signed Okwara as an undrafted free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. Okwara played in every game in 2016 with four regular-season starts (36 percent of defensive snaps), and finished the year with 25 tackles, one sack, and two pass defenses. Okwara played in the first five games of the 2017 season and was credited with three tackles.

The 6’2”, 230-pound Harris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Chargers after the 2017 NFL Draft. Harris played in the first five games of the 2017 season with one start. He was credited with 11 tackles.

Aug 052017
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 5, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eighth summer training camp practice on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), and linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol) did not practice. Shepard did warm up before practice and did some light running.

“I made some pretty good progress over these last few days,” Shepard said. “Been in the training room, getting ice. The swelling went down, so I got to run around a little bit today. It feels really good. If it was game day, I could easily go, but I have a little bit of time, so they want to take it slow… I have never really rolled my ankle before, so I didn’t really know the process and how it was going to go. Those first two days, I was feeling like I was going to be out for a little longer than what I know now.”

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Practice was closed to the public today. Overcast skies, minimal wind, very comfortable temperature.

Special Teams Notes:

  • Mike Nugent showed better loft and distance on kickoffs than Aldrick Rosas. Who knows if they were actually trying to let loose or not.
  • A lot, and I mean a lot, of attention is put on special teams. We got to see plenty of 1-on-1 battles with these guys going all out on each other. They were practicing blocking on the move, where the offensive player runs to a spot, turns around and goes head to head with a downhill defender that had a 15-20 yard head of steam. The bubble guys need to show something here. DE Kerry Wynn was beating everyone he matched up against. S Trey Robinson stood out a couple times. S Landon Collins got involved twice and even in a simple drill like this, his ability stands out. RB Wayne Gallman’s lack of presence showed, he may have a hard time factoring as a blocker at his size. LB Calvin Munson stood out, consistently getting rave reviews from coaches.

Offense Notes:

  • As I left the practice facility, QB Davis Webb was working on deep throws and footwork associated with them with two of the Giants support staff (ball boys). This was a solid 20 minutes after practice. TE Rhett Ellison was on another field working on his technique out of his stance, getting into his routes.
  • One thing I see wide receivers Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall do very well is that they attack the ball in the air. They don’t sit back and let it come to them; they alter their weight and attack. Very important that your top guys do that. Marshall overwhelmed CB Valentino Blake on a pass near the back of the end zone; there was no chance for Blake – he looked like a kid trying to defend his dad and that is not a knock on Blake.
  • TE is a very crowded group. Colin Thompson keeps jumping out at me. I think there is no shot he makes the team, but he is a legit practice squad candidate. The team brought him in as a blocker, but he moves much better when running routes than I initially thought. Soft hands, been catching almost everything thrown his way. This TE group in camp is very solid.
  • I put more attention on the two rookie OTs, Adam Bisnowaty and Chad Wheeler. Wheeler does a great job post-snap. He gets out of his stance quickly and easily. Very good body positioning, knee bend, and set up. Honestly, he is better than Ereck Flowers when it comes to that part of the process. Bisnowaty is a little more sluggish and unsure. He didn’t keep his feet moving against Kerry Wynn today and it made him look silly. He was facing the ground on a couple of occasions, showing he is over-committing and lunging while bending at the waist. Body wise, Wheeler simply needs more muscle as I have been saying. Bisnowaty too, but you can tell he has spent more time in the weight room.
  • OT Ereck Flowers had a solid day but his over-lean and wrap-around the defender’s neck in pass protection flared up twice from what I saw. OT Bobby Hart was schooled by DE Pierre-Paul again, winding up on the ground. OG John Jerry, when I had the vantage point to really zero in on him, didn’t get beat at all. He is a very large man with athletic legs. He is without a doubt the starting RG over D.J. Fluker.
  • Geno Smith vs. Josh Johnson battle goes to Geno today. He is looking more and more confident with each day that passes. His arm is much more lively than Johnson’s.
  • TE Matt LaCosse with another nice TD catch today. Natural hands on the move with a huge wingspan, nice weapon to have especially in that area.
  • WR Kevin Snead body catches everything. Amazing to see the difference between him and Beckham and how they approach catching the ball.
  • RB Orleans Darkwa’s avenue to making this team is likely the short-yardage back. He is bigger and stronger than the other guys. Without Darkwa, there really isn’t any sense of power in that backfield. If the team doesn’t think he can handle that job, I wonder if the 4th RB is even currently on this roster.
  • WR Roger Lewis doesn’t get a ton of WR reps with the first or second group. I’m wondering if he is actually that far down the depth chart or they are just trying to get the bubble guys more reps to fully evaluate. He did drop an easy TD on a short slant pass and his routes aren’t crisp. But I really like how Lewis moves. Very twitchy, loose, and strong. I think he has the potential to be a top tier gunner in this league on special teams.
  • WRs Darius Powe and Travis Rudolph might be competing for one spot. We have highlighted Rudolph already, his ability to do everything right stands out. But he doesn’t separate downfield at all and he isn’t physical enough in traffic to be a factor. Powe has the size but I’m not sure he can separate from NFL DBs. He doesn’t have long speed and there isn’t a lot of quick-twitch to him underneath.

Defense Notes:

  • The team’s #4 CB has to be Michael Hunter. I’m saying this right now with a lot of confidence, there are teams in this league where he could start. He is so consistent when it comes to trusting his footwork and length while attacking the ball. He is breaking up multiple passes every day. NYG has an outstanding CB group, maybe the best in the league if Eli Apple takes the expected step up.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins ignores size completely. He shows no hesitation when going after WR Brandon Marshall. He is so fast to diagnose and react. He sniffs out screens and crossing routes in a blink. And I love how hard he competes for the ball in the air.
  • DT Jay Bromley made a couple nice plays against the run today. He beat D.J. Fluker badly on one running play which would have resulted in a 4-yard loss. He is a very large, long guy. There are tools to work with there, it will just be a matter of him showing consistency when it comes to technique and awareness.
  • The question with the DT group will be how long guys can go before needing a break. Damon Harrison started to break down a little towards the end of last year, Robert Thomas was limping around between plays today with what appeared hamstring/back soreness (just speculating). Dalvin Tomlinson looks like he is still trying to figure it out mentally, as he hasn’t been able to get off blocks at all. Jay Bromley is very inconsistent as I noted.
  • I put the eye on FS Darian Thompson today as best I could. Not sure how these guys are coached, so take it with a grain of salt. But he was very good at keeping track of receivers in his area. Keeps his head on a swivel and won’t get fooled by the QB. His lower body moves very fluidly. I haven’t seen him tested deep though.
  • The one concern I have is that these DBs don’t get a lot of work defending deep passes. In live action, the team’s offense almost never throws the ball downfield more than 20-25 yards. A guy like Thompson needs to work on that part of his game, as does CB Eli Apple, and it’s not happening much if at all in practice.
  • DE Kerry Wynn had a very good day. He made an impact on 1-on-1 special team drills and during live team drills from his DE spot. He is a guy that the coaches know they can depend on. I am leaning towards his making this 53 man roster. He is definitely ahead of DE Devin Taylor right now.
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul is dominating Giants OL during live drills and one-on-one’s – no matter who he is matched up against and no matter where he is lining up.
  • Each day that passes, I am leaning more and more towards DE Owa Odighizuwa not being in the final picture. He did beat OT Jarron Jones a couple times, but other than that there is too much rigid lower body movement and a severe lack of reaction/quick twitch. Unfortunate but he just doesn’t seem to have it.

Three Standouts:

  • TE Evan Engram: By far his best day of camp so far. We got to see a few special catches. With defenders draped all over him, twice he made a TD catch while barely sneaking in before the sideline/out-of-bounds line. He plays super-fast but under control. He keeps on catching everything and there isn’t a defender on this team that is built for covering him. He is exciting in this short-pass offense.
  • S Eric Pinkins: This kid is certainly making a name for himself. Very impressive physically with his combination of size and speed. At 6’3/230 with zero bad weight, he brings a different level of physical prowess to the secondary. He can be a special teams demon which should get him on this 53-man roster, but I like him as a backup safety as well. There is a ton of upside here and if the team is patient, we may see something big.
  • OG Jessamen Dunker: You know, this kid needs a year of weight room work from what I can see. He doesn’t quite fill his pants yet. But he plays strong. His lower body mechanics and athleticism are as good as any of the OL on this team. And he showed great hand placement and strength in one-on-ones. I want to say he is a lock for the practice squad but if he goes out and impressed in the games, I say there is a shot he is the last OL on the 53-man roster. He really is impressive.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In 7-on-7 drills, quarterback Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. in the left corner of the end zone.
  • Tight end Evan Engram made a diving touchdown catch from quarterback Eli Manning in the corner of the end zone. Manning later found Engram again for another touchdown in front of safety Darian Thompson. Engram caught three touchdowns during 7-on-7 drills.
  • Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie broke up passes intended for tight end Evan Engram and wide receiver Travis Rudolph, respectively. Jenkins later defended a slant pass from Manning to wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
  • Quarterback Josh Johnson found wide receiver Kevin Snead in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Safety Eric Pinkins intercepted a quarterback Josh Johnson pass intended for tight end Matt LaCosse.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith threw a touchdown pass to tight end Matt LaCosse. Smith then hit tight end Jerell Smith down the right seam and wide receiver Darius Powe despite tight coverage.
  • Linebacker B.J. Goodson broke up a short pass intended for running back Orleans Darkwa.
  • Running back Paul Perkins fumbled during 11-on-11 drills after being hit by cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
  • Running back Wayne Gallman had a pass deflected off of him that was intercepted by linebacker Mark Herzlich. Herzlich later broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Travis Rudolph.
  • Cornerback Michael Hunter knocked down a pass on a crossing route.
  • Cornerback Donte Deayon broke up a fade pass from quarterback Geno Smith to wide receiver Travis Rudolph.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’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:

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants are off on Sunday. The ninth training camp practice will be held on Monday, starting at 11:10AM. This practice is NOT open to the public. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Aug 042017
 
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Nat Berhe, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Nat Berhe – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 4, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their seventh summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), and linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol) did not practice.

“(Shepard’s MRI showed) nothing serious, nothing new,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo.

“We are taking it day by day,” said Shepard. “It is feeling pretty good. I am moving along really well… At first I was pretty worried. I have never rolled my ankle like that before and I felt it pop. That was the main thing that scared me. The initial pain wasn’t too good but now, we are moving along and it’s doing pretty good now… I was kind of screaming, but that’s just because I have never felt that pain before. But yeah, it’s just like a basketball roll is what they are saying, a little bit of a bone bruise… If I feel good enough to get out there in some preseason games, then I will, but yeah I am just taking it day by day… I will be ready for Week 1, for sure.”

“(King) has a rolled ankle,” said McAdoo. “They’ll let me know when he can practice.”

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Not much to give you guys today, it was a walk-through in every sense of the term. No actual hitting. No actual throwing the ball. Routes were run at 20% speed max. Sounds like tomorrow they are gonna get after it a bit. I will be there for it.

The guys that I have down as “Out” for today’s practice but still involved, were QB Eli Manning, WR Brandon Marshall, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, DT Damon Harrison, and LB Jonathan Casillas.

Good to see DE Devin Taylor and RB Shane Vereen out there with the team, hope they are in live action tomorrow.

I did not see WR Tavarres King out there, so I guess his ankle roll needed a day of treatment.

Offense Notes:

  • A name we haven’t talked about yet is fourth year veteran OG/OC Jon Halapio. Originally drafted by the Patriots in 2014 (6th round) from Florida. He has since bounced around the league a bit but has been with NYG for almost a full year now. He’s never played in a regular-season game but with the instability inside when it comes to depth, I think he has as much of a shot as any of the other interior guys to make this team. The versatility is a plus and he has had some solid 1-on-1 interactions this week.
  • OT Chad Wheeler saw time at his usual LT spot in addition to sometime at RT and RG. I’ll say I have been pleasantly surprised by his is presence this week. We already knew he was a plus athlete but I still think he is a year away from being a factor. He needs work in the weight room.
  • QB Davis Webb got more reps today with Eli being on the sideline. Even though the speed of it was so low, it was an important day for him no doubt. A lot of work on hand signals with his receivers and proper footwork on both passing and running plays. Casual fans will overlook the importance of that, but it is vital for his progression. For what it’s worth, he appeared to do everything right. Another check mark for him.
  • When it comes to the fullbacks, my guess based on their team drills is Shane Smith is at the top of depth chart.
  • OG D.J. Fluker was probably the hardest worker on the offense today, making strong efforts on his pad level, lateral footwork, hand placement…etc. He got a few looks at backup RT today.

Defense Notes:

  • LB B.J. Goodson on the field again today. So involved with other players and coaches during his rest time. And he was the lone defender who appeared to be going a little closer to full speed than the other guys. Not surprised.
  • NYG has a lot of DL talent and they are very versatile. We may see them get 3 DTs on the field more often than we’ve seen in the past. Damon Harrison can play a 3-4 NT-type role and the Jay Bromley/Dalvin Tomlinson/Robert Thomas trio…two of them can be on the field at once I think. This gives NYG several options with what to do on the outside. The more looks, the better.
  • DE Kerry Wynn is still in the team’s good graces it seems. He’s been here awhile now and the team knows what they are getting out of him. A kid that knows the game well, plays hard, and can bring it in different situations in different roles. Devin Taylor and Owa Odigihizuwa are going to have really perform well if they want to leapfrog him.

That’s all folks, sorry it wasn’t too eventful today but as I said, no such thing as unimportant day. I should be back tomorrow.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Friday’s practice was very light, with helmets but no pads and more of a walk-thru. Veterans given the day off included quarterback Eli Manning, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, defensive tackle Damon Harrison, linebacker Jonathan Casillas, cornerback Janoris Jenkins, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
  • Giants ran a fake field goal where punter Brad Wing threw a touchdown pass to offensive lineman Justin Pugh.
  • Place kicker Mike Nugent went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts.

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Friday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The eighth training camp practice will be held on Saturday, starting at 10:55AM. This practice is NOT open to the public. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Jul 142017
 
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Dalvin Tomlinson, New York Giants (June 13, 2017)

Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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: Defensive Line

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW: The New York Giants defensive line underwent a major overhaul in 2016, and the changes were perhaps THE major reason why the team’s defense improved from dead last in the NFL to 10th in terms of yardage and 2nd in terms of points allowed. The Giants went from 24th in run defense in 2015 (121.4 yards per game, 4.4 yards per carry) to 3rd in 2016 (88.6 yards per game, 3.6 yards per carry).

The key to sparking the dramatic turnaround were the high-priced, high-profile free agent additions of defensive end Olivier Vernon (5-years, $85 million) and defensive tackle Damon Harrison (5-years, $46 million). These two were a major upgrade over defensive ends Robert Ayers/George Selvie and defensive tackles Markus Kuhn/Cullen Jenkins. Harrison is arguably the best run-stuffing defensive tackle in the game and earned first-team All-Pro honors after making the switch from a 3-4 nose tackle with the New York Jets to a 4-3 defensive tackle. Vernon was slowed by a serious hand/wrist injury but played virtually every snap and earned second-team All-Pro honors.

Jason Pierre-Paul (JPP) rebounded nicely from a 2015 offseason catastrophic fireworks accident that left him permanently maimed. After a slow start on the pass-rushing front, the line was rounding into peak form until a groin tear/sports hernia injury sidelined JPP for the final four regular-season games and post-season contest. Unfortunately, the dropoff was noticeable. As a unit, the line finished with 24.5 sacks in the regular season (up from 16 in 2015).

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants’ biggest personnel loss in the offseason was DT Johnathan Hankins signing a 3-year, $30 million contract with the Colts. The team did re-sign DE Jason Pierre-Paul to a 4-year, $62 million deal. The Giants also re-signed exclusive rights free agent DT Robert Thomas, restricted free agent DE Kerry Wynn, and practice squader DE Jordan Williams. New additions include veteran free agents DE Devin Taylor and DT Corbin Bryant as well as rookies DT Dalvin Tomlinson (2nd round), DE Avery Moss (5th round), DE Evan Schwan (undrafted free agent), and DT Josh Banks (undrafted free agent).

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: One of the most significant story lines for the team is can the Giants adequately fill the shoes of Johnathan Hankins at defensive tackle? While Damon Harrison quickly became the headliner at defensive tackle for the Giants, Hankins was an important part of the drastically-improved New York Giants run defense. Many believe Dalvin Tomlinson will automatically assume the starting position, but Tomlinson is a rookie and will face challenges from veterans Robert Thomas, Jay Bromley, and Corbin Bryant. Depth is also a cause for concern as Harrison must now be considered one of the most indispensable players on the team. Heaven help the Giants if he gets hurt.

A secondary story line will be the quest for a third defensive end who can rush the passer and spell Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, who both played far too many snaps last year. To date, holdovers Romeo Okwara, Kerry Wynn, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa have not demonstrated the ability to consistently harass opposing quarterbacks. They will be pressured by newcomers Devin Taylor and Avery Moss. Then there is the curious backstory of Odighizuwa’s situation as he missed all of the spring work due to undisclosed “personal issues.”

ON THE BUBBLE: Everyone except Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Dalvin Tomlinson.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Patrick Graham on the defensive line as a group: “Really the group is smart. They understand that this is their profession and they know they have to have proficiency at that. They all work hard in terms of knowing football and knowing what we want them to do.”

Patrick Graham on Dalvin Tomlinson: “I think any rookie coming into this league, they don’t know anything about this league aside from the stuff they read and see from the media and TV. I think it’s important for them to stick with what they’ve done in being a good football player up until this point. An organization in the NFL wanted them. To be humble there, listen to the players and listen to the coaches and just diligently work through the process. He’s a pretty even keel guy. He’ll be able to handle it. We will see how it plays out once the competition comes and the season comes… We wanted him for a reason. He’s a good football player and he comes from a good program.”

PREDICTIONS: Dalvin Tomlinson is one of the few defensive tackles who realistically could come in and adequately replace Johnathan Hankins as a rookie. He not only has the physical tools, but he is a super-smart guy who played on the big stage at Alabama. Nevertheless, keep an eye on Robert Thomas, who may split snaps with him. Competition for roster spots will be fierce as the Giants added a couple of former veteran starters late in free agency (Devin Taylor and Corbin Bryant). The Giants can’t keep all of these guys and linemen who can play in this league are going to be released. Another player to keep tabs on is Avery Moss. The coaches and players have said nice things about him and the Giants are still looking for that third pass rusher.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Jason Pierre-Paul, Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, Romeo Okwara, Avery Moss, Devin Taylor, Robert Thomas, and Corbin Bryant. (The Giants hate to part ways with draft picks so it would not be shocking to see Owa Odighizuwa and Jay Bromley make it over late FA additions Taylor and Bryant. I would also not count out Kerry Wynn).

May 102017
 
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Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama Crimson Tide (September 10, 2016)

Dalvin Tomlinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS SIGN 2ND-ROUNDER DALVIN TOMLINSON…
According to press reports, the New York Giants have signed their 2nd-round draft pick, defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson. The contract is supposedly a 4-year, $4.57 million deal with a $1.46 million signing bonus.

The New York Giants hold a rookie mini-camp this Friday through Sunday. The rookie draft picks, signed undrafted rookie free agents, rookie and veteran tryout players, and players signed to future contracts in January will attend the mini-camp.

DARIAN THOMPSON INJURY UPDATE…
Promising New York Giants safety Darian Thompson missed virtually the entire season in 2016 with a career-threatening lisfranc foot injury that he suffered in Week 2. Thompson tried to return in November, suffered a setback in practice, and was placed on Injured Reserve.  Thompson is still rehabbing from the injury. The Giants drafted Thompson in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

Thompson does not know when he will be cleared for practice. Giants Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices begin on May 22.

“We’re just taking things day-by-day, slowly progressing,” Thompson said. “But I’m doing everything they’ve been asking me to do with no problems and I’m feeling good. I’m just going based off the trainers and based off of what the organization wants me to do. I feel good, so we’ll see what happens from here.

“We have plenty of time (until summer training camp). They don’t want to rush anything, so I’m just doing what they ask me to do, staying on track and, like I said, everything has been good. I’ve gotten pretty close and it felt pretty good. So I’m just waiting on them to give me the green light to go ahead and do it.”

GIANTS INSIDER WITH DE ROMEO OKWARA…
The video of a Giants Insider Q&A with defensive end Romeo Okwara is available at Giants.com.

ARTICLES…