Apr 202021
 
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Dave Gettleman, New York Giants (February 25, 2020)

Dave Gettleman – © USA TODAY Sports

DAVE GETTLEMAN AND KEVIN ABRAMS ADDRESS THE MEDIA…
New York Giants General Manager Dave Gettleman and Assistant General Manager Kevin Abrams addressed the media on Tuesday (video):

Gettleman: Good afternoon, everybody. Good to see you, I’m looking at little tiny screens. Trust you’re all well. Kevin and I are here to talk about free agency and then on Thursday I’m going to be with [Director of Pro Scouting] Chris Pettit and we’ll talk about the upcoming college draft. Let’s go.

Q: Dave, you’ve always kind of avoided guys with injury histories it seems like in free agency, you’ve spoken about that. What’s different this year with guys like [Wide Receiver] Kenny [Golladay] and [Cornerback] Adoree’ [Jackson] who have some injury histories in their past and you felt comfortable paying them big money?

Gettleman: I tell you what, we had them come in. It was a little different with free agency this year, we actually had them come in first, so we really – all three guys, Kenny, Adoree’ and [Tight End] Kyle [Rudolph] – we had them in here and it was an old school free agency. We got to talk, a chance to visit with them, they went out to dinner with various people in the organization, they were here a couple of nights, our doctors were able to put their hands on them. It was an old-fashioned free agency. [Head Athletic Trainer] Ronnie [Barnes] and Head Team Physician] Doctor [Scott] Rodeo felt very comfortable with us moving with the signing of those three guys.

Q: What are your expectations for the cap next year and how much did an expected increase play into how aggressive you guys were this year?

Abrams: Well, we don’t know what next year is going to look like yet, so we’re making some conservative assumptions. We were aggressive this year, we had to do probably a few practices that we normally, typically try to avoid, but with a lower cap number and some plans to be aggressive we had to do some of those things. We know that next year’s number could be a low one again and we’re prepared for whatever the outcome is.

Q: Kevin, at the start of this, I mean you know the budget and the numbers better than anybody going into this process probably to the penny I would guess or certainly to the pennies. If I would have taken you back to the start of free agency and said, ‘I’m pretty confident you guys are going to get the top receiver Kenny Golladay for big money and perhaps the top cornerback for big money,’ would you have been surprised, not surprised, or not so sure you’d be able to do that with the cap?

Abrams: There were no surprises. I mean, it’s always a bit of an unknown who the players are that you’ll be able to target and who you’ll be able to attract, but we knew we were going to be aggressive.

Q: And as far as being aggressive, you can’t be aggressive unless there’s money to do that obviously. There’s this whole, the Giants went into this with however many millions in the cap and you knew you could manipulate it some way, shape or form. Did you know that you could give 100 million dollars in salaries or guarantees to just a couple of players? Did you know beforehand that was possible?

Abrams: We did, yes.

Q: Dave, when you go into free agency, how much does what you do in free agency reflect on the draft? I mean, do you evaluate all of the college players and say, ‘We need to fill holes. We need to do this in free agency?’

Gettleman: What we do is we have this space we call our Football Ops Center. By the time we get deep into free agency conversations, we’ve had our February draft readings. So in our Ops Center, we have our draft on one board and our unrestricted free agency board on the other. And what we do is we actually do it by color, we take a look at the positions and see where if I need a kicker, is it heavy in free agency or am I going to have to go to the draft? So we marry up both, to answer your question, and then we just move forward and make decisions on which way we’re going to go because maybe free agency is thick with a position and the draft isn’t or vice-versa. So we do marry it up.

Q: Kevin, we all like to think that we’re experts in what a guy is worth, but you’re an expert in the building at negotiating these contracts. Do you believe that you can overpay for a player? Is there such a thing? Is it a more complicated equation than just saying a player is worth a certain amount in the current market or in the market of this position? How do you evaluate that?

Abrams: I mean, certainly you can overpay a player. In free agency, the danger of free agency is that it’s more auction than it is negotiation, but we know what we think the market is for a position and we know where we think players fit into that market and we’ll set those parameters of where we’re willing to go to get a player well in advance of free agency. Ideally, you come in lower obviously than what you think your ceiling of comfort is, but we do identify what those parameters are before we even begin the process.

Q: Dave, a question about [Running Back Devontae] Booker, you guys were pretty aggressive right out of the gate about going after him for some depth at running back. Did you go after him so aggressively because you believe – like, say if hypothetically [Running Back] Saquon [Barkley] were not on the field for some reason, knock on wood, do you feel confident that Booker would be able to handle that position and the workload and is that why you prioritized him as a player?

Gettleman: Well, one of the reasons we prioritized Devontae is you can never have too many good players at any position, I don’t care what anybody says. One of the things that made Devontae so attractive was the fact that we felt he was a legitimate three-down running back. It’s always a group decision here, everything’s in the best interest of the Giants, so obviously he can be a good part of our solution at running back.

Q: Hey Dave and Kevin, in terms of the league, there was so much talk about the cap going down and that there would be a depressed market and that teams would look for value under market. I’m curious if you guys identified a situation where you could be aggressive, kind of go counter to what maybe the league was expecting to do and maybe that’s how some of your deals with Golladay and then obviously Adoree’, which came up later, was kind of a counter-thinking when the market is supposed to be as depressed as a lot of people thought it would be.

Abrams: I think that was a small part of our thought process. I mean, we identified, like everyone had, that this year was going to be a little different – cap going down impacts everybody and so I think we thought that there would be some opportunities because there might be fewer buyers out there. Our plan was to be aggressive from the beginning though and we knew that we had ownership support, which was probably uncommon this year to be as aggressive as we were. And we had our targets and as the market played out it became apparent to us that of the targets that we wanted to go and pursue who was going to be available at the right price for us.

Gettleman: Just to supplement that, we feel like we got three or four, really – have to count [DL] Leonard [Williams], spent money on him – we got four high-dollar guys at very good value for their positions, for the whole nine yards. We feel very good about what we’ve done.

Q: Kyle Rudolph, obviously, it seemed like from the reporting that he agreed to a contract, then he came in for a physical and some stuff came up. Seemed like a kind of point where you guys might have had some leverage to make his contact more incentive-based or make him earn it or lower the guarantees. From an organizational standpoint, why stick with the original handshake agreement there?

Abrams: Once he went through all the medical evaluations, we didn’t think that it was necessary.

Gettleman: We are the Giants, we’re going to do everything with class. We had an agreement, Ronnie signed off on it, Doc Rodeo signed off on it, so we were fine.

Q: Dave, you mentioned the Leonard Williams contract. How tough was that negotiation relatively? Kevin, there was a report that you actually stepped in there at the eleventh hour. If you could discuss your role.

Abrams: It was a good negotiation. The agents were very good to work with, they were interactive, which isn’t always the case as players get closer and closer to free agency. Sometimes they become a little harder to reach as they get closer to free agency, but these guys remained involved. Leonard clearly wanted to be here and we clearly wanted him here. It took a while to establish what was a fair spot within the market from both perspectives, but eventually we got there.

Gettleman: Just to be clear, Kevin’s the negotiator here. What we all do is we all sit down and say, ‘Okay, Ryan Dunleavy is our wide receiver. We like his talents and we like his skill. What’s Ryan’s value compared to the rest of the league, the rest of the wide receivers that are out there? What wide receivers got paid in the past year or so?’ because you don’t want to go back three years or so because deals are old. It’s a group effort with Kevin doing the negotiating. It’s about value and being comfortable with the end result, which we were very comfortable with the end results.

Q: Hey Dave, when you look at the moves you’ve made so far and the ones you’ll continue to make obviously with the draft upcoming and even beyond that, how much of it is designed to make sure [Quarterback] Daniel Jones has every opportunity to be the quarterback you’ve always believed he can be?

Gettleman: You know, my job is to put everybody in a position where they’re successful, plain and simple, that’s my job, both on the field and off the field. Of course, I’ve always believed that you draft the guy that you feel is going to be your franchise quarterback, first thing you’ve got to do is get people around him to keep him upright and then you’ve got to get him playmakers. You help him by doing a variety of things. Obviously, when we make moves on the offensive side and the defensive side – because I’ve said to you folks before, offense scores points, defense wins championships – so the point is every move you make is obviously to help each side of the ball, and again special teams are critical as well. So, everything is made with a broad view of how we’re going to put the finishing touches on this and make it right. Obviously, we felt like we’d like to get a bigger wide receiver, Kenny was available, we make the deal that’s obviously going to help Daniel. Kyle Rudolph is a professional tight end, he’s been in the league ten years, he knows all the ins and outs, he’s still a good player, of course that helps Daniel, but it also helps our running game too and it helps Saquon.

Q: Kevin, for you, at what point will, or perhaps already has the idea entered your mind about Saquon’s extension and obviously a little bit beyond that you hope to be extending Daniel because you hope that he plays great in the meantime, obviously?

Abrams: Those will be collective decisions. Ownership will be involved, obviously Dave will lead the charge and when the time is right, we’ll attack those two.

Q: With everything that you did this year, was whatever in your mind (regarding player extensions) as you spent this year?

Abrams: Always. Everything we do has an immediate and a one-, two-, three-year horizon and we’re always mindful of how things impact both us today and how it impacts us next year and beyond, so we’re very cognizant of all of those variables.

Gettleman: I think the best way I can say it is really you can’t do anything in a vacuum. It’s all going to be interconnected and interrelated, and that’s how we operate.

Q: I know there were reports that you were interested in [Rams Outside Linebacker] Leonard Floyd. He obviously ended up going back to the Rams. I’m just curious, how you feel about your edge rusher group that you have right now?

Gettleman: Listen, [LB] Lorenzo [Carter] and [LB Oshane Ximines] are rehabbing, they’re coming along well, I feel good about those two guys. You feel good about [LB] Cam Brown getting better, [LB] Carter Coughlin’s going to be better. You’re growing them up and then you’re looking at the draft as well. You’re always looking to get better. Like I said, you can never have too many good players at one position, so you’re always going to look to improve. Those guys, I wish that Lorenzo and X had been able to play the whole season last year, but you know what, they couldn’t, so we filled in with some guys and did the best we could. We’re going to do better.

Q: Dave, just to build off that for one second. He asked about the edge group. [Defensive End Ifeadi] Odenigbo that you signed, you didn’t mention him. Is he part of that group? I’m just wondering where you guys kind of view him.

Gettleman: Believe it or not, he’s got some inside pass rush to him. He’s got some inside, sub pass rush to him. They’re all part of the group, they’re all part of the group.

Q: I was just curious if you viewed him as an outside linebacker or if you viewed him as a defensive end in a 3-4 more as a primary.

Gettleman: He’ll play outside and he’ll also do some sub, inside sub pass rush stuff.

Q: Dave, you mentioned the whole bringing Kenny in and the guys in for a visit. With Kenny in particular, what was it you needed answered and part of the reason you guys brought him in?

Gettleman: Well, you bring him in because you want to get a physical on him. That was the biggest reason, get a physical on him. But it was nice for a change to get to know a guy and have that opportunity to do that. Like I said, it was like the old days. The biggest reason was the physical.

Abrams: It wasn’t just our decision, the players wanted to come in as well. Both parties wanted to have the visit.

Q: Kevin, you mentioned also that you had to do some things that normally you don’t do in regards to contracts and money, future money down the line, void years and that kind of stuff. How would you categorize where you stand financially moving forward for the future, for the next year or two let’s say?

Abrams: I think 2022 could be a little bit of a challenge depending on where the cap goes to. Beyond, I’m more optimistic that nothing that we’ve done last year or this year puts us in any kind of precarious position. Next year could be a little bit of a challenge, we’ll see. It’s going to depend on science and state legislatures and fans in stands and a lot of other variables and we’ll see where it goes. I don’t think we’re in a bad spot cap-wise, but next year could be a little more challenging than probably the years after that.

Q: Dave, we always talk about weapons, you always tease us about it and you got a nice one in Kenny Golladay. Do you feel you have a solid arsenal right now for this year? We’re talking weapons again, Dave.

Gettleman: You know, yes. To answer your question, we’re better, and the other guy that’s going to be interesting is [WR] John Ross when he walks in the door because he gives you the take-off-the-top, oh my gosh speed. Yes, again, you want touchdown-makers, it’s what you’re looking for on offense and we feel like we added them.

Q: Kevin, how do you balance free agency with the draft in terms of filling needs, but at the same time selecting the best available talent? It seems to be a delicate and challenging combination.

Abrams: As Dave mentioned before, we begin the offseason identifying where we feel like we have needs. Free agency comes first, so we’ll set that board up, find where the value is, where the consensus is between our personnel people and our coaching staff, identify the targets we think best fit the Giants, and then we’ll incorporate what the early view of our draft board looks like and understand where are our needs and our fits in free agency that also are redundant with where the draft is strong and vice-versa. Where the draft is weak, that might be a difference-maker when deciding between who to approach in free agency.

Q: Dave, just going back to Leonard Williams really quick, what was the calculus between resigning Leonard and possibly bringing back [Vikings Defensive Tackle] Dalvin Tomlinson. In hindsight, was there any regret with how you guys handled Tomlinson over the last year, be it maybe not resigning him early or trading him when you might have had the chance to?

Gettleman: Dalvin is a wonderful young man and he was a captain, so obviously there’s regret. But at the end of the day, you only have so much money and you’ve got to make decisions, that’s just the way it is. We’ll miss Dalvin and I’m thrilled that he got what he wanted and Minnesota is a fine organization, so for what it’s worth, sure it’s hard, but unfortunately because of what happened you have to make decisions.

Q: As far as Leonard goes, what kind of separated him and made him a priority to try and bring back and ultimately resign at that number?

Gettleman: Well, maybe 11.5 sacks, maybe that was part of it. You know, he’s very versatile, he’s a legitimate inside pass rusher and he really blossomed. He loves being here and we love having him, so that was part of the decision.

Q: We count the hundreds of millions of dollars that were spent and the number of people who are coming in. How do you guys quantify how much better this team has gotten in your mind, how much closer you are to the team you think can contend in the last six weeks? Do you feel like you’ve made large strides? Do you feel like you’ve made small strides? Is it more of an immediate impact that you’re looking for?

Abrams: From my opinion, and I think Dave would agree, I think our roster is a lot better now than it was at the end of the season and the offseason is not over yet, so we’ll still have more opportunities to add players. So I think we feel good with what we’ve done. I think we’re a deeper, more talented team. Hope that answers the question.

Gettleman: You know, you can’t quantify it. It’s not going to be quantified until the fall and we start playing in September. But we feel very good about what we’ve done, we feel very good about the direction the team is taking with getting Kenny signed and Kyle Rudolph and Devontae Booker and Adoree’ Jackson and Leo. We feel really great about that and we really feel we’re building a solid football team that the fans can be proud of.

Q: Hey Dave, regarding the Adoree’ Jackson deal, Mike Sando from the Athletic talked to a few of your colleagues, executive-wise, around the league and a few of them were very critical of the contract. They said it was inexcusable, high potential for disaster, so a couple of those guys around the league kind of hammered you on that deal. What is your reaction to that and why do you think Adoree’ is worth that when you look at him skill-wise and injury-wise?

Gettleman: Well, my reaction to that is one of the things that makes America a great place is everyone is entitled to an opinion. Time will tell.

Q: What do you think of him as a player and why did you think he was worth that money when you looked at him? Obviously, you guys felt like he was worth the money. Why is that when you look at him?

Gettleman: Why was that? He’s got inside-outside flex, he’s a legitimate cover guy, he can run and he’s a very smart football player and he’s got ball skills. All of that stuff made him worth that.

GIANTS CUT RYAN LEWIS…
The New York Giants have officially waived cornerback Ryan Lewis, who was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). The Giants signed Lewis to the Practice Squad in early September 2020 and to the 53-man roster two weeks later. He played in five games for the Giants, starting three (25 percent of defensive snaps). Lewis finished the year with 13 tackles and one pass defense. The Giants placed Lewis on Injured Reserve in early November 2020 with a hamstring injury.

GIANTS RE-SIGN SANDRO PLATZGUMMER…
The Giants have re-signed running back Sandro Platzgummer, who was allocated to the team in April 2020 as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. As part of that program, Platzgummer was allowed him to remain on the Giants’ Practice Squad last season without counting towards the Practice Squad limit. Platzgummer played for the Swarco Raiders Tirol of the Austrian Football League.

Feb 032021
 
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James Bradberry, New York Giants (October 18, 2020)

James Bradberry – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants pass defense improved from 28th in 2019 to 17th in 2020. This 11 spot jump is quite the accomplishment given the year-long swirling personnel changes at linebacker and defensive back. The Giants were tied for 4th for the fewest passing touchdowns allowed with 22 and tied for 12th in yards per passing attempt with 6.2. New York was also 2nd in red zone scoring defense. Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham and his defensive assistants deserve a lot of credit for getting both units to play at a respectable level despite significant personnel issues.

Tied in with the pass defense is the pass rush. Remarkably, despite no viable outside edge rushers, the Giants somehow finished tied for 12th in sacks with 40. Much of that had to be schemed, including blitzes from defensive backs. On the down side, the Giants only picked off 11 passes on the year, with only one player (CB James Bradberry) intercepting more than one pass.

Only three of the team’s five primary defensive back positions were set throughout the year. Free agent acquisition James Bradberry was arguably the team’s best player, locking down one corner spot. He did miss one game due to COVID-19. Rookie Darnay Holmes won the nickel slot position, but missed four games due to injury. Strong safety Jabrill Peppers missed one game due to injury, but was also a fixture in the defensive backfield, often being utilized as a hybrid linebacker.

The other two spots were revolving doors. At corner opposite of Bradberry, Corey Ballentine (Weeks 1-2), Isaac Yiadom (Weeks 3-4), Ryan Lewis (5-7), Yiadom again (Weeks 8-16), and Julian Love (Week 17) all started. At free safety, Love started the first two weeks, followed by Logan Ryan for the bulk of the season, until rookie Xavier McKinney started in the final weeks.

Graham and Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson were hampered by a number of early personnel hits. 2019 1st-round cornerback Deandre Baker was cut after his legal troubles in Florida surfaced. That was a major blow to the team as Baker was being penciled in to start opposite of Bradberry. 2018 3rd-round pick Sam Beal then surprisingly decided to sit out the season due to COVID-19. Rookie 2nd-round pick Xavier McKinney broke his foot before the season started and wasn’t available until almost December.

The primary play-makers were Bradberry, Peppers, and Ryan. Despite many teams not throwing in his direction, Bradberry led the team with interceptions (3) and pass defenses (18). He also forced two fumbles and recovered one. Peppers was third on the team in tackles (91) and second in pass defenses (11). He picked off one pass, forced one fumble, recovered one fumble, and led defensive backs with 2.5 sacks. Ryan was second on the team in tackles (94) and third in pass defenses (9). He picked off one pass, forced three fumbles, and recovered two. He also had one sack.

Bradberry was the stud of the group. Peppers improved as the year progressed with the coaching staff seemingly having a better feel for his strengths and weaknesses. He remained an inconsistent player however. Ryan quickly became a team leader and his tremendous versatility was desperately needed at safety and corner. That said, he missed plays against the run and pass at times.

It was an up and down year for the rookie Holmes. He did help to settle the secondary and his absence was noticed during the four games he missed due to injury. But his five penalties in coverage always seemed to come at the most inopportune times and he didn’t make many plays on the football (contrary to his collegiate reputation). The other corner spot was a a bit of a mess. Ballentine simply couldn’t handle the job and was eventually cut. Yiadom and Lewis were up-and-down, with Lewis missing most of the season due to injury. Love was a bit of an enigma. His playing time varied wildly on a game-to-game basis. He started the season at safety and finished at corner.

THE CORE GROUP

The Giants signed James Bradberry as an unrestricted free agent from the Carolina Panthers in March 2020. He had a major impact on the defense, arguably being the unit’s best player, and was voted to his first Pro Bowl. Bradberry started 15 games, missing one game due to COVID-19, and finished the year with 54 tackles, 18 pass defenses, three interceptions, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery. He played in 94 percent of all defensive snaps. The 6’1”, 212-pound Bradberry was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Panthers. Bradberry is a big corner (6’1”, 212 pounds) with good speed and agility. He plays a physical game both against the run and pressing opposing corners off of the line. Outstanding in coverage, Bradberry can erase even top receivers.

The play of Jabrill Peppers improved markedly as the 2020 season progressed as he seemed to become more comfortable with the team’s new defensive schemes and the coaches learned better how to use him. At times, he was a real difference maker on the field. However, there was still some annoying inconsistency in his play, particularly in coverage. Peppers played in 15 games with 14 starts (84 percent of all defensive snaps), missing one game with an ankle injury. He finished the season with 91 tackles, 19 tackles for losses, 2.5 sacks, nine quarterback hits, 11 pass defenses, one interception, one forced fumble, and one fumble recovery. Peppers also served as the team’s primary punt returner, returning 15 punts for 187 yards (12.5 yards per punt). Peppers was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He was traded to the Giants as part of the Odell Beckham deal in March 2019. He started 11 games for the Giants in 2019 before being placed on Injured Reserve with a transverse process fracture in his back. Peppers combines good size (5’11”, 215 pounds) and overall athleticism. Still a better athlete than football player, Peppers flashes signs of being an impact safety, but he must become a more consistent player, especially against the pass. He does his best work when moving forward and attacking the line of scrimmage.

The Giants signed Logan Ryan in late August 2020. He ended up being a very important, jack-of-all-trades defensive back who was used at both safety and corner. Ryan also quickly became a team leader and solid presence in the locker room. In all, Ryan played in all 16 games with 15 starts (96 percent of all defensive snaps). He finished the season with 94 tackles, one sack, nine pass defenses, one interception, three forced fumbles, and two fumble recoveries. The 5’11”, 195-pound Ryan was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. He has spent time with the Patriots (2013-2016) and Titans (2017-2019), playing 109 regular-season games with 85 starts. Ryan has spent most of his career at corner, but now prefers to play safety. While Ryan has history of being an instinctive, play-maker, he also still misses too many tackles and can be exposed in coverage at times.

The Giants drafted Darnay Holmes in the 4th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Serving as the team’s primary slot corner, he played in 12 games, with five starts, missing four games due to injuries (neck and knee). Holmes finished the season with 30 tackles, 0.5 sacks, five pass defenses, one interception, and one fumble recovery. He played in 41 percent of all defensive snaps. Holmes lacks ideal height, but he is well-built with good speed and quickness. He is overly aggressive at times, as indicated by his five penalties in coverage. While Holmes had a solid rookie season in coverage, he needs to make more plays on the ball. Holmes can also return punts and kickoffs, but did not do so in 2020.

THE UNFORTUNATE INJURY

The Giants placed Xavier McKinney on Injured Reserve in early September 2020 with a fractured left foot that required surgery. The team activated him off of IR in late November 2020. McKinney ended up playing in six games with four starts (19 percent of all defensive snaps). He finished the season with 25 tackles, one tackle for a loss, one interception, and one pass defense. The Giants drafted McKinney in the 2nd round of the 2020 NFL Draft. The 6’0”, 201-pound McKinney is versatile performer, who is capable of playing multiple positions. He is a good athlete with fine instincts for the position, but he needs to become a more consistent tackler. Most of his rookie season was a wash due to his broken foot.

IN-AND-OUT OF THE STARTING LINE-UP

The Giants traded a 7th-round pick to the Denver Broncos for Isaac Yiadom in early September 2020. Yiadom eventually won the starting corner spot opposite of James Bradberry, playing in all 16 games with 10 starts (58 percent of all defensive snaps). He finished the year with 46 tackles, 0.5 sacks, five pass defenses, and one forced fumble. The 6’1”, 190-pound Yiadom was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Broncos. In two years with Denver, Yiadom played in 29-regular season games with nine starts. Yiadom has good size and plays a physical game. However, after some decent performances, his play really deteriorated down the stretch, and he was benched for Julian Love in the regular-season finale. Yiadom also did not make many plays on the football.

Julian Love spent most of 2020 playing safety but was shifted to cornerback late in the year, starting two of the final three games at the position (one in the slot). He also saw his playing time dramatically fluctuate on a per-game basis. In all, Love played in all 16 games with six starts (66 percent of all defensive snaps). He finished the year with 64 tackles, three pass defenses, and one interception. A collegiate corner, the Giants drafted Love in the 4th round of the 2019 NFL Draft and moved him to safety. He played in 15 games with five starts as a rookie. A bit of a cornerback/safety tweener, Love lacks ideal physicality for safety and ideal speed/quickness for cornerback. But he is a versatile performer who played well at the corner spot late in 2020. Love needs to improve his tackling and make more plays on the football.

The Giants placed Ryan Lewis on Injured Reserve in early November 2020 with a hamstring injury. Before that, he had played in five games for the Giants, starting three (25 percent of defensive snaps). Lewis finished the year with 13 tackles and one pass defense. Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). The Giants signed Lewis to the Practice Squad in early September 2020 and to the 53-man roster two weeks later. Lewis has played in 25 NFL regular-season games with nine starts. Lewis had a mixed performance in his three consecutive starts in October, playing well at times and struggling in one game.

The Giants placed Adrian Colbert on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury in early November 2020 and reactivated him to the 53-man roster in mid-December. He ended up playing in six games with two starts (10 percent of all defensive snaps) and finished the year with 13 tackles. The 6’2”, 205-pound Colbert was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Colbert has spent time with the 49ers (2017-2019), Seattle Seahawks (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Kansas City Chiefs (2020). The Giants claimed Colbert off of waivers from the Chiefs in early September 2020. He has played in 33 regular-season games with 19 starts, accruing 74 tackles and eight pass defenses. Colbert has also played cornerback and is a good gunner on special teams. He had mixed reviews in his two starts in 2020.

The Giants drafted Corey Ballentine in the 6th round of the 2019 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Ballentine played in 13 games with two starts, receiving 27 percent of all defensive snaps. He finished with 26 tackles and two pass defenses, often struggling in coverage. Ballentine won the starting corner spot opposite of James Bradberry to start the 2020 season, but was benched after just two games. He played in seven more games, returning 10 kickoffs, before the Giants waived him in November. He spent the rest of the season with the New York Jets.

SPECIAL TEAMS AND PRACTICE SQUAD

The Giants signed Nate Ebner as an unrestricted free agent from the New England Patriots in March 2020. Almost exclusively a special teams player, Ebner only saw limited snaps on defense in five games, finishing with eight tackles and one pass defense. The 6’0”, 215-pound Ebner was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Patriots. In eight seasons in New England, Ebner has played in 111 regular-season games with no starts.

The Giants signed Madre Harper off of the Practice Squad of the Las Vegas Raiders in late September 2020. He was placed on Injured Reserve in mid-December with a knee injury after playing in nine games with no starts. The Giants activated him to the 53-man roster in early January 2021, but he did not play in the season finale. Harper ended up playing in just three percent of all defensive snaps and was credited with five tackles and one fumble recovery. The 6’1”, 196-pound Harper was signed by the Raiders as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft.

Montre Hartage alternated between the Giants’ Practice Squad and the 53-man roster a number of times in 2020. He only played in two games (two percent of all defensive snaps) and was not credited with a single tackle or pass defense. Hartage originally signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. The Giants claimed Hartage off of waivers from the Dolphins in April 2020. Hartage has played in six NFL games.

The Giants signed Jarren Williams in early August 2020 after he was waived by the Arizona Cardinals. He spent most of the year on the Practice Squad, but did play in two games exclusively on special teams. The 5’10”, 187-pound Williams was signed by the Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Giants signed Quincy Wilson to the Practice Squad in November 2020. The 6’2”, 193-pound Wilson was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. He has spent time with Colts (2017-2019) and New York Jets (2020). Wilson has played in 32 regular-season games with 11 starts, accruing 59 tackles, 8 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions.

The Giants placed Brandon Williams on Injured Reserve in late September 2020 with a groin injury and reactivated him to the 53-man roster in early November. The team cut him a month later. In all, Williams played in six games, exclusively on special teams. Williams was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. The Giants signed him in late August 2020.

The Giants originally signed Sean Chandler as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He spent all of 2018 and parts of 2019 on the team’s 53-man roster. He began 2020 on the team’s Practice Squad, but was activated for three games, playing almost exclusively on special teams. The Carolina Panthers signed him off of the Giants’ Practice Squad in October.

The Giants selected Chris Williamson in the 7th round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He spent most of the season on the team’s Practice Squad until he was cut in December.

COVID-19 OPT-OUT

Sam Beal opted out of the 2020 NFL season due to the COVID-19 issue. Beal has had a rough start to his pro career. The Giants selected Beal in the 3rd round of the Supplemental Draft in July 2018. He missed all of his rookie season when he was placed on Injured Reserve in July 2018 with a shoulder injury that required surgery. The Giants placed Beal on Injured Reserve again in September 2019 with hamstring and groin injuries, but added him to the 53-man roster in early November. Beal missed the last game with another shoulder issue. In all, Beal played in six games with three starts, receiving 26 percent of defensive snaps, and accruing 26 tackles and one pass defense. Beal combines good size (6’1”, 177 pounds) and overall athleticism. Stating the obvious, Beal needs to stay healthy. But he flashes the ability to be a solid coverman when he does play.

Nov 062020
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (November 2, 2020)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS PLACE RYAN LEWIS ON INJURED RESERVE…
The New York Giants have placed cornerback Ryan Lewis on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury. Lewis has played in five games for the Giants this year with three starts, accruing 13 tackles and one pass defense. He will be eligible to return after missing at three games.

Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). The Giants signed Lewis to the Practice Squad in early September 2020 and to the 53-man roster two weeks later.

NOVEMBER 6, 2020 NEW YORK GIANTS INJURY REPORT…
OG Will Hernandez (Reserve/COVID) and CB Ryan Lewis (hamstring) did not practice on Friday. Neither will play on Sunday against the Washington Football Team.

RB Devonta Freeman (ankle), WR Sterling Shepard (shoulder/toe), LB Blake Martinez (hamstring), LB Devante Downs (shoulder), and S Logan Ryan (hip) were limited in practice. Freeman has officially been ruled “out” of Sunday’s game. The other four players are expected to be available to play.

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

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…
There is no media availability to the New York Giants on Saturday. The team plays the Washington Football Team in Maryland on Sunday.

Sep 222020
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 14, 2020)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS PLACE SAQUON BARKLEY ON INJURED RESERVE…
As expected, the New York Giants have placed running back Saquon Barkley on Injured Reserve. Barkley tore the ACL, partially tore the meniscus, and sprained the MCL in his right knee in the game against the Chicago Bears last Sunday. He will soon undergo surgery in a few weeks once swelling in his knee has gone down.

To fill that vacancy on the 53-man roster, the Giants signed cornerback Ryan Lewis from the Practice Squad. The 6’0”, 195-pound Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). Lewis has played in 20 NFL regular-season games with two starts, accruing 43 tackles, eight pass defenses, and one interception.

The Giants also signed linebacker Jermaine Grace to the Practice Squad and terminated the Practice Squad contract of offensive lineman Tyler Haycraft.

The 26-year old, 6’1”, 223-pound Grace was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Atlanta Falcons after the 2017 NFL Draft. The much traveled Grace has spent time with the Falcons (2017, 2018-2019), Indianapolis Colts (2017), Cleveland Browns (2018, 2019-2020), and Seattle Seahawks (2018, 2019). Grace has played in 24 regular-season games with no starts, accruing eight tackles.

Haycraft was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft.

NEW YORK GIANTS ASSISTANT COACHES ADDRESS THE MEDIA…
Video clips of the media sessions with the following New York Giants assistant coaches are available at Giants.com:

  • Quarterback Coach Jerry Schuplinski (Video)
  • Running Backs Coach Burton Burns (Video)
  • Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert (Video)
  • Tight Ends Coach Freddie Kitchens (Video)
  • Offensive Line Coach Marc Colombo (Video)
  • Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer (Video)
  • Outside Linebackers Coach/Senior Assistant Bret Bielema (Video)
  • Inside Linebackers Coach Coach Kevin Sherrer (Video)
  • Defensive Backs Coach Jerome Henderson (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Wednesday. Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Sep 082020
 
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Deandre Baker, New York Giants (September 22, 2019)

Deandre Baker – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS WAIVE DEANDRE BAKER…
The New York Giants have waived cornerback Deandre Baker, who has been on the Commissioner’s Exempt List since July 27th due to his legal troubles. At the team’s request, Baker had not participated in any team workouts this offseason. Baker was charged with four counts of robbery with a firearm from an incident that occurred in Florida in May. If convicted, Baker faces a minimum prison sentence of 10 years up to life.

The Giants drafted Baker in the 1st round of the 2019 NFL Draft. Baker had an up-and-down rookie season for the Giants. He started 15 of the 16 games he played in, receiving 87 percent of defensive snaps, and finishing the year with 61 tackles and 8 pass defenses. He did not intercept a pass.

GIANTS VOTE FOR TEAM CAPTAINS…
New York Giants players voted six of their teammates to represent the squad in 2020:

Offense: QB Daniel Jones, RB Saquon Barkley

Defense: DL Dalvin Tomlinson, LB Blake Martinez

Special Teams: S Jabrill Peppers, S Nate Ebner

GIANTS SIGN TWO, CUT ONE FROM PRACTICE SQUAD…
The Giants have signed RB Rod Smith and CB Ryan Lewis to their Practice Squad, and terminated the Practice Squad contract of WR Derrick Dillon.

The 28-year old, 6’3”, 236-pound Smith was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Seattle Seahawks after the 2015 NFL Draft. He was released by Seattle in October 2015. The Cowboys claimed him off of waivers and he played with the Cowboys until the end of the 2018 season. The Giants signed Smith as an unrestricted free agent in May 2019 and waived him from Injured Reserve in September 2019. He then spent time with both the Tennessee Titans and Oakland Raiders in 2019. Smith has played in 55 regular-season games with two starts, rushing 101 times for 364 yards (3.6 yards per carry) and five touchdowns. He also has caught 30 passes for 272 yards and one touchdown.

The 26-year old, 6’0”, 195-pound Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). Lewis has played in 20 NFL regular-season games with two starts, accruing 43 tackles, eight pass defenses, and one interception.

The Giants signed Dillon as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2020 NFL Draft.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The New York Giants practice on Wednesday afternoon (12:30-2:30PM). Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will also address the media.

Sep 062020
 
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Adrian Colbert, Miami Dolphins (December 1, 2019)

Adrian Colbert – © USA TODAY Sports

GIANTS CLAIM THREE PLAYERS OFF OF WAIVERS…
The New York Giants have claimed the following players off of waivers:

  • WR Damion Ratley (from Cleveland Browns)
  • OT Jackson Barton (from Kansas City Chiefs)
  • S/CB Adrian Colbert (from Kansas City Chiefs)

The 25-year old, 6’2”, 200-pound Ratley was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Browns. In 2018-2019, Ratley played in 26 regular-season games with six starts, accruing 25 catches for 344 yards and one touchdown.

The 25-year old, 6’7”, 302-pound Barton was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. The Chiefs signed him off of the Colts’ Practice Squad in 2019. Barton has not played in an NFL game.

The 26-year old, 6’2”, 205-pound Colbert was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. Colbert has spent time with the 49ers (2017-2019), Seattle Seahawks (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Chiefs (2020). He has played in 27 regular-season games with 17 starts, accruing 74 tackles and eight pass defenses. Colbert has also played cornerback and is a good gunner on special teams.

To make room for these three players, the Giants released wide receiver Corey Coleman and offensive lineman Chad Slade, and waived safety Sean Chandler.

The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He missed all of 2019 with a torn ACL knee injury. The team signed Slade to a reserve/futures contract in January 2019. The Giants originally signed Chandler as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft.

GIANTS PLACE XAVIER McKINNEY AND DAVID MAYO ON INJURED RESERVE…
As expected, the New York Giants have placed safety Xavier McKinney (fractured left foot) and inside linebacker David Mayo (torn meniscus in his left knee) on Injured Reserve. Both players recently underwent surgery. Both are also eligible to return to the 53-man roster this year once healthy.

To fill their roster spots, the Giants re-signed tight end Eric Tomlinson and cornerback Brandon Williams. Both were with the Giants in training camp this summer and both were cut by the team on Saturday. The Giants signed Tomlinson as an unrestricted free agent from the Las Vegas Raiders in March 2020. The team signed  Williams in late August 2020.

GIANTS SIGN 14 PLAYERS TO THE PRACTICE SQUAD…
The New York Giants have signed the following players to the team’s Practice Squad:

  • QB Cooper Rush
  • RB Sandro Platzgummer
  • WR Johnny Holton
  • WR Alex Bachman
  • WR Derrick Dillon
  • WR Austin Mack
  • WR Binjimen Victor
  • OL Tyler Haycraft
  • OL Kyle Murphy
  • DL Niko Lalos
  • CB Jarren Williams
  • S/CB Chris Williamson
  • P/PK Ryan Santoso
  • LS Carson Tinker

All of the players except for Santoso were with the team in training camp.

The 25-year old, 6’5”, 258-pound Santoso was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Detroit Lions after the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Lions (2018-2019), Tennessee Titans (2019), and Montreal Alouettes (2019 and 2020). He has not punted or kicked in NFL games other than being used as a kickoff specialist with Titans in 2019.

The Giants receive an exemption for Platzgummer because they were one of four teams chosen to carry an additional overseas player on their Practice Squad in 2020 as part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway Program. However, Platzgummer is ineligible to join the active roster this season.

The Giants have three open slots remaining on their Practice Squad. Although not officially signed, according to media reports, the Giants also intend to sign cornerback Ryan Lewis to the Practice Squad.

The 26-year old, 6’0”, 195-pound Lewis was originally signed by the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Cardinals (2017), New England Patriots (2017-2018), Buffalo Bills (2018), Indianapolis Colts (2019), Philadelphia Eagles (2019), Miami Dolphins (2019), and Washington Football Team (2020). Lewis has played in 20 NFL regular-season games with two starts, accruing 43 tackles, eight pass defenses, and one interception.

NOTES…
Linebacker Ryan Connelly, who the Giants cut on Saturday, was claimed off of waivers by the Minnesota Vikings. In addition, defensive lineman Chris Slayton was signed to the Buffalo Bills’ Practice Squad while offensive lineman Eric Smith was signed to the Dallas Cowboys’ Practice Squad.

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

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Monday.