Aug 182019
 
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Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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AUGUST 18, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their sixteenth full-team summer training camp practice on Sunday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The remaining training camp practices are no longer open to the public.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Golden Tate (concussion), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), cornerback Deandre Baker (knee), cornerback Antonio Hamilton (groin), cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring), and long snapper Zak DeOssie (toe) did not practice on Sunday.

Defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson was excused from practice for personal reasons.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Wide receiver Sterling Shepard was not wearing the non-contact yellow jersey and he was catching the ball with both hands.
  • Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard, and T.J. Jones all received first-team reps at wide receiver.
  • The second-team offensive line had Chad Slade at left tackle, Nick Gates at left guard, Spencer Pulley at center, Victor Salako at right guard, and Chad Wheeler at right tackle. Evan Brown worked as the third-team center.
  • Tae Davis and Ryan Connelly were with the first-team defense, as was cornerback Corey Ballentine.
  • The practice focused more on the ground game.
  • With Dalvin Tomlinson absent, Defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence played nose tackle today and was stout in the middle of the defense against the run.
  • LB Tae Davis was active against the run, making two plays for a loss.
  • Safety Jabrill Peppers dropped an interception on a pass broken up by LB Tae Davis from QB Eli Manning.
  • QB Eli Manning found TE Evan Engram for a 25-yard gain on a corner route.
  • S Kenny Ladler knocked down a pass over the middle from QB Kyle Lauletta.
  • PK Aldrick Rosas was 5-of-6. He made kicks from 30, 34, 39, 43, and 47 yards. His miss was from 53 yards.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Sunday 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:

Aug 062019
 
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Kareem Martin, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Kareem Martin – © USA TODAY Sports

AUGUST 6, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eleventh full-team summer training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring), wide receiver Brittan Golden (groin), offensive tackle George Asafo-Adjei (concussion), offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (back), offensive tackle Brian Mihalik (burner), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and cornerback Sam Beal (hamstring) did not practice on Tuesday.

“(Wheeler is) dealing with a back thing that’s… Those are a little bit tricky sometimes,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “He’s sort of day-to-day.”

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (thumb) and cornerback Grant Haley (shoulder) participated with non-contact jerseys.

Defensive end B.J. Hill was excused from practice due to the birth of his child. Safety Michael Thomas and long snapper Zak DeOssie were excused in order to participate in NFLPA duties.

TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS FROM SY’56…
Even though a practice two days prior to a game can seem boring and uninformative at times, I still found value in being there. First, it was great to catch up with gidie. That guy does a lot of work behind the scenes for BBI so you guys can enjoy it…and I hope all of you remember it. Second, we had some decent conversation about the noticeable and maybe not-so-noticeable differences in this team. So while there really wasn’t a ton to write about today regarding practice, the wheels were spinning on what exactly needs to go right for this team to get back in to contention-mode. After all, gun to my head I think this team finishes under .500 but I’ve seen too many “sure things” go in the opposite direction to pretend I know what is going to happen. In sports, anything can happen.

One glaring missing piece, and we all know this, to the defense is a lack of edge presence. I didn’t oppose the trade of Olivier Vernon because of what it brought back and Vernon never really stuck with me. But that trade nearly left the cupboard bare and one of the most frustrating, team-killing components of this team in recent years has been the lack of pass rush. They have ranked bottom three in the league three of the past four years – yes you read that right. One who looks like he is ready for the next step is Lorenzo Carter. The tools he brings to the table are second-to-none when it comes to height, newfound bulk, and speed. If the skill set develops, I see a potential Danielle Hunter (MIN) in him. If he breaks out in 2019, the reward for the defense could be enormous as I think the inside DL will be getting plenty of push from Lawrence-Hill-Tomlinson.

Back to the OL…the acquisition of Kevin Zeitler cannot be underestimated. He isn’t just a solid presence, he is an elite 330+ pound pass protector who constantly makes good, powerful contact as a run blocker. Will Hernandez – Jon Halapio – Zeitler might be the heaviest (332-316-330) interior group in the league if I have my information correct. The OL has held this team back more than anything you can think of and even though the RT spot is a weaknesses, if these guys can be as dominant as I think they can be, the entire outlook of the offense changes.

Those who have been around the past few years, you know my affinity to quality linebackers. I have wanted the team to put serious resources in to the position (free agency money/high draft picks, etc.) and I realize it may not be among popular belief. But I look at a team like Dallas and the impact they have had from their second level defenders and I see what a Darius Leonard has done for IND, I just can’t shake the thought. Maybe I am stubborn. Anyway, the battle for the spot next to Alec Ogletree is going to be interesting. Tae Davis is the smallest, but quickest among the three who I think will end up competing for the spot. B.J. Goodson is, by far, the most imposing and physical. Rookie Ryan Connelly looks like the gamer who knows the defense so well and can really take in coaching. They are awfully different players and a lot will depend on what the coach wants out of that spot, but whomever gets the job needs to help rid the NYG defense of getting torched week-after-week, year-after-year in the middle of the field.

The backfield is going to need to be more than good if this offense is going to soar. As I said last week, I just see too many limitations in the passing game for me to think they will be dangerous. That is fine. However the running backs need to be elite. We have that in Saquon Barkley, nothing new there. But as good as he is, you can’t run this guy in to the ground with 35 touches a game every week. He and Wayne Gallman appear to be much more assertive and explosive. Part of that will come from the confidence of better OL play, but I think they are making it a point to keep themselves moving forward as they diagnose the lanes and holes. Both, more so Barkley, had a tendency last year to side shuffle too much after getting the ball. Those extra 1-2 yards per carry mean more than you think if you know anything about analytics and “early down success.” With the way this offense is put together, these backs need to stick with this “fall forward” approach much like we see Ezekiel Elliot do so well.

My general point in all this, and it is backed up by analysis around the league, these second/third year players MUST make the jump if this team has any shot at competing. Rookie contracts are arguably the greatest asset to a franchise on the field and the ascent in levels of these guys is completely critical. Veterans like Manning, Latimer, Solder, Ogletree, Jenkins…etc., we know that they are and we can only hope they don’t decline. The performance on the 2019 Giants mostly sits on the shoulders of these young guys, maybe the rookies as well, taking it to the next step. If they don’t, see ya next year.

TRAINING CAMP OBSERVATIONS FROM GIDIEFOR…
It was warm and overcast today. You could smell the rain in the air, but the rain held off, and the players and coaches got practice in before any rainfall. The players were all in shells. As has been the usual the players were out in groups with their coaches doing drills as we waited to get on the field. Today, TE Evan Engram, WR Sterling Shepard, and RB Saquon Barkley were right in front of us throwing passes at the practice net trying to make baskets from about thirty yards away. Saquon Barkley is a pretty accurate thrower. Sterling made a few quite a few himself, or at least hit the net. Engram hit the net a few times himself. The four quarterbacks in their red shirts were again to the right of us practicing their footwork. There was not a lot to read into today’s practice, some of it was with cards, and they mostly practiced setting up play action in their sets without hitting. The Giants were getting ready to play the Jets in two days.

We were let onto the practice area and escorted to the field at our far right. The defense was in white jerseys and the offense was in blue today. After the stretches, were position drills. We were standing where the backfield did their drills and watched them and I peaked at the offensive lineman drills at the edge of the field to our left, and saw LT Nate Solder knock T Paul Adams hard into the ground, and noted that LB Alex Ogletree has switched his uniform number from 52 to 47.

One of the conversations we had were about the differences between this year’s team and the team two years ago. As I have mentioned previously, it is noticeable that the Giants have invested in big men especially up front on both offense and defense. Consider that of the offensive line starters: LT Nate Solder is 6’9” 319lbs, LG Will Hernandez is 6’3” 332lbs, C Jon Halapio is 6’4” 315lbs, RG Kevin Zeitler is 6’4” 330lbs, and RT Mike Remmers is 6’5” 308 lbs. Sy’56 noted that the majority of the NFL isn’t built that way anymore, whereas on the Giants every lineman above 300 lbs and they range from 6’3” to 6’9” – the guards being a little shorter and nearly 15 lbs heavier than the tackles. The starters on the defensive line are DL Dalvin Tomlinson at 6’3 319 lbs, DL Dexter Lawrence at 6’4” 342lbs, and DL BJ Hill at 6’3” 310 lbs. These are all Giants. Coach Pat Shurmur and GM Dave Gettlemen have stated that this is a big man’s game and clearly that is how they are building the roster with very big men who are strong and athletic and cannot be pushed around so easily.

As we watched the first sets setting up play-action, it is easy to see the Giants being a throwback team this year with the big men up front giving RB Saquon Barkley a little more breathing room, and we hope learning to keep moving forward, and buying time with the play-action to set up the quick-passing game. WR Sterling Shepard and WR Golden Tate will be key to this type of game with crossing patterns and other short passes and with getting big chunks of yardage on the fly after the catch. TE Evan Engram will also play a big role up the seam and running sideline routes. TE Rhett Ellison will be counted on as a burly outlet and has been stout in practice in the red zone. One or more of WR Cody Latimer, WR Alonzo Russell, WR Bennie Fowler, and WR Darius Slayton – when and if they play – will be asked to stretch the field.

On defense, the big front will be tasked with stopping the run and penetrating the line to get to the QB. LB Lorenzo Carter, albeit that he has yet to prove it, is probably set up to be the Giants best weapon off the edge with LBs Kareem Martin and Markus Golden opposite him. By the way, the new LB/ER Joey Alfieri was given first- and second-team reps off the edge today and looked almost comical getting engulfed by LT Nate Solder and LT Paul Adams. He looks a little small, way too light at 226, and not too fluid. The other new addition, G Malcolm Bunche, does look the part of the big man, however, at 6’6” 310lbs.

Notes:

  • WR Cody Latimer made the first big play today with a 50-yard reception down field by the end zone.
  • We remarked how disconcerting it is to see CB Deandre Baker wear Brandon Jacobs old number. Also, WR Reggie White, Jr. wearing OBJ’s old number. Both of their body types are polar opposites to their predecessors. LB Ryan Connelly had his helmet off for a while today and looks a little like Mark Herzlich.
  • RB Paul Perkins looks like he is filling out, and looks more the part of a running back.
  • CB Deandre Baker made a strong play boxing out WR Bennie Fowler III on another long pass.
  • S Jabrill Peppers looks very comfortable out there catching punts, and build-wise looks a lot like Tiki Barber. He also wears Tiki’s old number.
  • WR Alonzo Russell made a nice catch today.
  • During the final series of 11-on-11’s and then 7-on-7’s, the team practiced getting into formation and getting the snap off before the 40-second play-clock elapsed.

MEDIA PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • QB Daniel Jones hit WR Reggie White, Jr. for a 30-yard touchdown over CB Ronald Zamort.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta connected with WR Da’Mari Scott for a roughly 30-yard gain over CB Grant Haley.
  • S Jabrill Peppers broke up a short pass to WR Alex Wesley.
  • QB Alex Tanney hit WR Da’Mari Scott for a long pass down the right sideline.
  • QB Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones.
  • CB Janoris Jenkins tipped a QB Kyle Lauletta pass that was intercepted by CB Grant Haley.
  • QB Daniel Jones threw a touchdown pass to WR T.J. Jones on a corner route.
  • CB Deandre Baker broke up a long pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Bennie Fowler.
  • QB Eli Manning fired a touchdown pass to WR Sterling Shepard against CB Grant Haley.

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

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

ARTICLES…

Jul 272019
 
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Golden Tate, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Golden Tate – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 27, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their third full-team summer training camp practice on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GOLDEN TATE FACING 4-GAME SUSPENSION…
It was revealed on Saturday that New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate is appealing a 4-game suspension for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing (PED) Substance policy. His appeal is currently scheduled to be heard during the first week of August. If Tate loses the appeal, he will miss the first four games of the regular-season. He will be able to continue to practice with the team this summer and play in the preseason.

Tate issued the following statement on Saturday:

       This past April, during the off-season, my wife and I decided to see a specialist for fertility planning. I started the treatment prescribed to me and just days later I discovered it contained an ingredient that is on the league’s banned substance list. I immediately discontinued use, I reported the situation to the Independent Administrator of the NFL Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances, and I spoke with my coaches and general manager. I did all of this well before a failed test was even confirmed.

Per NFL protocol, an initial suspension was imminent, but myself and the Giants organization are confident in the fact, and eagerly await my appeal to put this behind us.

During the entirety of my 10 year career I have taken great pride in playing this game the right way, have been an ambassador for the NFL and have never had any issues with the league’s policy. The treatment this past April had no effect on the upcoming season, and I did not, and could not have undergone this treatment in April for any competitive advantage. I deeply appreciate the support from the New York Giants Organization, and will continue to hold the highest level of character and integrity, while being a leader in the locker room.

In respect to the team and my teammates I won’t be speaking on this again until after the appeal. I’m focusing on football, and will not let this be a distraction.

“I think he’s going to have an appeal,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur before practice on Saturday. “I think he released a statement, so I really have nothing to add to that. We’ll just see what happens with it… When this situation arose, he’s been very honest with us.”

GIANTS SIGN AMBA ETTA-TAWO AND T.J. JONES…
The New York Giants have signed wide receivers Amba Etta-Tawo and T.J. Jones. To make room on the roster, the team placed wide receiver Corey Coleman on Injured Reserve and cut place kicker Joey Slye.

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 (2017), Kansas City Chiefs (2017), Giants (2017-2018), and Houston Texans (2018). Etta-Tawo also played for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football in 2019.

The 6’0”, 190-pound Jones was originally drafted in the 6th-round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. In four seasons with the Lions, Jones played in 42 regular-season games with nine starts, catching 64 passes for 814 yards and four touchdowns. Jones also has experience returning both kickoffs and punts.

Coleman tore an ACL in one of his knees on Thursday. Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. An explosive athlete but an injury-plagued bust in Cleveland, Coleman has also had brief stints with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in 2018. The Giants signed Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in eight games with one start, finishing with five catches for 71 yards. Coleman’s primary contribution came on special teams as as kickoff returner (averaging 26 yards on 23 returns).

The Giants signed and waived Slye in May 2019, and then re-signed him in July 2019. Slye graduated from Virginia Tech and did not play pro football in 2018. As a senior, he converted on 15-of-22 field goal attempts (68 percent) and 37-of-37 extra point attempts.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring), Brittan Golden (groin), and Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown) did not practice on Saturday. Cornerbacks Sam Beal (groin) and Henre’ Toliver (unknown) also did not practice.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (fractured thumb) was limited to individual drills in practice, not catching any passes. “Hopefully in a couple weeks I get out of this deal (splint) and I will be able to catch the ball,” said Shepard on Saturday.

Linebacker Mark McLaurin (foot stepped on) left practice early.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The first-team wide receivers were Golden Tate, Cody Latimer, and Bennie Fowler.
  • Julian Love saw reps at second-team safety along with Michael Thomas. Julian Peppers and Antoine Bethea remained the first-team safeties.
  • RB Rod Smith cut back against the second-team defense for a decent gain.
  • DL Jake Ceresna broke through the third-string line to “sack” the quarterback.
  • WR Da’Mari Scott turned around CB Corey Ballentine for a deep catch over the middle on a pass from QB Alex Tanney.
  • DB Julian Love punched the ball out of TE Scott Simonson’s hands for a fumble that LB Kareem Martin recovered. Love then broke up a QB Daniel Jones to WR Russell Shepard.
  • George Asafo-Adjei received first-team reps at right tackle.
  • S Jabrill Peppers had a “sack” and tackle for a loss against RB Wayne Gallman.
  • CB Corey Ballentine picked off QB Kyle Lauletta on an obvious miscommunication between quarterback and receiver. Ballentine returned the interception for a touchdown.
  • Spencer Pulley received some first-team reps at center.
  • CB Grant Haley broke up a low pass from QB Eli Manning. Haley had a good day, playing both in the slot and outside.
  • In the red zone, S Antoine Bethea made a nice break-up on a pass from QB Eli Manning to RB Wayne Gallman.
  • LB Nate Stupar made a diving break-up of a QB Daniel Jones pass intended for RB Paul Perkins.
  • QB Daniel Jones was 8-of-13 with an impressive deep sideline throw to WR Alonzo Russell (Russell couldn’t get his second foot in-bounds). Jones has not thrown an interception at camp thus far. Jones also threw two touchdowns in the red zone, including one to TE Garrett Dickerson.
  • QB Eli Manning had a strong practice and connected a number of times with WR Golden Tate and WR Cody Latimer. Manning finished 10-of-14 with two touchdowns, including one to TE Evan Engram and another to Tate.
  • QB Kyle Lauletta threw two red zone touchdowns, one to TE C.J. Conrad and another to WR Russell Shepard.
  • DLs R.J. McIntosh and Dexter Lawrence were active.
  • LB Oshane Ximines received some first-team snaps.

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

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

Jul 252019
 
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Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants (July 25, 2019)

Jabrill Peppers – © USA TODAY Sports

JULY 25, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their first full-team summer training camp practice on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The complete public training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT – STERLING SHEPARD BREAKS THUMB…
Wide receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring) and Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown) did not practice on Thursday.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard left practice early. X-rays revealed that he fractured his thumb and will be “evaluated on a week-to-week basis.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The starting offensive line consisted of LT Nate Solder, LG Will Hernandez, OC Jon Halapio, RG Kevin Zeitler, and RT Mike Remmers.
  • The second-team offensive line consisted of LT Brian Mihalik, LG Nick Gates, OC Spencer Pulley, RG Chad Slade, and RT Chad Wheeler.
  • The third-team offensive line consisted of LT Paul Adams, LG Austin Droogsma, OC Evan Brown, RG Victor Salako, and RT George Asafo-Adjei.
  • Wheeler and Mihalik also received first-team reps at left tackle. Wheeler received first-team reps at right tackle and Pulley first-team reps at center.
  • The quarterback pecking order was Eli Manning, Daniel Jones, Alex Tanney, and Kyle Lauletta.
  • The starting defensive line consisted of DE Dexter Lawrence, NT Dalvin Tomlinson, and DE B.J. Hill.
  • The starting linebackers were Lorenzo Carter, B.J. Goodson, Alec Ogletree, and Kareem Martin.
  • The starting corners were Janoris Jenkins and Deandre Baker with Grant Haley playing the nickel spot. The second-team corners were Sam Beal and Antonio Hamilton with Julian Love playing the nickel.
  • WR Golden Tate caught a touchdown pass from QB Eli Manning against CB Grant Haley in 1-on-1 drills. WR Sterling Shepard then did the same against CB Sam Beal.
  • A blitzing LB Kareem Martin forced QB Eli Manning to spike the ball into the ground.
  • LB Markus Golden beat second-team RT Chad Wheeler for what would have been a sack.
  • CB Antonio Hamilton punched the ball out of RB Rod Smith’s hands, forcing a fumble that Hamilton picked up and returned for a touchdown.
  • S Jabrill Peppers flashed into the backfield on a blitz.
  • QB Eli Manning completed 10-of-13 passes, with one interception on a screen pass.
  • QB Daniel Jones hit WR Bennie Fowler deep over the middle for what should have been a touchdown, but Fowler dropped the ball. Jones was 0-for-6 on his first six passes.
  • QB Daniel Jones’ first completion was a dump-off pass to RB Paul Perkins. He then completed three more passes in a row to Perkins, WR Bennie Fowler, and WR Alonzo Russell. Jones finished practice going 6-of-8, and ended the day 6-of-14.
  • LB Lorenzo Carter chased down WR Golden Tate on an end-around. Carter then broke up a screen pass intended for RB Saquon Barkley, picked off the ball before it hit the ground, and returned it for a defensive score.
  • WR Alonzo Russell was very active catching the football.
  • QB Daniel Jones and WR Bennie Fowler stayed after practice for some extra work.

NEW YORK GIANTS ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have re-signed place kicker Joey Slye and claimed wide receiver Da’Mari Scott off of waivers from the Buffalo Bills. In addition, the Giants terminated the contract of cornerback Tony Lippett and received a Commissioner’s roster exemption for safety Kamrin Moore, who was suspended by the team last week after his alleged involvement in a domestic violence incident. Moore now will not count against the 90-man roster.

Slye graduated from Virginia Tech and did not play pro football in 2018. As a senior, he converted on 15-of-22 field goal attempts (68 percent) and 37-of-37 extra point attempts. The Giants signed him on May 6 but cut him on May 14.

The 23-year old, 6’0”, 205-pound Scott was originally signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. The Browns waived him in December and he was then signed by the Bills. While he played in three regular-season games with the Bills, he does not yet have a reception in the NFL.

The Giants signed Lippett in to the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in three games, with no starts. A former wide receiver, the 6’3”, 192-pound Lippett was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. In three years with the Dolphins, from 2015 to 2017, Lippett played in 25 regular-season games with 13 starts. He missed all of the 2017 season with with a torn Achilles’ tendon. The Dolphins cut Lippett before the 2018 season started.

HEAD COACH PAT SHURMUR…
The transcript of Pat Shurmur’s press conference on Thursday 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:

Jul 242019
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (May 20, 2019)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

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

“You got a chance to see the second day of our rookie camp,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “We did two (days) this year instead of three. I felt like we got a lot of good work with the rookies in the spring. Felt like the last couple days was a continuation of what they learned in the spring, but also going back to the first installs as they go through their first year. As you know, the veterans will report here in a couple of hours and then we’ll be off to the races. We’re excited to get going. A lot of changes, as we all talked about this offseason. But we look forward to getting out on the practice field and getting after it, getting ready to play our first game and the games that follow.”

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

GIANTS SIGN DANIEL JONES…
On Monday, the New York Giants signed quarterback Daniel Jones, the team’s first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. According to media reports, Jones’ contract is slotted to be around $25.6 million with approximately $16.7 million in guaranteed money. All 10 of the Giants’ 2019 NFL Draft selections are now signed.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have waived quarterback/tight end Eric Dungey and signed tight end Isaiah Searight. Dungey was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft, but missed most of the offseason program with a back injury.

Searight is a three-time All-Patriot League selection from Fordham University. He signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after the 2019 NFL Draft but was waived/injured in May with a hamstring injury.

ALEX WESLEY PLACED ON PUP LIST…
The New York Giants have placed wide receiver Alex Wesley on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List with an undisclosed injury. Wesley is an undrafted rookie free agent the Giants signed after the 2019 NFL Draft.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Wide receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring) and Alex Wesley (PUP List – unknown) did not practice on Wednesday. Linebacker Josiah Tauaefa was excused in order to attend a funeral.

“(Slayton) just tweaked his hamstring a little bit (yesterday),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “Nothing serious. He’ll be back soon.”

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

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

Jun 192019
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (October 22, 2018)

Sterling Shepard – © 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: Wide Receivers

2018 YEAR IN REVIEW: Things did not going exactly according to plan at the wide receiver position in 2018. Injuries hit the position hard, thus beginning a revolving door of players coming and going to not only serve as pass receivers but also returners. In the end, the only receiver to play all 16 games was Sterling Shepard. Odell Beckham, Jr. and Sterling Shepard were responsible for 76 percent of the wide receiver receptions (143) with no other wide receiver catching more than 16 passes. Instead, the Giants threw more to the backs (113 catches) and tight ends (79 catches).

The headliner – Beckham – missed four games. While he remained productive when he played, the explosive big plays seemed to be lacking. And despite playing all 16 games, Shepard still could not crack the 1,000-yard mark. Free agent acquisition Cody Latimer only played in six games, catching a total of 11 passes. It is fair to say more was expected from these three.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: Somewhat surprisingly, the Giants decided to re-sign all of their free agent wide receivers, including Corey Coleman, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, and Russell Shepard. A year before he was due to become a free agent, the Giants also extended Sterling Shepard with a 4-year, $41 million contract.

The big offseason move was the trade of Odell Beckham, Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. His New York career began with fireworks and died with a whimper. The Giants also cut Quadree Henderson and Jawill Davis in the offseason.

The Giants surprisingly signed free agent Golden Tate away from the Eagles to a 4-year, $37.5 million contract. Street free agent journeyman Brittan Golden was signed in January. The Giants drafted Darius Slayton in the 5th round of the draft and signed rookie free agents Reggie White, Jr. and Alex Wesley after the draft.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Fan and media attention will be on how the departure of Odell Beckham, Jr. will affect the overall offense and whether or not that trade was a huge mistake. Contrary to what the Giants say publicly, it is clear the organization felt Beckham was a detriment to team culture. As dynamic as he was, Beckham was exhausting to deal with. It will be interesting to see how the team performs without him, and how Beckham does in Cleveland.

Unless someone like Darius Slayton and Corey Coleman comes on like gangbusters, the Giants appear to lack a true deep threat who can take the top off a defense. Good offenses can survive without a true deep threat, but it does make things more challenging. It appears the Giants will rely more on the short-to-intermediate passing game and run-after-the-catch yardage. This is where Golden Tate excels. The team desperately needs Sterling Shepard to become a more productive player. They are paying him more on potential than productivity to date (he’s averaged 63 catches, 762 yards, and 4-5 touchdowns per season in his first three years in the league). Tate and Shepard are viewed more as slot receivers by some.

To be frank, the other veterans on the roster have been unimpressive journeymen to date. Cody Latimer is capable of making contested circus catches, but may not be able to separate from defensive backs on a consistent basis. The same concern exists with Bennie Fowler and Russell Shepard. Both have spent time with three other teams. Corey Coleman is a former first rounder and has the speed to get deep, but three other teams have let him go since 2016.

That all said, Coleman, Fowler, and newcomer Darius Slayton did flash during Spring workouts. It remains to be seen if they can build upon this success and push for regular-season playing time.

ON THE BUBBLE: Only Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate are really safe.

FROM THE COACHES: Head Coach Pat Shurmur on Golden Tate: “You can see that he has the ability to break tackles. He is nifty. Obviously, before the ball is thrown and then once he catches it, he has a way of breaking tackles or making them miss. I can see that is going to be a part of his game already… He is a pro… He fit in immediately. He is smart, has picked up what we are doing offensively and finds a way to make plays. He is a real veteran presence. He has made a heck of an impact.”

Shurmur on Darius Slayton: “Darius has done a really good job. I think he is the most improved in my eyes. We expected a lot out of him when he got here. The rookie mini-camp was unremarkable, but since that time… He is very fast. He is practicing punts and kicks. He has done a nice job playing receiver. I really think he has done a nice job during OTA’s and mini-camp.”

Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula on Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard: “I think (Tate) is going to bring productivity because he is really good with the ball in his hands, versatility, and flexibility. You can put him inside, you know, we know with Shep that Shep can play both inside and out. Now, we have two guys that can do that. I think when you have two guys who can do that, you become less predictable and I think it gives you another guy when the ball is in his hands, he’s pretty good… (Tate) provides the experience, the knowledge, the route awareness, sudden changes that you might not have to make that are kind of hard to cover all of the time with some of the younger guys. He is going to bring that to the table. And like I said, he is really good with the ball in his hands, so getting him the ball, he can lower his shoulder at times and make guys miss. Not necessarily defensive linemen, but DBs that are trying to tackle him. I think he is going to be a good weapon for us on all downs. ”

Shula on Darius Slayton: “I think Slayton has been pretty consistent. He’s been a really good pick for us. As long as he stays on track he’s got good speed, he uses his hands you can see. He’s got more confidence in his hands, he’s catching the ball more consistently. I think he’s a good route runner, that was one thing kind of coming out of the draft I was anxious to see how he did with maybe our routes, which were maybe a little bit different that the routes he ran at Auburn. He does a good job at the top end of those routes.”

Shula on how defenses will change with Odell Beckham now gone: “I think kind of based on last year, not as much as you might think. I mean, there might have been certain teams that had an all-out double team, but other than that, there really wasn’t much, and part of that probably was because of Saquon. I mean you got to be careful doubling receivers when you’ve got a back like that.”

Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert on Darius Slayton: “Slayton, I saw what we saw on tape. I saw a guy who has some pretty good size, who can run. His first practice, you know, he was trying to figure a lot of stuff out in the first half of the first practice, had a couple of drops, for the second half of that practice he made some good catches in traffic and had two good remaining days. So looking for explosive plays from Darius Slayton, he’s an explosive player who’s made a lot of plays, 21 or 22 yards a catch, something like that in college and I’m looking forward to him bringing that to the Giants.”

Tolbert on Corey Coleman: “It is a big opportunity, especially him being in the offseason program with us. He’s getting the whole gambit if you will: from the very first install to the whole, you know, all the way through. Last year when he came in we were his fourth offense he’s been in, in maybe the span of 3 months. Now it’s just our offense the whole time so he can grasp what we’re doing and have a solid contribution. He’s doing well this year. He’s doing much better than he did last year.”

PREDICTIONS: After Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, it’s difficult to predict what the make-up of this unit will look like. Darius Slayton has obviously caught the attention of the coaches, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact he can make as a rookie. One gets the sense that Eli Manning’s main targets will be Shepard, Tate, running back Saquon Barkley, and tight end Evan Engram (a de facto year-on-year change of Beckham with Tate). The good news is the Giants will have the ability to move Shepard, Tate, Barkley, and Engram all over the place, keeping defenses on their toes.

As previously stated, unless Coleman or Slayton surprise with significant playing time, we are not likely to see many 40+ yard touchdowns on deep routes by this group. But the run-after-catch damage could be significant. And as a group, most of the receivers are good run blockers who could have a significant impact on the ground game. In my mind, the guy on the hot seat is Shepard. He needs to justify his $41 million contract, be more productive, and make more big plays.

The wild cards here are numerous, but it is unwise to count on Cinderella stories. Can the talented Corey Coleman turn his career around? Have Cody Latimer and Bennie Fowler finally found a home? Did the Giants find small school gold in Reggie White, Jr. or Alex Wesley?

Don’t discount the importance of special teams in determining who makes it. A guy like Russell Shepard was a core special teamer last season. Slayton and Coleman can also return.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, Corey Coleman, Russell Shepard

Jun 042019
 
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Golden Tate, New York Giants (June 4, 2019)

Golden Tate – © USA TODAY Sports

JUNE 4, 2019 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The first day of the New York Giants 3-day mandatory mini-camp was held on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. All 90 players on the current roster were present.

“First day of mini-camp,” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur after practice. “It was very competitive and very spirited. Very typical of the way the OTA’s have been. We got a lot done today. A lot of red zone, a lot of third-down stuff, situational things we need to work on and have been working on. It is just a continuation in my mind of the OTA’s to this point. It felt that way as well.”

INJURY REPORT…
Quarterback/tight end Eric Dungey (back), wide receiver Brittan Golden (unknown), tight end Evan Engram (“soreness”), left tackle Nate Solder (recovering from ankle surgery), right tackle Mike Remmers (recovering from back surgery), defensive lineman Olsen Pierre (unknown), linebacker Markus Golden (unknown), linebacker Avery Moss (unknown), and safety Sean Chandler (unknown) did not practice.

Quarterback Kyle Lauletta (recovering from knee surgery) practiced on a limited basis.

“Just minor things (on the injury front),” said Head Coach Pat Shurmur. “No one long term. We feel good about having everyone back here soon and definitely by the time we start camp.”

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants waived/injured outside linebacker Jeremiah Harris (knee) on Tuesday. To fill his roster spot, the team signed outside linebacker Keion Adams. The Giants signed Harris as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft. Adams was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Adams spent his rookie season on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury. He spent the 2018 season on the Practice Squad of the Steelers. They cut him in May 2019.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Jon Halapio was the primary first-team center; Spencer Pulley also received a few first-team reps.
  • Corey Coleman saw reps with the first unit as the #3 wide receiver.
  • The starting defensive line consisted of Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill with all three players seeing some reps at nose tackle.
  • Lorenzo Carter and Kareem Martin were the first-team outside linebackers.
  • Alec Ogletree and B.J. Goodson were the first-team inside linebackers. Tae Davis continues to see reps with the first-team unit as nickle inside linebacker. Safety Mark McLaurin also continues to see reps at inside linebacker.
  • Deandre Baker and Janoris Jenkins were the first-team cornerbacks with Grant Haley playing in the slot.
  • Linebacker B.J. Goodson intercepted a pass from quarterback Kyle Lauletta.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning completed a deep pass over linebacker Tae Davis to tight end Rhett Ellison.
  • Quarterback Daniel Jones threw a perfect deep sideline pass to wide receiver Reggie White, Jr. against cornerback Tony Lippett. Jones threw a touchdown on a well-thrown fade pass to wide receiver Cody Latimer, but also had two interceptions off of tipped passes.
  • Cornerback Deandre Baker deflected a pass from quarterback Eli Manning, but wide receiver Golden Tate caught the ball off of the deflection for a long gain.
  • Cornerback Julian Love intercepted a pass deflected by linebacker Jonathan Anderson.
  • Safety Antoine Bethea intercepted a pass but was stripped of the football by wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who also recovered the ball.
  • Quarterback Daniel Jones ran for a long touchdown off a read-option play, faking out the entire defense.
  • While both quarterbacks Eli Manning and Daniel Jones threw interceptions, quarterback Alex Tanney had a very good day throwing the football. Taney hit both wide receiver Darius Slayton and Cody Latimer deep.

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

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

ARTICLES…

Apr 152019
 
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Pat Shurmur and Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (September 30, 2018)

Pat Shurmur and Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS OFFSEASON PROGRAM BEGINS…
The New York Giants offseason program began on Monday, April 15th, kicking off the 9-week “voluntary” program that by NFL rules is broken into three phases:

  • Phase One (Two Weeks): Consists of activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
  • Phase Two (Three Weeks): Consists of on-field workouts that may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
  • Phase Three (Four Weeks): Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The team’s OTAs will be held on May 20-21, May 23, May 28-29, May 31, and June 10-13. A rookie mini-camp will be held on May 3-4 and a mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 4-6.

PAT SHURMUR CONFERENCE CALL…
New York Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur addressed the media by conference call on Monday:

Good afternoon. As you know, today started our offseason program. Guys were energetic and excited to get going. We had alternating running and lifting. We had good meetings so it was a good first day. I am looking forward to getting this thing going for the 2019 season. We have the draft here on the horizon but we like the group of guys that we have assembled to this point. Just put them through the paces and get them prepared so we can put them through the OTA’s and the mini camps to work our way toward training camp.

Q: Did everyone show up today and did anyone tell you they were not going to be a part of this?
A: We had one player that is showing up today and he let me know that. Other than that, we had everyone here.

Q: Can you share who that was?
A: No. As you know, this is a voluntary. This player had a prior arrangement and he let me know way ahead of time that he had something he had to take care of. He is arriving today so he will be here working tomorrow.

Q: How different is this from last year in regards to what you are trying to accomplish? What is the biggest difference?
A: Well, we certainly know the players much better. By playing a season, we know the areas we need to improve. I talked to the team about finishing. I felt that we did some things throughout the games that were good. We just have to do a better job of finishing. The schemes and the systems, things we like to do schematically, are more ready to go for the players. They can watch themselves on the cut-ups. Anything you do on the second time around, you will be smoother. The idea is that you get off to a better start starting next season.

Q: Is Sam Beal 100 percent and ready to go?
A: Yes, he is ready to go. He is bright-eyed and ready to go. He is coming back from a shoulder surgery and has rehabbed it well. He is 100 percent at this point so he will be able to take part in everything we are doing.

Q: How much easier is it at this point now knowing the strengths and weaknesses you have in your players?
A: It is a huge advantage. To be able to know what the players can do, we have a lot of really good players. A lot of players that were young last year had an opportunity to play more than they typically would. You get a chance to watch them and see their development, you can project and see the improvement they are going to make this year. It really helps, also, if you have not worked with a player, I think back to the offensive line and how we had it structured last year. We made changes to it. Having worked with players, seeing their strengths and their weaknesses, it helps you more even as we get ready for the draft.

Q: What are your thoughts on where your secondary is right now? What types of challenges does that present having some new guys in there and having a lot of changes?
A: We have made a lot of changes, especially bringing in Jabrill and Antoine Bethea, but we still have Michael Thomas, Kenny Ladler is still here, Kamrin Moore and so is Sean Chandler. There are some guys that were here a year ago. Michael Thomas is a special teams captain and he probably played more safety a year ago than we anticipated, so he has some experience. Kenny is an experienced player and then we have the young players Moore and Chandler, they have done some good things for us. At safety, we have brought in two guys that we anticipate being starters for us, Jabrill and Antoine. They are bright guys and they will get going here quickly. At corner, we have Jackrabbit, who looked good today, and I am anticipating he will have a great offseason. Sam Beal is here and we signed Michael Hunter. Then we got Antonio Hamilton, Tony Lippett and Henre’ Toliver, along with Grant Haley. It is a good group. A lot of young players that have a lot of experience. We just have to see how it comes together so we can determine who our three corners will be in the starting rotation and then really our two starting safeties and the primary backup.

Q: This is the first time you addressed the team since the season ended, did you talk or address the team on any players that left the team? Odell? Landon?
A: No, I think the important thing was bringing the group that we have here together. We talked about why our players left from a year ago and how we wish them well. While they were Giants, we were rooting for them and doing everything we could to get them better. We are rooting for them now that they are out of our building. We crossed that bridge then. As we move forward, I think it is important that we move forward with the group we have.

Q: Do you think you can come out of this draft with two or three defensive starters right away?
A: That is the idea. We have some high picks, so you look to get some guys that can help. A lot of times, guys that are significant role players function in roles as starters. We are looking at everyone we pick to be able to contribute. That is the exciting thing about the draft. There are plenty of really good players at all positions. We are going to pick guys that we feel can contribute.

Q: With Dwayne Haskins visiting and your players in the building, can you branch those two together and see how he fits in with other players in the building?
A: We try and keep that part separate. We have a couple more days of visits, as you know. It just so happens that Dwayne is in today. It will be somewhat separate. They really are not allowed to be involved too much with what we are doing. His visit will be similar to the ones we have had with the quarterbacks we have already brought in.

Q: Do you trust that Eli will handle this situation OK being in the last season of his contract and what might happen the next couple weeks? Do you feel the need to talk to him?
A: I don’t feel the need to talk to him about his contract. Eli does a great job of staying in the moment. He was here today and we got going. He is excited to get into this, the second year of our system and build on what we did the last half of the season. Eli is really terrific at staying in the moment. Right now, it is offseason training. Just trying to get comfortable with his receivers and try and master his decisions. I think that is where he is at. I don’t feel the need to talk about that with him.

Q: Just curious with the commitment to Sterling Shepard that you have made, do you see much more potential than what he has already shown?
A: Certainly. He still is a young player. I saw some things from him last year that were improvements. He is very durable, very sturdy. He is good in all phases of the game. He blocks well, catches the ball well and is very competitive. In all aspects of playing receiver, you have to continue to improve and ascend. We really like the football player in him, too. The competitive nature and the durability. All the things that he brings to a receiving corps. I am not saying that in comparison to anyone, that is just what we have appreciated about him.

Q: This team has a much different look this year as it did a year ago. How would you compare this team right now to the one you had a year ago?
A: It is hard to say right now. We liked the moves we made. With regard to our trades, we felt that both teams got value. We were able to add safeties to fill in for Landon leaving. We added an offensive lineman up front with Zeitler. We added pieces. That is probably a better question to answer later in the offseason, but we like the players we are working with. We look forward to adding a few players from this year’s draft.

Q: Where is Jon Halapio in his return from surgery?
A: Pio is back. He is working and getting ready to go.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts of Monday’s media conference calls with the following players are available in The Corner Forum:

Apr 102019
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (October 22, 2018)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN STERLING SHEPARD TO 4-YEAR CONTRACT EXTENSION…
Although not officially announced yet, the New York Giants have signed wide receiver Sterling Shepard to a 4-year contract extension reportedly worth $41 million, including $21.3 million in guaranteed money, that will keep him under contract through the 2023 season. Shepard had one year and $1,260,624 in salary left on his current contract with almost a $1.9 million cap hit.

In his third season with the Giants in 2018, Shepard started all 16 games, finishing with 66 catches for 872 yards and four touchdowns. Shepard was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Giants. Shepard started all 16 regular-season games as a rookie, but missed five games in 2017 with various ailments.

MO CLAIBORNE AND COREY LIUGET VISIT GIANTS…
ESPN is reporting that unrestricted free agents cornerback Morris Claiborne (New York Jets) and defensive lineman Corey Liuget (San Diego Chargers) have visited the Giants.

The 29-year old, 5’11”, 192-pound Claiborne was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dallas Cowboys, where he played from 2012 to 2016. Claiborne signed with the Jets in 2017. In seven NFL seasons, Claiborne has played in 77 regular-season games with 73 starts. He started 15 games in 2018 and finished the year with 57 tackles, 14 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions.

The 29-year old, 6’2”, 300-pound Liuget was drafted by the Chargers in the 1st round of the 2011 NFL Draft. In eight NFL seasons, Liuget has played in 108 regular-season games with 103 starts. Liuget was suspended four games in 2018 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. After playing in six games with three starts, he then suffered a torn quad tendon and was placed on Injured Reserve.

Feb 152019
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 12, 2018)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 New York Giants were a top heavy team, with some elite talent at a number of positions but with the overall quality of the rest of the roster rapidly falling off. And the wide receiver position was just one example of this issue. Coming out of training camp, the team’s top wideouts were Odell Beckham, Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Kaelin Clay, and Russell Shepard. Injuries hit this position hard, including Beckham (4 games), Latimer (placed on IR and later returning, missing 10 games), and Clay (only playing in two games before being placed on IR and later waived). Thus began a revolving door at the position for much of the season at the 3rd, 4th, and 5th receiver spots. Those who later saw playing time at wide receiver and/or special teams included Bennie Fowler, Corey Coleman, Jawill Davis, Quadree Henderson (also ended up on IR), and Stacy Coley (waived after one game).

There was no better indicator of the sharp divide between Beckham (77 catches) and Sterling Shepard (66 catches) and the rest of the wide-receiving corps than the reception totals. No other wide receiver on the roster had more than 16 catches. And combined, the other receivers had a total of just 46 receptions. Part of this was a function of Eli Manning having other options, including running back Saquon Barkley (91 catches) and tight ends Evan Engram (45 catches) and Rhett Ellison (25 catches). But it was obvious that opposing defenses did not concern themselves too much with the other wideouts.

Of course, the primary headliner was Beckham, who was coming off a very serious fractured ankle that required surgery and which caused him to miss 12 games in 2017. While some contend that Beckham did not appear to be quite the same player, statistically-speaking, his numbers were on par with his 2016 season if adjusted for the four games he missed in 2018 due to a somewhat mysterious quad injury. What was missing were the eye-opening, huge, explosive plays. The good news is that despite the media’s goal of turning him into a click-bait lightning rod, Beckham did seem to mature and did not sulk as more team and fan attention shifted to Barkley.

Sterling Shepard is a very solid, complimentary piece as a slot receiver, but it has become pretty clear that he is not a consistent vertical threat. He has averaged 63 catches, 762 yards, and 4.7 touchdowns per year in his first three NFL seasons.

Overall, it is fair to say that more was expected from Beckham, Shepard, and Latimer than a total of 154 catches and just 11 touchdown receptions.

THE HEADLINERS

Despite missing the last four games of the season with a quad injury, Odell Beckham, Jr. accrued 77 receptions for 1,052 yards (13.7 yards per catch) and six touchdowns. It was Beckham’s fourth 1,000-yard season in his first five years in the NFL (Beckham missed 12 games in 2017 with a fractured ankle that required surgery). Beckham’s accolades already include Pro Football Writers of America “Rookie of the Year” (2014), second-team All-Pro (2015, 2016), and Pro Bowl (2014, 2015, 2016). All of this despite constant double teams by opposing defenses. Beckham was drafted in the 1st round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Giants. While Beckham lacks classic size, his long arms, big hands, and tremendous jumping ability give him a very good catch radius. Beckham is an explosive athlete with excellent speed, quickness, and agility. Beckham runs good routes, is very quick out of his breaks, adjusts exceptionally well to the football, and regularly makes the circus catch. He is very dangerous with the football in his hands after the catch. Competitive, passionate, and hard working.

In his third season with the Giants, Sterling Shepard started all 16 games, finishing with 66 catches for 872 yards and four touchdowns. Shepard was selected in the 2nd round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Giants. Shepard started all 16 regular-season games as a rookie, but missed five games in 2017 with various ailments. Shepard lacks ideal size and speed, but he is a fluid athlete with good quickness. Shepard runs good routes, is tough going over the middle, and adjusts well to the football. He is guilty of the occasional drop. Shepard is not a consistent deep threat, but more of a move-the-chains underneath target. He needs to make more big plays.

THE MISFIT TOYS

The Giants signed Cody Latimer as an unrestricted free agent from the Denver Broncos in March 2018 and placed him on Injured Reserve with a hamstring injury in October 2018. The Giants activated him from IR in December. Latimer ended up playing in six games with two starts, catching just 11 passes for 190 yards and one touchdown. However, he really flashed in the regular-season finale with two spectacular, one-handed catches. The 6’2”, 215-pound Latimer was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Broncos. In four seasons with the Broncos, Latimer played in 45 regular-season games with three starts. He’s a big receiver who will fight for the football. Latimer is a good gunner on special teams and has experience returning kickoffs.

After signing late with the Giants in October 2018, Bennie Fowler surprisingly played in 10 games with five starts, finishing the year with 16 catches for 199 yards and one touchdown. The 6’1”, 212-pound Fowler originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Denver Broncos after the 2014 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Broncos (2014-2017), Chicago Bears (2018), and New England Patriots (2018). Fowler has played in 55 regular-season games with 10 starts. He has 72 career catches for 897 yards and six touchdowns.

The Giants signed Russell Shepard in May 2018 after he was cut by the Carolina Panthers. He ended up playing in 12 games, with no starts, catching 12 passes for 188 yards and two touchdowns. The 6’1”, 195-pound Shepard was originally signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as undrafted rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. Shepard has spent time with the Eagles (2013), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013-2016), and Panthers (2017). He has 57 career catches for 822 yards and six touchdowns. Shepard is a good gunner on special teams.

The Giants signed Corey Coleman to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018. He ended up playing in eight games with one start, finishing with five catches for 71 yards. Coleman’s primary contribution came on special teams as as kickoff returner (averaging 26 yards on 23 returns). The 5’11”, 185-pound Coleman was originally drafted in the 1st round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns. An explosive athlete but an injury-plagued bust in Cleveland, Coleman has also had brief stints with the Buffalo Bills and New England Patriots in 2018. Coleman has played in 27 NFL games with 19 starts, accruing 61 catches for 789 yards and five touchdowns.

The Giants signed Jawill Davis as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2018 NFL Draft. He was signed to the Practice Squad after the final preseason cutdown and then signed to the 53-man roster in September. Davis injured his knee during the last practice of the year and was placed on Injured Reserve before the last game. Davis has average size, but he is a good athlete with excellent speed. He played in seven games for the Giants, catching four passes for 40 yards. He also returned 12 punts (7.4 yards per return) and seven kickoffs (24.4 yards per return).

The Giants placed Quadree Henderson on Injured Reserve in late November 2018 with a fractured shoulder. The 5’8”, 192-pound Henderson was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2018 NFL Draft. The Steelers waived him before the season started. The Giants signed Henderson to the Practice Squad and then the 53-man roster in October 2018, and then back to the Practice Squad and the 53-man roster again in November. Henderson played in five games for the Giants and returned five kickoffs (22.4 yards per return average) and nine punts (7.6 yards per return average).

The Giants signed Alonzo Russell after he impressed as a tryout player during the May 2018 rookie mini-camp and then signed him to the Practice Squad in September. He was added to the 53-man roster before the last game of the season. The 6’3”, 206-pound Russell was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2016 NFL Draft. He spent his rookie season on the Bengals’ Practice Squad. The Bengals waived him in September 2017 and he was signed to the Practice Squad of the Arizona Cardinals in November 2017. Russell has not caught a pass in a regular-season game.