NY GIANTS Articles and Video
Posted 03 September 2018 - 11:24 AM
Giants waive QB Davis Webb in shocking move; breaking down who Big Blue claimed
Dave Gettleman: Dragon slayer.
The Giants GM on Sunday stunningly waived second-year quarterback Davis Webb, nicknamed “Dragon” as a rookie by Eli Manning. And in doing so, Gettleman revealed the succession plan for his 37-year-old quarterback to be as mythological, fantastical and non-existent as the creature inspiring Webb’s namesake.
Gettleman, it is now even harder to believe in hindsight, drafted Saquon Barkley instead of a quarterback with the No. 2 pick in April’s draft, despite Manning’s age and declining performance — and without confidence in the only other QB on the roster at the time of the draft, Webb, Jerry Reese’s third-round 2017 pick out of Cal.
The Jets, meanwhile, happily at No. 3 plucked Sam Darnold, who so far has demonstrated plenty of the qualities necessary to be a potential franchise-changing quarterback — enough to warrant a top-10 selection, for sure.
And yet here was Gettleman on Saturday, gauging the trade market for Webb and eventually releasing him Sunday without ever having seen Webb play a regular season NFL game, leaving just rookie fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta, 22, out of Richmond and veteran journeyman Alex Tanney, 30, as backup QBs on this roster.
Webb, 23, is no stranger to adversity, having battled both Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes for playing time at Texas Tech before transferring and thriving for a final year at Cal. Webb did, however, have his legs pulled out from under him by the Giants late last season.
Ben McAdoo was planning on playing Webb in the final four regular season games, but once McAdoo was fired, the Giants abandoned the plan under interim coach Steve Spagnuolo, leaving new coach Pat Shurmur to evaluate Webb with no game tape to his name.
Webb outperformed Lauletta this preseason, but it makes you wonder how long ago Gettleman and Shurmur actually decided to move on from Webb if he was taking second team snaps all training camp and preseason — and started with the ones and played well in the second game in Detroit — but still was released.
And so it is that after the Super Bowl LII champion Philadelphia Eagles laid out the modern blueprint for contending — a cheap starting QB (Carson Wentz) on a rookie contract that opens team cap space, and a solid experienced backup (Nick Foles) just in case — the Giants in 2018 will start Manning and his $22.2 million cap hit and back him up with one career NFL regular season appearance (Tanney, 2015, Tennessee Titans).
And this in a win-now year. But so be it: this is officially now Gettleman’s team.
Think about how odd this is: Reese was general manager from 2007 through 2017, and there are now no QBs on the roster from his regime.
The Giants’ 53-man roster after Sunday’s action includes 29 players acquired or drafted by Gettleman, 23 players brought here by Reese, and one courtesy of Ernie Accorsi from that franchise-changing 2004 draft.
Only 10 Reese draft picks remain on the roster: Zak DeOssie (2007), Odell Beckham Jr. (2014), Ereck Flowers (2015), Landon Collins (2015), Eli Apple (2016), Sterling Shepard (2016), B.J. Goodson (2016), Evan Engram (2017), Dalvin Tomlinson (2017) and Wayne Gallman (2017).
The Giants are in especially high turnover after Sunday, when Gettleman claimed six players off waivers — castoffs from other rosters — and released six of his own players, including Webb, to make room.
Along with Webb, other Giants who made the initial 53-man roster on Saturday but got cut Sunday were guard John Jerry, wide receiver Hunter Sharp, tight end Jerell Adams, defensive tackle Josh Banks and corner William Gay.
As replacements, the Giants claimed off waivers defensive lineman Mario Edwards (Raiders), center Spencer Pulley (Chargers), wideout Kaelin Clay (Bills) and three corners: Michael Jordan (Browns), Kamrin Moore (Saints) and Antonio Hamilton (Raiders).
The Giants also signed eight players to their practice squad, all of whom they had released Sunday: DE Avery Moss, LB Calvin Munson, DB Grant Haley, WRs Alonzo Russell and Jawill Davis, TE Garrett Dickerson, RB Jhurell Pressley and OT Victor Salako.
Here are some notes on the newest Giants:
DL Mario Edwards (Raiders) — 6-3, 280 pounds
Edwards, 24, a 2015 Oakland second-round pick out of Florida State, has 71 tackles and 5.5 sacks in 30 games (24 starters). It’s unclear where exactly he will fit in the scheme. Could hold a place for suspended Josh Mauro.
C Spencer Pulley (Chargers) — 6-4, 308 pounds
Pulley, 25, a former teammate of Pat Shurmur’s son, quarterback Kyle, at Vanderbilt in 2015, started all 16 games for the Chargers last season after appearing in 16 his rookie year of 2016. Replaces traded Brett Jones.
CB Michael Jordan (Browns) — 6-1 200 pounds
Jordan, 25, a former undrafted free agent out of Missouri Western State, has 40 tackles and five passes defended in 20 games (three starts) with the Rams (2016) and Browns (2017). Giants corner depth needs help.
WR Kaelin Clay (Bills) — 5-10, 195 pounds
Clay, 26, is a player Gettleman also had signed in April 2017 in Carolina. The 2015 Tampa Bay sixth-round pick out of Utah has just six career catches for 85 yards but has 42 punt returns for 393 yards and two TDs in two seasons with three different teams (Ravens 2015; Bills and Panthers 2017). He also returned 14 kickoffs for Baltimore. This cost Sharp his roster spot.
CB Kamrin Moore (Saints) — 5-11, 203 pounds
Moore, 21, New Orleans’ sixth-round pick this past April out of Boston College, is a rookie looking for a second chance after being waived by the Saints.
CB Antonio Hamilton (Raiders) — 6-0, 190 pounds
Hamilton, 25, a former undrafted free agent out of South Carolina State, has 15 tackles and zero passes defended in 12 career games (no starts) these last two seasons with Oakland.
Posted 04 September 2018 - 02:21 PM
Saquon Barkley is all systems go for Sunday’s Week 1 opener against the visiting Jacksonville Jaguars. The left hamstring strain that sidelined the rookie No. 2 overall pick the second half of the preseason will not limit him.
“I definitely think I’m ready for a full (work)load the way I’ve been preparing, the way I’ve been practicing,” Barkley said Monday during the Giants’ first open locker room of 2018. “I’m excited for the game, excited to get the season started.”
And so Barkley begins his journey to justify the Giants’ selection of him instead of a quarterback, a decision that proved increasingly risky and perplexing with Sunday’s release of second-year QB Davis Webb.
Confusion and concern linger about the team’s backup and succession plans for quarterback Eli Manning, 37, and while head coach Pat Shurmur was receptive to being second-guessed on Monday, he did not do much to clarify those questions.
Shurmur insisted the Giants “do” have a plan for life after Manning, “it’s just not what everybody outside our building had predicted the plan was.”
Still, it’s not clear what exactly that plan is, other than placing full confidence in Manning playing higher quality football than he has been for many years to come.
Shurmur does see positive qualities in rookie fourth-round pick Kyle Lauletta: “I like the fact that he’ll decide what he’s looking at, see it and pull the trigger. He’s very decisive in what he does. He’s a gamer of sorts.”
Still, this felt like more of decision against Webb than for Lauletta. In their actions and words Sunday and Monday, the Giants vocalized essentially that they don’t think Webb is very good.
Shurmur, asked point blank if he felt Lauletta and journeyman veteran Alex Tanney had outplayed Webb this preseason, said: “We feel like they are better choices for us now, yes.”
Webb took second-string QB reps all summer and even performed well in the second preseason game in Detroit starting with the ones.
“People started to assume because he’s taking the second-string reps that he’s the second-string quarterback,” Shurmur said.
The coach declined to say when he had arrived at the conclusion to move on from a 2017 third-round quarterback who had never appeared in an NFL regular season game: “There’s no reason for me to talk about when.
“Keep in mind, in practices, we had a lot of opportunity to watch all the players compete,” Shurmur said. “It’d be just like me talking in detail about why we didn’t keep the other 39 guys or whatnot. So it is what it is. There are so many things about (Webb) that are good: he’s an outstanding worker, cares about the game a great deal, and hopefully he’s gonna get another opportunity.”
That is where Shurmur is wrong, though. Cutting Webb is not the same as waiving any of the other players. This is all tied in to the organization’s decision to pass on a quarterback with the second overall pick without any other plan. The goal of winning again now is a good one, but it’s dangerous to do it at the potential expense of the future.
“It’s just not what everybody outside our building had predicted the plan was.”
Shurmur wouldn’t even name his No. 2 quarterback Monday.
It sounded like it could be Tanney, despite his one career NFL regular season appearance in 2015 with the Tennessee Titans, because the coach said: “Here’s the thing with a veteran backup quarterback: they can go in and function with very few reps. And I think that’s an attribute that I look for in a guy who could potentially be a backup to a guy like Eli. Because they don’t get very many reps during the training sessions.”
Shurmur simultaneously said he would be “very comfortable” with putting in Lauletta, as well, but that doesn’t seem to be the plan. On Tuesday, in fact, the Giants are bringing in veteran QB Matt McGloin for a workout, per NFL Network.
McGloin, 28, at least has appeared in 13 career games with one start in 2016 for the Oakland Raiders. And he was recently released by the Chiefs and Kansas City coach Andy Reid, who gave Shurmur his first NFL coaching job in 1999 with the Eagles. Shurmur was on Reid’s staff through 2008.
Stud defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle) is in jeopardy of missing the Giants’ opener against Jacksonville. Vernon was not on the sidelines for the first practice of the week and was not seen in the locker room. If Vernon sits, third-round rookie Lorenzo Carter out of Georgia could be featured even more than already anticipated.
“He was in the training room getting treatment,” Shurmur said of Vernon. “We’re hopeful, but we’ll just have to see. But the fact that he was inside today tells you that -- you know -- he wasn’t out here.”
Tight end Evan Engram, meanwhile, remains in the concussion protocol but was doing normal work early in practice wearing a regular jersey, which is encouraging that he’s progressing well toward Sunday.
Linebacker Tae Davis worked on the side at the start of practice.
“Evan was out here working, as you saw,” Shurmur said. “He’s still in the protocol, but we’re hopeful.”
In addition to McGloin, the Giants on Tuesday are bringing in undrafted rookie KR/WR Quadree Henderson (Pitt) for a workout, according to a source, as well as DE Daeshon Hall (one game with Panthers last year) and KR/WR JoJo Natson (seven games for Jets in 2017), per The Athletic. Henderson also worked out for the Giants prior to the draft. He was released recently by the Steelers.
Posted 04 September 2018 - 03:54 PM
Davis Webb goes unclaimed, to now sign with Jets practice squad
Davis Webb will look to continue his NFL journey with the crosstown rivals of the New York Giants who share a stadium -- the New York Jets.
After going unclaimed by all 32 teams on waivers, in spite of a cheap rookie contract with salary cap hits under $400,000 for the next two seasons, Webb has reportedly signed with the Jets' practice squad, according to beat reporter Brian Costello. Players on the practice squad may be signed by another NFL franchise at any point. It is quite the fall for Webb who went from 2017 third-round draft choice to a member of another team's practice squad in just about 16 months.
It has also certainly been a hectic few days for Webb who went from taking every single rep behind Eli Manning as what appeared to be the clear-cut No. 2 quarterback and possibly the future starter of the Giants to released, unclaimed, and searching for another opportunity.
On Monday after Giants practice, head coach Pat Shurmur defended the team's decision to release Webb in favor of rookie Kyle Lauletta and journeyman Alex Tanney as the two quarterbacks behind Manning.
"There was no reason for me to talk about when, but while he was taking the second-team reps, I mentioned a long time ago there was no depth chart behind Eli," Shurmur told Giants reporters after Monday's practice. "We were trying to figure out who the guys playing quarterback behind Eli were going to be. He got a lot of reps and that's why people assumed he was going to be the second-string quarterback, but it didn't play out that way."
When pressed about how Webb could get released after earning Shurmur's praise following his preseason start against the Detroit Lions first-team defense, the head coach hinted that game tape from the week of joint practices that included scrimmages may have played a factor.
"No, I thought he played better than he did in the week previous," Shurmur said of Webb's performance against the Lions. "Keep in mind Detroit practices, our practices here, we had a lot of opportunity to watch all the players compete. It would be just like me talking in detail about why we didn’t keep the other 39 guys or what not. It is the way it is. There are so many things about him that are good, he’s an outstanding worker, he cares about the game a great deal, and I’m hopeful he’s going to get another opportunity."
Shurmur also made it clear that where a player was drafted will not play a role in how the roster is constructed.
"Really, at some point, regardless of where you’re drafted, once you’re settled in as a player on the team, that kind of goes away," Shurmur said. "We’re all out here trying to earn a spot every day, players and coaches. So, at some point, whether you’re drafted in the third round or the fifth round, that sort of goes away at some point and you play it out.
"Let’s forget for a minute he was a third-round pick. He was on our team as a Giant and we watched him go through what we do in training camp and what we do in practice and we made a decision to move on and go with the other guys. Let’s forget for a minute that he was a third-round pick. I really do mean that. At some point, that all goes away."
Posted 17 September 2018 - 01:05 PM
Leonard: Eli Manning's and Giants' offensive futility is unacceptable now after all the moves they've made
ARLINGTON, Tex. — Unacceptable.
The Giants are not allowed to put a product this poor on the field anymore. This 20-13 loss to the Cowboys was too much.
Not after a 3-13 season in 2017. Not after blowing up their front office and coaching staff and retooling the roster around Eli Manning to make a playoff run now. Not after drafting Saquon Barkley No. 2 overall to jumpstart the offense. Not with Odell Beckham Jr. healthy and capable of taking over games.
How then, could this happen on Sunday night, on national television against an unimposing Cowboys team? How could GM Dave Gettleman overhaul this roster in his preferred image and rid the locker room of last year’s bad influences, and assemble a team so similarly lifeless and hopeless on offense and prone to huge mistakes?
Not only does this type of performance not suffice for a team with playoff aspirations. It doesn’t even suffice for an NFL team with aspirations of simply winning a game. Naturally, plenty Giants players were ticked off.
“Just not good enough,” Manning said. “Obviously guys are disappointed, some guys are getting frustrated — as we should. But we can’t let that affect our preparation or our practices. We’ve got to bounce back. … Nothing is going to get fixed by complaining. We just need to step it up, make a difference and fix some things.”
The futility of Pat Shurmur’s offense is most jarring, of course, with Manning checking down all of his passes even when he has time, and the offensive line proving ill-equipped to handle even the simplest pass rush ploys, surrendering six sacks.
“We didn’t do anything well enough on offense to win this game,” Shurmur said.
Rookie guard Will Hernandez added: “It’s just unacceptable. We have to get better, and we have to win.”
Janoris Jenkins and the Giants defense did set the night’s ugly tone by giving up a 64-yard Dak Prescott touchdown pass to Tavon Austin on the Cowboys’ third play from scrimmage. Jenkins said he slipped.
James Bettcher’s D, despite settling in through the middle of the game, also did not force a turnover and then allowed Prescott to engineer a 14-play, 82-yard fourth-quarter drive to eat up 8:23 of clock for an Ezekiel Elliott touchdown at 5:51 to shut the door on the game at 20-3.
The offense’s ineptitude, though, was this game’s story and especially striking coming off of Ben McAdoo’s offense’s embarrassing performance last season. Except on Sunday night the Giants had a healthy Beckham and their prized new back in Barkley and still were easily bottled up.
“Obviously guys are disappointed, some guys are getting frustrated — as we should."Eli Manning
Manning’s drought to open the season without a touchdown pass dragged to 118 minutes and 28 seconds until he hit Evan Engram for an 18-yard TD to draw within 20-10 with 1:32 to play.
And the Giants’ offensive players and Shurmur acknowledged that the Cowboys simply sat back with two deep safeties and forced the Giants to throw underneath. And save for a 37-yard completion to Cody Latimer (his first target of the season) in the third quarter, the Giants couldn’t push the ball down the field.
Sterling Shepard didn’t have a single target until two minutes remained in the first half.
“You’ve just got to get it to your playmakers and you’ve got to make a play. That’s the bottom line,” Shepard said when asked how to combat the Cowboys’ defense. “I couldn’t give it to you schematically on how to do that, but when I look at it, that’s what I see: just get it to your playmakers and let ’em go make plays.”
After Ben McAdoo’s 2017 Giants lost 19-3 here in Week 1, Sunday’s lack of production felt especially nauseating because the Giants paid Beckham all that money on his contract extension but weren’t able to free him or target him frequently enough to take advantage of the talent that erupted for 11 catches and 111 yards in the Week 1 20-15 home loss to the Jaguars.
“Whatever it is we need to do, we need to find it soon,” Beckham said. “They just outplayed us, plain and simple.”
It began with Manning frequently checking the ball down early, often to Barkley, even when he had good protection from his line. But that protection would not last. Manning eventually took hits and sacks from all sides, sacked four times in the first half alone.
Nate Solder, Hernandez, Patrick Omameh and Ereck Flowers all were victimized by DeMarcus Lawrence, Taco Charlton and the Cowboys’ front. Hernandez’s mistake led to a Manning third-quarter fumble. Fullback Shane Smith also was responsible for two sacks surrendered in one drive alone late in the first half.
Center Jon Halapio was seemingly the only lineman not directly victimized on a pass rush, but when he badly injured his right leg and was carted off in the third quarter, it took backup center John Greco only two plays to get beaten on the rush. Lawrence flushed Manning from the pocket, and Manning took a major hit from LB Jaylon Smith.
Linemen like Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg were bid good riddance essentially when the Giants let them walk in free agency in the offseason, but those were two good players and the line that remains so far has been worse.
The Giants’ offense gained only 79 yards in the first half on 32 plays, good for 2.5 yards per play. They went 2-for-9 on third downs in the half, largely because either Manning consistently threw the ball below the first-down marker or because the Cowboys disrupted with pressure up front.
Barkley tied a rookie record with 14 receptions but it amounted to only 80 yards, mostly on short checkdowns. He broke seven tackles, Beckham broke three and Wayne Gallman broke one, but it wasn’t enough.
“Every time you lose it sucks,” Barkley said.
Until Barkley’s 10-yard run on their final drive of the first half, in fact, Manning was the team’s leading rusher with two carries for three yards — both on fourth downs. Confusingly, Shurmur punted on 4th-and-1 down 7-0 in the first quarter from the Giants’ 48-yard line but a couple drives later went for it on both 4th-and-1 from the Giants’ 35 and 46 yard lines, getting both.
Why draft a running back No. 2 overall and not be confident in gaining that first down on the 48? Or better question: why draft a running back over a QB of the future if your team isn’t close to ready to winning now?
Shurmur’s team, unlike McAdoo’s last year, at least showed it wouldn’t quit when Michael Thomas recovered an onside kick fumbled by the Cowboys’ Blake Jarwin and the offense put up 10 late points. But the outlook is bleak.
Since 1990, only 28 of the 231 teams (12 percent) that started an NFL season 0-2 have made the playoffs in the current playoff format, per Elias Sports Bureau. In that time, the Giants have started 0-2 in eight different seasons and made the playoffs only once, in their 2007 Super Bowl winning season with Tom Coughlin as coach.
NBC also showed a stat that teams who start 1-1 have a 41% chance of making the playoffs since 2002, while teams that fall to 0-2 have only an 11% chance of making the postseason in that time span.
The Giants can’t be thinking about the playoffs, though, and they probably won’t have to at all this season. They should be thinking about putting a competent product on a football field and winning a game.
Posted 23 September 2018 - 10:25 AM
Raissman: Giants coach Pat Shurmur better learn to dish up some real talk or he'll wind up another McAdoo
Pat Shurmur would have been better off feeding media whale Mike (Sports Pope) Francesa a few spontaneous, substantive answers rather than sticking to coach-speak script during his recent weekly WFAN interview.
The spot was similar to the sessions Shurmur holds with boss scribes who cover the Giants. During his press conferences, seen on MSG, Shurmur does not present a tough guy façade behind the microphone. He does project a likeable, grounded presence.
Yet the coach has willfully chosen to put reporters on a starvation diet. They ask the same questions in different ways and get mostly nothing out of him. Once in a while he’ll react by rolling his eyes or asking a reporter what he or she is trying to get at.
Shurmur knows better. He definitely knows the difference between direct, meaningful answers and the crap he’s been serving up.
At one point during his spot with the pontiff, (he also asked the same question multiple times in different ways and couldn’t get one straight answer) Shurmur said: “I apologize. This probably doesn’t make for a very good interview. I get it.”
Think about that. Shurmur is getting paid to do these FAN interviews with Francesa and admits his answers are not very good. Maybe we shouldn’t be so surprised. In an interview last January with veteran NFL writer and former Daily News NFL columnist Gary Myers, Mike Holmgren who hired Shurmur to coach Cleveland, said the coach let the Cleveland media bug him.
“He read everything. He knew everything that was said,” Holmgren told Myers. “I told him, ‘You can’t let it get to you. Don’t create an adversarial situation.’ I tried to counsel him that way.”
“If he couldn’t handle the Cleveland media, what’s gonna happen in New York?” Myers wrote.
The answer to that question will come even more into focus should the 0-2 Giants fall to 0-3 by losing to the winless Texans on Sunday. After a week of the media playing the blame game (Is it Eli or the offensive line?), would a loss force Shurmur to be candid when it comes to dissecting another debacle? Or would he circle the Big Blue wagons and be even more evasive and scripted?
Up to this point, Shurmur has done nothing to cultivate any media allies. Should the Giants continue to lose, when expectations were once so high, he’s going to need some. Recent history shows this. When his world was tumbling down, no one in the media had Ben McAdoo’s back. He had not created any relationships or media allies. McAdoo had done nothing to keep anyone from piling on or being a conduit for his side of the story.
If Shurmur doesn’t alter his media style, he could find himself alone on the same island.
It’s not only Shurmur who is getting paid by local radio suits in return for delivering nothing.
Todd Bowles (ESPN-98.7) fits into that category. So does Eli Manning. When it comes to radio interviews, the Giants QB is the highest paid. Radio moles say Manning gets between $180,000 and $225,000 for appearing a few minutes each week with Francesa during the football season.
That’s more dough than most of the on-air personalities make in a year.
Bowles and Shurmur ain’t making that kind of moo-la-dee. Their radio earnings are likely part of their overall coaching contracts with the Jets and the Giants. The brass at 98.7 and FAN believe these Giants and Jets paid interviews attract added listenership.
Over many moons no one has ever proven to us that this premise is true.
Posted 02 October 2018 - 01:42 PM
The morning after, here are five takeaways from the Giants’ disappointing 33-18 home loss to the New Orleans Saints.
1. OFFENSIVE FUTILITY
2. COACHING QUESTION MARK
Pat Shurmur knew he screwed up. The Saints had the ball in the final two minutes of the first half. Shurmur had all three of the Giants’ timeouts. And twice, after a completion to Michael Thomas starting with 1:51 to play and an Alvin Kamara run with 1:05 to play, Shurmur let the clock run. The Saints eventually kicked a field goal with 15 seconds remaining and the Giants received the kickoff and knelt on first down and went into halftime without having used any of their first-half timeouts. After the game Shurmur said: “In hindsight I felt like they were working their way down, in hindsight you know maybe I could have done it. We didn’t.” Shurmur’s special teams unit also got caught badly on a fake punt on the Saints’ second possession that kept New Orleans driving for its first points on a Will Lutz field goal.
3. WHAT’S THE ‘D’ TO DO?
The Giants defense eventually broke and Kamara ran wild, scoring three touchdowns, but it’s incredible that James Bettcher’s unit held Drew Brees to just 217 passing yards and no TD passes and the Giants still lost by 15 points. The Giants D is far from perfect, to be sure. There isn’t enough of a pass rush (outside of a B.J. Hill sack). LB Ray-Ray Armstrong and FS Curtis Riley struggle. But considering how well Janoris Jenkins and the secondary covered for a lot of the game — and how Landon Collins did his best to take over the game, especially late — it’s remarkable this was the result anyway.
4. THE 30-POINT DROUGHT DRAGS ON
The Saints were allowing more than 34 points per game to opponents coming in. The Giants scored just seven first-half points and 18 for the game, meaning they have failed to score 30 points as a franchise in 37 straight games, including their 2016 Wild-Card playoff game, a streak of futility that dates back to Week 17 of the 2015 season when Tom Coughlin was still coach. It is the longest drought in the league now after Cleveland scored 42 points in Sunday’s loss in Oakland.
5. TOUGH SCHEDULE WON’T LET UP
The Giants must now go to Carolina to take on a Panthers team coming off a bye week, followed by hosting the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles on a short week on Thursday Night Football. Digging out of this hole won’t be easy. The Giants have lost their first two games at home, by the way, for the second straight season.
Posted 06 October 2018 - 02:27 PM
The Giants now are officially Odell Beckham Jr.’s team, not Eli Manning’s.
And while that already was true the second Beckham signed his five-year, $90 million extension on Aug. 27, coach Pat Shurmur’s refusal on Friday to reprimand Beckham for comments critical of the team and quarterback sealed it.
Because when Beckham said in an ESPN interview released Friday that the Giants lack “heart” and “energy” and took his clearest shot yet at Manning’s poor play, Shurmur had his first opportunity to reinforce the new regime’s supposed harder line and lower tolerance for divisiveness and distractions.
And instead, Shurmur publicly passed the buck when asked if he would discipline Beckham.
And so you need to understand something here. Read this however many times you need:
One major and legitimate reason Shurmur is not coming down hard on Beckham for his criticisms of the quarterback has to be that Shurmur knows OBJ is right. He will not say it, but I believe the coach is just as impatient and frustrated with Manning as Beckham is. That, to me, is why Manning was giving off such a defensive vibe on Monday.
My issue is that Shurmur is not coming down on Beckham for questioning the team’s “heart” and for making his criticism of the quarterback so public. Because regardless of what Shurmur agrees or disagrees with, he and GM Dave Gettleman were supposed to avoid repeating the mistakes of predecessors Jerry Reese, Ben McAdoo and even Tom Coughlin.
And one of the trio’s greatest errors was often enabling players, Beckham especially, rather than disciplining them whenever their behavior was destructive rather than constructive. This was part of the reason the culture deteriorated: unclear standards and expectations, inconsistent enforcement and special treatment.
Shurmur, though, is faced with the harsh reality that his team has a 1-3 record and desperately needs to win Sunday at Carolina, and suspending or disciplining Beckham would not help their goal to do so.
Still, I expected this coach to do more than he did at his Friday afternoon press meeting, which was to deflect and spin like a top. At first I thought maybe Shurmur actually had told Beckham that, in lieu of a punishment, he must explain himself publicly to squash the drama. Because Shurmur said three different times to ask OBJ to explain himself.
“I guess you’d have to clarify — that’s probably a better question for him what he meant by it,” Shurmur said, adding later, “I’m not sure he was unhappy. I don’t know. Again, if you have a question regarding what he said or what he meant, I would just ask you to spin back and ask him,” and, “You just need to clarify (from) him what he meant.”
But Beckham was not available in the locker room afterward, so it was tough to see how Shurmur resolved this at all.
Beckham posted on Instagram a few times Friday, saying “perfection is the goal, n I’m headin to the pylon;” “Love me…or hate me. I am who I am…” and issuing a heartfelt reflection on a trying past 365 days recovering from his broken left ankle. He concluded with: “Last year and the past is now officially behind me n I ain’t loookin back, on GOD. Let the games begin #JokerSzn #ImBack.”
The meat of Beckham’s controversial comments to ESPN’s Josina Anderson, though, was that the Giants’ poor start “has to do with the energy that we don’t have, that we don’t bring every single day. And you know me. I’m a passionate, energetic person. I always have to have that. If I don’t, it’s gonna be a problem for me. And just playing with some heart. We just need to play with some heart.”
Beckham then alluded to frustrations with Manning’s inability and reluctance to throw the ball downfield.
“How come we can’t throw the ball for more than 20 yards?” Beckham asked rhetorically. “How come we don’t attempt or try to throw the ball for more than 20 yards? Those are questions that we have to figure out. But for now I would say it’s our heart, it’s our energy. It’s what we bring when we line up before the game, all of that. It counts.”
If Beckham’s comments ruffled any teammates’ feathers, they weren’t showing it. But many of them also were coached up to answer that execution was the issue, not energy and heart, which is the same line Shurmur used.
Most meaningful in support of Beckham was special teams captain Michael Thomas saying: “I have no issue with someone trying to hold guys accountable.” And fellow wideout Sterling Shepard provided the most insightful clarification of what Beckham meant by his remarks on a lack of energy.
“I think what he’s talking about is just before the game, some guys are different,” Shepard said. “Some guys want to sit in the locker and look over plays. Some guys want to get rowdy. That’s what kind of personality he has, so that’s what he likes to see. But some guys are different. But yeah, I feel like it all comes down to just execution and everybody being assignment sound.”
So no, Beckham is not wrong to be frustrated with Manning. And he is not being selfish; he is tired of losing. If he went a career-high fifth straight game without a touchdown on Sunday but the Giants won, he’d be happy.
Still, when Shurmur was hired and Gettleman constantly said “he’s an adult,” the message was that this new regime would not tolerate distractions and nonsense and would enforce those expectations to correct the culture accordingly.
I know Beckham is the franchise’s best player and $90 million man and that he makes some good points, but frankly I am surprised — even in the Giants’ desperate situation — at Shurmur’s refusal to act.
The coach’s message is clear, though: the team needs to win, and it’s not Beckham who needs to be sent a message; it’s Manning.
Olivier Vernon (high left ankle sprain) is a surprise scratch for a fifth straight game to start the season despite Shurmur, Vernon and defensive coordinator James Bettcher being “optimistic” early this week. Vernon joins tight end Evan Engram (right knee MCL sprain) on Sunday’s list of injured players out.
“O.V. had a really good week, he was close but not quite close enough,” Shurmur said. “So then we just backed off a little bit today to give him some rest.”
The good news is that the Giants will get back CB Eli Apple (groin), WR Cody Latimer (knee) and CB Antonio Hamilton (groin). And LB Connor Barwin (knee), Shepard (back) and DL Damon Harrison (knee) all are good to go.
Posted 13 October 2018 - 02:33 PM
The Giants defense didn’t have any takeaways in Thursday night’s unacceptable 34-13 beatdown to the Eagles. But we have 5 from the disappointing defeat.
1. TIME TO LOOK “IN THE MIRROR”
Defensive captain Alec Ogletree bristled when I asked him if there was a problem with effort: “I don’t question any man’s effort out here,” but he’s a diplomatic leader, and in another way Ogletree essentially challenged his teammates to give more and fight to save the season.
“We’ve got a little break here, so I hope everybody goes and reflects on what we wanna come back and be,” said the veteran linebacker (eight tackles, one for loss, one QB hurry). “(It will take) every man just looking in the mirror and doing the things they say they want to do. We’ve got to come together as a team and play as one. We can’t have mistakes all over the field, because it hurts us.
2. SUPER SAQUON
Saquon Barkley had several runs Thursday night that left the entire nation breathless, making comparisons to Walter Payton and Barry Sanders, and yet when he looked up after his 50-yard TD run in the third quarter, the score still was 31-13 Eagles. I asked Barkley how strange it was to dominate individually but still see his team down by so many points.
“You really don’t even know that you’re dominating in a game when you’re down two touchdowns, three touchdowns,” Barkley said. “Only thing in your mind is no matter what, if you’re down by 40, if you’re down by 50, 60 or whatever, you just continue to play your heart out for this team and for your brothers on the sideline. So you’re not even focusing on that. I guess that’s why you don’t even notice it because that’s just the mindset that I have.”
I also asked Barkley if he was trying to “carry” the team to a win. He basically said he doesn’t want to characterize it that way but, hey, if we want to, he can understand why we would.
“I wouldn’t say that I was trying to carry the team. That’s not my mindset really ever,” Barkley said. “My mindset is to go out there and play my butt off, lead on the sideline, push myself, push my teammates and do whatever it takes to help the team win or help put us in a better position to win. It’s never really the mindset of carrying the team on my back. If that’s how people take it or see it, then I guess you could say that. But my mindset is just go out there fighting, fighting my butt off and try to break tackles and make plays for my teammates.”
3. APPOINTMENT VIEWING COLLEGE FB SATURDAY FOR GIANTS
While Pat Shurmur flies to Nashville to see his son, Kyle, lead Vanderbilt against Florida in a noon start, GM Dave Gettleman should flip on his TV at 3:30 p.m. and watch No. 17 Oregon and quarterback Justin Herbert take on No. 7 Washington. If the Giants are going to have a top three pick again, and they’re well on their way, they need to evaluate the emerging top QB in the 2019 draft class. The Giants, by the way, as of Friday morning are dead last, 32nd of 32 teams, in the NFL standings. Same record after six games that they had last season. They also have lost four straight head-to-head vs. the Eagles, and Philly coach Doug Pederson is 4-1 in two-plus years so far against the Giants.
4. SHURMUR AND ELI BOTH SHOWING OPEN FRUSTRATION, TOO
Now it’s not just Odell Beckham Jr. venting openly on the field and sidelines. Shurmur could be seen on the FOX broadcast appearing to say “throw the ball” in frustration after one Eli Manning decision. “I don’t recall that,” he said after the game. And Manning uncharacteristically and clearly blamed RB Wayne Gallman for running the wrong route on a third down incompletion in the second quarter. Gallman had dropped a pass on second down, and Manning and the running back weren’t on the same page on third down, so the pass fell incomplete. Manning made sure everyone in the building knew it was Gallman’s fault. The QB is feeling the heat. He should be.
5. CURSE OF THE BOAT TRIP
Since the infamous Boat Trip, the Giants have a 4-19 record in their last 23 games.
Posted 20 October 2018 - 02:22 PM
Leonard: Odell Beckham's dad rips John Mara and the star WR doesn't like water ... just another day with Pat Shurmur's Giant circus
By PAT LEONARD
OCT 20, 2018 | 1:15 AM
Odell Beckham Jr. avoided challenging John Mara’s shut up-and-play edict on Friday, saying “I respect and value his opinion,” only to be dragged right back into a dramatic face-off with the Giants’ co-owner by Beckham’s own father.
Odell Beckham Sr. blasted Mara on his verified Instagram account over a seemingly years-old video posted this week by Twitter user @MayweatherSZN of Mara throwing a chair in the press box.
And while OBJ himself did not write the words, his father’s vitriol reflects on Beckham and has the appearance of someone close to him vocalizing how the star wide receiver really feels.
“Is that owner Mara picking up a chair and throwing it!!” Beckham Sr. wrote in a two days old post that ProFootballTalk sent viral on Friday. “Oh my my the tree is acting like the Apple!!! Yet the commentator is talking about Odell.. Wow!! Listen this is not the White House, we have comprehending cellular activity don’t even try it! He’s mad at how Odell is acting sooo HE DOES THE SAME??! You couldn’t make this up if you tried.”
The Instagram post was liked by Giants wide receiver Cody Latimer, and Giants wideout Russell Shepard also posted an emoji of a face laughing.
This non-stop drama is exactly why head coach Pat Shurmur’s face noticeably changed on Friday afternoon when he realized that the first several questions, on a day he finally might have the chance to talk only football, would be about Beckham instead.
Odell Beckham talks Giants owner John Mara's criticism and his hydration habits during another bizarre day in Big Blue world. (Tom Canavan / AP)
Odell Beckham Sr.’s video would not go viral until hours later, so Shurmur wasn’t asked about it. But he was nevertheless incredulous about being asked multiple questions about Beckham’s Friday assertion that “I really don’t like water.”
Shurmur light-heartedly played along at first, saying: “Yeah? Well we gotta work with that. Certainly that’s your main way to hydrate. Yeah, I like water. I’m a big fan of water actually.”
But gradually he lost patience with the line of questioning: “That’s news to me, yeah. I mean listen: Odell and I and the players talk about a lot of things. We don’t talk about our like and dislike for water.” And then under his breath, Shurmur muttered: “What a business.”
Pat Shurmur mutters 'What a business' after having to answer about Odell Beckham's water drinking habits. (Bill Kostroun / AP)
Wow. And it’s only Week 7.
In Shurmur’s defense, Arthur Fonzarelli himself could not have jumped the shark more than the Giants’ 2018 narrative did on Friday. That’s right: Big Blue has its own Watergate.
But it’s important to remember, too: Beckham only was asked about his hydration habits because Shurmur and the Giants have blamed dehydration for OBJ’s premature, pre-halftime trips to the locker room in Weeks 1 and 6 against the Jaguars and Eagles.
Beckham’s sideline history and his frustration in each of those games make it easy to question whether Beckham was really going in to get an I.V. or whether he was sent in to cool down.
Regardless, if given the choice now, Shurmur certainly would prefer this silly water narrative be the headline over his best player’s father ripping one of the franchise’s two owners publicly.
It’s out of the Giants’ control now, though, all of it.
Beckham mostly played nice on Friday, too. He said he has to play better, and he said he tells Eli Manning in every huddle “take me home, 10,” offering a sliver of optimism for the quarterback he’s criticized.
OBJ, however, also said “(I) never have regrets” about anything he’s done lately, a subtle reminder that while he’s behaving right now, he meant everything that he has said recently — even if he knows it was counterproductive to say it.
And as Shurmur accurately summarized: “The ESPN interview’s gonna be part of our DNA, but we’ve moved on, and I think that’s important for everybody to understand.
“But it’s not (over) when everybody keeps asking him about it, right?” the coach added. “And if he tells you the same answer all the time, then that’s that.”
If only that were that. Now Odell Beckham Sr. is involved, blasting Mara on social media.
No matter what the Giants (1-5) do, they can’t stop taking on water.
THE INJURY REPORT
WR/KR Jawill Davis was an unexpected addition to Friday’s injury report with a concussion and did not practice. This could mean a call-up for practice squad return man Quadree Henderson, an undrafted free agent out of Pitt, for Monday night’s game in Atlanta.
WR Russell Shepard (neck) and OT Nate Solder (neck) remained limited. OLB Olivier Vernon (ribs) was upgraded to a full participant alongside TEs Rhett Ellison (foot) and Evan Engram (knee).
Posted 10 December 2018 - 01:05 PM
Leonard: Saquon Barkley's inspired play is giving Giants reason to believe they can stick with Eli Manning
LANDOVER, Md. — Sunday’s 40-16 decimation of pathetic Washington might be the game that seals Dave Gettleman’s belief the Giants still can win in 2019 with Eli Manning as their starting quarterback.
You could hear the ‘just wait until next year’ drumbeat in Pat Shurmur’s final comment after his team’s inspired fourth win in five games to keep Big Blue’s slim playoff hopes alive, done impressively with injured stars Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins out of the lineup.
“Years are connected,” Shurmur said of how such a dominant victory can be a building block. “I like the locker room. I think the guys are listening. … We’re on the right track.”
The Giants (5-8), you see, believe they’ve found the blueprint: punish teams with Saquon Barkley and play aggressive defense, creating optimal conditions for Manning in the pass game, asking him mainly for red-zone efficiency and ball security.
Manning gave them that Sunday with three touchdown passes, no turnovers and a few other pinpoint throws. And on top of that, rookie backup Kyle Lauletta laid such an egg in his NFL debut in the fourth quarter to confirm there is no better option than Manning yet in the building.
Gettleman, too, was giddy in the press box while watching Barkley put Washington’s defense in a headlock and give them noogies for three quarters before resting in the fourth.
“We were taken to the back of the barn, kind of like your grandmother does with one of those big thick paddles,” Washington corner Josh Norman said. “And we got it put to the backside pretty good. That’s what happened.”
Barkley rushed for 170 yards on just 14 carries, including a 78-yard touchdown and another 52-yard jaunt. And with the score 40-0, he said he gladly would have kept putting it on Washington if Shurmur hadn’t enacted the mercy rule.
“Well at 40-0 my mindset is why not keep going?” Barkley said. “If you can put up 60 — obviously you do it the Giants’ way with respect, you’re not just trying to embarrass a team — but if you have an opportunity, why not? Why not continue and keep going?”
The Giants defense (five sacks, three interceptions, a Curtis Riley touchdown) drove Mark Sanchez to the bench for Josh Johnson, holding Sanchez to a 10.7 quarterback rating that reads more like an NBA power forward’s rebounding average.
But most pertinent to the franchise’s future at the sport’s most important position, Manning complemented Barkley’s ground game efficiently with three TD passes to Sterling Shepard, Bennie Fowler and Russell Shepard.
And the quarterback also hit Corey Coleman down the sideline with a 30-yard strike that probably will be the throw Gettleman mentions at the top of Manning’s contract extension press conference in February.
That is only a half-joke. The Giants are emboldened by their win streak, and despite Manning playing poorly in their Week 13 win over the Chicago Bears, for example, they see a path to winning on Barkley’s shoulders with Manning capable of complementing the star back.
Manning sees it, too.
“He’s a tremendous player,” Manning said of Barkley. “I think we’re starting to figure out this offense runs through him a little bit. When we’re running the ball well, it just sets up everything else.”
“I think we’re starting to figure out this offense runs through (Saquon) a little bit."
What it set up on Sunday was the Giants’ first 40-point output in 54 games since a 52-49 shootout loss in New Orleans back on Nov. 1, 2015, under Tom Coughlin.
More than that, though, you have to believe Barkley’s excellence and recent results are telling the Giants what they already wanted to believe: that they still can win with Manning as their starting quarterback next season.
Whether that is a prudent course of action is another matter. When it’s time to decide, though, there is no doubt this Washington game will be fresh in the Giants’ minds. And it probably points to the decision Gettleman already wanted to make.
Posted 21 February 2019 - 02:57 PM
NFL offseason is abuzz connecting OBJ's name almost daily to trade talk, most recently with the New England Patriots
This could make for an unprecedented star-studded wide receiver trade market, as the Pittsburgh Steelers already have committed to dealing the disgruntled Antonio Brown.
While the Giants certainly have discussed Beckham trades before, there is misinformation now clouding the conversation about his history and potential fate.
We are here to set the record straight on this constantly-evolving story. Here we separate fact from fiction about the Giants, Beckham and a potential trade:
FICTION: The Patriots’ interest in OBJ convinced the Giants how good Beckham is.
The Giants have plenty of failings, but evaluating Beckham’s talent is not one of them. Dave Gettleman did not need the Patriots to covet Beckham last offseason to know the star receiver is a desirable player worth keeping, as NBC Sports reported recently. It is possible, though, that the Patriots’ involvement raised the stakes and led to the Giants keeping Beckham.
The Giants’ initial asking price in a Beckham trade last spring when they were talking with the L.A. Rams was a first-round pick plus, as first reported by the Daily News in March 2018. That meant a first-round pick plus a pick lower than a second first-rounder. But two days later, their price had gone up to two first-rounders, per ESPN, and that led to no trade at all.
Hypothetically, it’s possible the Patriots made the highest offer as an aggressive suitor, and with no other team willing to match, the Giants stayed put. New England did end up with two first-round picks (Nos. 23 and 31) after their early April trade of Brandin Cooks to the Rams, so they could have tried to turn their increased capital into an OBJ upgrade at wideout.
I also would believe the prospect of a Tom Brady-Beckham Super Bowl, from a public relations perspective, could scare the Giants away. But let’s get this straight: the Giants were not suddenly made aware of Beckham’s talent by the Patriots’ interest. Give them some credit.
FACT: A Beckham trade remains possible.
Pat Shurmur and the Giants were most sensitive last season to any needling of the Beckham-Shurmur-Giants relationship, and I believe it’s because he was the one - and by far most important - player they couldn’t control/rein in. There was consistent friction, never more public than Beckham’s ESPN sit-down interview. And while he initially bought in - and does respect Shurmur - he wasn’t going to stay silent while the season spiraled into oblivion.
If the Giants had a different GM and coach, maybe it would be water under the bridge. But the OBJ-Giants relationship has entered a Groundhog Day-like annual cycle: drama, frustration, makeup, repeat. Gettleman is traditional and has a history of harshly parting with malcontent star players (read: Josh Norman, Panthers). Shurmur is prioritizing culture above all.
And Beckham is on the record stating what the Giants won’t - that Eli Manning can’t get it done anymore - while the Giants appear ready to bring the QB back in 2019.
There also are a lot of teams with capital and/or in the market for a receiver, including the soon-to-be-Las-Vegas Raiders (three first-round picks), San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts and Patriots.
FICTION: Beckham is a selfish person and player.
Beckham was labeled selfish on Fox Sports this week, which is unfair and untrue. Beckham has made selfish decisions in the past, but he is a loyal and beloved teammate, a hard worker and a passionate competitor who recently has prioritized the team above himself.
When considering Beckham’s criticism of Manning and the Giants’ direction, and any frustration he carried onto the field, ask this question: why was Beckham frustrated? Why did he speak up?
It’s because he had worked incredibly hard to get healthy after breaking his ankle in 2017, and he had bought in to what Shurmur was selling. But he came back to find a team poorly constructed to win around him, primarily at the quarterback position.
Beckham is not getting any younger, and he wants his team to win. And he is correct that he can help a team do that better than most. And if he’s not getting the opportunities to lift the Giants to victories, what is he supposed to do?
FICTION: Trading Beckham is financially impossible.
If the Giants trade Beckham, they will eat a $16 million dead money charge against their 2019 salary cap. That’s the number. Write it down. Anything else you hear is false. And while this isn’t ideal, there is precedent of Gettleman doing this just last spring: he ate $15 million in dead money in 2018 to trade Jason Pierre-Paul to the Bucs. The only major difference is that former GM Jerry Reese signed JPP to his big contract; Beckham’s deal is Gettleman’s.
FACT: Beckham was nearly traded last offseason.
A year ago, no one wanted to believe the Giants were considering trading Beckham. Now, everyone talks about last spring’s activity as fact, with no attribution, as they rush to get on the board with their take before something actually happens. To recall the chronology: the Daily News first reported last March that the Rams had talked with the Giants about trading for Beckham and mentioned the Niners and Patriots among likely suitors as a market developed. Talks heated up as other teams checked in. The Niners were the second known team to do so. Even after Beckham re-signed in New York, he made reference at one point to his uncertainty in the spring of whether he was going to be a Giant in 2018. And then Fox reported at the October trade deadline that teams had called the Giants with decent offers for OBJ again. Now this offseason has been flooded with a ‘bold’ trade prediction in The Athletic and Beckham gossip.
FICTION: The Giants and Steelers may swap star receivers OBJ and AB.
Brown’s social media trade demands and calling out of QB Ben Roethlisberger are the absolute last types of behavior that the Giants would want to introduce into their dressing room. And it makes any recent Beckham transgression look tame in comparison.
Plus, if the Giants do trade Beckham, they wouldn’t be getting a better player in return. They would be doing it for an accumulation of players and assets to improve talent deficiencies at several positions, or perhaps a combination of a quarterback (Derek Carr/Jacoby Brissett) and assets. And they would be doing it in part for culture reasons. AB won’t be a Giant. Forget it.
Posted 13 March 2019 - 01:11 PM
Dave Gettleman called Odell Beckham Jr. directly on Tuesday night to tell him he had traded him to the Cleveland Browns.
Beckham, 26, knew a year ago that Gettleman was talking to teams about trading him off the Giants. So it’s not like the GM’s phone call was unexpected.
In fact, in recent days, Beckham had wondered amid all the rumors of his departure whether he’d wake up one day on a different team.
But Beckham still was stunned Tuesday, according to sources close to him, that it actually had happened.
He is no longer a Giant. OBJ no longer will wear blue. He will be immortalized in his Giant uniform, reaching back for that iconic one-handed catch as a rookie in 2014.
But he is now part of the Dawg Pound. He is now a Brown.
And truth be told, this is best for Beckham.
He escapes a Giant franchise drowning in its misplaced loyalty to Eli Manning, with eight wins in its last 33 games. And he joins a rising tide in Cleveland led by Baker Mayfield, OBJ’s best friend Jarvis Landry, mentor and wide receivers coach Adam Henry, and an excellent GM in John Dorsey.
It is the culmination of trade talks that began when Gettleman listened to overtures from the L.A. Rams last spring, which were first reported by the Daily News and kicked off a flurry of interest in OBJ from various suitors including the Niners and Patriots.
The conversations never truly subsided, even after Gettleman re-signed Beckham to a five-year, $90 million contract last August. And ultimately, Gettleman paid Beckham $21.5 million in for 12 games in 2018 ($20 million signing bonus, $1.459 million in base salary) to then trade him.
And now by dealing Beckham, Gettleman assumes a $16 million dead cap hit on the Giants’ books for 2019. This on top of failing to rebuild the offensive line sufficiently for his first season with a 5-11 record.
Rough goings for the GM, indeed.
The idea that this was going to take two first-round picks was simply the Giants negotiating.
Their original asking price last spring with the Rams was a first-round pick plus a second- or third-round pick. And generally that’s what they got on Tuesday, plus a player.
The Browns sent their No. 17 overall pick, a third-round pick (No. 95 overall) and third-year free safety Jabrill Peppers (of East Orange, N.J.) to the Giants.
The inclusion of Peppers was a big deal to the Giants, I’m told. As the trade was coming together, a message was conveyed on the Giants’ demands: “They want the safety,” a source said.
The Giants have two first-round picks in April’s draft now, too. So they have the capital to potentially get both a franchise quarterback and a premier pass rusher using the Nos. 6 and 17 overall picks.
On the other hand, the pressure is on Gettleman to pick great players there, as well, since he just traded one off his roster.
“Gettleman had better do well with those picks,” one NFL executive told the News. “It’s hard to replace that level of talent.”
To that end, what can’t get lost in the Giants’ hype of Saquon Barkley and the Manning lovefest, is how truly great a player Gettleman just traded.
What’s going to get lost in the Giants’ hype of Saquon Barkley and the Manning lovefest, however, is how truly great a player that Gettleman just traded off the Giants for good.
Beckham shattered Giants and NFL records left and right, amassing 91, 96 and 101 catches in his first three seasons, plus a ridiculous 35 touchdown catches in his first 43 NFL games.
Ironically, where it all started to fall apart was in the preseason in Aug. 2017 in Cleveland. Browns safety Briean Boddy-Calhoun undercut Beckham on an ugly hit after Manning overthrew a hospital ball to OBJ. And Beckham limped off the field in agony.
He said he was OK. And he tried to play through, but then he broke his ankle after catching a slant from Manning in Week 5 against the Chargers. OBJ missed the rest of the season. Manning’s poor play led to Ben McAdoo asking him to play just the first half in Oakland. Manning refused to play at all. Geno Smith started. Everybody got fired.
And then Beckham grinded, and worked, and pushed himself to rehab and start fresh with Gettleman and Shurmur and to help the organization win. Until he realized he’d come all the way back to play with a QB and a team that still wasn’t ready to win.
Throughout, Beckham’s behavior often did not jibe with what the organization expected of him: from his 2015 street fight on the field with Josh Norman that Tom Coughlin declined to break up; to the infamous Boat Trip; to last spring’s scandalous video from his vacation to France.
But all in all, Beckham is one of a kind, a transcendent talent, and the Giants are going to miss him.
Posted 01 May 2019 - 01:23 PM
Mike Francesa keeps digging a deeper hole over comments about Corey Ballentine
By DAILY NEWS SPORTS STAFF
| New York Daily News |
May 01, 2019 | 12:37 AM
Mike Francesa has been in the hot seat since Monday over comments he made about the Corey Ballentine shooting. It only got worse for the host on Tuesday when he called into another WFAN show to defend himself.
The controversy started Monday when Francesa said, “When you finish a draft and stress that you went out of your way to take the right kind of guys, the guys you want on your team, the guys who are going to be great character guys and you stress that as strongly as the Giants did, it looks pretty bad when one of them gets shot on a Saturday night.”
“It’s just more of the same for the Giants who can’t get out of their own way. I mean no matter what they say, and you’ve seen people poking a lot of fun at the Giants, and as someone who’s been around the Giants for 40 years, as someone who’s grown up with the football Giants. It’s sad to see the Giants become the laughingstock around the league and right now people are doing nothing but making jokes about the Giants and that’s sad.”
Later on his WFAN show, he kept the focus on the Giants instead of Ballentine or the murdered Dwane Simmons. He stayed in the vein of his earlier comments, saying he didn’t know the details of the situation and was relieved Ballentine was expected to make a recovery, but that this happened to a new Giants player was unlucky for the Giants.
“When you’re bad, you’re unlucky and right now the Giants are really bad so they’re really unlucky,” Francesa said.
By Tuesday, many, including fellow WFAN hosts Boomer Esiason and Gio Giannotti, called him out on it.
“Those comments look idiotic now. It’s a horrendous story, and they just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time, " Esiason said. “His buddy got killed. His roommate got killed. How do you take that and put that at the Giants’ feet is beyond me.”
That didn’t sit too well with Francesa, who made a surprise call into their show to defend himself.
“How much misinformation can you guys give out in five minutes... You didn’t say that I opened up my comment with ‘this could happen to any player on any team in any organization, any sport, anywhere in life,'" Francesa said.
"And if it turns out that he was in the wrong place or was doing something wrong, the Giants would look embarrassed because they made such an issue of character. I said ‘if.’ I said we have no facts, I’ve been trying to get facts and we don’t have any facts. How about you guys mentioning that before killing me for what I said?”
Boomer and Gio made a point of asking if they had misquoted any of Francesa’s comments, with Boomer adding he didn’t hear Francesa say the word “if." Francesa shot back that although they did not misquote him, they “took it completely out of context.”
Posted 05 May 2019 - 03:47 PM
Daniel Jones gets more than passing grade at Giants minicamp
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After two days of rookie minicamp, it's easy to see why the New York Giants drafted Daniel Jones of Duke with the No. 6 pick.
He reminds them of someone they know: Eli Manning.
Jones can throw all the passes. His focus is football. And when he talks about life in the NFL, he sounds like a coach.
Jones may be bland, but that's the way the Giants like their players these days. Team first, everything else second.
Rock the boat and the Giants' patience will run out — as it did with Odell Beckham Jr.
In the minicamp that ends Sunday, Jones' throws were crisp. If there was any drawback, some tosses had a little too much heat on them.
He showed he could handle the media. He said nothing controversial and didn't bother to see what anyone had written or said about him.
"I got up, got over here and opened up the second install," he said. "That's what I needed to do."
Coming to the camp, the Giants gave Jones a portion of their playbook so they could run plays with the 76 players in attendance.
"It has been manageable, but it's all new stuff for everyone," Jones said. "I think it was a good amount of stuff. It's going to be a challenge just to learn the verbiage and the way everything is called, the way everything is structured in the offense. I thought it was a good amount for the first day and we kind of got an equal amount the second."
Jones will be given a bigger package to take home to North Carolina. The rookies and free agents are due back a week from Monday, when they will start working with the veterans.
"I'm going to try to learn as much as I possibly can," said Jones, who also plans to throw during the week off. "It's tough without being on the field necessarily in 11-on-11 football, but if he expects me to do it, I will make sure I do my best to do it."
Coach Pat Shurmur has been pleased with what he has seen, although the 21-year-old is going to have to make adjustments.
While the fundamentals are relatively the same, New York has its quarterbacks under center much more than Duke did. The Giants also have different drop backs that will cause Jones to adjust some of his footwork, the coach said.
Jones brings a new element to the position — his ability to move in the pocket. The 38-year-old Manning has rarely scrambled since taking over as the Giants quarterback in 2004.
"I really believe you have to be able to move," Shurmur said. "There has to be mobility. Whether you are moving around in the pocket, scrambling, you have to be able to move. He can do that. Then, arm strength. If you don't have the first few, arm strength means nothing, in my mind. He has arm strength as well. I think you saw that as well."
Since the draft, Shurmur said Manning has had no response to the Giants taking an heir apparent.
"I have never been around a person that can stay in the moment better than Eli," Shurmur said. "That is something that is really unique about him. He is staying in the moment and training to have a terrific season. He looks really good out here throwing, moving and doing all the things necessary."
NOTES: S Jacob Thieneman and LB Nate Harvey sustained knee injuries that may require surgery, Shurmur said. He said they were hurt in non-contact drills. ... Jones was intercepted in Saturday afternoon's practice by free agent cornerback McKinley Whitfield of Tulsa. The pass was initially tipped by cornerback DeAndre Baker, the Giants' third pick in the first round.
Posted 03 June 2019 - 12:52 PM
June is here, all is quiet, and that is how the Giants want it.
This silence, this monotony, is by design.
Football is the only topic of discussion as Big Blue prepares to open its mandatory three-day minicamp on Tuesday, and Giants GM Dave Gettleman no doubt feels vindicated watching Odell Beckham skip the majority of Cleveland Browns voluntary offseason workouts.
This was Gettleman’s primary objective in jettisoning outspoken personalities such as Beckham, Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon, after all: to eliminate so-called distractions and keep the focus on the field. The result so far? Mostly crickets.
Fewer distractions, however, also mean fewer excuses. So if the Giants don’t start winning, the only meaningful change will be a transformation from bad and dysfunctional to bad and boring.
Unless you reject the concept of Gettleman’s wholesale culture change in the first place.
Consider: while Gettleman has spent a lot of time pointing out the misgivings of Jerry Reese’s players, he drafted two in April’s first round who came with an asterisk.
Defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (No. 17) was suspended for Clemson’s two bowl games after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug ostarine. His Tigers won those two games without him by a combined score of 74-19.
Cornerback Deandre Baker (No. 31), meanwhile, drew criticism for behavior surrounding Georgia’s bowl game and for his work habits leading up to a disappointing NFL Combine.
No one is demonizing either player. The point is Gettleman is living with his own imperfect prospects; they’re simply getting the benefit of the doubt as newcomers, with focus on their on-field potential instead of their off-field mistakes or immaturities.
The reduction in public offseason drama surrounding this team is a welcome change, though, especially for Giants ownership, which owns the blame for plenty of it.
In 2016 it was Josh Brown. In 2017 it was the Boat Trip fallout, Beckham’s contract-related offseason absences, and Vernon’s OTA skip.
In 2018 it was the Manning ‘benching,’ the firing of a coach and GM, Beckham’s night in Paris, Gettleman’s OBJ trade talks, a tug of war negotiation with Beckham, and the dead body of Roosevelt Rene found in the basement of cornerback Janoris Jenkins’ New Jersey home.
Now, here in early June 2019, there is limited noise. The Giants’ record has reset to an optimistic 0-0. They are more in control of the “narrative” they constantly reference.
Even after all of Gettleman’s mind-numbing moves and controversial selection of Daniel Jones, Eli Manning and his teammates are keeping a lid on any personal grievances with the situation and maintaining a united front.
Saquon Barkley even reportedly said on Saturday at his New Jersey kids football camp that Jones will make critics eat their words when Jones “wins two Super Bowls.”
Barkley should be careful with such effusive support of Jones, though. For if the No. 6 overall pick looks that impressive, it may demand Pat Shurmur entertain a quarterback competition for the starting job come August.
That could create the ultimate distraction. Or it could just be the organization making a decision in its own interest that ruffles some feathers.
It all depends on how you look at it and sell it.
Posted 16 July 2019 - 01:17 AM
Posted 08 August 2019 - 12:53 PM
Giants Preview: 5 questions before underdogs see first game action
Apologies to Dave Gettleman’s resume — just ask him, he’ll tell you all about it — but expectations are low for the Giants this season. The holes and question marks are aplenty, especially at quarterback, wide receiver and secondary. Vegas pegs their over/under at six wins, which, if correct, would leave the Giants out of the playoffs for the seventh time in the last eight years.
So they’re embracing the underdog role.
“We relish that. Use that as motivation,” safety Antoine Bethea told the Daily News. “Anybody, in any form of your life, if they’re doubting you, I think you use that as motivation. But here, we’re going to come to work, we’re going to do what we need to do. Everybody is counting us out. The only people that believe in us is the people in this building. We just believe in one another. I think we can do a lot of good things.”
We’ll see. Recent history suggests Eli Manning moves like molasses and it’s a huge liability. Unfortunately, there won’t be much clarity in preseason game No. 1 on Thursday against the Jets.
Coach Pat Shurmur acknowledged Tuesday the opener is more about evaluating players and getting feet wet than playing toward matchups or trying to win. Don’t expect much from the regular starters.
Here are five Giant questions for Thursday:
Since everything in the NFL is a state secret, Shurmur declined to reveal who he’ll make available. He acknowledged there’ll be some healthy scratches, and over the years the coach has accepted the importance of rest in the preseason. Manning and Saquon Barkley are candidates to sit, but we’ll have to wait until closer to kickoff.
Last year Shurmur kept the starters on the field for the first two series of the preseason opener against the Browns. However, that was also in the first year of implementing Shurmur’s offense and the need for reps was more pressing.
“I don’t have a final answer on any of that yet, although I do have some strong ideas who may not [play],” the coach said. “I’ll just leave it at that.”
Jones is definitely going to play and he’ll be front-and-center as the sixth overall pick. The 22-year-old QB has impressed in training camp, but facing Gregg Williams’ live defense will represent his greatest test yet. If he’s starts, getting reps with the first teamers will help but he’ll also be going against Jets starters.
“It’s the next real step in his process, so to speak,” Shurmur said. “We’re looking forward to seeing him go out and execute.”
Odell Beckham is gone. Sterling Shepard is out with a broken thumb. Veteran Golden Tate is eligible for the preseason but is expected to serve a four-game PED suspension once the regular season begins. After Tate and Shepard, the Giants depth chart at receiver lists Bennie Fowler (16 receptions last season), Russell Shepard (10), Alonzo Russell (0), Brittan Golden (0), Da’Mari Scott (0) and Reggie White Jr. (undrafted rookie). The Giants would love for somebody to emerge as a threat in the preseason.
The defensive line was awful last season (tied for second-worst in the NFL with 30 sacks), and Gettleman revamped it by trading Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon. The new group is young and unproven with fears they’ll be overwhelmed. There are even more concerns about the linebackers. First-round pick Dexter Lawrence has the greatest upside at defensive tackle.
In the secondary, Gettleman ditched his best safety — Landon Collins — and brought in Bethea, Jabrill Peppers, DeAndre Baker, Julian Love and Corey Ballentine. Again, young and unproven, with the exception of Bethea. There is a starting CB spot up for grabs opposite Janoris Jenkins, and a lot to be gained in the preseason from individuals in the secondary.
Supposedly this is Manning’s best line since the 2011 Super Bowl. It’s certainly more experienced than the last couple iterations. But before we get crazy, none of the projected starters have been named to a Pro Bowl. The first preseason game won’t be a fair judgement as the offensive line, more than any other area, improves with familiarity and reps.
Posted 08 August 2019 - 12:56 PM
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Posted 09 September 2019 - 11:28 AM
ARLINGTON, Tex. — This defense needs help.
The Giants generated almost no pressure on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott with edge rushers Lorenzo Carter and Markus Golden complementing the interior of Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill.
And with all day to throw, Prescott picked apart the Giants’ linebackers and secondary, throwing frequently at corners Antonio Hamilton and DeAndre Baker, and victimizing several defensive breakdowns on the back end.
Dallas finished with 494 yards of offense and scored touchdowns on five consecutive drives. Prescott had a perfect 158.3 quarterback rating. Receivers Michael Gallup (158 yards) and Amari Cooper (106) both went into triple digits, and four different players caught TD passes from Prescott: Cooper, Randall Cobb, Blake Jarwin and Jason Witten.
“When you sit back and look at the big picture, it’s like five or six plays where either they made plays or there was a miscommunication on our end,” said veteran free safety and defensive co-captain Antoine Bethea of the Cowboys’ seven pass plays of 20 or more yards.
Asked if the Giants’ youth is a factor, including first-round picks Lawrence and Baker, Bethea added: “Some of it is inexperience, but we can’t have any excuses. … We can’t have that excuse that we’re young. Yeah we’re young, but we get paid to do a job, and we’ve got to do our job.”
Baker, who was credited with only one touchdown surrendered in his entire college career at Georgia, was beaten easily by Cooper on a 21-yard touchdown catch.
“It don’t feel good, just got to watch the film and see what I can do better, make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Baker said. “He made a great release, caught the ball. Great play by him.”
Baker had been dealing with a knee injury but insisted he was healthy. “Yes sir,” he said.
Defensive coordinator James Bettcher started Hamilton and rotated him and Baker, then also played them together at points. He also rotated linebackers Tae Davis and rookie Ryan Connelly, playing the Wisconsin product a good amount. But the Giants D had no answers.
Coverage breakdowns happened in the deep middle of the field a few times, with Bethea, Jabrill Peppers and Alec Ogletree in the vicinity.
Baker essentially spoke for every player on the defense when he said: “This is just an opportunity for me to bounce back and show what I can do. Just show I can fight through adversity. I didn’t have the game I wanted to have, but now I show I can bounce back and do what I do next week.”
Saquon Barkley fumbled on his first touch of his second NFL season on Sunday, marking his first ever fumble in an NFL game. He followed it up with a 59-yard run to pace the Giants’ game-opening touchdown drive.
And he was grateful to teammate Eli Penny for recovering the ball and giving him a second chance, which he took deep into Cowboy territory thanks to blocks by Nate Solder, Evan Engram and Cody Latimer.
“We started off with a fumble. Eli Penny saved me,” Barkley said. “The next play we blocked it up perfect and I got a run on the safety. We found a way to score … But we’ve got to find a way to get back to it.”
Pat Shurmur threw his red challenge flag on the Giants’ Hail Mary prior to halftime, seeking to challenge for defensive pass interference. The NFL implemented this new rule for 2019 prompted by the egregious blown non-call on a Rams pass interference against the Saints in last year’s NFC Championship Game.
But only the NFL’s New York officiating office can challenge for defensive pass interference in the final two minutes. Plus, a team needs to have at least one timeout remaining to challenge a play on the field, and the Giants had none left. So Shurmur wasn’t granted a review.
The coach explained his reasoning for throwing the flag anyway.
“I do. I know the rule,” he said. “You can’t, but I was just making a point to the official that they should take a good look and see if that was P.I. or not. So that was what that conversation was about. I wanted to make sure they came over and talked to me about it because I want to make sure those are all officiated the right way.”
The Giants’ inactive list included offensive tackles Chad Slade and Eric Smith, running back Paul Perkins, quarterback Alex Tanney, injured wide receiver Darius Slayton (hamstring) and tight end Garrett Dickerson (quad). The Cowboys sat offensive linemen Adam Redmond and Brandon Knight, defensive linemen Trysten Hill and Taco Charlton, and injured safeties Darian Thompson and Donovan Wilson and linebacker Luke Gifford (all ankle).
Posted 16 September 2019 - 01:10 PM
Eli Manning limping to a finish that should end soon
Yahoo SportsSep 15, 2019, 7:54 PM
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – It’s not Eli Manning’s fault that on a second-and-20 in a one-touchdown game, Buffalo Bills receiver Cole Beasley gave DeAndre Baker, the New York Giants rookie cornerback, the slip and turned what should have been a modest gain into a 51-yard game changer.
It’s not Eli Manning’s fault that on a chip-shot field goal that would have given the Bills a perfectly surmountable 24-14 lead with just about 12 minutes to play, Giants tackle Dexter Lawrence chose to smack Buffalo long snapper Reid Ferguson upside the head, giving the Bills a new set of downs from the New York 2-yard line and, two plays later, scored a touchdown to give them a 28-14 lead.
It’s not Eli Manning’s fault that his Buffalo counterpart, Josh Allen, is 15 years younger than him, faster on his feet, stronger in his arm and infinitely more capable of firing accurate darts from a dead run.
It’s not Eli Manning’s fault that Aldrick Rosas yanked a 48-year field-goal attempt that would have cut the Bills lead to 21-10 right before the end of the first half, or that just prior to that, the Giants defense had allowed Allen to shred it for a 98-year touchdown drive.
And it’s not Eli Manning’s fault that his two best receivers, Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, were on the sidelines for the game with a concussion and a drug suspension, respectively.
There were, however, things that were Eli Manning’s fault.
Such as, the uncanny ability of his passes to find the upraised hands of defensive linemen, his sometimes puzzling inability to locate open receivers, and the dispiriting fact that he can no longer throw the ball down the field with any real precision.
There was the bad overthrow of a wide-open T.J. Jones heading for the end zone in the fourth quarter … and another desperation heave on the next series that Bills safety Jordan Poyer pulled in as if he were the intended receiver. There was the swing pass he spiked into Saquon Barkley’s feet, the pass that sailed several yards wide of Jones that drew the jeers of the crowd … and the tipped-pass interception when the Giants were on the move late in the first half that left head coach Pat Shurmur staring in disbelief.
And on three straight third-quarter possessions, the Giants defense stopped the Bills cold and turned it back to the Giants offense, which could not manage to score a single point in response.
That also may not have been totally Eli Manning’s fault.
But when you are the face of a franchise that has begun its season with two humiliating losses, and the leader of an offense that has managed to score just 31 points in those two games, pretty much everything is perceived to be your fault.
And whether it is fair or not, that is where the fingers of many of the 74,569 fans were being pointed on Sunday at Met Life Stadium.
Not only were the fingers pointed, but so were the questions.
After the Giants’ 28-14 loss to the Bills — the only undefeated New York football team — Shurmur was asked point blank if it was time to think about taking a shot with Daniel Jones, who the Giants chose with the No. 6 pick in this year’s draft.
“I don’t think that’s a conversation for right now,” Shurmur said. “Everybody’s got to get better.”
With that deft non-answer, the Giants’ second-year coach at least proved himself move elusive than his 38-year-old quarterback.
Asked to assess Manning’s performance, Shurmur said, “I think his play is indicative of how our team played. There were some really good plays in there and there were some things we need to improve.”
The full-blown New York quarterback controversy, every tabloid headline writer and talk-show host’s dream, may not have begun yet. But it is certainly on the way.
The truth is, while it is hardly only Eli Manning’s fault that the Giants have started the season so poorly, the 15-year veteran and two-time Super Bowl MVP is certainly part of the problem.
“I’ve got to make better throws and better decisions and find a way to convert on third downs,” Manning said. “That’s a quarterback’s job.”
Too often on Sunday, it appeared as if Manning was no longer up to that job. It was obvious from the opening drive of the game, when the Giants used five straight running plays, including a 20-yard end around by Bennie Fowler, a backup wideout pressed into service due to all the injuries to the regulars, and a 27-yard burst by Saquon Barkley that gave the Giants an early 7-0 lead.
In fact, Manning did not even get to attempt a pass until the Giants’ seventh offensive play of the game, and did not complete one until there were nearly two minutes gone in the second quarter. It was almost as if Shurmur was trying to keep the ball out of Manning’s hands for as long as possible.
“We wanted to get Saquon involved as much as we could until the score got to the way it was,” Shurmur said. “Ultimately we didn’t make enough plays to win.”
That also might have been Manning’s fault. He did throw a couple of good passes, especially the perfectly lofted pass to T.J. Jones in the back of the end zone early in the fourth quarter that cut Buffalo’s lead to 21-14.
But he would miss on his next five passes, and after that touchdown, the Giants would manage just three more first downs. Manning finished 26 for 45 for 250 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Clearly, he is no longer a feared playmaker in the Giants offense.
That is now the sole territory of Barkley, who rushed for over 100 yards – 107 on 18 carries – for the second straight game. But once Buffalo figured out the obvious, that if you stop Barkley you stop the Giants offense, the game was as good as over.
The Bills held Barkley to 38 yards on nine carries in the second half.
“You could see they were a little more focused on the running game,” Barkley said. “That’s life. I think a lot of teams will do that the rest of the season. They’ll try to take away our running game. I think Eli did a great job of answering but we just got to answer better.”
At this stage of his career, Eli Manning may no longer be able to come up with those answers.
Asked to describe his feelings about the beginning of the Giants season, Manning said, “It’s not the way you want to start.”
As he nears the end of an admirable career, Eli Manning might have added this: It’s not the way you want to finish, either.
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