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Giants’ Manning reportedly won’t waive no-trade clause

Zach Links, Pro Football Rumors
12 hrs ago

Eli Manning might not be happy about being benched for Daniel Jones, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll ask for a trade. The Giants quarterback has no immediate plans to waive his no-trade clause and facilitate a deal, sources close to the QB tell SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano.

 

There are plenty of reasons for Eli to stay – New York has been his home for 16 years, he has a small family with four kids, and it’s also unlikely that another team would be willing to take on his contract. Many of Manning’s struggles could be blamed on the Giants’ lack of talent and never-ending string of injuries in recent years, but it’s clear that the veteran is a shell of the player he once was.

Considering Manning's $23.2 million salary this year and his poor showing in the first two games of the season, there’s no obvious fit for him anywhere in the league. Of course, if Manning finds himself itching to play, and a QB-needy team is willing to try to turn back the clock, things could change between now and the NFL's Oct. 29 trade deadline.

The Giants would probably like to see Manning retire a Giant and continue to mentor Jones in the interim. Still, it’d be hard for them to say no if Manning asked for a trade.

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New York Giants: Eli Manning deserved better than team's benching

Mike Jones, USA TODAY
17 hrs ago

Eli Manning deserved better than this.

So what if his skills have started to decline? So what that he will receive $17 million to make two starts this season and now will become the backup to rookie Daniel Jones with the New York Giants off to an 0-2 start?

When you’ve carried a franchise to two Super Bowl victories, you deserve to go out in better style. You deserve to avoid the dizzying ways of indecision that have engulfed the Giants franchise over the course of the last two-plus years.

The Giants should have put the quarterback out of his misery long before Tuesday morning, when coach Pat Shurmur informed Manning the team is turning to Jones – the Duke product drafted New York drafted sixth overall in April with intentions of grooming him for the future.

 

As the second-year head coach told reporters, “Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect, but he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games.”

Of course he would be disappointed to be stuck with all this.

In the last calendar year, his bosses have expressed a commitment to him and to winning. Yet their actions have suggested otherwise. Just months after giving wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. a long-term contract last August, they shipped the three-time Pro Bowler while failing to replace him with a comparable top weapon. The Giants also opted against re-signing one of their top defensive players (safety Landon Collins). They made efforts to reconfigure their offensive line, yet it remains as ineffective as ever.

The Giants have clearly been in rebuilding mode, yet they haven’t wanted to acknowledge it. They’ve wanted to keep Manning in their jersey for the entirety of his career, yet they’ve failed to adequately support him or make it worth it for him to stick around.

Now, with an 0-2 record and the squad plagued by ineffective play on multiple fronts, they’re making Eli the fall guy and hoping that Jones can give them a spark.

Spoiler alert: This move will not save the Giants’ season. Outside of running back Saquon Barkley, there’s very little to work with on this roster.

Jones may have a little more zip on his passes, and he might be a little more fleet of foot. But he is going to be just as swarmed and overwhelmed by pass rushers as Manning was, just as frustrated by the dropped passes of his wide receivers and just as betrayed by a defense that ranks among the worst in the league in both yards and points allowed.

At best, Jones gains some experience playing at an NFL pace and gets a head start on next year, when hopefully, for his sake, the Giants have better stocked this roster with legitimate talent.

At worst, Jones either gets hurt or looks awful, develops bad habits and has his confidence shot entering Year 2. Hey, at least he’ll have the good solider Eli with whom he can commiserate.

 

But for Manning, it should’ve never come to this. He shouldn’t even be here. When the Giants decided to hit the reset button and part with what little upper-echelon talent they had, they should have said goodbye to Manning as well.

In truth, they probably should have made that move in the 2018 offseason.

Somewhere, Ben McAdoo is shaking his head and chuckling.

He was right, was he not? That’s essentially what the Giants have conceded now that they have officially ended the Manning era. But when McAdoo tried to position the franchise to plan for the future by benching Manning late in the 2017 season, he wound up losing his job the very next week.

 

Giants co-owner John Mara wanted to remain loyal to Manning. He made changes to their front office and coaching staff while sticking with his quarterback. But he hired a general manager in Dave Gettleman who possessed the vision of stripping this roster down and building it back up again with young, affordable talent.

And so, while that restoration project got underway, Manning remained and continued to toil away as the same undesirable conditions he had endured in recent years only worsened.

If Mara really wanted to properly support Manning, he should have ordered moves that would have dramatically upgraded this roster on both sides of the ball. He shouldn’t have allowed the Giants’ roster to deteriorate to the point that it had in the first place. You don’t see the Patriots or the Saints letting Tom Brady’s or Drew Brees’ supporting cast reach such levels of incompetency.

But the Giants’ roster did reach that point. It was indeed a mess and in need of an overhaul.

It’s OK to admit that it’s time for a change. It’s OK to say, “Thanks, but this is the end. It’s not you, it’s me.”

That’s what the Giants should have done for Manning: Given him his freedom so he could sign with a contender-level team that simply lacked a competent quarterback.

But nostalgia can cloud judgement.

Now, the Giants’ restoration project is delayed by a year or two. Manning has already wasted the 2018 season in Giants colors, and he'll waste another as he watches from the sidelines for the next 15 weeks.

 

By season’s end, he’ll be days away from his 39th birthday with his free agency prospects — and possibly his desire to start over again — diminished further than they would have been the last two years.

 

Meanwhile, the Giants will try once again to get it right. But based on the indecision that has plagued them for years now, it’s anyone’s guess how that attempt to get this thing back on track will go.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Jabrill Peppers and the Giants’ defense steal the show in Daniel Jones’ MetLife debut

New York Daily News |
Sep 29, 2019 | 4:06 PM

Daniel Jones’ stoic calm is the face of the Giants’ turnaround. Jabrill Peppers’ swagger is its new edgy heartbeat.

Peppers saved his signature Giant performance for the day that the man he replaced, Washington’s Landon Collins, was at MetLife Stadium to see it in person.

Peppers, wearing Collins’ old No. 21 jersey, then sought out Collins after a 24-3 Giants win in Jones’ home debut and trash-talked so fiercely that the players had to be separated.

And Collins, a former Giants All-Pro, thought it was uncalled for as the Giants (2-2) won their second straight since Eli Manning’s benching to create separation from winless Washington (0-4) in the NFC East.

Essentially, Collins thought Peppers acted like he hadn’t been there before after not making many plays in the first three weeks of the Giants’ season.

“I was happy for the dude, and he was hyped and he had a good game, but for him to come start messing with me, that wasn’t the point,” Collins told the Daily News in the visitors’ locker room. “You don’t need to do that. What’s the point of saying it? You know I’m not the type of guy to do that. I back it up, though.”

Peppers played down the dust-up, saying: “It’s all love, man. That’s just football, man. I respect those guys. I respect his career. But this is football. It’s all love.”

Collins’ version was different. He said Peppers said “a bunch of stuff I can’t say.”

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Jabrill Peppers made easy work of Washington. (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Regardless, Peppers was out to make a statement and did it in Sunday’s third quarter with a game-sealing, 32-yard interception return for a touchdown of a pass thrown by Dwayne Haskins in the Washington rookie QB’s debut. The errant throw was forced by pressure from D-lineman Dalvin Tomlinson. Peppers also batted a pass down in the end zone on a goal-line stand.

Coordinator James Bettcher’s maligned defense ruled the day with four total interceptions, including three influenced by veteran corner Janoris Jenkins in a bounce back effort.

Jenkins intercepted Haskins twice in the second half, after tipping a Case Keenum pass on Washington’s first drive to Ryan Connelly for the rookie linebacker’s second pick in two games.

Washington benched Keenum in the second quarter after he missed receiver Trey Quinn deep on two plays where Quinn had got past corner Grant Haley. Haskins also missed an open Vernon Davis for a TD.

Still, the Giants held an opponent to three points for the first time in almost seven years (Oct. 14, 2012, at San Francisco) and for the first time at home in almost nine years (Oct. 3, 2010).

Peppers was required to take a random drug test after the game.

“This was a great game for me to come out here and maybe change the narrative a little bit, both for me as a person and us as a whole defense,” said Peppers, who is out not only to replace Collins but to validate his inclusion in Cleveland’s Odell Beckham trade.

Jones, meanwhile, was far from perfect, throwing two interceptions to Washington corner Quinton Dunbar on back-to-back pass attempts to Sterling Shepard in the second quarter.

He was never going to match his historic Week 3 debut start in Tampa, when he became the first rookie ever to throw for at least 300 yards, pass for two TDs and run for two more.

However, the Giants’ sixth overall pick showed plenty signs of how much further he is along than Washington’s 15th overall selection, Haskins.

Jones opened up a 14-0 Giants lead with 32-yard and 94-yard scoring drives capped by two Wayne Gallman touchdowns, who filled in admirably for the injured Saquon Barkley.

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Daniel Jones improves to 2-0 as the Giants starter. (Adam Hunger/AP)

Jones rebounded from his two picks to lead a 63-yard drive before half to set up an Aldrick Rosas field goal. And in the third quarter he had the offense knocking on Washington’s door at the 5-yard line before rookie running back Jon Hilliman fumbled.

That’s when Peppers lifted Big Blue to sure victory, jumping a Haskins pass intended for tight end Jeremy Sprinkle and making a house call for six points.

“We got bogged down with those turnovers, and we were kind of grinding it out there for a while, so that (interception return) was a big boost for us,” head coach Pat Shurmur said.

“(Jabrill) is a playmaker,” Jenkins said. “It’s just all about getting the ball in our hands, and when he’s got it in his hands, you see what he can do.”

Keeping perspective, Shurmur pointed out that “a team that’s got more firepower” than Washington had Sunday would have turned second half fumbles by Hilliman and Gallman into “two scores.”

Washington was missing five offensive starters: top receiver Terry McLaurin, tight end Jordan Reed, running back Derrius Guice, center Chase Roullier and guard Brandon Scherff.

The Giant defense’s big day also came at a price: Connelly was on crutches after suffering a non-contact injury to his right knee in the fourth quarter and may be out long-term.

The bottom line, though, even with the Minnesota Vikings and New England Patriots on deck, is that the Giants are 2-0 behind Jones and have a .500 record or better after four weeks for the first time since 2016 under Ben McAdoo.

The hope Jones has created in East Rutherford stands in stark contrast to Washington’s fortunes.

Coach Jay Gruden, who had NFL-high 3-to-1 odds of being fired in August, is officially on the hot seat after his winless team was whistled for 12 accepted penalties.

Shurmur, on the other hand, had the NFL’s second-highest preseason odds to be fired at 5-to-1 and has surged toward respectability with a team led by a couple of intriguing contrasts.

At quarterback he has Jones, who entered the stadium Sunday dressed plainly in a button down and khakis, looking like a Duke fraternity brother working on Wall Street.

And on defense he has Peppers, who departed in a stylish maroon suit, black sunglasses and black loafers, strutting like a Hollywood star who’d just stepped off the set of HBO’s “Ballers.”

“I’m always going to come out there and play like my hair is on fire,” Peppers said.

There’s a thing about fire, too: it spreads.

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Giants activate WR Golden Tate from suspended list, cut Bennie Fowler

By Charles McDonald
New York Daily News |
Oct 01, 2019 | 2:38 PM

The Giants activated wide receiver Golden Tate from their suspended list to their active roster on Tuesday. To make room for Tate on the roster WR Bennie Fowler was released.

Tate will make his first regular season appearance for the Giants on Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the Minnesota Vikings after missing the first four games of the season due to a violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Tate was banned for taking a prescribed fertility treatment that was on the NFL’s list of prohibited substances.

Prior to joining the Giants on a four-year deal in the offseason to offset the loss of Odell Beckham Jr., via trade to the Browns, Tate racked up 7,214 career receiving yards in nine seasons as a member of the Seahawks, Lions and Eagles. His best season came in 2014 when he earned his lone Pro Bowl honors after a 99 catch, 1,331 yard season with the Lions.

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Golden Tate is back in the mix for the Giants after 4-game PED ban. (Frank Franklin II / AP)

During his suspension, Tate was working out at his home in San Diego, waiting for the opportunity to get back onto the field.

“No, there was no vacation.” Tate said in his press conference on Monday. “We live in San Diego, that’s where our home base is for me. I have trainers, massage therapists, and rehab people there. I just went back home and worked my tail off, tried to stay ready and get better and hang with the family.”

Tate will join Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram as the Giants’ third receiving option. His addition couldn’t come at a better time with the Giants starting to find an offensive identity behind rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. Tate said that he’s been pleased with Jones’ hot start to the season.

“I wouldn’t say I was surprised, I’m delighted, I’m liking what I’m seeing for sure.” Tate said. “He’s been handling the moment very well and hopefully he continues to improve each day and each game.”

Tate had four catches for 53 yards during the preseason. The Giants also released wide receiver TJ Jones and signed linebacker Josiah Tauaefa off of their practice squad.

Fowler, who started two games for Big Blue this season and had 12 catches for 99 yards, was targeted just five times since Jones took control of the offense with just two grabs for 8 yards.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Daniel Jones throws 3 interceptions as Patriots defense smothers Giants

New York Daily News |
Oct 10, 2019 | 11:40 PM

FOXBOROUGH — For a moment, he was Danny Dimes. But for most of Thursday night, the Patriots made Daniel Jones look more like Danny Dime a Dozen.

Bill Belichick’s defense smothered the Giants’ rookie quarterback for three interceptions and two other throws that should have been picked in a 35-14 Giant loss at Gillette Stadium.

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James Bettcher’s defense stood tall and kept the Giants (2-4) within one score deep into the fourth quarter, but Pat Shurmur’s team wasn’t satisfied to have given the undefeated reigning Super Bowl champion Patriots (6-0) a run.

The feeling in the visitors’ locker room was that the turnovers had cost the Giants a chance to win. And that sentiment started with Jones.

“I didn’t play well by any means,” Jones said. “I don’t think it was overwhelming. I just think it was bad plays, bad decisions.”

Jones had the excuse of playing without weapons Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard and Wayne Gallman on offense. Their injuries were part of the reason that the Giants were the largest Vegas underdogs in franchise history at 17 points.

A blocked punt returned for an early Patriots TD was a key turnover. And rookie running back Jon Hilliman’s fourth quarter fumble — returned for a touchdown by Kyle Van Noy to put the Patriots up two scores — was the turnover that iced Big Blue’s second straight defeat.

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New England Patriots linebacker Kyle Van Noy dives over New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones to score a touchdown after returning a fumble he recovered in the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2019, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) (Elise Amendola/AP)

But the Giants playmakers’ absences had nothing to do with Jones’ three interceptions. He put the ball up for grabs too often.

He nearly threw pick on the first drive. He was intercepted by Duron Harmon on the second drive, throwing high and beyond Golden Tate with Stephon Gilmore batting the ball into the air.

He was nearly picked on the third drive. He was intercepted by John Simon on an ill-advised throwaway attempt on the sixth drive.

And then Jones’ third interception, on the first possession of the second half, was a killer. He had driven the offense 48 yards to the New England 30-yard line and failed to recognize the coverage and threw the ball right at Gilmore.

“I think each of them are different issues,” Jones said of the interceptions. “The first one was late and (I) forced it. The second one I just kind of held onto the ball too long and should have tried to throw it away earlier. And the third one was just a bad decision. Just a bad read.”

Jones finished with his worst stat line yet: 15-of-31 passing for 161 yards, a TD, three INTs and a 35.2 quarterback rating.

Jones did demonstrate resilience on the Giants’ seventh drive, after his second INT had just given Tom Brady a short field for a 20-yard touchdown drive and a 14-0 Patriots lead.

Jones came back on the field and dropped a 64-yard dime to Golden Tate against Jonathan Jones for the touchdown with 6:05 left in the half.

It was the first touchdown pass the Patriots defense gave up all year.

“How he approached the huddle, you would have never thought he’d have thrown a pick,” Tate said of Jones. “He showed that he has short-term memory, bounced back, knew it was a long game, we were still in the game, it was early. You’ve got two choices: to feel sorry for yourself or go out there and make a play. I think he came back and made a tremendous throw and next think you know we’re down by seven.”

Then less than two minutes later, Lorenzo Carter strip-sacked Brady, Markus Golden returned the fumble 42 yards for the touchdown, and the game was 14 apiece with 4:38 to play in the first half.

“Next thing the defense comes up with a sack fumble and we’re tied up — against the almighty Patriots,” Tate said.

But the Giants would not score another point. They went 2-for-10 on third downs. And while Shurmur wasn’t in a talkative mood, his review of Jones’ decision-making was a common theme.

“We had a couple (throws) today where obviously you can’t do that,” he said, “but he’s aggressive with the ball. We’ll get that cleaned up.”

Jones insisted the Giants came in “confident” and “expecting to win.”

But center Jon Halapio said there was one reason the Giants lost: “We have to clean up the turnovers. Ball security.”

And Jones put it on his shoulders, where the blame belonged.

“We’re pushing to play better, and by no means are we panicked or at all looking or questioning ourselves,” he said. “But we know we gotta play better, and I certainly know I gotta play better.”

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Giants drop third straight as Daniel Jones’ turnover problems continue

New York Daily News |
Oct 20, 2019 | 4:14 PM
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New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones leaves the field during the second half of an NFL football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) (Bill Kostroun/AP)

Alarm bells are going off in East Rutherford.

Daniel Jones’ turnover problems plagued the Giants again Sunday in a rainy 27-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, with the rookie quarterback giving the ball away three times in a third straight defeat. And a shockingly poor run defense surrendered three TDs to backup back Chase Edmonds.

But head coach Pat Shurmur’s shortcomings put a cherry on top. His team wasn’t ready to play early, spotting the Cardinals a 17-0 lead and prompting boos from the home crowd. And then Shurmur’s late fourth quarter play-calling was inexplicable.

Shurmur enabled Jones to check to a draw to Saquon Barkley on 3rd-and-18 on the Giants’ own 30-yard line, trailing 24-21 with 3:11 to play. Barkley, who had reinjured his right ankle midgame, gained three yards.

“Yeah, because I wanted to keep Saquon involved,” Shurmur said of his belief a run play would work there. “It was an audible against two deep (safeties). I made the decision I was gonna go for it on fourth down, and that’s why that came out.”

“The check was based on the look from the defense,” Jones said.

The Giants’ head coach then went for it on 4th and 15, rather than punting down three, and Jones was sacked by Patrick Peterson. He fumbled away his third turnover to Haason Reddick, Zane Gonzalez kicked a field goal to stretch the lead to six, and that gave Arizona 17 points off Giant turnovers.

Shurmur stubbornly insisted he figured his defense would hold Arizona to a field goal taking over at the Giants’ 17-yard line, which is why he went for it on fourth down. But unless Shurmur can predict the future, what he actually did with those two play calls was give Kliff Kingsbury’s offense a chance to end the game outright with a touchdown.

“It was gonna play out the way I thought,” Shurmur said. “(We) stop ’em, right? Stop ’em. We’ll make em kick a field goal at the very least, then we’ll go down and score a touchdown. Plus, I want to get a chance to make it on 4th and 15. That’s why. And that’s the way it played out. We had the ball with a chance to go out and score a touchdown to win the game. That’s how it played out, and we didn’t do it.”

The Giants (2-5) got the ball back, but their offense was smothered for Jones’ third fumble (recovered by Nate Solder), a Barkley drop, and a couple more huge hits on Jones.

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Arizona Cardinals' Chandler Jones, front, recovers a fumble by New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones during the second half. (Adam Hunger/AP)

Jones in all was sacked eight times and completed 22 of 35 passes for 223 yards to go with a touchdown, an interception and two fumbles lost. And the Giants’ players were disgusted with their performance.

“It obviously just sucks. Straight up,” right guard Kevin Zeitler said of the offense. “That’s as blatant and blunt as you can be. It sucked today.”

The harsh reality was that Dave Gettleman’s Giants, from his No. 6 overall pick on down, were outplayed by the 2018 bottom-feeder that picked at No. 1 in April’s NFL Draft. Kingsbury and QB Kyler Murray, both rookies, prevailed, committing no turnovers against the Shurmur-Jones Giants regime.

Murray, the top pick in the draft, didn’t light up the stat sheet (14-of-21, 104 yards; 28 yards rushing). The Giants defense contained his rushing ability. Passing wasn’t easy for either QB in the rain. And the Cardinals were terribly sloppy and undisciplined, flagged for 10 accepted penalties.

But Edmonds, a Fordham product, carried 27 times for 126 yards and three rushing TDs — all to the left side, where ex-Giant Justin Pugh was playing left guard. Two of Edmonds’ TDs had no blue Giant jerseys anywhere close to him.

And worrisomely, safety Mike Thomas said the Cardinals’ offense had hit the Giants in the mouth with a different game plan than they’d seen on tape the first six weeks.

“You know what, it’s a situation where there’s no excuses that can be made,” he said of the defense and special teams. “We’ve got to execute better earlier. We’ve got to figure out hey, OK, they’re not doing anything that they were doing, you know, maybe the first five or six weeks of the season. They’ve transitioned to this. And make those adjustments maybe a little faster. And go out there and just make plays. That’s it. Tackle. Set edges.”

Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones was absolutely dominant, the latest harsh reminder that Gettleman has no player like him on his roster: five tackles, four sacks, three tackles for loss, four QB hits, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

Daniel Jones’ first two turnovers, however, were the rookie quarterback’s fault.

The Giants’ QB, who now has 12 turnovers to eight TDs in six game appearances, threw an interception to linebacker Jordan Hicks on the Giants’ first drive that gave the Cards a short field and a 14-0 early lead.

“Just a force. I shouldn’t have thrown it,” Daniel Jones said.

Then, in the third quarter trailing 17-14, Daniel Jones showed no awareness waiting too long for a screen to develop as Chandler Jones swiped a fumble out. It was the kind of head-scratching mistake, frankly, that got Eli Manning benched in Week 3. Murray and the Cardinals punched another TD in for a 24-14 lead.

“(I should) probably try not to hold it that long. I think you need to throw it in the ground and go on to the next play,” the Duke product lamented. “I’ve got to do a better job getting rid of the ball, getting through my reads, and getting the ball out … Taking care of the ball is a big thing and has been. To not do that today is disappointing.”

In the Giants’ three-game losing streak, Jones has three touchdowns and seven turnovers.

Others cost the Giants dearly, too.

Golden Tate short-armed a pass in traffic over the middle early, a lack of effort that upset the crowd. Aldrick Rosas missed a 37-yard field goal in the third quarter. Evan Engram, back from injury, had a huge drop of a deep pass on the final drive before halftime, costing the Giants points.

The Giants had come back from the early 17-0 deficit in the second quarter with a 28-yard Daniel Jones touchdown pass to Rhett Ellison. Then Michael Thomas blocked a Cardinals punt in the end zone that fullback Eli Penny recovered for a touchdown to make it 17-14.

It almost marked the third straight week the Cardinals had coughed up a lead of 14 points or more.

But the Giants failed to score going into the half as left guard Will Hernandez was flagged for a holding penalty that sprung a big Barkley run, and Engram’s drop devastated the drive.

“You can’t spot a team (17) points,” middle linebacker Alec Ogletree said. “You try to win games like that, you can’t live like that. You’ve got to come out and play well from the start of the game to the end. I think we came out real slow early. We kind of picked it up. But you can’t spot a team (17) points and live in that world.”

Where the Giants are living is the basement of the NFC. Unfortunately, it is a dark place they know well.

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Giants can’t be sellers at NFL trade deadline for self-preservation’s sake

New York Daily News |
Oct 25, 2019 | 7:00 AM

If the Giants lose a fourth straight game to the Detroit Lions on Sunday, they will look like a team primed to sell mode approaching Tuesday’s 4 p.m. NFL trade deadline.

There is enormous incentive for GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur to be buyers instead of sellers, though.

The incentive? Self-preservation. Their jobs.

Think about it from Gettleman’s and Shurmur’s perspectives:

If they sell contributing veterans off an already subpar roster in exchange for mid-to-late-round draft picks, it would not only concede this season but potentially send it off a cliff toward another 3-13 or 5-11-type record.

Granted, this season might be moving in that direction already at 2-5, but this regime is already a year behind where it’s supposed to be in turning the Giants back into a contender. It can’t continue to regress.

The NFC East is wide open, begging for a team to come and grab the division title. The Giants should be contending for it, and they might have if they had undergone a rebuild in 2018 with an eye on competing this fall.

The Cowboys (4-3), while in first, lost three straight between Weeks 4 and 6. The Eagles (3-4) are reeling and beatable. Washington (1-6) has no offense. Yet the Giants aren’t even beginning to contend.

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For the sake of their jobs, GM Dave Gettleman (l.) and head coach Pat Shurmur (r.) can't afford to put less talent around rookie Daniel Jones the rest of the way. (Julio Cortez/AP)

If, two years after the 3-13 catastrophe of 2017, co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch review the 2019 season and see just as non-competitive and unpromising a roster, all bets are off.

This is why Shurmur, while reluctant to use the term “buyers,” said Thursday that the Giants are “always looking to upgrade” when asked to characterize their trade deadline approach.

He needs to win, and in order to win, his Giants need more talent; not less. See this week’s signing of Deone Bucannon to upgrade at linebacker as Exhibit A.

“I think we’re always looking. I don’t know (about) the buying or selling thing,” the coach said. “I think you’re always looking to upgrade. I think that’s where we’re at roster-wise.

“It’s a matter of record,” he continued. “We’ve made major changes to the roster in the last two years. I mean, it’s just the way it is. We’ve made major changes. We’re very young, got a lot of young players playing. It’s just the reality of it. So I wouldn’t say buyer or seller. We’re just always looking to upgrade.”

The Giants aren’t just young, obviously. Veterans have played prominent roles over the last two seasons, too.

Ownership has had a hand in this regime’s lack of progress, obviously, beginning with the hiring of Gettleman. The decision to try to win now in 2018 by building around Eli Manning for one last ride was a catastrophic mistake.

Gettleman has tried to revise history by claiming this was a long-term rebuild all along, but the reality is he believed he was going to turn the Giants into a winner with Manning immediately while also building for the future.

Half-committing to two directions left the Giants fully committed to neither. That’s what happens when you see a fork in the road and commit to neither route: you go nowhere.

Saquon Barkley is a great player, but his talent hasn’t made a difference in this team’s results.

Waiting an extra year to draft a quarterback left the Giants’ offense floundering under Manning last year and now sputtering as Jones learns this season.

Getting rid of talented players in Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon has left the Giants — wait for it — less talented.

Gettleman and Shurmur need talent to win more games. They don’t need draft picks to hand off to the next GM and head coach.

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Giants call players-only meeting after squandering Daniel Jones’ 4-TD performance and suffering fourth straight loss

New York Daily News |
Oct 27, 2019 | 4:12 PM

DETROIT — The Giants’ leaders have called a players-only meeting for Monday in New Jersey to stop their season from crumbling as their future franchise quarterback blossoms.

For while Daniel Jones became the first rookie Giants QB ever to throw four touchdown passes in a road game, the operative word in Sunday’s postgame locker room was the F-bomb.

A fourth straight loss, 31-26 to the Detroit Lions, had coach Pat Shurmur snapping at the lack of execution blocking a first quarter blitz that led to a Jones fumble and Lions defensive touchdown.

“It wasn’t his fault he got f---in’ hit,” Shurmur said. “Excuse me. It wasn’t his fault. Excuse me — I apologize. That was really unprofessional of me.”

Strong safety Jabrill Peppers said the coaches aren’t the problem for the Giants (2-6). It’s the players. And on Monday, they intend to fix this and clear the air. Everything is on the table.

“We need to hold everybody accountable, from a man to a man,” a charged-up Peppers said. “We have great game plans week in and week out, we’ve just got to execute them, myself included. We’re tired of this feeling. We’re better than what we’re putting on tape. We’re better than the results.”

Saquon Barkley then revealed he was at fault for not picking up blitzing linebacker Jarrad Davis, and he took responsibility for not falling on Jones’ backwards pass that ex-Giant Devon Kennard returned for a touchdown.

In doing so, Barkley set a strong example for the kind of accountability the Giants’ players seem to be hoping for out of Monday’s closed-door session.

 

“There’s no excuse. That’s not who I am,” Barkley said of that play. “That’s not the type of player I am. That’s not the reason why I’m a captain. I’ve got to have better effort on that play … I lacked effort there in my opinion. I’ve got to be better for my team.”

Meetings like this can turn around a season, and even if they don’t, sometimes they can root out if someone isn’t fully on board.

It will be worth monitoring if veteran corner Janoris Jenkins, who is being shopped approaching Tuesday’s 4 p.m. trade deadline, will need to (or intend to) show to Monday’s meeting.

“Tuesday’s my birthday,” Jenkins told The Athletic of the trade deadline uncertainty. “I don’t give a f--- what they do. I’ll just come and play football like I do every week. So whatever happens, happens.”

Peppers said the Giants’ players will cut no breaks for rookies in their meeting due to experience, and they’ll treat veterans the same way coming off this downer to the Lions (3-3-1).

“No slack gets cut. What is it our eighth game?” he said. “You’re not a rookie no more. After the preseason you’re not a rookie no more. We’ll take mistakes if you play hard and things like that, but we’re not cutting no slack to anybody, from the oldest guy on the team to the youngest guy on the team. If you’re out there, you’re expected to do the job at a high level and you do that job. There’s a lot of people out there depending on you to do that job.”

One trend the Giants are desperate to end is their horrible habit of falling behind big early.

In their four-game losing streak, they’ve fallen behind 10-0 to the Vikings, 14-0 to the Patriots, 17-0 to the Cardinals, and 14-0 to the Lions.

“It’s been three weeks of the same thing, you know?” said Peppers, who forced a late Lions fumble the offense couldn’t cash in. “Not coming out as hot as we can. Not making enough plays. Not executing enough. And then we find ourselves in crunch time, where now we gotta claw and fight back instead of putting pressure on the other team. That changes the whole dynamic of the game, man.”

The upside is that Jones, 22, the No. 6 overall pick in April’s draft, looked every bit like a franchise quarterback on Sunday. He completed 28-of-41 passes for 322 yards, four TD passes, the fumble, and a 124.2 QB rating.

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Lions middle linebacker Jarrad Davis sacks Giants quarterback Daniel Jones during the first half. (Paul Sancya/AP)

No Giants rookie QB had even thrown three road touchdown passes in a game since Phil Simms in 1979. Jones had thrown four total touchdowns in the Giants’ previous four games combined. He hit Darius Slayton twice, and Evan Engram and Barkley for scores Sunday.

“I don’t think anyone here has any doubt Daniel is this team’s QB of the future,” right guard Kevin Zeitler said.

The offense turned the ball over on downs twice late inside the Detroit 40 and 20-yard lines, but even then, Jones was moving the ball using leading receivers Golden Tate (eight catches, 85 yards) and Barkley (eight catches, 79 yards, TD).

I mean, I think we’ve known we can move the ball on people,” Jones said. “We’ve known we can score points.”

Mistakes are killing the Giants, however, especially early mistakes.

On Sunday it was Jones’ fumble. It was a blown coverage that looked to be the fault of rookie corner DeAndre Baker on a Matt Stafford 49-yard touchdown pass to Marvin Hall. It was Aldrick Rosas’ missed extra point after Slayton’s touchdown.

Stafford finished with 342 passing yards and three TDs, including two to Kenny Golladay, who racked up 123 yards.

Encouragingly, Jones joined Barkley, Peppers and plenty others as team leader showing accountability postgame.

“I think we didn’t do enough to win. I didn’t do enough to help us win,” Jones said.

“Everyone’s upset. Everyone’s frustrated, sick to their stomach,” Barkley added.

It is not lost on the Giants that their next game is on Monday Night Football, either, hosting the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys (4-3). So it’s now or never to get this right.

It wasn’t clear exactly who specifically called Monday’s players-only meeting. Defensive captain Alec Ogletree claimed all 53 players did. Fine. The reason?

“We’ve lost how many in a row?” Barkley said. “Something needs to be addressed.”

“I hate losing more than I like winning,” Peppers said. “We’re gonna get this thing figured out, because we’ve got a big test coming up on a big stage next week. And we’re gonna be ready to play.”

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Odell Beckham's Comments After Browns-Patriots Prove Exactly Why Giants Traded Him

Braulio Perez
3 hrs ago

When the New York Giants shockingly decided to send their best player in Odell Beckham Jr. to Cleveland, the organization was looked at with disgust. How could they let OBJ leave town? What a bunch of clowns!

Eight weeks into the new season, the tone has 100% changed. Things have been anything but smooth for Beckham Jr. and the Browns, as they're now 2-5 following a disheartening loss to the Patriots on Sunday.

To make matters worse, OBJ's comments after the defeat were flat out uncalled for. You think Freddie Kitchens is going to like seeing this?

 

Death, taxes, OBJ questioning his team's game plan, "only controlling what he can control" like that third-down dropped pass.
The #Giants were holding him back though, right? 1f60f.png
34 of 61 targets, 488 yds, 1 TD in 7 games.
Julio Jones just put up 100+ w/ the corpse of Matt Schaub.

 

Beckham ending his comment by saying, "You can only control what you can control" is totally absurd. He's making it sound like he did everything he could do for the team to win, but the rest of the guys didn't get the job done.

For him to say he pretty much caught everything that came his way...dude, seriously? Is the man so selfish he needs to defend his performance in such a lopsided loss?

Unfortunately for Beckham Jr. and the Browns, No. 13 continues to make more noise when the ball is not in his hands. He and Jarvis Landry have combined for one touchdown this year. What a disaster.

Maybe the Giants weren't so dumb to get rid of him. Sure, they're also struggling and aren't fielding much of a competitive team, but at least they're year-long headache of dealing with Beckham Jr. is now Cleveland's issue.

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Giants’ soft late-season schedule offers chance to show they’re making progress
New York Daily News |
Nov 05, 2019 | 7:44 AM

The Giants’ schedule softens now after Monday night’s 37-18 loss to the first-place Dallas Cowboys, and that brings both optimism and pressure for Pat Shurmur’s team to perform.

Next Sunday’s clash with the despicable Jets (1-7), for example, sets up seemingly as the perfect Big Blue remedy to restore some good feeling heading into a Week 11 bye.

However, losing to the Jets or even sleepwalking through an ugly win would make the bad taste in the Giants’ mouths even worse.

Four of their final seven opponents are in last place in their division or tied for last by record: the Jets (1-7), Bears (3-5), Dolphins (1-7) and Washington (1-8).

 

The seven opponents’ combined record (23-27, 38.3 win %) is considerably worse than the teams the Giants have faced through their first nine games (39-35-2, 51.3 win %).

So the Giants (2-7) will have a chance to string together some wins, but just like Monday night’s second test against Dallas (5-3), the opportunity will mean nothing if they don’t take advantage.

JTK46NP7LZGCPDRSNG4NW4A4VM.jpg
Daniel Jones (8) waits for a play from head coach Pat Shurmur, middle, and offensive coordinator Mike Shula. (Paul Sancya/AP)

“Everything we want is still out there,” Saquon Barkley said Friday. “Our goal and every team’s goal is to go to the playoffs and compete for a Super Bowl. Is that still out there for us? Yes, it is, and even though everyone wants to say what they want to say about our team, we understand everything that we want is still there.

“We’re not focused (Monday) to have this game, win, and then go compete for the NFC East,” he added. “You can’t go compete for the NFC East if you don’t just focus on tomorrow, and that’s another day to practice, get better, and prepare yourself for Sunday.”

Here is a look at the second-half schedule that sets up favorably for the Giants to hopefully build a better feeling entering 2020, having finished 5-11 last season and started this fall at 2-7. All are 1 p.m. Sunday starts except Week 14 Monday Night Football in Philly.

Week 10: at Jets (1-7)

The Jets are such a hot mess that the Giants are actually favored by one-and-half-points in this game, despite being losing their fifth straight Monday night to the Cowboys. Everyone in New York has been looking forward to Daniel Jones vs. Sam Darnold, Volume One — and now to Leonard Williams’ revenge — but the Jets are so pathetic after losing to the tanking Miami Dolphins that it’s hard to muster the same enthusiasm.

The Giants can’t lose this game, though. The only thing going for them from a public relations standpoint is that the Jets are a bigger mess. Laying an egg here could send them into the bye week on a six-game losing streak wearing a dunce cap on the back pages.

Week 11: BYE WEEK
Week 12: at Chicago Bears (3-5)

The Bears offense is truly broken with QB Mitchell Trubisky floundering, and even their once-feared defense is letting down. Chicago still has a much more talented roster on paper, but Matt Nagy’s club has lost four straight and is vulnerable. For the Giants to continue demonstrating progress, Daniel Jones and Big Blue need to keep games like this close and win a fair percentage of them.

Week 13: vs. Green Bay Packers (7-2)

Aaron Rodgers’ squad made Las Vegas a lot of money on Sunday by losing in a surprisingly one-sided upset to the host L.A. Chargers. This visit from Matt Lafleur’s Packers will be humbling for the Giants, however, if the secondary doesn’t clean up its major miscues leading to explosive plays week in and week out.

Week 14: at Philadelphia Eagles (5-4), Monday Night Football

The Eagles’ secondary is terrible. Jones should throw for three touchdown passes in each game against Philly. Carson Wentz and the division rival Eagles haven’t exactly clicked on offense, either. This is a beatable Doug Pederson team. If the Giants are in fact improving through the season’s second half, they should split their two remaining meetings with the Super Bowl LII champs from 2017.

Week 15: vs. Miami Dolphins (1-7)

Brian Flores’ team is playing hard, but the organization’s personnel decisions have the Dolphins tanking (intentionally set up to fail) to get a high draft pick and to accumulate more draft assets along the way. Ryan Fitzpatrick can sling it but also will put the ball up for grabs. Again, like facing the Jets, the Giants have a major opportunity here to get a win — but losing to Miami could be catastrophic.

Week 16: at Washington (1-8)

Rookie QB Dwayne Haskins was unprepared and overwhelmed when he replaced Case Keenum in his Week 4 debut against the Giants. By Week 16, we’ll see if Haskins is capable of exacting revenge on the Giants, who passed over him in April’s draft and picked on him in their first meeting.

Week 17: vs. Philadelphia Eagles (5-4)

Jones’ progress and the Giants’ results leading up to their regular season finale will determine just how big this game is for the organization. It will be important no matter what for Shurmur’s club to demonstrate it’s headed in the right direction, which is ownership’s mandate. But if the Giants have regressed, lost more games to bottom-feeders and slipped further into irrelevance, more could be on the line here than just a win or a loss.

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Giants’ Zak DeOssie officially lands on IR amid shady circumstances

Pat Leonard
New York Daily News |
Nov 30, 2019 | 2:48 PM

The Giants officially placed long-snapper Zak DeOssie on injured reserve Saturday and signed Colin Holba off the practice squad to take his place.

DeOssie, 35, the two-time Super Bowl winner, showed up suddenly on the Thanksgiving Day injury report with knee and wrist injuries.

Reports say he has a torn meniscus in one of his knees. However, DeOssie had practiced fully on Wednesday, was not listed at all on the injury report, and coach Pat Shurmur said DeOssie did not get hurt in Wednesday’s practice.

New York Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie watches against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
New York Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie watches against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

Shurmur initially had claimed Friday that DeOssie hadn’t practiced all week and was corrected to confirm he’d practiced Wednesday.

 

 

The entire situation, which one team source said came out of “left field,” is extremely curious.

It must just be a coincidence that DeOssie suddenly has a season-ending injury at a time when the Giants are frustrated with his bad snaps affecting missed field goals and games.

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Grading Dave Gettleman’s key moves as Giants GM

Pat Leonard
New York Daily News |
Dec 03, 2019 | 6:00 AM
 
 
 

The Giants are 2-10 this season, 7-21 in the last two, and out of the playoffs for the third straight year and the seventh time in the last eight seasons.

 

It’s time to grade Gettleman’s moves in his attempt to resurrect the franchise since his hiring on Dec. 28, 2018, and to recognize how the Giants’ architect has left them worse off than when he arrived.

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman watches as his team runs drills at the NFL football team's training facility Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman watches as his team runs drills at the NFL football team's training facility Wednesday, June 5, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

2018 NFL DRAFT: THUMBS DOWN

Gettleman held the No. 2 pick in most rounds of this draft and still isn’t seeing results. Saquon Barkley won 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year on a 5-11 team. He is an incredible talent and could be one of the best backs in the NFL for the next decade, though he has regressed in year two by making costly mistakes, including in pass protection. And it’s been tough to find running room with defenses keying on him. The future feels bright, but the present is maddening.

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Left guard Will Hernandez has been up and down and had one of his worst games against the Bears. He’s a tough and good teammate but needs to play better. Third-round edge Lorenzo Carter has mostly been a non-factor. B.J. Hill’s underperformance led Gettleman to trade for Leonard Williams this fall. Fourth-round QB Kyle Lauletta got arrested last season and is no longer on the team. Fifth-round DL RJ McIntosh barely played last year and played one snap Sunday. Third-round supplemental corner Sam Beal never played last season and just started seeing limited action this year.

ODELL BECKHAM TRADE: THUMBS DOWN

You know how Beckham lamented in the offseason that Gettleman sent him to Cleveland “to die?” There are many people around the situation who agree Gettleman’s trading him to Cleveland and not California or New England was personal, intended to humble OBJ and limit his marketability. There are also plenty of players in the Giants’ locker room who have wondered aloud this season how explosive Daniel Jones and Beckham would have been as Giants teammates. Instead, Gettleman and Pat Shurmur offloaded the super-talent in exchange for strong safety Jabrill Peppers, a mid-first round they used to draft DT Dexter Lawrence, and a third-round pick they used to draft edge Oshane Ximines. And Gettleman did all this after signing Beckham himself to a long-term extension, eating $16 million in dead money to trade him months later.

Peppers, while fiery, is not even come close to replacing Landon Collins at strong safety. Lawrence has been OK, but he does not pressure the quarterback even close enough to warrant being selected over a pass rusher. And Ximines has a long way to go.

ELI MANNING MANAGEMENT: THUMBS DOWN

Granted, ownership wanted to keep running it back with Manning, but Gettleman enabled and directed the plan to try and win immediately in 2018 with a quarterback who was no longer capable, on a team that had too many holes to realistically contend. Then Gettleman brought Manning back again this season to play two games before being benched. The organization’s and GM’s misjudgment of the quarterback situation governed their mismanagement of the entire roster and set back what they are now calling a “rebuild” by at least two years.

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) watches against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) watches against the Detroit Lions during an NFL football game in Detroit, Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya) (Paul Sancya/AP)

FREE AGENCY: THUMBS DOWN

Gettleman’s best free agent signings probably were safety/special teams captain Michael Thomas and punter Riley Dixon last year and edge rusher Markus Golden this year. But the rest of the list is startling: right guard Patrick Omameh, running back Jonathan Stewart, outside linebacker Kareem Martin, free safeties Curtis Riley, Antoine Bethea and William Gay, corners B.W. Webb and Grant Haley.

 

O-LINE and PASS RUSH: THUMBS DOWN

This was Gettleman’s priority when he took the job, and he hasn’t formed a strong O-line in two years. Right guard Kevin Zeitler, acquired from Cleveland in a trade for Olivier Vernon, is one of Gettleman’s best gets. But that comes with the caveat that he depleted his defense to do it, forming one of the NFL’s least talented defenses in recent memory. The offense’s rush yards per carry average (4.4) is lower than it was last season (4.7), and they’re giving up exactly the same amount of sacks per game this season (2.9) as they did last year. The defense, meanwhile, is allowing 28.2 points per game after giving up 25.8 on average in 2018.

Gettleman passed on pass rushers Bradley Chubb, Josh Allen and Brian Burns in recent drafts and didn’t sign a big ticket rusher other than the high-energy Golden in free agency, either. The GM knows the Giants’ last two Super Bowl teams were driven by a dominant pass rush. It is a mystery why that hasn’t translated to prioritizing it. Meanwhile, on the O-line, center Jon Halapio, a Jerry Reese holdover that Gettleman favors, is a tough guy and a good teammate but hasn’t played well. And right tackle Mike Remmers is so-so. Gettleman’s decision to keep Ereck Flowers as his right tackle in 2018 and team him with Omameh also was a killer mistake.

DANIEL JONES: T.B.D.

If Gettleman keeps his job after the season, it will be because ownership feels strongly that his No. 6 overall pick is undoubtedly their future franchise QB. If Jones blossoms into a great quarterback, all of Gettleman’s shortcomings may be forgiven. All indications are they like Jones but want to see wins to back up their belief.

Opinions around the league on Jones are mixed. On the plus side, there are coaches who saw Jones as an NFL starter as early as the preseason, and plenty of the Giants’ opponents have lauded Jones’ poise, competitiveness and some of his big-time throws. On the flip side, teams have noticed Jones struggles against Cover-2 with two deep safeties, and his 21 turnovers in 11 starts have been alarming, as are his eight straight losses. If ownership decides the 20 TD-21 turnover ratio is indicative of what he’ll be his whole career, Gettleman is already cooked. The offense has failed to score 20 points in three of the last four games.

REST OF 2019 NFL DRAFT: T.B.D.

Lawrence has been so-so. He’s replacing Damon Harrison, once one of the league’s best run stoppers, so Gettleman exchanged one for the other (and had to deal OBJ to do it). The GM traded up for rookie corner DeAndre Baker, whose work ethic and ability both are a major issues. Huge whiff. The Giants tried to start Antonio Hamilton over Baker in week one but that experiment failed. Then there’s Ximines, who’s hit a wall.

Fourth-round DB Julian Love looks promising. Fifth-round receiver Darius Slayton might be Gettleman’s best draft pick, if it isn’t Jones. And sixth-round DB Corey Ballentine has struggled, while seventh-round OL George Asafo-Adjei hasn’t played due to a concussion.

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH: WE’RE WAITING

Former Giants GM Jerry Reese signed Victor Cruz as an undrafted free agent, reshaping the fate of the franchise for the better. Raiders GM Mike Mayock this year has gotten 7.5 sacks out of rookie fourth-round edge pick Maxx Crosby. The 9-3 Buffalo Bills’ stout defense includes second-year undrafted corner Levi Wallace and 2017 fifth-round linebacker Matt Milano as every-down contributors.

Outside of Slayton, Gettleman hasn’t yet made a definitive mark unearthing players who weren’t obvious talents. His September claim of former Niners sixth-round TE Kaden Smith has promise. But his low-percentage hit rate on these moves contributes to the roster’s depletion.

THE CULTURE: SMILING WHILE LOSING

The only thing keeping this team from spiraling into all-out chaos is that most of the leadership knows what to say and what not to say to prevent drama, even if it’s concealing dissension or friction behind the scenes. The problem is that these respectful and professional leaders only are putting lipstick on a pig. Gettleman sacrificed his talent for this dynamic. So the Giants slip further into irrelevance with smiles on their faces instead of frowns.

Meanwhile, Baker and other young players have not always conducted themselves like pros. Tate served a four-game PED suspension. The volatile Peppers has had to be managed closely. Gettleman, who was known for disrespecting veteran players in Carolina, has received similar criticism from vets in New York, namely Landon Collins.

 

Just last week, two-time Super Bowl winner Zak DeOssie was put on ice on Thanksgiving Day of all days, which was a bad look. The GM also cut a vet like Bennie Fowler who was a huge positive influence on the culture and had great chemistry with Jones, to boot. This reflects shifting priorities despite the message he preaches.

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Eli Manning emerges from darkness to start for Giants

December 4, 2019 | 10:58am | Updated

 
 
 

Eli Manning stood in front of the big crowd at his locker, just like old times.

“I missed y’all,” he quipped into the tape recorders, cameras and microphones.

Manning showed his quick wit remains intact as he reemerged from the darkness Wednesday because Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones (high right ankle sprain) did not practice. It is “very likely,” coach Pat Shurmur said, Manning will start Monday against the Eagles, and it will be revealed whether his skills remained sharp during a 10-week benching.

“You’re still practicing,” Manning said. “Sometimes you’re running other people’s plays, but you’re still throwing it, hitting guys in stride and trying to throw it accurately, and doing all of the drills. Hope to get back there and be sharp.”

After starting 232 of 233 games, including 210 straight, Manning was benched in Week 3 after the Giants started 0-2. Wednesday marked the two-year anniversary of his strange one-game benching that led to the firing of Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese, and Monday will be one year since Manning’s last victory (against the Redskins).

The most difficult part of the last two-plus months?

“Not playing in the games,” Manning said. “You miss being a part of the action and practicing and all that. Felt good to get out there today.”

Manning’s first challenge is to halt the Giants’ losing streak before tying the franchise record of nine straight. He has lost nine of his last 10 starts to the Eagles and hasn’t won at Lincoln Financial Field since 2013.

“Eli looks good,” Shurmur said. “He’s been ready to play all year. If in fact he does play this week, he will be ready to go. I expect him to go out and have a winning performance.”

Shurmur said Jones’ high ankle sprain, revealed by an MRI exam, is “similar but not as severe” as the injury that kept running back Saquon Barkley out for three games this season. Surgery is not expected.

It was a greater vote of confidence than his later assessment: Shurmur described Manning as “eager” and isn’t concerned about potential rust because, he said, “What are we going to do about it?”

An injury to Jones likely was the only ticket back to the field for Manning, who, as The Post reported last month, was not interested in a ceremonial start in front of the home fans in Week 17. Now, because the Giants figure to take the safe approach to Jones’ recovery to avoid long-term complications, he could have a four-game farewell tour.

“He’s watching a lot of things with me,” Jones said, “and trying to take me through a lot of different things.”image.gif.e4c1f56e8f11f9c0192c23b3e7ceae89.gif

Manning, who turns 39 on Jan. 3, still has not revealed whether he will retire at season’s end, return to the Giants as a backup or look to play elsewhere after 16 seasons in blue. He claimed faulty memory when asked if he was part of any trade discussions — requiring waving a no-trade clause — at the October deadline.

“You never want to try to make decisions about your future while you’re still living in the present and don’t know the circumstances of what could happen,” Manning said. “I’ll analyze everything else after the season.”

Giants receiver Sterling Shepard, who arrived in 2016 and is Manning’s longest-tenured offensive teammate, admitted he thought he caught his last pass in their connection.

“He’s going to get a yellow [Hall of Fame] jacket,” Shepard said. “I expect Eli to step up big.”

Manning is 116-116 in his career as a starter and never missed a game due to injury, a remarkable stretch of durability at the position matched only by Brett Favre and older brother Peyton, both of whom eventually broke down physically.

“I think we all should appreciate that,” Shurmur said. “That’s part of what makes Eli who he is. He was available and playing, and that’s important that the franchise can trust that you’re going to be out there.”

Manning’s reliability was depicted in a return to his noncontroversial, team-first tune.

“I’m trying to go out there, play hard, compete, and try to get a win for the team,” Manning said. “The team is obviously going on a long stretch. Guys are working hard and doing everything right and deserve to feel good about the work that we’re putting in.”

When his seven minutes were up, Manning was asked if he really missed the media attention.

“Uh, no,” he said as he walked off.

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The Giants need to stop seeing the glass half full when it's almost completely empty

The Giants are simply in denial

By Ralph Vacchiano | 1:24AM
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RalphPic_93z5jd5l.pngRalph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

PHILADELPHIA - The Giants are in denial. That's the only way to explain it. They see a glass half full when it's almost completely empty. They aren't just bad, they're historically bad, riding the longest losing streak in franchise history.

And yet …

"We're going to get this thing turned around," said receiver Sterling Shepard.

"I feel like we have the right people and the right talent," added linebacker Alec Ogletree.

"We're one of the best organizations in the world," said running back Saquon Barkley.

Just a reminder: After their heartbreaking, 23-17 overtime loss in Philadelphia - the one where they blew a 17-3 halftime lead - the Giants are 2-11 and haven't won since Sept. 29.

And maybe this is the problem - or at least one of the many problems. The Giants have graduated from the Bill Parcells years of "You are what your record says you are" and into an era where they think that "behind the scenes" progress somehow matters. A week ago, Barkley even said the Giants practice like they're 10-2, as if that was supposed to matter to anyone, anywhere at all.

You know who likely doesn't care about that? Giants co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch - especially Mara, who seems to be about as mad as he's been in recent years, which is saying something considering how bad his team has been since 2011. He cares that the Giants have won just seven of their last 29 games, and 10 of their last 45. That's a 10-35 record since the start of the 2017 season. One playoff berth and no playoff wins since Super Bowl XLVI.

So imagine how little he cares when he hears this from Barkley, after he was asked if he thinks the Giants have the potential to become a winning franchise.

"Yes," he said. "Very soon. I know this is a place we can win big. It's the Giants. We're one of the best organizations in the world. When you come to work you can see it. Not just by the players, but the people upstairs, the training staff, the kitchen staff, every staff up there, the way that we're built, the way that we are the way we operate. We have a winning culture inside. 

"We just can't do it on Sundays. It makes no sense to me. At all, actually."

Hooray for the kitchen staff and all the other professionals in the organization, but the paying customers only care about what happens on those Sundays. The fact that they can't is why Mara is almost certainly considering firing head coach Pat Shurmur with three years still left on his contract and hiring a fifth coach in the last six seasons.

Just the thought of that has to be nauseating for Mara, who believes strongly in patience and stability in his franchise. Five coaches in six seasons is something the worst franchises in the NFL rarely even do. That's how hard the Giants have smacked into rock bottom.

But desperate times are here and happy talk and believing isn't enough. The Giants can't just clap real loud or click their heels three times to make them into the team they seem to think they should be. Fairy tales don't come true without help.

"I do believe we're going to turn it around," Barkley said. "When it does it's going to be an amazing story. But for that to happen we've got to find a way to win a game."

That last part, of course, is the rub. It has now been 71 days since the Giants last won a game, and nobody's crazy enough to beat heavily on them when they return home to face the Miami Dolphins on Sunday - not the way the Dolphins have been playing over the last six weeks. And the Giants don't seem any closer to figuring out a winning formula.

Even veteran quarterback Eli Manning, who had 12 weeks to sit back and watch this mess after he was benched for rookie Daniel Jones in Week 3, doesn't seem to have any answers.

"It's tough," he said. "It's frustrating, because we work hard and practice hard. We've been in a bunch of close games. For whatever reason, we can't put the game away."

Here's the reason, and there's no way around it: They are a bad football team that thinks it's good. They shouldn't revel in how they practice, because they're obviously not practicing hard enough or well enough. They shouldn't be mesmerized, wondering how they keep losing games when they have so much talent. Instead they should accept that their talent just isn't good enough.

And they should be angry about that, not dumbfounded. They need less happy talk, less talk about their effort, and more of someone throwing a chair through a wall in the locker room. They shouldn't be content or comfortable with anything that's happened in 2019. And they should be worried about their futures too.

Because this is the Giants' reality - the only reality that matters: They are what their record says they are - and the record says they are awful. One of the worst teams, if not the worst, in the NFL.

The sooner the whole franchise accepts that, the better off their future is going to be.

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Joe Judge: 10 facts about the new Giants head coach

 
New York Daily News |
Jan 07, 2020 | 1:14 PM
 
 

The Giants hired New England Patriots wide receivers/special teams coach Joe Judge to be the team’s 21st head coach on Tuesday.

The 38-year-old coach might be an unknown to most Giants fans, so here are a few facts about him:

Ex-Patriots' special teams/wide receivers coach Joe Judge has been tagged as the Giants' new head coach.
Ex-Patriots' special teams/wide receivers coach Joe Judge has been tagged as the Giants' new head coach. (Steven Senne/AP)
  • Judge was born in Philadelphia in 1981 and lived in Pennsylvania before playing college football at Mississippi State.
  • He started his coaching career in 2005 as a graduate assistant for Mississippi State. He had also considered filling Mississippi’s head coaching vacancy before agreeing to terms with the Giants.
  • In 2009, he was brought to Alabama — in Nick Saban’s second year as the Tide’s head coach — as a special teams assistant.
  • He spent 2012-2014 as a Patriots special teams assistant before getting promoted to special teams coordinator in 2015. He had wide receivers coach added to his job title prior to 2019. According to ESPN’s Mike Reiss, Judge was the only coach in the NFL with both wide receiver and special teams duties.
  • Judge took over the wide receiver coaches role after former wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea became the Dolphins offensive coordinator for the 2019 season.
  • His special teams units ranked fifth (2015), eighth (2016), third (2017), 16th (2018), and 11th (2019) in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric over his five seasons as the lead coordinator.
  • According to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Judge lived next door to former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
  • Judge was going to follow Josh McDaniels to Indianapolis, but went back to New England after McDaniels decided not to follow through on his commitment to the Colts.
  • Judge was on the coaching staff for three recent Patriots’ Super Bowl victories — against the Seahawks, Falcons, and Rams.
  • His uncle, Jerry Judge, once boxed against George Foreman in an exhibition — and was knocked out in the second round.
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Why Joe Judge hire is a directional change for Giants

January 11, 2020 | 3:44am

 

 

 

The era of the quarterback cocoon ends here. And now.

The Giants promoted Ben McAdoo from offensive coordinator to head coach in large part because they loved what he did to help fix Eli Manning and figured imposing a whole new system on Manning would be counterproductive.

Sure, the Giants hired Pat Shurmur because he was an “adult,’’ but mostly based on his excellence working and developing quarterbacks of all shapes and sizes. If he could get Case Keenum to an NFC Championship game, Shurmur’s hand on Manning and then whichever rookie quarterback the Giants plucked out of the NFL draft, the reasoning went, should lead to similar success.

This line of thinking guided some assessing the coaching search process to connect the dots and assume the Giants this time around would pick someone who best serves Daniel Jones. As it turned out, those dots remain scattered. The Giants did not sell their quarterback, no longer a rookie, on the candidates. None of the six interviews was tinged with “Take our quarterback … please’’ entreaties.

Joe Judge, with a background mostly in special teams, has no trace of ever working with quarterbacks at any stop on his coaching trail. The closest he got was picking up the added responsibility in 2019 of working with the Patriots’ wide receivers — you know, the guys who (sometimes) caught Tom Brady’s passes. Special teams coordinators work with players from virtually every position, blending big and small and fast and slow. They do not, however, put quarterbacks on the return team or turn quarterbacks into gunners on the punt coverage unit.

It is essential for Judge to find seasoned assistants to guide his offense and work with his inherited quarterback. It is important for Judge to get in the head of Daniel Jones and stay there, as there has to be a symbiotic relationship even though Judge will not be calling any plays. This does not mean this is a Judge-Jones production. A team does not get this bad for this long because of the demise of one player at one position.

Judge did not offer even the most perfunctory comment about Jones. He did not even say his name during Thursday’s introductory press conference. When given the opportunity to state what he liked about Jones, Judge put together words that used up oxygen and nothing else.

“I don’t want to get into any analysis of any player right now specifically,’’ Judge said. “I want to take my time, do my homework, and then reflect back on a time when I’ve had time to really break them all down. I understand the question, I appreciate the question, but I want to make sure that instead of just spurting off my mouth from, at this point still an outsider’s view, I’ve got to get the insider’s perspective with all of the information and further analyze what they can do.’’

Judge was reminded he was on the sideline at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 10 when the Patriots hosted the Giants. Jones struggled that night against the mighty Patriots defense, completing only 15 of 31 passes for 161 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions for a season-worst passer rating of 35.2. Surely, Judge came away with an impression of Jones.

“Again, I’m just going to go back with that one right there as far as that,’’ Judge said.

Judge was the last of five interviews the Giants conducted and every candidate got his chance to opine on what they saw in Jones.

 

“I will tell you this, it felt good that every person we interviewed loves the quarterback,’’ co-owner John Mara said. “They all said that to us. They all said, ‘We could win with this guy. He has some unique talents.’ That was something that was great for us to hear.’’

There is no reason to believe this is untrue, just as there is much to like about Daniel Jones. Still, it is difficult to believe anyone sitting down trying to get hired by the Giants would say, “Daniel Jones? Meh.’’

General manager Dave Gettleman said he really hasn’t spoken much to Judge about Jones.

“He’s on the outside looking in the periphery,’’ Gettleman said. “We believe Daniel is our guy.’’

Shurmur did the heavy lifting getting a prospect from Duke up to speed in the NFL game and suffered through Jones’ natural growing pains. If Jones goes on to big things, the foundation Shurmur set should always be remembered. Shurmur, though, did say after Jones tossed three interceptions against the Packers that it was a sign of progress: “Well, the turnovers were interceptions, right? Today they weren’t fumbles, right?’’

It is difficult to anticipate that sentiment flowing out of Judge. He said he is here to coach everyone hard. That includes the young quarterback.

  

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  • 2 months later...

 

 

 

Giants re-sign upstart linebacker David Mayo

March 14, 2020 | 12:41am

 
 

Not many members of the 2019 Giants outperformed expectations.

One of the few re-signed Friday, just three days before NFL free agency opens.

Inside linebacker David Mayo is back, The Post confirmed, after he made 82 tackles in 16 games (13 starts) and became one of the team’s highest-rated defensive players by Pro Football Focus. He totaled 61 tackles in 59 games (four starts) during four previous seasons with the Panthers.

Mayo signed with the 49ers last offseason but was released just before the regular season began and earned his stripes with the Giants on special teams.

The Giants still are expected to prioritize inside linebacker in free agency and the NFL Draft, after cutting starter Alec Ogletree to save $8.25 million against the salary cap. Mayo signed a three-year deal, according to The Athletic.

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2020 NFL Draft Round 1 winners and losers: Dolphins land the right QB, Packers shock the world and more

 
 
 
Bryan DeArdo
 
 

Fans anticipated a highly-entertaining first round heading into the opening night of the 2020 NFL Draft. Those fans were not disappointed, as several teams made daring moves in order to help improve their rosters heading into the upcoming season. As expected, there were several teams that had highly successful nights, while a few teams did not do themselves any favors by making questionable picks on Thursday.

 

 

With Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft in the books, let's take a look at the big winners and losers from Thursday night.

 

 
 

Winner: Dolphins

With speculation Miami had been eyeing Tua Tagovailoa for an entire year, not having to trade up to get their new franchise quarterback served as the first surprise of the night. While his health will certainly be an ongoing concern (until it isn't), Tagovailoa is the type of difference-maker you need to have at quarterback to compete for titles.

At No. 18, the Dolphins were able to secure Austin Jackson, a promising tackle who Miami clearly believes will realize his potential sooner rather than later. Just as important as landing a franchise quarterback is protecting the new face of the franchise, so Miami had to leave Round 1 with a plan to shore up their protection up front.

After trading back to No. 30 (and picking up the Packers' fourth-round pick), Miami bolstered their secondary by taking Noah Igbinoghene, who was in the mix to be the third-best cornerback in the draft. With newly-signed Byron Jones, Xavien Howard and Igbinoghene, Miami now boasts one of the most talented cornerback trios in the NFL, which bodes well for a team that likes to play man coverage. The pick may have looked questionable on paper considering the investment in Jones, but Dolphins coach Brian Flores sure found out in New England how successful a team can be with an excellent cornerback depth chart.

 

 
 
Video by NFL

Loser: Packers

Jordan Love may end up being a quality NFL quarterback, but with Aaron Rodgers still just 36 and coming off an NFC title game appearance, the Packers would have been better served using this pick to pick to select either linebacker Patrick Queen or receiver Denzel Mims.

Instead, Green Bay takes a player that won't be in their immediate plans, assuming Rodgers stays healthy in 2020. And they paid an extra fourth-round pick to move up for the privilege to move up. While fourth-round picks rarely make an immediate impact, that's another potential player who could have helped the Packers in 2020 that won't get the chance.

Winner: Cowboys

While they had other needs, particularly at cornerback and on the defensive line, the Cowboys weren't going to pass on the chance at taking receiver CeeDee Lamb with the 17th overall pick. In Lamb, the Cowboys are getting a prolific college receiver who can replace Randall Cobb in the slot and give the offense one of the best wide receiver trios in the league.

Dallas' offense, already loaded with Ezekiel ElliottDak Prescott, and Amari Cooper, should be one of the league's most explosive units in 2020. Maybe it won't matter how the defense plays if the Cowboys can score at will. Dallas now has to go find solid players to strengthen their defensive unit on Friday and Saturday.

Loser: Saints

Cesar Ruiz is certainly a good prospect, but the Saints desperately need a playmaker at inside linebacker, and LSU's Patrick Queen was available when New Orleans was on the board with the 24th pick. If Ruiz turns into a lineup mainstay for the team over the next decade, it won't matter, but he wasn't the most logical fit for a team looking to win a Super Bowl title this year.

The Saints will now have to wait until the 88th pick to find a linebacker if they don't engineer a trade up -- and it's important to note that they started draft weekend tied for the fewest number of draft picks in their possession. Oregon's Troy Dye, Mississippi State's Willie Gay Jr., and Ohio State's Malik Harrison may be available at that point in the draft, but Sean Payton will have to keep his fingers crossed for a long part of Friday in hopes of landing one.

Winner: 49ers

The defending NFC champions pulled off an impressive first round, selecting defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw -- the second-ranked defensive line prospect in the draft -- after trading back one spot and picking up a fourth-round pick. Getting a fourth-rounder for free and selecting the player you would have taken anyway is always a fine move, and Kinlaw gives the team a quality player to step into the DeForest Buckner-sized hole in the middle of their defense.

The 49ers then used that pick as part of a trade with the Vikings, moving up six spots to select receiver Brandon Aiyuk. While the team had indicated they could trade down from both their first-round picks, the 49ers probably didn't believe the Arizona State receiver would still be on the board late in the first round, considering he had been linked to the Eagles at No. 21. For a team in win-now mode, landing difference-makers on both sides of the ball has to be seen as a success for a day's work.

Loser: Giants

Andrew Thomas is one of the top-rated offensive tackles in this class, and the Giants did need an upgrade at that position heading into the draft. So the pick makes sense, right?

Not so fast. By taking Thomas, New York passed on the chance at selecting Isaiah Simmons, the fastest linebacker in the draft and a player that would have fit perfectly into new defensive coordinator Patrick Graham's scheme. It will be interesting to see if Simmons blossoms in Arizona, the team that ultimately selected him with the eighth pick.

Winner: Raiders

The Raiders stayed true to their brand by selecting receiver Henry Ruggs III, the fastest player in the NFL Draft. The addition of Ruggs should significantly improve a Raiders offense that already includes Josh Jacobs, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Renfrow, Trent Brown, Rodney Hudson, Darren Waller, and Derek Carr.

Las Vegas then acquired Damon Arnette, a talented cornerback whose draft stock continued to climb in the days leading up to the draft. Arnette, despite playing with a broken wrist last season, earned All-Big-10 honors during his senior season. He also did not allow more than one touchdown in each of his four seasons with the Buckeyes, according to the Raiders' team website. While many saw the selection as a reach at No. 19, the reality is that he would have been long gone by the team's next selection in the third round, so if they couldn't find a worthwhile trade to move down, the play is to take the guy you like rather than listen to the masses.

Loser: Seahawks 

Linebacker wasn't considered a major need for the Seahawks heading into draft weekend, but even if they really wanted to add to the position, the one they chose with the 27th pick -- Texas Tech's Jordyn Brooks -- is a head-scratcher. Instead of taking LSU's Patrick Queen (the highest-ranked inside linebacker in the draft), the Seahawks instead went with Brooks, the 11th best linebacker and the 139th-best prospect in CBS Sports' pre-draft rankings, though to be fair buzz had built for Brooks as a possible Round 1 pick over the last week.

While he was a solid tackler during his time at Texas Tech, Brooks leaves something to be desire as it relates to pass defense. His size (6-foot-4, 240 pounds) and speed (his recorded time in the 40-yard-dash is 4.54 seconds) would suggest that he fits best as a weak side linebacker, a position that is currently occupied by K.J. Wright. That being said, Wright, 31, is entering the final year of his contract, which helps somewhat justify the Seahawks' decision to take Brooks with this pick. 

Winner: Vikings

While many people expected the Vikings to take a receiver and a cornerback with their two first-round picks, not many people predicted how Minnesota would be able to fill these spots on Thursday night. With the 22nd pick, the Vikings fell into selecting former LSU receiver Justin Jefferson, an extremely prolific college receiver who caught 111 passes for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns during his final season in Baton Rouge. The acquisition of Jefferson should help replace the loss of Stefon Diggs, who was traded to Buffalo earlier this offseason, and it comes after many people projected the talented receiver to be gone in the teens, and certainly after the Eagles had made their pick at No. 21.

Minnesota was then able trade their 25th pick to the 49ers in exchange for the 31st, 117th and 176th picks. With the 31st pick, the Vikings were able to select TCU's Jeff Gladney, the sixth-best cornerback in CBS Sports' prospect rankings. A first-team All-Big 12 selection last season, Gladney paced the conference with 14 pass breakups in 2019. He would have been a fine fit for the Vikings at No. 25, so to get him plus two extra picks is a coup. Minnesota will likely use at least one of the extra picks they acquired on Thursday night to further address their secondary, a unit that lost Xavier Rhodes, Trae Waynes and Mackensie Alexander during free agency. 

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DeAndre Baker charges a mess for Giants and Dave Gettleman

May 14, 2020 | 11:20pm

 

 

You can make it out of a mean, unforgiving place rife with gun violence, such as the Liberty City section of Miami, and make something of yourself, because we have seen Teddy Bridgewater do it and we have seen Amari Cooper do it.

For a while, we saw Antonio Brown do it.

And until Thursday night, we saw DeAndre Baker do it.

Then we were harshly reminded, and the Giants and Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge were harshly reminded, that some of them cannot escape whatever demons they dreamed they could leave behind.

If the allegations are true, DeAndre Baker has revealed himself as a thug, who, at the mercy of the judicial system, may very well have shot his NFL career to hell and shot Gettleman’s scouting acumen and visions of a championship culture to hell along with it.

The kid Gettleman traded up into the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft to be his lockdown corner now is in grave jeopardy of being destined to be his locked-up corner.

How, with all the investigation into the backgrounds of these college prospects, were there no red flags on DeAndre Baker?

And Gettleman thought Odell Beckham Jr. and Janoris Jenkins were problem children?

 

The Miramar PD arrest warrant Thursday night for Baker — four counts of armed robbery with a firearm and four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm — is a black eye for Gettleman and the Giants and a debilitating blow to his rebuilding plan.

So much for free-agent signing CB James Bradberry mentoring Baker. Sam Beal, anyone? Somebody get Logan Ryan on the phone pronto before Jets GM Joe Douglas does.

And the disturbing details that have emerged — Baker and Seahawks pal Quinton Dunbar allegedly stealing $12,400 in cash and four watches valued at $61,100, according to the police report, while armed with semi-automatic weapons after allegedly losing 70G at a card game gone awry at a party two nights earlier, with one report alleging Baker instructed a different accomplice in a red mask to shoot someone, though thankfully he did not — put Gettleman back on the hot seat following John Mara’s edict that he improve his batting average in his third season on the job.

Making Baker the first cornerback selected in that draft — zero interceptions as a rookie — is equivalent to Gettleman never even taking the bat off his shoulder and taking a called strike three in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run on third.

 

Gettleman surrendered picks No. 37, 132 and 142 to make Baker the 30th pick of a draft that also delivered Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence.

“The last guy we traded up for we feel is the best cover corner in the draft, the kid from Georgia, DeAndre Baker,” Gettleman said at the time. “We feel like we got three guys that are going to impact this franchise for a long time.”

Wrong.

It turns out there were indeed warning signs about Baker’s maturity that Gettleman and the Giants missed. Draft analyst Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported on several prior to the 2019 scouting combine.

“Sources were telling me he was not taking combine training seriously,” Pauline told The Post. “He was kind of an entitled type of kid, he expected things to come very easy to him, he didn’t look good in drills. And then if you go back, and you look at his 2019 combine, he was a huge disappointment.

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“This year when I was at the Senior Bowl practices, the last day of practice, I was talking to some of the Giant people, they didn’t tell me he was a bad guy or anything, they said he’s dumb as dirt. He struggled taking instruction in coaching, he basically likes to do it his own way.”

Baker was dressed down by teammates during his rookie season for his laissez-faire preparation. Pauline had Baker as his sixth-best corner.

“I would have never taken that guy in the first round. Never,” Pauline said.

Baker was coached at Northwestern High in Miami by Eddie Brown … Antonio Brown’s father. Baker after the draft described himself this way: “A guy whose teammates can always count on me to be there on Sundays and every other day of the week.”

Now? NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be the first judge and jury. After that, who knows? Innocent until proven guilty, yes, of course. But this isn’t the kind of behavior that Joe Judge will tolerate. Or any head coach. Or any franchise should. DeAndre Baker should only hope and pray that his next teammates are not inmates.

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Saquon Barkley was historically bad for Giants

September 14, 2020 | 11:28pm | Updated

 

 

 

Daniel Jones was scrambling for his life and lateraled the ball to Saquon Barkley to salvage something positive on a busted play.

Barkley’s 5-yard rush off a designed pass was his second-longest carry of the first half. It didn’t get any better from there.

Yes, it was that kind of historically bad night for the Giants rushing attack in a 26-16 season-opening loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

How bad? Barkley rushed for 6 yards on 15 attempts — the lowest numbers of their kind in the NFL this century, behind LaDainian Tomlinson’s 7 yards in 2005 and Rudi Johnson’s 9 in 2007. Since 1970, only five others have run for fewer than 10 yards on at least 15 carries.

“Not really too concerned about the stats,” Barkley said. “Got to give credit where it’s due: They have a great defensive front. I have to be better for the team.”

With three new starters, the Giants offensive line had the same problems creating lanes for Barkley that last year’s unit did for a bulk of the season. As a result, the pass protection — which started off surprisingly effective against the fierce rush of T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree — weakened as the game progressed and the Steelers defense realized it was facing a one-dimensional offense.

Barkley’s first nine carries went for a total of negative-3 yards and Dion Lewis (1 yard on one carry) and Jones (negative-1 yard on one carry) couldn’t save the Giants from finishing a first half in the red on the ground for the first time since Dec. 1, 2002, against the Titans.

 

It took Barkley until his 14th carry — with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter — to break into positive yardage. He lowered his shoulder on a 7-yard run to get to the 4-yard line, but Jones threw an interception in the end zone on the next play to kill a 19-play, 87-yard drive that ate nearly nine minutes of clock.

“We’re going to stay aggressive with the run game,” coach Joe Judge said. “Saquon is going to be a difference-maker in how good this team is going to be, and we’re going to stay with him. It’s not something we are going to shy away from. We have to improve on the run game.”

It was reminiscent of when Barkley was held to 1 yard on 13 carries by the Jets. He was unselfishly playing through a high ankle sprain then. This time? Just a one-sided battle in the trenches, and television cameras caught the frustrations on Barkley’s face on the sideline.

“I guess I probably showed emotion on my face,” Barkley said. “I’m human.”

 

The Giants trailed by two scores within 41 seconds of the fourth and ran four offensive plays in the first 10 minutes of the quarter, so Jones was forced to go to the air more frequently. Barkley finished with six catches for 61 yards and Jones rushed for 22 yards.

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Giants’ feeble roster can’t meet John Mara’s lowest expectations

September 28, 2020 | 8:31am | Updated

 

 

Co-owner John Mara didn’t mandate a division title, a playoff berth or a .500 record when asked earlier this month how he would define improvement in 2020. He set forth loose criteria so there would be room to bend to patience.

And yet “playing meaningful games in December” – Mara’s words – feels like an impossible standard to reach after a 36-9 loss to the 49ers turned the Giants’ seventh 0-2 start in the last eight years into just their third 0-3 start since 1996. It seems the Giants once again have faded into irrelevance before the Yankees’ season is over.

“There’s no magic formula to this. There’s no magic wand,” coach Joe Judge said. “You don’t go out there and just solve every problem in a day. It’s a day-by-day process of putting things together.”

Judge has a lot of days left three games into his tenure, but Sunday was Gettleman’s 1,004th day as general manager.

The Giants are 9-26 in that span – only the Bengals have fewer wins – and are searching for answers in all-too-familiar positions: An offensive line recently declared “fixed” is playing a big part in the NFL’s worst rushing offense by an astounding margin of 26 yards per game. And special teamers forced into secondary roles is the same old story, whether it’s Antonio Hamilton in 2019 or Nate Ebner in 2020.

It’s easy to make a team younger: Gettleman turned over a roster that included fading stars with big contracts such as Eli Manning, Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison and Janoris Jenkins and boosted his draft resources to 26 draft picks (21 remain) along the way.

 

It’s much more difficult to make a team better – and where are the Giants notably better than they were on Dec. 28, 2017 when the roster included Pro Bowlers Odell Beckham and Landon Collins? Especially if blue-chip draft picks Saquon Barkley (injury-prone) and Daniel Jones (turnover-prone) don’t shake their concerning labels.

The Giants are 12-39 in their last 51 games – a league-worst record during a span that includes an 0-16 record for the Browns. It’s déjà Blue with new names.

“We can’t come to work each and every day not feeling confident about ourselves and not coming in with a clear mind towards getting better,” tight end Evan Engram said. “There is no feeling sorry for ourselves.”

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Alec Ogletree, Kareem Martin, Patrick Omameh, Jonathan Stewart, Antoine Bethea have come and gone as failed veteran answers. Blake Martinez and James Bradberry are paying early dividends, but the Giants’ talent gap was exposed by a 49ers team playing without eight starters.

Injuries to Barkley, Sterling Shepard and Jabrill Peppers highlight a devastating lack of depth. Barkley (2018), wide receiver Golden Tate (2014) and Leonard Williams (2016) are the only offensive or defensive players with a Pro Bowl selection to their name.

“We have players,” Judge said. “We have players in a position right now on our roster, on our team, that were on that field today that can help us win games.”

What else can he say without pointing a finger? Mara said plenty before the season.

“I want to feel like when we walk off the field after the last game that we play, whenever that is, that we’re moving in the right direction,” Mara said. “That we have the pieces in place to compete for a Super Bowl.”

Forget playing in February. Forget December. Focus on October.

More thoughts after the Giants’ loss to the 49ers

1. The Giants opened as a double-digit road underdog to the Rams in Week 4. So, the first win of the Judge Era will be …?

Week 6 or Week 9 against Washington (1-2), which beat the Eagles and had a fourth-quarter lead against the Browns?

Week 7 or Week 10 against the Eagles (0-2-1), who have won 11 of their last 12 meetings with the Giants?

Week 12 against the Bengals (0-2-1), whose point differential is just negative eight?

Nearly half of the first 300 fans respondents to a Twitter poll listing four options choose no wins until 2021, expressing the pessimism of a fan base fooled into believing it could steal a win against the decimated 49ers.

2. You might not find two less-contested touchdowns in Week 3 than those scored by Brandon Aiyuk on a 19-yard end-around and Justin Wilson on a 19-yard screen pass against the Giants.

 
 
 

Three blockers escorted Aiyuk. Two had no one to hit until inside the 7-yard line because the misdirection worked so well. Wilson wasn’t touched until the goal line as the Giants couldn’t shake downfield blocks.

 

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“When we see it [on film], it’s just going to be a small, little fundamental thing,” Blake Martinez said when asked for a common thread. “Whether it’s being able to tell when you beat a block too cleanly on a screen play, having the forced presence, whatever it ends up being.”

3. Read-option plays for Daniel Jones were common in training camp, disappeared during the first two game plans, returned with success against the 49ers and need to become a playbook fixture. Jones rushed for 23, 19 and 16 yards on keepers, though the shortest was erased by penalty. Still, Jones was the Giants’ leading rusher (49 yards) in the game and for the season (92).

“There is a lot of stuff that you put in over the course of training camp that you like,” offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said during the week. “Maybe you don’t like certain things each week. Some of those ‘deceptives’ that you are referring to, when they fit into the plan, we’ll certainly use them going forward.”

4. It was the fourth game since 2014 that the Giants did not run an offensive play in the red zone and the second time with Jones at the helm. It also happened in a 35-14 loss to the Patriots last season.

“Comes down to execution,” Engram said. “Comes down to winning our situations.”

The Giants aren’t winning enough. Period.

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Pissed off’ Giants facing serious problem with offense

September 28, 2020 | 8:15pm | Updated

 
 
 
 

Double- and triple-check the math in disbelief, but it all adds up correctly.

Pro Bowl running back plus three playmaking receivers plus recent first-round draft picks at quarterback, tight end and left tackle plus offensive line three years in the making equals … 12.7 points per game.

It seemed three weeks ago like winning shootouts to compensate for an underwhelming defense was the surest path to success for the Giants. Now? Only the Jets (12.3) boast a lower-scoring offense.

“I wouldn’t have believed you if you said we’re only going to score 12 points a game,” center Nick Gates admitted.

Corrections must start with the run-blocking: The Giants are last in the league in rushing yards per carry (3.2) and per game (56.7). Production was poor with five quarters of the elusive back Saquon Barkley and it’s bottomed out since he suffered a season-ending torn ACL and left the job to Devonta Freeman, Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis.

“We just have to make holes,” Gates said. “Even when Saquon was in there, holes weren’t there. There’s still guys falling off blocks and still guys making plays. Even if Saquon was in there, who knows what would happen. As an offensive line, we have to sustain and finish.”

Quarterback Daniel Jones has led the Giants in rushing in two of the first three games, but his read-option-keeper ability is now on tape and no longer a surprise. The Giants had a run-block win rate of 66 percent — No. 26 in the league, according to ESPN — through two weeks and it’s only sinking after a 36-9 loss to the 49ers.

 

“I like the urgency they come to work with every day,” coach Joe Judge said of his line. “There are things we have to improve on, and we have to get moving fast on that.”

It’s not that offensive line coach Marc Colombo forgot how to teach since leaving the All-Pro-stacked line of Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith and Zack Martin with the Cowboys. The Giants are not executing.

“We’re pissed off,’ Gates said. “We want to be better. We don’t want to go out there and lose. We don’t want to go out there and not run the ball. We put a lot of effort and a lot of work into learning the defense. It is frustrating when you can’t run the ball and you can’t protect well.”

Without Barkley to bail out a sputtering offense with his home run ability — an NFL-best 10 runs of 40-plus yards over the past two seasons — the Giants face a serious problem. If this is the best they muster on the ground, defenses will jam receivers at the line of scrimmage and send blitzers at Jones, leaving him susceptible to stunted growth.

“We have to work to be a balanced team,” Judge said. “There are a lot of times right now we have to make sure the yin and the yang factor out for each other.”

NFL Network film analyst Brian Baldinger highlighted a specific breakdown of the missing fundamentals. Left tackle Andrew Thomas and left guard Will Hernandez’s failure to get foot-to-foot and shoulder-to-shoulder to execute a double-team block on an inside-zone run led to Gallman’s no gain on the first snap against the 49ers.

“When the Giants do this on a consistent basis,” Baldinger said on Twitter, “I don’t care if it’s Gallman or whoever they’ve got there, they will gain yards. That’s what it comes down to.”

Could the Giants make personnel changes? Inserting rookies Shane Lemieux or Matt Peart isn’t likely to provide an immediate boost. Moving Gates to right tackle to play center Spencer Pulley at the expense of the struggling Cam Fleming would undo months of developmental time invested in Gates learning a new position.

We spent the day reviewing the tape as a staff,” Judge said. “We’ll go through the rest of this week in terms of how guys are implementing the plan we put ahead for the Rams, and we’ll see who the best guys are to put on the field.”
 
 
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Giants roster turns into confusing, never-ending shuffle

October 6, 2020 | 6:32pm | Updated

 

 

Who?

Him? No, the other guy.

No, not that other guy. That other guy.

If you are confused, do not feel bad. You are not alone.

Welcome to the New York Giants roster shuffle.

There was always going to be more player movement than usual this season, given there is a new coaching regime. Joe Judge and his staff were going to sort through bodies until they came up with a group that fits the mold they want. There is plenty of truth to a head coach wanting “his players” and Judge is not there yet.

Throw in injuries (they always happen) coronavirus opt-outs (unprecedented) and expanded practice squads (new this year), and the front door at the Giants practice and training facility might as well be replaced by a turnstile. In, out, out, in.

Just look at what is going on at cornerback. The Giants opened the coffers in free agency to sign James Bradberry to solve one problem. At the other starting spot, the Giants figured they had DeAndre Baker (2019 first-round pick), Sam Beal (2018 third-round supplemental pick), Corey Ballentine (2019 sixth-round pick) and Darnay Holmes (2020 fourth-round pick). Not perfect, but enough young talent to perhaps make it work.

Then it unraveled. Baker is facing a mountain of legal troubles and is gone. Beal opted out. Holmes is a rookie operating out of the slot and experiencing predictable ups and downs. There was a trade with the Broncos for Isaac Yiadom, a disappointment in his two years in Denver. Ryan Lewis, who played for Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham with the Dolphins, was signed. So was Madre Harper, off the Raiders practice squad.

Ballentine got the first crack and failed. Yiadom got second crack and failed. Just like that, Lewis got 74 percent of the snaps on defense in the 17-9 loss to the Rams.

Got it?

“To me, the whole label on starter isn’t really the most critical thing,’’ Judge said. “It’s more about who’s finishing the game for us, and a lot of that ties into how we have to play that game due to the flow of it or how we have to adjust.’’

Lewis finished the game in Inglewood, Calif., and it stands to reason he will start the game Sunday against the Cowboys in Arlington, Texas.

“He showed a lot of positive things in terms of how he played on outside routes,’’ Judge said. “Look, there are other situations where [Yiadom] is going to have a predominant role based on how we’re trying to match certain things up and really get him worked in.’’

 

Lewis is a name and number (37) to those outside the Giants sphere, until he shows he can last or is merely passing through. He intercepted DeShaun Watson in college (Pittsburgh vs. Clemson) and intercepted Baker Mayfield in the NFL (Dolphins vs. Browns). He is the cousin of ESPN analyst (and one-time Giants general manager candidate) Louis Riddick.

Maybe the Giants have something in a 26-year-old who was not drafted and bounced around practice squads and on the fringe of rosters with eight NFL teams in the past three years.

This means more of safety Adrian Colbert, suddenly a starter (although he left the Rams game with a neck injury). This means more of Tae Crowder, the last (255th) pick in the 2020 draft and thus designated as Mr. Irrelevant.

 

Think about what has transpired at the inside linebacker spot alongside Blake Martinez. Promising Ryan Connelly, coming off knee surgery, was waived. David Mayo got hurt and is now eligible to come off injured reserve. Devonte Downs caught the eyes of the coaching staff, moved in as the starter and made little impact. He played four snaps on defense against the Rams; Crowder played 33.

Rookie Matt Peart last Sunday got his feet wet at right tackle. Shane Lemieux in at guard later this season for Kevin Zeitler makes sense. Harper or Jarren Williams off the practice squad at corner? Why not? There are a load of rookie receivers waiting in the wings as well.

“I think we have a lot of young guys right now on the roster who are at least starting to come around,’’ Judge said. “You can kind of see a difference in their eyes.’’

If the light going on leads to some winning, great. At the very least, the Giants need to find out who is in and who should be out.

 
 
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  • 3 weeks later...

The NFC East should do the right thing and just give up

Andy Nesbitt  2 hrs ago
 
 
 
 

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This is the online version of our daily newsletter, The Morning WinSubscribe to get irreverent and incisive sports stories, delivered to your mailbox every morning. 

 

The Eagles hosted the Giants in a Thursday Night Football game last night that was so bad it had people flipping over to the presidential debate.

 

I mean yikes, right?

 

These two teams entered the game with one win each and were just a game back in the NFC East – in a WEEK 7 GAME.

And, well, this one lived up to the bad hype leading up to it.

Sure, Philly won with a Carson Wentz TD pass in the final minute and with the win the Eagles moved to 2-4-1 and are now slightly ahead of the 2-4 Cowboys.

But this entire game was more proof that the NFC East is just embarrassingly bad this year and that the four teams that make up the division should do the right thing and just give up this season. They can play the rest of the season and have some fun and let some players get some reps but they should give up their playoff spot to a team that actually deserves it, because these four teams deserve to be like us and watch the playoffs from their couches.

Would that ever happen? No, of course not. These are professional athletes playing a professional sport and the “winner” of this division will go to the playoffs and be a quick exit. But they won’t likely deserve a spot in the playoffs, even if seven teams will make it in each conference this year.

One play from Thursday night perfectly summed up the NFC East. Giants QB Daniel Jones broke off an 80-yard run and had a clear path to the end zone when he suddenly tripped over his own feet and fell short of the TD.

The Giants then had a chance to ice the game late but tight end Evan Engram somehow dropped an easy pass that would have locked things up.

The Eagles’ game-winning drive was ugly, too. First the Giants were called for defensive holding on a third down play that gave the Eagles first and goal from the 3 yard line. Then on the next play Eagles OL Jason Kelce ripped off a Giants defensive lineman’s helmet and was called for a 15-yard penalty.

 

 

Yes, Wenz then fired a nice TD pass to win the game but this whole night was bad – the Eagles needed to rally late to beat the 1-5 Giants!

The Eagles are banged up and will be at best mediocre the rest of the way.

The Cowboys have a lot of issues and won’t be good the rest of the way.

The Giants are not going to be good at all.

And Washington is just as bad.

The NFC East is dreadful this year and it’s going to cost a better team a shot at the playoffs, which isn’t great.

Classic NFC East.

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