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Giants let so much more than a win slip through their fingers

October 23, 2020 | 1:50am

 
 
 

Everything the Giants worked for, everything they’d bled for, and now an entire football game was distilled to the most basic element: a ball in the air. Catch the ball, and the Giants win the game. Catch the ball and they close out a thrilling victory, an improbable climb within sight of first place.

Catch the ball and honor the buzz of the week: Why not us?

Even Engram didn’t catch the ball.

Daniel Jones had lofted a beautiful throw. Engram had a step on safety Will Parks. He extended his arms. Just as his feet crossed the 30-yard line the ball fell out of the sky, into his hands … and through his hands. Fourth down instead of first. Eagles ball following a punt, just before the two-minute warning, instead of Giants ball and victory formation.

Why us?

Instead of Why not us?

The Eagles still had to drive 71 yards with just 122 seconds left. Engram’s drop didn’t lose the game. But there wasn’t a Giants fan anywhere, from Freehold to Freeport and all precincts in between who didn’t know what was coming, who didn’t feel this shattering, 22-21 loss in their bones before they saw it on the scoreboard.

 

“No excuses from us,” Giants coach Joe Judge would say.

So you can add Engram’s name to Joe Pisarcik’s, and to Matt Dodge’s to the roster of Giants who’ve helped perpetrate this on-again, off-again nightmare against the Eagles across the decades.

It shouldn’t all fall on his shoulders. He wasn’t on the field when the Giants defense — so stout all night, so resilient all year — allowed two Eagles touchdowns in the final five minutes. He didn’t turn the ball over twice, as Jones did, the 11th time in his 20 career starts in which he’s had multiple turnovers.

 

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But that image, that sequence — ball in the air, ball in his hands, ball through his hands — will be the haunting snapshot of the week and maybe the season, if the Giants aren’t able to crawl back into position to play another meaningful game the rest of the year (though, this being the NFC East, you never know).

“We got the look we wanted,” Engram would say, his words heavy with hurt, his eyes fixed in a thousand-yard stare of disbelief. “D.J. threw a great ball. I didn’t finish the play.

A pause. A sigh. Frustration. Pain.

“One hundred percent, I’ve got to make that,” he said.

A thousand percent, the Giants should have won this game. The Eagles kept trying to hand it to them. Philly led 10-7 at the half, and it could’ve been 24-7. The quarterback, Carson Wentz, made terrible decisions. The coach, Doug Pederson, made puzzling choices.

 
 
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The Giants hung around, then Jones broke off an 80-yard run that was equal parts comic relief (since he stumbled yards shy of the goal line) and game-changing gem, then added a 97-yard drive that put them up 21-10 with 6:17 left.

 

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It was there. It was right there, even when the Eagles answered with a quick TD. The Giants ran two running plays, got two first downs, and only needed a third to run out the clock. Engram didn’t finish his play, but the Eagles still needed to go those 71 yards to finish the miracle.

They went the 71 yards. Wentz connected with Boston Scott for an 18-yard touchdown. The Giants still had life. A field goal would’ve written a proper final chapter. They never got the field goal. Jones fumbled. The Eagles recovered. Ballgame.

Why not us to Why us in about 10 easy steps.

“This is a tough one to swallow,” Giants linebacker Blake Martinez admitted. “It’s the same thing all over again. Lapses. One guy here. One guy there.”

Tough one to swallow. Tough one to accept. The Giants were in as good a position as a 1-5 team could ever be. They had a meaningful football game on the last Thursday of October, long past the point where a 1-5 team should have anything remotely meaningful to play for. They scratch. They claw. They bleed. They play hard every week.

They are 1-6.

“We’re not going to ask you to be patient,” Judge said, his message intended for Giants fans.

Judge grew up an Eagles fan on the other side of this rivalry. He knows what losing a game like this means. He knows what 0-for-their-past-8 against a bitter foe means. And knows those fans probably didn’t sleep much, visions of a ball slipping through fingertips littering dreams all over town. Why us, indeed.

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The Giants have done the unthinkable

November 3, 2020 | 10:56am

 

 

There is no doubt the Giants are getting better, improving, showing many of the earmarks of a stable, well-coached team capable of finding ways to stay just close enough to lose in agonizing fashion.

This is either progress, madness or an extreme form of torture to a fan base that is punch-drunk woozy going on four years now. Breaking down failure, when a franchise is 13-43 since the start of the 2017 season, is akin to collecting and categorizing the leaves falling from the trees on your property. They are everywhere, some more colorful, some barely distinguishable. They sit there for a while, piled up in bunches, scattered around randomly before getting raked up or blown away.

For an operation that is now known for winning about once a month – this is as enjoyable as paying the rent – the Giants under Joe Judge are not lovable as they continue to be losers, by the strict definition of the term. Call a player a loser and brace for impact. Call a team losers and brace for impact. But when recent history states the collection of players and coaches win 23 percent of the time and lose the other 77 percent of the time, what other description can be applied?

Judge’s outfit is the best damn 1-7 team out there. They played better for longer stretches Monday night than Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, which means plenty in the big picture and not much in the here and now. When Daniel Jones threw too slow and too inside for Dion Lewis on a two-point conversion try with 28 seconds remaining, the door was opened for a penalty flag thrown and then picked up, opening the door even wider to add some controversy into another setback. The 25-23 loss meant the Giants’ most recent three losses – to the Cowboys, Eagles and Bucs – were decided by a total of six points. Their last four games – the lone victory, against Washington, is in there – were decided by a total of seven points. In Week 2, the Giants had the ball in the closing minute with chance to beat the Bears in Chicago. There was a one-score loss to the Rams in Inglewood.

It is not easy to beat Judge’s Giants but, for now, almost impossible to get beat by them.

hey are playing, there is little reason to believe it will be that bad. On the flip side, given the way they manufacture losing into an inevitability, there are no assurances they leave the field any day or night with more points than the opponent.

It is understandable Judge, for public consumption, is taking an overwhelmingly positive view of all this. He spoke passionately in his introductory press conference about the need for the team to reflect the New York/New Jersey area and, as these losses mount, he is either reminded or on his own brings up this connection.

 

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“We’re not asking for moral victories,” he said after loss No. 7. “We understand the people of New York deserve better, so we got to keep working to be better for them.”

The Giants have reached midseason accomplishing something that defies logic – falling by the wayside in the NFC East, a division where no one should be left behind.

Asked what he sees out of his team at this mid-point, Judge forged ahead.

“A lot of improvement, I see a lot of improvement,” he said. “So, if you’re going to ask me, the first year, how I’d classify it, I see an improving team that is developing in the division going forward.”

The cynic will say without winning, these signs of improvement are not much to feel good about. The Giants are young, and that is a positive, and in the final eight games one reveal looms more crucial than the rest: What if all this improvement is taking place while Jones, the quarterback, is not progressing with the rest of the group?

More that came out of a closely contested “Monday Night Football” encounter with the Bucs:

— The Giants were ahead of the Eagles 21-10 in the fourth quarter and lost in Week 7. The Giants where ahead of the Bucs 17-15 in the fourth quarter and lost in Week 8. Blowing leads is not a good thing to have on a defensive coordinator’s resume. This should not stick to Patrick Graham, though. He is doing an excellent job mixing and matching his players, shuffling packages on and off the field, getting pressure despite not having a dominating pass rusher, getting coverage despite a glaring deficiency at the No. 2 cornerback spot. “In my opinion, Pat Graham is one of the best defensive coordinators out there,” linebacker Blake Martinez said. “His ability to design a game and understand and adjust throughout the game has been amazing throughout the whole season.” Graham had Tom Brady confused in the first half, which is an accomplishment.

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— The Giants are succeeding at a difficult assignment: Mixing in young offensive linemen during the flow of the game. Rookie Matt Peart got 24 snaps (out of 74) at right tackle, replacing veteran Cam Fleming for a few series. This is valuable experience for Peart, the third-round pick from UConn. Another rookie, Shane Lemieux, made his NFL starting debut, replacing Will Hernandez (reserve/COVID-19 list) and played all 74 snaps. Along with Andrew Thomas at left tackle, the Giants at times had three rookie offensive linemen on the field. The last time the Giants had three rookie offensive linemen start at least one game in the same season was 2003 (David Diehl, Wayne Lucifer and Jeff Roehl). The best moment for the youngsters: Wayne Gallman’s 2-yard touchdown run, with Thomas and Lemieux plowing ahead to allow Gallman to ease his way into the end zone.

— As for Gallman, is anyone else out there a bit frustrated and confused why he does not get the ball more often? With Devonta Freeman (ankle) out, Gallman started but was only on the field 43 percent of the offensive snaps. He ran the ball 12 times for 44 yards. Alfred Morris, the 31-year old veteran elevated off the practice squad, got eight rushing attempts and gained 28 yards. Sure, Gallman received more of the workload but perhaps not enough of it.

— How is this for production? Rookie outside linebacker Carter Coughlin got on the field for four defensive snaps. He came away with his first NFL sack, always a big deal. Some deals are bigger than others. Coughlin got future Hall of Famer Brady to the ground. Brady is 43. Coughlin is 23. One to remember, for sure.
 
 
 
 

 

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Giants unexpectedly fire offensive line coach Marc Colombo, replace him with Dave DeGuglielmo, per report

The former Cowboys and Giants OL coach is now seeking a new job

Patrik Walker
 
 
14 mins ago2 min read
 
 
 
 
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Corey Perrine / Contributor

Things haven't gone as planned for Joe Judge in his inaugural season as the New York Giants head coach, and one of his position coaches just paid the price for it, albeit with curious timing. The team hired Jason Garrett as offensive coordinator this offseason after his divorce from the Dallas Cowboys, and the move suctioned in former Cowboys offensive line coach Marc Colombo -- the latter having been let go due to Mike McCarthy's want of longtime friend Joe Philbin. After a slow start to the year by a mostly talentless offensive front, the Giants o-line showed signs of improvement over the last three games and that culminated in a win over the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 10.

Three days later, Colombo has reportedly been fired by Judge, per Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, ending a very abbreviated 10-game stretch in New York. He will be replaced by longtime NFL assistant Dave DeGuglielmo, who has history with Judge from their time together with the New England Patriots

The move on Colombo is one that's being met with a level of surprise around the league, considering both the short stay and the fact it comes after improvement on the o-line, but the latter is being attributed to more involvement by Judge, per Mike Garofolo of NFL Network. Garafolo reported that Judge had been working more closely with the offensive line in recent weeks and it has coincided with the improvement from the Giants up front. 

If true, it would at least stand to reason Judge might feel he no longer requires the services of Colombo, and would instead prefer to remain keenly involved but, going forward, with someone he's much more comfortable with. There's another twist to the tale, however, with additional reports stating Judge wanted DeGuglielmo to work alongside Colombo, but the latter's reaction to the idea led to the split.

In other words, Colombo allegedly felt it was an insult, and didn't take it well.

That of course now shifts comfort away from Garrett -- at least while he acclimates to his new position coach -- having spent several seasons with Colombo in Dallas, which included promoting him from OL assistant coach in the wake of firing Paul Alexander midway through the 2018 season. Colombo landed a contract extension for the cleanup he did post-Alexander, but was jettisoned then for a familiar face to the incoming head coach, and has now again suffered that fate in short order. A former first-round pick of the Chicago Bears, Colombo played several seasons in the NFL -- including for the Cowboys -- before entering the coaching ranks as an assistant OL coach in Dallas in 2016.

 

He remains one of the most respected position coaches in the NFL, and it's expected he'll land on his feet fairly quickly, even if it's not until the offseason when teams begin their mission to improve for 2021.

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For everyone’s sake, Joe Judge must sit Daniel Jones this week

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |
DEC 15, 2020 AT 6:00 AM
 
 
 
 

Daniel Jones shouldn’t play Sunday night against the Cleveland Browns.

Jones has a hamstring strain and appears to be dealing with another injury coming out of Sunday’s lifeless offensive performance in a 26-7 loss to the Cardinals.

A cryptic Joe Judge wasn’t sure Monday if Jones had received a postgame X-ray. The coach only assured: “I can tell you there’s no broken bones or anything of that nature,”

But that’s hardly encouraging, especially after Jones was a liability on the field Sunday.

 
 

He held the ball too long, couldn’t run, fumbled three times, didn’t see open receivers, and hindered the Giants’ ability to win despite his good intentions.

So Joe Judge has to sit Jones against Cleveland, for the team’s sake and for Jones’ sake.

 
 

It should be Colt McCoy’s ball against Baker Mayfield’s Browns while Jones rests up.

Playing McCoy would sacrifice explosiveness in the passing game, sure, but it also would allow Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett to craft and execute a conservative yet clear and defined game plan.

Jones’ impaired health and subpar performance created an element of play-by-play uncertainty on Sunday against the Cardinals. It didn’t fit into the Giants’ disciplined recipe for their preceding four-game winning streak:

Run the ball, eat clock, win the field position battle, and play tough defense.

The Giants did only one of those four on Sunday against Arizona, courtesy of their defense, with a hobbled Jones at QB.

Jones was clearly hampered in the pocket in an ugly loss Sunday.
Jones was clearly hampered in the pocket in an ugly loss Sunday. (Adam Hunger/AP)

With McCoy, they can commit to a similar blueprint that helped them upset the Seahawks in Seattle, 17-12, in Week 13.

McCoy is a detailed-oriented veteran bordering on perfectionist who could help the run game return to its prior efficiency, allow Garrett to move the pocket, and take a shot downfield here and there.

Not to mention, it seems like a bad idea to let an immobile Jones drop back to pass with Browns terror Myles Garrett taking on a Giants offensive line that allowed eight sacks to the Cardinals.

Jones moved a little bit early on against the Cardinals, including one rollout right, but he couldn’t escape when pressured nor open up his hamstring and take off. McCoy is mobile enough to allow the Giants to slide the pocket and count on him to create at times if necessary.

Granted the Giants (5-8) are in a tight NFC East race right behind Washington (6-7). They need Jones to be healthy, however, or he won’t help them optimally execute their plan to win.

What they should have done was keep him out a second straight game on Sunday after holding him out in Seattle. Unfortunately, he played and now he could be worse for wear.

So it’s time to shelve him until he heals, even if it’s for two weeks against the Browns and Ravens to be ready for a possible division-defining finale against the Dallas Cowboys.

Surprisingly, Judge doubled down Monday on having “no regrets” about playing Jones on Sunday, citing the many doctors, coaches, scenarios and conversations that went into ensuring Jones was healthy enough to play.

The Giants’ head coach also said that “if Daniel’s healthy to play and he looked the way he did in practice last week, I’d have no hesitation playing Daniel at all” against Cleveland.

“We made our calculation. We have a lot of confidence in Colt. This has nothing to do with Colt,” Judge said. “But there’s also a commitment we’ve made to Daniel as our quarterback and how we’re running this offense.”

Judge reiterated that the Giants knew Jones would be limited and relegated to the pocket going in. And he stressed it was on the coaching staff to create an offense around whatever personnel is on the field.

“In terms of how we call or structure the game plan, that’s on us as coaches,” Judge said. “To make sure we’re inventive enough and creative enough to put ourselves in situations that if we’re limited with any player in a certain something they can do physically, then we have to give them another option.”

Judge said the Cardinals played well on defense Sunday and that several of their sacks were “coverage sacks,” where “they were good in coverage, we blocked for a long time and Daniel wasn’t gonna pull the ball and run.”

He said he spoke to Jones on Monday morning and the quarterback “assured us he came out with the hamstring really the same as he went in, felt good through the flow of the game.”

Judge said he hadn’t spoken to Jones about anything other than the hamstring, and noted that Jones was due to see the Giants’ doctors later Monday afternoon.

So the coach said “the biggest meeting” he’ll have with the medical staff will come on Tuesday “when (players) are about 48 hours outside the game.

“That’ll kind of tell us in terms of going through the week who we can plan on practicing, managing, having for the game and things of that nature,” Judge said.

Knowing Jones, he undoubtedly wants to power through and play. But he has to consider the consequences both short- and long-term. And frankly, he should have faith in his teammates holding the fort while he rests up.

Washington easily could lose to Seattle this week, especially if Dwayne Haskins has to make his first start since Week 4. The Eagles (4-8-1) will find tough sledding with rookie Jalen Hurts taking on Kyle Murray and the Cardinals at Arizona. And the Cowboys (4-9) still aren’t scaring anyone preparing to take on the 49ers.

McCoy also has helped the Giants win one game. There is still time for Jones to help make this Giants season special, but only if he’s healthy enough to help.

Sitting him on Sunday is the only move.

 
 
 
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Giants report card: This is getting ridiculous

December 21, 2020 | 12:36am | Updated

 

Offense

This is getting ridiculous. This team cannot score. How about a touchdown, guys? Colt McCoy (19 of 31, 221 yards) does not have enough zip on the ball. He had Evan Engram for a touchdown in the first quarter and did not get enough on the throw. This is hardly all on McCoy, though. The receivers do not make enough plays, pure and simple. Wayne Gallman (9-29) had it going a bit in the first half but then was a forgotten man. McCoy usually had enough time but too often found no one open. Right tackle Cam Fleming was called for a holding penalty trying to stop Olivier Vernon. Darius Slayton had a horrendous drop in the fourth quarter. At least Andrew Thomas did not allow a sack by Myles Garrett until the closing seconds.

Grade: F

Defense

Not terrible work at all against the Browns’ tough ground game (only 106 rushing yards) and Nick Chubb (15-50) and Kareem Hunt (7-21) did not go off. Baker Mayfield had an easy time picking apart the secondary, completing 27 of 32 passes for 297 yards. He probably barely broke a sweat. LB Devante Downs was lost in space allowing TE Austin Hooper to run wide open on a 2-yard TD reception in the second quarter. Jarvis Landry (7-61) got a step on Isaac Yiadom in the end zone. Dexter Lawrence got a big pass deflection with his right hand on fourth down in the fourth quarter and got the only sack of Mayfield. Safeties Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan could not confuse Mayfield in the least and Julian Love and Xavier McKinney filling in for James Bradberry were not strong in coverage.

Grade: C

 

 

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Special Teams

Dion Lewis started the game off with a rugged 48-yard kickoff return. He later nearly lost another fumble and that is worrisome. If punter Riley Dixon chooses a different target (other than center Nick Gates) on the fake field-goal pass it might have worked. Graham Gano hit field goals of 37 and 39 yards and now has hit 27 consecutive kicks. The coverage units were better than they have been the past three games.

Grade: B

Coaching

Joe Judge not taking points in the first half was troubling. That first-quarter fake field goal thing Judge signaled in? Didn’t like it. Did not have a problem with him going for it on fourth down on the Cleveland 5-yard line. Good move by Judge applying a 15-yard penalty on an extra-point try, which was missed. Freddie Kitchens was the play-caller for Jason Garrett (COVID-19) and did not stick with the run enough in the first half. Whoever is calling the plays or working with the offense has to figure out a way to get more points on the board. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham stayed in a zone in the secondary and it was picked apart time and again.

Grade: D
 
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Giants’ Dalvin Tomlinson decision will speak volumes

February 22, 2021 | 9:42pm | Updated

 
 

The best teams, the most successful franchises, draft wisely, develop soundly and re-sign diligently.

The Giants for far too long have not been one of the best teams. They have been one of the worst teams. This brings us to what happens next with Dalvin Tomlinson.

The entire future of the franchise does not hinge on whether Tomlinson returns for a fifth season or moves on to another team. He is not a transcendent talent capable of determining the fate of a team. What Tomlinson is, without debate, is a rock-solid player and person, uber-dependable and durable, hard-working and professional, quiet yet forceful, the respect for him manifested in his selection as a team captain. An unflashy, effective defensive tackle, a linchpin of a Giants defense that in 2020 finished 10th in the league against the run, allowing only 111.4 rushing yards per game.

This is a player who wants to return, even after four years of losing, sensing a turnaround is coming.

The question: Can the Giants afford to pay Tomlinson the $10 million per year, or more, he would command on the open market in free agency while also re-signing linemate Leonard Williams to a multiyear deal averaging at least $18 million per season?

Another question: Can the Giants afford not to bring Tomlinson back?

Dalvin Tomlinson’s contract status is a hot topic this Giants offseason. Robert Sabo

In many ways, what Joe Judge is preaching and building almost necessitates keeping Tomlinson. The big man has never missed a game in his four-year career, never created a hint of controversy and sacrifices on the field, taking on double-team blocks to help free up teammates to make plays. Ask inside linebacker Blake Martinez how many of his team-high 140 tackles in his first year with the Giants were aided and abetted by Tomlinson’s dirty work at the line of scrimmage.

Ask members of the secondary to gauge Tomlinson’s value. His 49 total tackles and career-highs in tackles for loss (eight) and quarterback hits (10) plus his 3.5 sacks only tell part of the tale

 
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“I think Dalvin is having as good of a year as anybody on our defense,” safety Logan Ryan said late last season. “Leonard’s having a great year statistically, but Dalvin is having a better year for our team and what we ask him to do.”

If Tomlinson leaves it will continue a disturbing trend — a trend Judge has said he is determined to stop.

There was a long span when the Giants often had the golden touch with their second-round draft picks. Michael Strahan. Amani Toomer. Tiki Barber. Without Osi Umenyiora, Chris Snee and Corey Webster, there would not be the two newest Lombardi trophies in the glass-enclosed case. The failure to keep and, in more cases, to develop their second-round picks has severely compromised the Giants’ chances for success.

In December 2008, the Giants gave Webster, a reliable cornerback, a five-year contract extension. In the next 10 drafts, the Giants’ second round pick did not receive a multiyear contract extension. That is abysmal. In some cases, injuries (Steve Smith, Terrell Thomas) ruined careers. There were a slew of unproductive players taken in the second round. When there were big hits (Linval Joseph, Landon Collins), the decision was made not to ante up with a lucrative deal. The ruinous streak ended when Sterling Shepard signed a four-year extension in April 2019.

What message does Judge send to his players if Tomlinson, a player who did everything right in order to stay, ends up leavi

 
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Tuesday is the first day teams can place franchise or transition tags on players, a period ending March 9. Putting the franchise tag on Tomlinson is a way of making sure he plays for the Giants this season but most likely does not make financial sense. Based on a salary cap of $180 million, the tag for defensive tackles is expected to cost around $14 million. That would be more costly on the 2021 cap than any long-term deal for Tomlinson.

Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was the Giants defensive line coach in 2017 when Tomlinson was a rookie and said the success of the defensive line this past season was “a direct correlation to his leadership and what he does on that field, regardless of statistics or what have you.”

The Giants will have to consider this, and their unsightly record in re-signing their own second-round picks, when it comes time to make the call on Tomlinson.

 

 

 

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Giants fortify pass rush with free agent Ifeadi Odenigbo

March 17, 2021 | 10:04pm

 
 

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The Giants on Wednesday made a move to bolster their pass rush, signing Ifeadi Odenigbo to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million.

Odenigbo, 26, is a 6-foot-3, 258-pound defensive end who has 10.5 career sacks — all in the past two seasons. He had seven sacks for the Vikings in 2019 as a situational pass-rusher. His first career sack, in Week 5 that season, came against Daniel Jones and the Giants at MetLife Stadium.

Given a starting job in 2020, he had just 3.5 sacks in 15 starts — though he did have a career-high 15 quarterback hits. He was born in Bayonne, N.J., went to high school in Ohio and played college ball at Northwestern.

The Vikings decided not to tender Odenigbo, a restricted free agent. He was a 2017 seventh-round draft pick by Minnesota. He had brief stays with the Browns and Cardinals before returning to the Vikings.

 

This signing fits with what the Giants are likely to continue to pursue in free agency — young, healthy players with upside who they believe can fit well in their scheme.

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Joe Judge assembling unprecedented Giants coaching staff

April 12, 2021 | 5:51pm | Updated

 

 

If bigger is better, the Giants are going to be an exquisitely coached team this season.

Joe Judge has assembled the largest coaching staff in Giants franchise history and what, unofficially, is believed to be the largest football staff in the NFL heading into the 2021 season. Including Judge, there are 25 designated spots on this staff, and this does not include strength and conditioning personnel. Nor does it include Pat Flaherty, a former Giants offensive line coach, hired by Judge as a consultant.

In Judge’s first year, the Giants coaching staff consisted of 22 members. He added for this season one additional offensive quality control position, one additional defensive quality control position and a Chief of Staff.

By contrast, the Giants had an 18-man staff in 2019 under Pat Shurmur.

 

 

Around the league, the Buccaneers, 49ers, Jaguars and Jets have 24 filled positions on their coaching staffs. In the NFC East, the Eagles and Washington both are at 22 and the Cowboys are at 19. The smallest coaching staffs (18) in the NFL belong to the Vikings and Steelers. The Patriots list 20 on their coaching staff, but Bill Belichick is notorious for stashing untitled assistants.

For Judge this season, there are the three (offense, defense, special teams) coordinators. There are the standard five position coaches on offense and three on defense. There is one assistant position coach on offense (Ben Wilkerson, offensive line) and two on defense (Anthony Blevins, linebackers and special teams and Michael Treier, defensive backs). There are (and this is a bit unusual) two quality control coaches on offense and two more on defense. Often, teams have one quality control coach on each side of the ball.

It is no wonder Judge saw the need to create a new position — Chief of Staff — which he filled with Ryan Hollern.

Judge clearly prefers a big staff, and was given permission to add salaries to the budget, assuring ownership all the hires have legitimate responsibilities.

 

There is continuity, as Jason Garrett returns to run the offense and Thomas McGaughey is back as special teams coordinator. That Patrick Graham, who attracted some interest in this most recent head coaching hiring cycle, took his name off the candidate lists and is back as the defensive coordinator is a boon to Judge and the Giants.

Judge’s first season as a head coach included turbulence with the offensive line teaching, as Marc Colombo was fired after an ugly confrontation with Judge at the bye week. Judge brought in Dave DeGuglielmo to coach the offensive line for the final six games, but that was merely a temporary fix.

Judge knew finding a capable replacement was vital, as he has a young offensive line. He said he talked to “probably over 25 coaches personally, our staff researched an additional probably 15-20.’’ The winner of that search was Rob Sale, who has 14 years of college coaching experience but none at the NFL level.

What Sale does have is a résumé connection with Judge, and that is a strong indicator as to the Giants’ staff makeup. Sale’s coaching career started as a strength and conditioning assistant and offensive analyst at Alabama. It was in Tuscaloosa where he met Judge, a football analyst/special teams assistant from 2009-11.

There are nine assistants on Judge’s Giants staff linked to those three years at Alabama, working for Nick Saban.

On offense, in addition to Sale, Burton Burns (running backs), Russ Callaway (quality control), Nick Williams (quality control) and Jody Wright (general assistant) all crossed paths with Judge at Alabama. On defense, Carter Blount (quality control), Jeremy Pruitt (senior defensive assistant) and Kevin Sherrer (linebackers) were on Saban’s Alabama staff with Judge. Amos Jones, the special projects and situations assistant, was also with Judge at Alabama.

 

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There are other connections on Judge’s staff. Three of his assistants (Freddie Kitchens, Blevins, Hollern) were with Judge at Mississippi State, where Judge was a player and later a young member of the Bulldogs coaching staff. Two of Judge’s assistants (Graham and quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski) were with Judge on Bill Belichick’s Patriots staff.

And so, 14 of the 24 members of the staff have direct past ties to Judge. Williams actually has two ties to Judge. He was a wide receiver at Alabama when Judge was an assistant, at the same time Williams’ father, Bobby, was on Saban’s staff with Judge.

Kitchens, after an ill-fated and brief run as the Browns head coach, was bumped up by Judge, moving from tight ends coach to senior offensive assistant. “Helping bring together the game planning, like all of our coaches will, but working directly with Jason [Garrett] with some of the things that are going to happen up front,’’ Judge said. There is much work to be done. Judge will have plenty of help.

 
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New York Giants' overhaul: Inside their 'astonishing' 16-month makeover

 
 
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    Jordan RaananESPN Staff Writer

 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Finally, the optimism seems warranted for the New York Giants. One look at their roster and it is apparent there is more talent from top to bottom than there has been since the 2016 season.

The upgrade can be credited to an overhaul during the past 16 months that has transformed them from barren to plentiful. The depth chart when coach Joe Judge arrived on Jan. 8, 2020 was scary, and not in a good way.

 

That is an indictment of general manager Dave Gettleman's progress until Judge was hired. Since then, they have worked together to stockpile quality talent, producing a roster that finally seems to have realistic potential.

"It's actually pretty astonishing ... seeing how much improved that roster is," said a personnel executive with a team that made the playoffs last season. "They have nice depth."

That comment came after the exec was given a comparison of the Giants' personnel at each position group from the day Judge was hired to now, which we will detail below. This offseason alone, the Giants added wide receivers Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and John Ross, tight end Kyle Rudolph, defensive lineman Danny Shelton, edge rusher Azeez Ojulari and cornerbacks Adoree' Jackson and Aaron Robinson. Their most significant losses were guard Kevin Zeitler and defensive lineman Dalvin Tomlinson.

"We've had a good roster-building season," Gettleman said. "We've added playmakers. We've added pass-rushers. We added corners. We feel good about what we've done."

With insight from the personnel executive and ESPN analyst Mike Tannenbaum (a former NFL GM), here is a position-by-position look at the Giants' roster when Judge arrived compared to now:

Quarterback

Current: Daniel Jones, Mike Glennon, Clayton Thorson, Joe Webb

Jan. 8, 2020: Jones, Eli Manning, Alex Tanney

The group that finished the 2019 season had better depth, but as Tannenbaum notes, this should be a better and more experienced version of Jones. And Manning, who spent most of the 2019 season as a $17 million backup, was about to retire.

Thoughts about the Giants' current QBs will change if Jones makes the jump the Giants, Tannenbaum and the executive all expect of him this season.

"That can quickly be fixed by Daniel Jones becoming a legitimate starter this year and getting over the hump," the executive said. "Good chance."

Running back

Current: Saquon Barkley, Devontae Booker, Gary Brightwell

Jan. 8, 2020: Barkley, Wayne Gallman, Buck Allen

There doesn't seem to be much hesitation from the executives in predicting Barkley bounces back from a serious knee injury. They also agree Booker is more dynamic and versatile than Gallman.

"He is one of these underutilized players who always maximized his opportunities," Tannenbaum said of Booker.

That makes the current group slightly better. Brightwell is also highly thought of because of his special-teams ability compared to Allen.

Fullback

Current: Eli Penny, Cullen Gillaspia

Jan. 8, 2020: Penny

Gillaspia was claimed off waivers this offseason because of his ability on special teams, an area the Giants put extra emphasis on this offseason.

Penny also brings value in that regard. He finished second on the team last season with seven tackles on special teams and catches the ball well out of the backfield, if the Giants ever choose to call his number.

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Wide receiver

Current: Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Toney, Ross, Dante Pettis, C.J. Board, Austin Mack

Jan. 8, 2020: Golden Tate, Shepard, Slayton, Cody Latimer, Corey Coleman, Da'Mari Scott, Russell Shepard, Cody Core

The current group represents arguably the biggest upgrade of any position.

"It's dramatically better now," Tannenbaum said.

In the final game of the 2019 season, Scott and Latimer started in a three-wide-receiver set along with Shepard. Neither is still in the league.

This year's group is talented, deep and has a little bit of everything.

"The depth and the versatility of the group and the way the skill sets complement each other is the difference," the executive said. "You’ve got your speed guy in Slayton, Golladay, who is your contested-catch specialist, Sterling Shepard keeps the chains moving, and you have an offensive weapon in Toney and you're taking a flier on John Ross who is a legitimate speed guy. And same with Pettis."

The executive thought Pettis had a legit chance to be a starter after his rookie season in San Francisco. It's conceivable he's the Giants' sixth wide receiver entering training camp.

Tight end

Current: Evan Engram, Rudolph, Kaden Smith, Levine Toilolo

Jan. 8, 2020: Engram, Smith, Garrett Dickerson, Ellison, Scott Simonson

 

 

Judge said the Giants wanted improvement at every position, and they now have four established tight ends.

"By adding competition, one of two things happen: You either bring someone in who [helps] you improve because they are good enough to take someone else's job, or you bring someone in who pushes the guys in front of him to keep their job, and either way you get a raised level of play," Judge said.

This is part of the thought-process with Engram -- hope his game elevates in a crowded room.

So, which group is better? From the 2019 roster, only Engram and Smith remain in the NFL, and the executive considers the current group significantly better after adding Rudolph as an in-line player who can block and make contested catches. He raved about his hands.

Tannenbaum was less impressed: "What's left with Rudolph? If he's healthy, they're better. But that is a wait and see."

Offensive line

Current: Andrew Thomas, Will Hernandez or Zach Fulton, Nick Gates, Shane Lemieux, Matt Peart or Nate Solder, Jonotthan Harrison, Chad Slade, Kyle Murphy

Jan. 8, 2020: Solder, Hernandez, Jon Halapio, Zeitler, Mike Remmers or Gates, Slade, Spencer Pulley, Eric Smith

This is where the opinions varied. The executive seems to share the Giants' optimism about this year's young group.

"Definitely better," he said. "They have an up-and-coming left tackle [Thomas] who played more consistently down the stretch [last season]. At least they have an insurance policy behind Will Hernandez. Gates has transitioned nicely to the center spot. There is a young guard [Lemieux] they seem to like and he'll be able to [focus] on one position all offseason, which is important for him. And a young right tackle prospect [Peart] they seem to be fond of and a former starter [in Solder].”

Tannenbaum also is optimistic, even if he thinks the group from the 2019 season was better.

"Solder has played better than Andrew Thomas. And I'm a Zeitler fan," he said. "This offensive line has a chance to be good if Peart develops. I loved Andrew Thomas coming out, but he has to play better. They have a chance to be good, but on paper, I'd take Zeitler and a healthy, younger Solder.”

Defensive line

Current: Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Shelton, Austin Johnson, B.J. Hill, RJ McIntosh

Jan. 8, 2020: Williams, Lawrence, Tomlinson, Hill, McIntosh, Chris Slayton

This is the one area where the Giants clearly are not better. They lost Tomlinson in free agency this offseason because they wanted to move that money to a different position group. The current group might be deeper now, but it's not as good.

"I don't think you're disappointed with [the current group]," the executive said. "Good unit still. But you had three frontline starters with Dalvin."

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Outside linebacker

Current: Ojulari, Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, Elerson Smith, Ryan Anderson, Carter Coughlin, Cam Brown

Jan. 8, 2020: Markus Golden, Ximines, Carter, Kareem Martin, Chris Peace

Tannenbaum and the executive were in agreement that this unit has improved and has depth. Both are high on Ojulari, confident he's more talented than anything New York had when Judge arrived.

"I thought Ojulari was a [first-round pick]," Tannenbaum said. "He was different than [Kwity] Paye. He was a better space athlete. He was twitchy, good lower-body flexibility and he can drop in coverage."

The executive says Ojulari has the ability to become the frontline player the Giants were missing. He also noted Carter and Ximines can play the rotational roles that suit them.

Inside linebacker

Current: Blake Martinez, Reggie Ragland, Tae Crowder, Devante Downs, TJ Brunson

Jan. 8, 2020: Alec Ogletree, David Mayo, Deone Bucannon, Ryan Connelly, Josiah Taueafa

No need to spend much time on this one. Martinez is the only high-level starter on either list because Ogletree was done by the start of the 2020 season and about to be released.

"Martinez is a really, really good player," Tannenbaum said.

The executive sees reason for optimism beyond Martinez: "Crowder came on and played some nice ball for them," he said. "Ragland has starting experience."

Cornerbacks

Current: James Bradberry, Jackson, Darnay Holmes, Robinson, Isaac Yiadom, Rodarius Williams, Sam Beal, Madre Harper

Jan. 8, 2020: Deandre Baker, Antonio Hamilton, Grant Haley, Corey Ballentine, Beal

Poor James Bettcher. This exercise also serves as a scary reminder of what the former coordinator was working with at the end of his Giants' tenure. They were awful at cornerback, really bad at inside linebacker and extremely thin at outside linebacker.

They have invested heavily at cornerback since, signing Bradberry and Jackson to be the starters and drafting Holmes and Robinson in the middle rounds to man the slot.

"Frontline starters and the depth is better," the executive said, before adding that when opposing teams came into games last season, the plan was to throw at Yiadom or whomever was the CB2 that week.

Can't do that anymore. Now Yiadom is a backup fighting for a roster spot instead of a starter and a weekly target for opposing quarterbacks.

The Giants have a lot riding on Jackson. He's "a really, really good athlete ... if healthy," Tannenbaum said.

Safeties

Current: Jabrill Peppers, Logan Ryan, Xavier McKinney, Julian Love, Nate Ebner

Jan. 8, 2020: Peppers, Antoine Bethea, Mike Thomas, Love, Sean Chandler, Rashaan Gaulden

The previous group had Bethea on the verge of retirement and really had no chance behind those cornerbacks. This year's class has three potential starters.

"McKinney, they'll have a role for him," the executive said. "They did a nice job with Logan Ryan last year and they cater to Peppers' strengths."

Tannenbaum says McKinney will be a good player if he can remain healthy.

Ebner is included here even though he is unsigned, because the expectation is the special-teams ace will re-sign this summer after fulfilling his USA rugby duties and potentially playing in the Olympics.

 
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Playing Saquon Barkley in the preseason would be folly for Giants

August 9, 2021 | 6:42pm | Updated

 
 

With each step now, with each cut now, with each wheel route he runs now, with each passing day now, the sight of Saquon Barkley looking more and more like Saquon Barkley, feeling more and more like Saquon Barkley, makes the hearts of Giants race and sing.

When there is a bounce in No. 26’s step, there is a bounce in every Giants’ step.

They are all sick and tired of the agony of defeat, from the owners on down, and it is a triumphant return to the playing field by Saquon Barkley nearly one year after his devastating torn ACL that will send a jolt of electricity through the entire organization.

Removed from the PUP list at last, a grueling rehab still in progress, the Giants can suddenly dream the sweet dream of getting their dawg back on the field for Week 1. And Barkley can dream now, too. “You’re definitely hopeful,” he said.

On a hopeful Monday afternoon: One small step for Saquon, one giant leap for Giantkind … eventually.

As desperate and as famished as the Giants are to make their fans proud again, to be Giants again, they will continue to err on the side of precaution and do right by their franchise running back, and no one will complain.

The Giants, common sense would tell you, aren’t interested in any fleeting Willis Reed moment of inspiration.

Saquon Barkley told the media Monday he would be comfortable going into the season without preseason action. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

They’re interested in Barkley chasing the “gold jacket” career that GM Dave Gettleman envisioned when he stiff-armed the analytics crowd and made Barkley the second-overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft.

It is why they must keep him in mothballs until the games begin to count … or until the designated time when Barkley no longer has to be protected from himself.

Judge was asked if he would be all right playing Barkley in a preseason game.

“Theoretically, yeah,” he said. “Yeah, I am, absolutely.”

Judge referenced his time in New England and added: “And to be honest with you, I’ve had experience with this. Look, there was a day I had to walk in and tell Josh Gordon, Demaryius Thomas and Julian Edelman, ‘Hey, all three of you are going to play against the Giants in preseason Game 4 because you haven’t done anything competitively in training camp.’ ”

 

I believe that when push comes to shove, Judge will say to hell with that theory.

Rams head coach Sean McVay said a couple of days ago that there is “zero chance” his new quarterback, Marthew Stafford, will play in the preseason. Bingo!

“The thing is, before you get hit in the first game at full speed when the speed does elevate, we want to go out there and just get you used to the tempo of the game, the pace of the game. Get you a catch, get you hit, get the feel of being tackled,” Judge said. “So, am I looking to put Saquon into something that’s not going to be in his best interest? Absolutely not, but at some point the doctors say, ‘He’s ready to play,’ and if we have the opportunity to get him in at a certain point, we will. But I’m not going to press that timetable.”

Good. It would be folly to press it. Barkley is the franchise’s crown jewel, franchise face and invaluable investment, and Judge and everybody else knows it.

Barkley himself conceded that he would be comfortable for Week 1 without any preseason action. There were no preseason games in 2020, of course.

Daniel Jones throws to Saquon Barkley at training camp Monday. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

“The year before that, I don’t think I played in one,” he said. “My rookie year I played in one, had like two carries. So I wouldn’t really be worried about that if I didn’t play preseason because I know that the coaches and the training staff and the strength staff wouldn’t let me out there if I didn’t show ’em something that I’m capable of going out there and, one, keep myself safe, and also go out there and compete at a high level for my teammates.”

Judge is smart enough to simulate practices enough to prime Barkley for the real thing.

“One thing about me, I’m all for whatever’s gonna help the team win,” Barkley said. “If they feel that’s what I need to do to get myself back for whenever I’m able to come back for my team, I’m willing to do that.”

He trusts Judge and the medical men and the strength and conditioning staff implicitly. Does he think he can be ready for Game 1?

“I don’t know,” Barkley said. “Obviously you guys know how I am as a competitor. I’m pretty sure you guys know what my thought process is, but at the same time, I’m very fortunate to play for an unbelievable coach and an unbelievable organization that is actually thinking about me and thinking about the rest of my career and the longevity of my career, and don’t feel forced.”

Saquon Barkley cutting without a knee brace Monday. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

He wore white leggings over those freakish Saquads and moved well at his customary 230 pounds. You couldn’t tell that he underwent surgery less than 10 months ago. But he’s not in football shape yet and he’s not as confident in his right knee — no brace — as he will be.

He has been champing at the bit to fight alongside his brothers. And happy to run laps and do push-ups with them as a team leader following the infamous team brawl.

“I do believe we will have a very special year,” Barkley said. “I think that’s one of the things we’re gonna be able to point back to, I’d say that really helped bring us together.”

Barkley in his blue No. 26 jersey was a sight for sore Giant eyes. He joked that he felt like a rookie again. They busted his chops. Barkley, with a big smile: “ ‘Whoa, who’s that?’ Shaking my hand, introducing themselves.”

He needs no introduction. Only the football, and not before the games start to count. 

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Three Giants’ issues to watch in preseason game vs. Browns

August 22, 2021 2:29am

 

 

Here are three Giants’ issues to watch for in Sunday’s preseason game against the Browns.

1. Better to receive

There are not many open spots on the roster — figure maybe 8-10 at this point — and the wide receiver position has at least one of those openings. Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney and Darius Slayton are set. David Sills shows plenty in practice as a pass catcher, but needs to show more in games. Plus, C.J. Board’s abilities on special teams give him an edge. The hamstring injury to John Ross hurts the speedster, but does not disqualify him.

2. Try not to be offensive

Daniel Jones is once again expected to sit this one out — he will start and will get a heavy workload in Game 3 — but the starting offensive line could get some snaps. That would be a good thing for backup QB Mike Glennon, as the state of the second-team offensive line is grim. Newly acquired Brian Lewerke does not know the entire system, but he is going to have to get some playing time. Do not anticipate a bust-out scoring spree from the Giants.

 
 

 

 
 

3. Corner the market

Some years, the Giants have not had enough NFL-caliber cornerbacks to put on their final roster. This year, they will be cutting corners who can play in the league — the way a team wants it to be. Rookie Rodarius Williams has shown enough to warrant strong consideration. Sam Beal has not, unless you are talking about the practice squad. There will be some tough calls, with Madre Harper and newcomers Josh Jackson and Keion Crossen trying to squeeze onto the roster.

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It’s already a ‘long season’ for the Giants

September 13, 2021 11:40am
 
 

It is late early for the Giants.

Really and truly.

“We wake up (Monday), it’s already Thursday of the game week for us because we have a short week,” Joe Judge said not long after a terrible season-opener for the Giants.

Yup, it is Monday on the calendar but already Thursday (in a normal week when they play on Sunday) in the hearts and minds and practice schedule of the Giants. They have an extremely early quick turnaround, as they get their first road game of the season, Thursday night in Washington, in a “battle” of 0-1 teams in the NFC East. Essentially, the Giants get one full day to practice for this game — Tuesday — and they hit the rails for a Wednesday afternoon chartered train ride to Washington.

This is good. They did not get beat up badly — at least not physically — in their 27-13 loss to the Broncos and bodies are fresher now than they would be if the Thursday night game came a month or two from now. Plus, ridding their minds as soon as possible of how crummy they played, on offense and defense, in the 2021 opener is a positive development.

Giants Joe Judge

“We get to play some football again,” safety Logan Ryan said. “It’s honestly a positive after a loss. You have to play quicker and we’re excited for it. 

“We have work to do, but listen, man, this team is together, you don’t have to worry about that. Unfortunately, we’ve been here before, but it’s just one week in a season. It really doesn’t define you. What we do this next game is going to be more of a defining factor in how we respond. I encourage everyone to tune in, be excited and put work in. I won’t see my wife and kids as much as I want to this week. We have put it in on a short week, but she’ll understand.”

 

There is not a whole lot of understanding with the Giants nowadays, as their fan base dared to get excited for a new season and then got slapped into reality as the Broncos did whatever they pleased for three hours at MetLife Stadium. It is impossible to take the Giants seriously when they continue to lose so often.

Head coach Joe Judge afterward said, “It’s a long season … we literally have an entire season ahead of us, okay. Any other year, it was 16 games, we have 16 games ahead of us that we have to improve week by week and keep climbing.”

This is true, but also daunting. “Long season” often correlates to “bad season” and it is already a long season for the Giants, who get no benefit of the doubt until they show the only tangible results that matter: Winning games.

More that came out of the fifth consecutive season-opening loss for the Giants:

Look on the bright side

It is not a stretch to suggest the only positive to come out of this mess was that Saquon Barkley returned and appeared to get out of the game unscathed.  

All that pre-game speculation that Barkley would not be on a predetermined snap count limit? Of course that was nonsense. The Giants were not going to give their franchise running back a full load in his first game back off ACL surgery. He played almost half (48 percent) of the 61 offensive snaps — 29 to be exact. The first play of the 2021 season was a handoff to Barkley and he gained 5 yards, a promising start. It turned out to be his longest run of the day. He finished with 10 rushing attempts and 26 yards. He was targeted three times in the passing game and had one reception for 1 yard. He dropped one pass, and on his one and only catch on a screen, he stumbled a bit and had trouble keeping his footing.

Giants Saquon Barkley

“I made the first guy miss but I’ve got to find a way to stay on my feet,” Barkley said. “I don’t think that’s any indicator of my knee or anything like that. I guess that could be part of rust or probably overthinking it, so I don’t want to do either. I don’t want to overthink it. If it’s part of rust, let it be.”

New guy report

So, how did the new playmakers — they all missed significant time this summer dealing with physical issues — do in their Giants debuts?

Let’s start with Kadarius Toney. He only played five snaps in his NFL debut. It is even less conspicuous than that, as he was on the field for only two snaps in the first three quarters and got three snaps on the late garbage-time touchdown drive. What a letdown. He had two receptions for minus-2 yards.

“We did want to keep in mind that this was his first game back,” Judge said. “Look, we’re obviously looking to get K.T. involved as we go forward. He’s a key part of the offense. This guy’s done a good job in preparation. He’ll have more opportunities to make plays for us down the line.”

Kenny Golladay, the high-priced free agent from the Lions, was slowed most of training camp with a strained hamstring and did not play in any of the three preseason games. He got 52 of the 61 offensive snaps in the opener and checked in with four receptions (on six targets) for 64 yards. He was quiet during the meat of the game and had two catches totaling 30 yards with the Giants down 27-7 and throwing on every down late in the fourth quarter.

Giants Kenny Golladay Kenny Golladay after catching four passes for 64 yards in his Giants debut on Sept. 12, 2021. Bill Kostroun

Tight end Kyle Rudolph, the former Vikings standout, is coming off foot surgery and was brought along slowly in his first Giants camp. He played 47 snaps (77 percent), needed because Evan Engram was out with a calf injury. Rudolph was targeted five times and finished with two receptions for 8 yards.

Locating the edge rushers

This was yet another concern coming into the season that manifested itself in the opener. The hope from inside was the return from injury of Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines would enliven what in 2020 was tepid pass-rush production from the outside linebackers. The Giants did not get what they needed to start a new season. Carter, coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon, played 58 of the 66 defensive snaps and contributed four combined tackles and no statistical pressure on the quarterback. Ximines, in 29 snaps, contributed one assisted tackle and no statistical pressure on the quarterback. Rookie Azeez Ojulari, with 34 snaps in his NFL debut, got one of the Giants’ two sacks and added three combined tackles, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit. Figure his playing time will increase. The Giants need more from Ximines and especially Carter.

It was not a good sign that Teddy Bridgewater, not exactly known as a gazelle in the pocket — he was sacked 39, 44 and 31 times in the three seasons he started at least 12 games in his career — ran free and easy and was able to elude would-be Giants pass rushers.

“He’s got a funny way of moving around in the pocket and getting out and scrambling,” Broncos tight end Noah Fant said. “It was good to see, man.”

 

It was not good to see out of the Giants’ defense.

“I said it since the Rutgers days, man, it was déjà vu,” safety Logan Ryan said. “He extends some plays, it’s magical stuff at times, but we expect to be better and we will be.”

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The unfathomable reason behind the Giants’ downfall

September 17, 2021 12:35pm 

 

 

The Giants rode the rails back home from their ridiculous — is there any other word for how many ways this franchise finds ways to fail? — 30-29 loss to Washington, and head coach Joe Judge said “Me and Pat will have a long train session, going through the tape on the train ride back. That will be a focus moving forward getting fixed.’’

The focus is on fixing the pass defense, and the Pat that Judge is referring to is Pat Graham, the Giants’ defensive coordinator. There were plenty of issues this team took into the 2021 season, plenty of possible pitfalls and pratfalls this team might encounter.  Defending against the pass was not supposed to be anywhere on the list, much less darn near the very top.

If you want to investigate the main reason why the Giants did not leave FedEx Field with a victory, start here. Sure, if Dexter Lawrence did not jump offside — who does this? — on Dustin Hopkins’ missed 48-yard field goal, the Giants win 29-27 and they are 1-1, there is order in the Giants’ universe as they get a 10-day break from taking the field for another game. That Lawrence actually did jump offside is inexcusable. Where he is lined up, he is the closest Giants player to the snap of the football. It is right there! All he has to do is watch for the snap and then move. It is not as if he is coming around the edge and trying to gain a split second advantage for an attempted block. For this to happen on a team coached by Judge — a special teams specialist — is another chapter in the How The Giants Lose manual.

James Bradberry gives up a touchdown to Terry McLaurin in the Giants' loss to Washington. James Bradberry gives up a touchdown to Terry McLaurin in the Giants’ loss to Washington. Getty Images

Lawrence will take the heat for this and he probably will never, ever make this mistake again, however long his NFL career lasts. This is not the immediate issue for the Giants.  Daniel Jones, who played well, is not the immediate issue. Saquon Barkley, clearly in the nascent stages of getting back to form following knee surgery, is not the immediate issue. The immediate issue that must be confronted and corrected is a defense that, through two games, is in disarray.

In Week 1, Teddy Bridgewater did as he pleased, finding gaping holes in the Giants secondary for the Broncos. Four nights later, Taylor Heinicke, in his third NFL start — he was 0-2 — completed 34 of 46 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns. He was floating the ball around, almost daring the Giants to pick it off. That the Giants only got one of them — James Bradberry’s extremely athletic interception with 2:16 remaining — is disturbing.

 

We can retire “vaunted’’ when it comes to the Giants’ defensive backs, at least for now.  Bradberry spent the evening mostly getting beat by Terry McLaurin (11 receptions for 107 yards, one touchdown). Jabrill Peppers was strangely a part-time player in the opener and did not make a big impact getting 80 percent of the defensive snaps against Washington. There are too many miscommunications and too much zone coverage being deployed.  No question, the lack of an effective pass rush is hurting the guys on the back end. Still, the pass coverage simply must be much better, or else this team has no chance.

“Well, I think, first off, we have to do a better job at that right there,’’ Judge said. “That’s going to come from a lot of different aspects. We will watch the tape, make sure we have it narrowed down.’’

 Is one train ride long enough to right these wrongs?

Other musings coming off another early-season loss for a team that makes early-season losses habit-forming:

  • A team knows it has its franchise quarterback when every game is not a referendum on if he is the right man for the job. The Giants do not know this yet with Daniel Jones, but this latest loss — his first after going 4-0 in four starts vs. Washington — is not about Jones. He played well. He needs to produce more than 249 yards on 22 pass completions and he should have had a 43-yard touchdown pass to Darius Slayton on his resume. That Slayton allowed the ball – overthrown by perhaps six inches — to glance off his fingers most likely cost the Giants the game. Jones read a bust in the Washington coverage and his pass should have given the Giants a 30-20 lead with 6:18 remaining.  
  • The play-calling when the Giants got the ball with 2:16 remaining, courtesy of Bradberry’s interception, on the Washington 20-yard line, was far too conservative. Playing scared was more like it. We get it, Judge’s main concern was forcing Washington to use all its time outs, with the Giants already well within field goal range for Graham Gano. There was no need to throw the ball all around and risk a sack or a fumble or an interception. But there was a need to show some aggressiveness, rather than two runs into the line by Barkley that produced a total of three yards. Did anything go on to that point to make Judge think Barkley and a rebuilt-on-the-fly offensive line could grind out a first down? Barkley had a 41 yard run in the first quarter. He finished with 57 yards on 13 rushing attempts.  So, on his other 12 rushing attempts, he averaged 1.3 yards.

“It had nothing to do with not trusting Daniel,’’ Judge said. “It was also trusting our run game as well. It was trusting the offensive line, the front. We talk all the time about the strategy of being in that situation. It’s obviously one of those things you go back and forth on. Ultimately, you want to control as much as you can, control the points you have, not put yourself in a position for a negative play. Obviously, on third down, we threw that ball right there. We have a lot of trust in our offense right there to really make it look easy and go out there and run the ball one at a time.’’

Make it look easy? Ugh.  

Daniel Jones throws a pass in the Giants' loss to Washington. Daniel Jones throws a pass in the Giants’ loss to Washington. USA TODAY Sports
  • The Giants gave up what was basically an uncontested touchdown to close out the first half, when they left a huge hole on the eight side of their defensive line and J.D. McKissic ran untouched into the end zone. This came after a Giants time out to set their defense, making this a bad look. It seemed as if the Giants did not think Heinicke was capable of checking out of one play and into another.  

    “So, we called a play where, actually, I don’t want to give this away,’’ Heinicke said.  “It was going to be a pass play and they called timeout and they come back and there’s a three-man front and there are only about four or five people in the box, so I was like ‘Hey, if we don’t run and score a touchdown here, we don’t deserve to win.’ So made the check, and it was a touchdown.’’
  • Kadarius Toney actually is credited with being on the field for 19 of the 69 offensive snaps. Do not feel badly if you did not notice.  He was not targeted, not once. He never got the ball in his hands. Toney in the third quarter had a sideline conversation with Judge that did not appear to go well, and Toney never took another snap. He took to his Instagram account to post something that either is very meaningful or not at all — does anyone really want to dig too deeply into what 22-year old rookies are trying to convey on social media?  The Toney post included this:  “I don’t be mad. S–t just lame to me.’’  Discuss amongst yourselves.  What is crystal clear is the Giants selected Toney with the No. 20 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. They better have a plan for him. If they do, it is not readily apparent.
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Giants LB Blake Martinez done for season with torn ACL: source

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |
SEP 27, 2021 AT 9:36 AM
 
 
 
 

Giants ILB Blake Martinez tore his ACL and is done for the season, according to a source.

This is an enormous loss for the Giants (0-3), who are reeling after Sunday’s 17-14 defeat to the Atlanta Falcons.

 

Martinez, who was third in the NFL with 151 tackles last season, got hurt in Sunday’s first quarter when he was juked by Falcons WR Cordarrelle Patterson and Martinez planted to try and recover.

He went straight down onto his stomach and stayed down and needed help off the field. He walked gingerly into the locker room but the Giants quickly ruled him out for the rest of the game.

 

 

Now his season is over, and it will be tough for coordinator Pat Graham’s defense to recover.

Giants' Blake Martinez is done for the season.
Giants' Blake Martinez is done for the season. (Seth Wenig/AP)

Martinez, 27, is not only a captain, he is the defense’s signal-caller, Graham’s conduit to the field.

 

Middle linebacker Tae Crowder took over those duties for the rest of Sunday’s loss to Atlanta, but a reliable veteran playcaller to back up Martinez is something the Giants had been looking for in the offseason and failed to find.

They thought they had it in Todd Davis, but the veteran retired two days after signing early in camp.

The injuries aren’t just limited to Martinez, whose torn ACL was first reported by ESPN. Receivers Darius Slayton (hamstring) and Sterling Shepard (hamstring) also left Sunday’s game in the first half for good. The severity of their injuries is not yet known.

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The Giants should be ashamed of themselves

September 26, 2021 11:28pm 
 
 

You could see Eli Manning pushing his hands down attempting to hush the boos that came raining from the stands as John Mara spoke on the makeshift podium in the middle of MetLife Stadium.

The jeers turned quickly to cheers and a standing ovation when Mara got out of the way for Manning on the day The Pride of the Giants had his No. 10 jersey retired.

By the end of Falcons 17, Giants 14, you would have been hard-pressed to find a Giants fan who wouldn’t have signed a petition to have the numbers of virtually every Giant retired, and certainly every Giant on defense, and of course, GM Dave Gettleman, who was joined on this day by Evan Engram, who lost a fumble in his season debut and was cheered once later on when he trotted to the sideline.

Shame on these Giants. These 0-3 Giants.

It might be a good idea for the Giants to summon Eli back to the field at every opportunity when things go wrong, because things go wrong with these Giants at every opportunity. And maybe instead of the Eli bobbleheads they handed out on Sunday, an Eli Manning Muzzle specially designed to discourage the boo birds might be an option to consider for the marketing people.

It is damning commentary on the players and the organization that they could not summon enough pride on this day to make a stand in their house and win a damn game, for him, for themselves and for their disconsolate, disenchanted fans who are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Giants teams of yesteryear — it feels like an eternity ago — would have turned this into a homecoming game against a team practically begging to leave town 0-3.

If ever Daniel Jones was going to feel the burden of succeeding old No. 10, it would have been here, but to his credit, he seemed as unfazed as Manning always was, forced to throw to the likes of Collin Johnson and C.J. Board and Kadarius Toney and piñata Engram after Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton were lost to injury in the first half.

Whenever Jones watches the replay of the halftime love-in, he will get a better idea how New York honors and embraces its champion icons with all its heart.

Younghoe Koo celebrates his game-winning field goal for the Falcons. Younghoe Koo celebrates his game-winning field goal for the Falcons. AP

And why while there is no greater place to win than in New York, poor Jones is learning that there is no worse place to lose.

“I don’t think it’s one thing or even two things, it’s a combination of a lot of little things we gotta do better,” Jones said. “In this league, these games come down to the fourth quarter, they come down to making plays when you have to, and we’ve gotta do that better and execute and make those plays.”

Jones (24 of 35, 266 yards, 8-39 rushing) enjoyed one shining moment that should have given Manning worshippers flashbacks when he engineered a 10-play, 71-yard drive and pumped his right fist in the air when Saquon Barkley’s 1-yard touchdown leap made it Giants 12, Falcons 7 with 12:53 remaining. And then Jones lowered his shoulder into Grady Jarrett and powered for the two-point conversion.

Manning’s championship defenses would have slammed the door shut on Matt Ryan right there.

This one folded like a Big Blue accordion for the second straight week.

Adoree’ Jackson dropping an interception in the end zone preceded Logan Ryan pass interference in the end zone against Kyle Pitts which preceded the tying TD.

 

It was time for a fairy tale, right? Manning’s successor, 4:13 and one timeout remaining, leading the Giants into position for the game-winning FG, or maybe a rare TD.

He marched to midfield. He was sacked on second down, recovered his own fumble, for a 9-yard loss.

And of course Riley Dixon’s punt became a touchback.

And of course Ryan found Cordarrelle Patterson out of the backfield for 28 yards on first down, and then Pitts for 25 yards, and then of course another FG kicker, Younghoe Koo, beat the Giants as time expired.

“Ultimately,” Joe Judge said, “we didn’t finish.”

A loser’s lament the last three Giants head coaches have offered us.

There is no defense for the defense playing so defensively in crunch time, but you can expect to beat 2 ¹/₂-year-old Charlie Manning’s first Little League team with 14 points, but not the Atlanta Falcons.

To wit: Second-and-goal at the Atlanta 8 on the opening drive, Jones is sacked by Jarrett for an 11-yard loss. Field goal.

First-and-10 at the Atlanta 17, Jones fumbles the snap, 11-yard loss. Field goal.

The Giants' 0-3 record shows on the face of this fan. The Giants’ 0-3 record shows on the face of this fan. Robert Sabo

Jones on third-and-10 hits Barkley who races down the right sideline for 20 yards … ineligible man (Will Hernandez) downfield.

“We all can do a lot more and we have to,” Jones said. “We believe we have a good football team and we have the guys to make it work.”

The Giants have road games against the Saints and Cowboys next and could be 0-5 again under Judge when they return home to what would be an angry mob.

Barkley was asked about the boos for Mara and he said: “I don’t think that’s fair to Mr. Mara.”

 

Mara is a big boy and he knows the deal. This losing syndrome pains him as much as it does every other Giants fan. If that was him kicking over a couple of press box trash cans, who could blame him?

“I wouldn’t consider this team a bad team. We just gotta figure it out,” Barkley said.

Barkley conceded it was especially disappointing failing on Manning’s big day. All of them should be similarly disappointed.

“We’re gonna be all right, guys. All right? We’re gonna be all right,” Judge said on his way out of the interview room.

All wrong right now.

Shame on the Giants.

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Giants stun Saints in overtime for thrilling first win

October 3, 2021 4:22pm
 
 
 

NEW ORLEANS — Finally.

The Giants finally won a game.

And they did it in wholly unexpected fashion.

They came from behind, battled in a loud and extremely hostile environment, kept their poise in the noise and found a way to outlast the Saints in front of their raucous fans who had not seen their beloved team play live in 637 days.

Saquon Barkley scored on a 6-yard touchdown run 4:54 into overtime on Sunday, sending teammates out onto the field at the Caesars Superdome and sending the Giants to a 27-21 victory. After three losses to start the season, the Giants were winners, at last.

To get there, they had to come back from a 21-10 deficit early in the fourth quarter. To get there, the Giants (1-3) got a huge game from their quarterback, Daniel Jones, who completed 28 of 40 passes for 402 yards. They got a big game from receiver Kenny Golladay (6-116) and a welcome-to-the-NFL game from rookie Kadarius Toney, who caught six passes for 78 yards, showing his electric moves.

The Giants also got two touchdowns from Barkley in what clearly was his best performance since coming back from his reconstructive knee surgery.

In overtime, Jabrill Peppers went out of the coin toss, called heads, it came out heads, and then he exclaimed “We want that ball!’’ with an expletive thrown in there.

The Giants never gave it back.

Jones hit John Ross for 17 yards to start the drive. He hit Golladay on a key third down play for 23 yards to set Barkley up to muscle his way in for the game-winner.

Saquon Barkley celebrates after scoring the game-winning touchdown. Saquon Barkley celebrates after scoring the game-winning touchdown. Getty Images

Down 21-10 and looking flatter than day-old beer on Bourbon Street, the Giants erupted with a quick strike, as Jones spotted Barkley running free on the left side line and hit him with what turned into a 54-yard catch-and-run touchdown to make it 21-16. Jones ran in the two-point conversion and the Giants were within 21-18 with 6:57 remaining, in need of a defensive stop. They got it, got the ball back on their 11-yard line with 3:01 to go and secured the game-tying field goal.

The Saints must not have been happy about being tied at seven at halftime, as they came out in the third quarter and went to work. Three plays, 75 yards, with a 58-yard Winston pass to Marquez Calloway, beating James Bradberry, the big blow. There was some wounded pride on defense when Taysom Hill on an 8-yard touchdown run broke five tackles, including an ill-advised strip attempt by linebacker Tae Crowder. Hill bulldozed James Bradberry and Adoree’ Jackson at the goal line.

The Giants defeated the Saints on Sunday for their first win of the season. The Giants defeated the Saints on Sunday for their first win of the season. AP

The Giants pulled within 14-10 on Graham Gano’s 23-yard field goal with 8:36 left in the third quarter, but more was needed. The Giants had a first down on the Saints’ 3-yard line after tight end Kyle Rudolph made a 20-yard reception but ran out of bounds. The next three plays were a Barkley run for 1 yard, a jet sweep to Evan Engram that lost 2 yards — the timing of the play was messed up from the start — and an ill-advised pass into the end zone for Kyle Rudolph against Marshon Lattimore, the Saints’ best cornerback.

An interception of Hill by Bradberry got the ball back for the Giants but a third-down drop by Engram on a pass behind him put the ball in the Saints’ hands near the end of the third quarter. What followed was a 67-yard, nickel-and-dime drive with Hill in at quarterback, finished off when Hill ran up the gut of the Giants’ defense on an 8-yard run to make it 21-10 early in the fourth quarter.

After an unsightly first two series on offense, the Giants finally got something cooking, in an unlikely way. They escaped a second-and-24 situation when Toney made his first impactful NFL play, showing off his spin moves on an 18-yard pickup for a first down. A missile over the middle to Golladay was good for 27 yards and the Giants got to the New Orleans 16-yard line. A throw into the end zone on third-and-1 fell incomplete and Judge — questioned last week for being too conservative — opted to send out Graham Gano for a 35-yard field goal try, rather than go for it on first down. Gano, with 37 consecutive made field goals dating back to last season, missed.

 
 

The next time the Giants got the ball, still embroiled in a scoreless game, they decided to go for broke. They got the first points of the game on a one-play, 52-yard possession, with Jones lofting the ball to John Ross, activated off injured reserve and making his Giants debut. Ross’ game is all about speed and he showed it by splitting defenders Paulson Adebo and Marcus Williams. Ross made the catch — the ball was placed perfectly by Jones — but the ball came loose when Williams ripped it out. Ross got spun around and alertly pounced on the ball in the end zone for what officially was a 51-yard reception and then a touchdown on the recovery.

The 7-0 lead for the Giants did not last until halftime, as a defense that was competing at a high level did what it almost always does — give up points in the final two minutes of a half. This time, a 13-play, 75-yard drive for the Saints — fueled by a 19-yard Winston-to-Ty Montgomery hookup against Jackson — was capped when Juwan Johnson lost Peppers with an in-cut and scored on a 15-yard reception to make it 7-7 with only 23 seconds remaining in the first half.

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Daniel Jones iffy for Rams; Kenny Golladay out 1-2 weeks, Rodarius Williams tears ACL

New York Daily News |
Oct 11, 2021 at 9:18 PM
 

Starting Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is in the concussion protocol and might miss Sunday’s home game against the L.A. Rams. Joe Judge said Monday that the team “won’t know anything officially on where he’s at until later in the week.”

“He’s got a series of steps within the league mandate that he has to go through, so we’ll wait patiently and get the other guys ready as we wait on him,” Judge said. “Hopefully he has an opportunity to play, but we won’t have a definite answer to that until much later in the week.”

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hyperextended knee) is guaranteed to miss at least one week and maybe two, a source confirmed. Running back Saquon Barkley (left ankle) is expected to miss time, too, although the Giants feel they’ve “dodged” the worst-case scenario on both skill players, per Judge.

But Jones is the leader of this offense and team. As his health goes, the Giants will go.

There are five steps for a player to clear the concussion protocol, per the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players’ Association.

Step one is rest and recovery. Step two adds light aerobic exercise. Step three incorporates continued aerobic exercise and introduces strength training. Step four enters the player into football specific activities. Step five puts the player through full football activity and clearance.

A player has to complete each step “without a recurrence of signs or symptoms of concussion,” with his neurocognitive testing returning to baseline levels. And if a player’s testing doesn’t return to baseline levels after an increase in activity, the typical interval to repeat that testing is 48 hours.

So it’s not out of the question that Mike Glennon could make his first Giants start on Sunday against Matthew Stafford and the L.A. Rams (4-1).

Jones' health could leave Mike Glennon as the starter against the Rams.
Jones' health could leave Mike Glennon as the starter against the Rams. (Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

“You hear the cliché, ‘Prepare as the starter,’” Glennon said. “I think I do a good job of that. Just getting ready all the time. Obviously, I will probably be more amplified than I have [this week]. I don’t know. Obviously, I guess the mindset is a little different Sunday this time than last time.”

Judge said the Giants weren’t concerned with any neck injury, despite Jones having his neck bent back on the collision with the Cowboys’ Jabril Cox.

 

“The biggest thing for the protocol is just being in it for the concussion,” Judge said. “In terms of anything else, we’ll deal with that as it comes up. Right now, the focus is really the concussion.”

Jones is only one of many injuries the Giants are dealing with, though. Here is a rundown of the others:

Rodarius Williams, CB: The rookie corner tore the ACL in his right knee on Sunday and is out for the season, the team announced. The sixth-round pick out of Oklahoma State had jumped Darnay Holmes on the depth chart as the Giants’ third or fourth corner, with Julian Love playing both corner and safety. With Williams out, Josh Jackson or Sam Beal should get an opportunity. Rookie Aaron Robinson (core muscle surgery, PUP list) is not eligible until at least Week 7, provided the third round pick out of Central Florida is healthy by then.

Kadarius Toney, WR: The dynamic rookie receiver’s in-game right ankle injury was worse than people realized Sunday. Toney had X-rays postgame and did not speak to the media because he was spending so much time tending to the injury. Then he missed a squad meeting on Monday to see a doctor for a follow-up, per Judge. The coach said Toney’s injury isn’t season-ending and “we’ll see how it affects him immediately in the future for this week.” Toney said “I’m good, just sticking to the plan, listening to the trainers.” His frustration came out on the sideline when he got hurt, but he gutted it out. “Me, I’m a dog,” he said. “I’m gonna do what’s best for the team because I like winning.”

Kenny Golladay, WR: The Giants’ big-money receiver proved tough in the New Orleans win but now is on the shelf for at least one week and maybe two, as NFL Network first reported. Judge didn’t have a final diagnosis of the hyperextended knee, but the Giants seem relieved it’s not season-ending.

Saquon Barkley, RB: Judge said “I can’t confirm a timetable” but said Barkley’s X-rays on his left ankle came back with “better news than it could’ve been,” meaning it’s sprained and not broken. He said it was “a sigh of relief with a couple of things just knowing the player and what he’s battled through.” Barkley was with the doctors again on Monday. Common sense dictates he should miss at least a couple weeks given the severity of the injury and the position he plays. Rushing Barkley back could risk further injury and jeopardize his availability the rest of the year. Judge said it’s possible Barkley will be on the practice field on Wednesday in some capacity, but we will believe it when we see it.

Andrew Thomas, LT: The Giants are “optimistic to get [Thomas] out there with us and get him rolling.” Judge said the Giants only put Thomas in uniform in case of an emergency at Dallas. Tackle Korey Cunningham was elevated from the practice squad and played some special teams snaps. Nate Solder started at left tackle and struggled. Matt Peart did pretty well at right tackle. Judge said the plan, when all three are healthy, will be to play all of them in a rotation.

Jonotthan Harrison, C: The Giants announced on Saturday, the day before their game at Dallas, that their practice squad reserve had injured his Achilles. It is a torn Achilles, per ESPN. Harrison was the team’s third center behind Billy Price and Matt Skura.

DROP KICKS

Last Friday, the Giants quietly and surprisingly worked out two free agent kickers: Michael Badgley and former Giants Pro Bowler Aldrick Rosas. They worked out Rosas even though he is still on probation for a frightening June 2020 hit-and-run that led to his Giant release.

Rosas, 26, received three years probation after pleading as charged to reckless driving on a highway and to hit and run and property damage. He was arrested the morning of June 15, 2020, by the California Highway Patrol with “his hands, legs and bare feet … covered in blood” after witnesses said he T-boned a Ford pick-up truck going 90-100 miles per hour. The truck’s driver somehow wasn’t injured.

Rosas has played in games for the Jaguars and Saints since. But it was surprising to see him invited back to East Rutherford, N.J.

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John Mara and Steve Tisch have to answer for this Giants mess

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |
OCT 18, 2021 AT 6:39 PM
 
 

This Giants season is on the verge of skidding off the rails. Wide receiver Kadarius Toney and left tackle Andrew Thomas both are likely to miss time with their injuries, the News has learned.Toney aggravated his right ankle injury and is being further evaluated, but sources have indicated it’s more serious than a simple sprain.

Thomas now has injuries to both feet. In fact, he was hobbling to keep his injured left foot off the ground when his right ankle got rolled up on in Sunday’s blowout loss to the Rams.So now Matt Rhule, courted unsuccessfully by the Giants in January 2020, is bringing his wounded Carolina Panthers (3-3) to MetLife Stadium on Sunday looking for a get-right game against the Giants (1-5).

Co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch are the ones who need to speak to the fans now, but they’re both politely declining to talk to the media. Judge was left to assure a disgusted, apathetic fanbase on Monday to trust in his process. 

“This is definitely gonna get better,” Judge said. “I can assure everyone out there who’s a Giants fan and wants to know when it’s gonna turn, we’re working tirelessly to make sure we get this thing turned in the right direction — not just for short-term results but for long-term success.”

The fans have caught on, meanwhile, that firing coaches and general managers hasn’t addressed the root cause of this organization’s futility.

The loud boos of Mara at halftime in Week 3 should have been a tipping point. The same goes for Eli Manning’s September admission that he retired in part because of “the losing,” the Giants’ interminable failures at the end of his career.

“The losses hurt more,” Manning said days before his jersey retirement ceremony. “They affect your sleep. They affect your week. It affects family life with my wife and kids and it just got too much.”

Judge wasn’t the coach then. First it was Ben McAdoo paired with GM Jerry Reese. Then it was Pat Shurmur. McAdoo and Reese took them to the playoffs in 2016.

But both McAdoo and Shurmur, who had plenty of flaws as head coaches, ultimately got scapegoated for the organization’s reluctance to move on from Manning and start fresh.

GM Dave Gettleman was simply the captain brought in to execute orders from the admiral, to use a naval analogy. He’s just the trigger man whose offensive line leaks like a capsized vessel four years after he promised to plug the holes.

So now it’s Judge using submarine metaphors to try and keep his team together when the Giants’ real problem is ownership’s mismanagement and the team’s resulting lack of talent or depth on the roster.

Gettleman and Judge are signing inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney, 28, to their practice squad, Judge confirmed in a Zoom audio call on Monday.

 

Judge and Graham undoubtedly plan to play the Houston Texans’ 2018 Pro Bowler as soon as possible to address the vacuum left by Blake Martinez’s season-ending torn ACL.

Judge is also holding his players’ feet to the fire for some less than acceptable effort that he saw in Sunday’s 38-11 defeat.

“In terms of waiting for me to single out a player, I’m not gonna do that,” Judge said. “However the things I didn’t like in the second half or first half in that matter will go fully addressed to the team as a whole and independently.”

There is a numbing quality to this year’s losing, however, with the Giants (19-51, .271) holding the NFL’s worst record and winning percentage since the start of the 2017 season.

Mara and Tisch have forfeited the trust that they will get it right. They have to prove they can again.

 

In that vein, it is important to heed Judge’s reminder that the Giants are striving “not just for short-term results but for long-term success.”

This was supposed to be a complete rebuild, finally, beginning with Judge’s hiring in January 2020. Ownership’s decision to retain Gettleman was a jarring snap back to reality, however, that Mara and Tisch were folding Judge into the Giants’ program — refusing to completely acknowledge their way was broken and pivot totally to new ideas and thinking.

Mara (right) and co-owner Steve Tisch should have never retained Gettleman (left).
Mara (right) and co-owner Steve Tisch should have never retained Gettleman (left). (David Richard/AP)

There is no doubt Mara and Tisch put as much thought and heart into these decisions and into efforts to turn around their franchise as anyone. They care, and they’re trying. They’ve definitely evolved in some areas since Judge arrived.

But they made the mistake of suddenly believing in the spring that it was time to win in 2021.

They saw stadiums opening back up, they wanted to get fans back in the building, and they believed a weak NFC East presented an opportunity to strike.

They abandoned the long-term for short-term gratification in the process, though, and by calculating their team’s potential incorrectly, they are now receiving more criticism for their losing than they would have if they’d patiently stuck to a long-term plan.

And they may have also jeopardized the long-term rebuild with those attempts at quick fixes, like giving big money to Adoree’ Jackson at corner. He has made almost no impact at all.

“It’s just one of those things that is frustrating trying to figure out how to get better and how to do better,” Jackson said of the whole defense’s disappointing season to date.

Offensive tackle Nate Solder, who dislocated a finger in Sunday’s loss, said the players understand the fans’ booing — something that big-money defensive tackle Leonard Williams said “bother[s] me.”

“We are not playing up to our standards,”Solder said. “We need to play better. We’re with the fans on that.”

Judge said this week’s practice will determine who he plays and who he benches.

“In terms of changes, the players that play it the right way, with the way we’re gonna play effort wise and competitive wise for 60 minutes, the players who are most productive, those will be the guys you’ll see on the field,” the head coach said.

Judge isn’t making any play-calling changes with Graham or Jason Garrett.

“At this moment, no,” he said.

But it’s also fair to wonder whether that would even matter. The personnel on the field doesn’t measure up against good opponents. And that’s a byproduct of mismanagement from the top down.

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Daniel Jones injury puts Giants status in serious jeopardy

November 30, 2021 6:37pm 

The Giants might be forced to turn to a new quarterback to go with their new offensive coordinator after the latest injury to Daniel Jones.

Jones is dealing with a strained neck that will restrict his practice movement and puts him in serious jeopardy of missing Sunday’s game against the Dolphins as well as additional games because his recovery timeline is week-to-week, sources told The Post. Mike Glennon is expected to start in place of Jones, who played through all of Sunday’s game against the Eagles after suffering the neck injury on the second play, NFL Network reported.

The Giants signed Jake Fromm off the Bills practice squad, sources confirmed. Since coach Joe Judge arrived, the Giants have carried only two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster except in cases of injury, so Fromm’s addition Tuesday afternoon was the first sign of concern.

Jones missed two starts as a rookie (ankle), two starts last season (hamstring) and was knocked out of a game earlier this season with a concussion. The Giants are 2-2 when Jones is sidelined, with both Eli Manning in 2019 and Colt McCoy in 2020 splitting results.

New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones #8 runs Daniel Jones is iffy for the Week 13 matchup with the Dolphins. Robert Sabo

Jones ran for a 5-yard gain on the second play Sunday and took high-body shots from two Eagles defenders as he slid. He ran the ball twice more on the possession.

So, 13 days after Jason Garrett was in Jones’ ear, the Giants will likely have Freddie Kitchens in his second game as the de facto offensive coordinator calling plays for Glennon. Durability issues for Jones — renowned for his toughness by coaches and teammates — has made backup quarterback a more significant job than it ever was during Manning’s 15-year career with zero injury-related missed starts.

Glennon is 6-21 in his career, including 0-5 during the Jaguars’ season-ending 15-game losing streak in 2020. He completed 16 of 25 passes for 196 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) in relief of Jones during the Week 5 blowout loss to the Cowboys.

Fromm was a fifth-round pick of the Bills in 2020 who served as the team’s emergency COVID-19 quarterback-in-isolation during his rookie season. He hasn’t played in a regular-season game and was the fourth-stringer in Buffalo, behind starter Josh Allen, backup Mitch Trubisky and former Giants draft pick Davis Webb, who made his own regular-season debut last month when Trubisky was sidelined.

In the present, the Giants are at a disadvantage without Jones after winning three of their last five games to move into an eight-team logjam within one game of the final NFC playoff spot. Only one of their final six opponents is more than one game above .500.

For the future, it’s bad timing when the main objective for the season — finding out if Jones is a franchise quarterback before determining whether to guarantee his contractual fifth-year option at about $21.3 million, according to overthecap.com — remains an unanswered mystery.

Jones appeared to be turning a corner early in the season but is coming off his three lowest full-game passing yardage totals of the season and old ball-security issues (six interceptions and two fumbles lost in the last six games) have resurfaced. Garrett took the fall for the offense’s middling production but then the Giants managed just 13 points (after averaging 18.9 under Garrett) in the first game with Kitchens-Jones duo.

For a scouting report on Fromm, the Giants could’ve turned to six other Georgia alums on the roster as well as a couple coaches who overlapped with his time leading the Bulldogs into the College Football Playoff championship game. He apologized last year after an old Tweet surfaced in which he wrote “only elite white people” should be able to purchase guns. Fromm is “very smart” and a “good teammate,” according to one player who shared the locker room.

The Giants put cornerback Darnay Holmes, who had an interception Sunday and was playing well in the slot after an early-season benching, on injured reserve. He will miss at least three games with a rib injury

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Giants must find way to beat Dolphins with Mike Glennon – no excuses

December 4, 2021 1:27pm

 

 

Daniel Jones has been ruled out of Sunday’s game at Miami with a bum neck, and suddenly the Giants are supposed to have only a slim chance of winning. How exactly does that work? 

How does the absence of a quarterback who has lost 25 of his 37 starts, for a winning percentage of 32.4, turn what was a manageable proposition for the Giants into Mission: Next to Impossible? 

When you substitute in Mike Glennon and his 6-21 career record and 28.6 winning percentage, that’s how. 

It is a cold, hard NFL fact that the dropoff from the first-string quarterback to the second-string quarterback is the biggest dropoff in sports. Very few people on the planet can play the game’s most important position with any degree of success. There might be 32 teams in the league, but there are most definitely not 32 capable quarterbacks to go around. So when backups get the ball, America’s most popular game often gets reduced to an unwieldy, unwatchable mess. 

But here is the one benefit to having a starter with a 12-25 career record: The dropoff to the proverbial next-man-up shouldn’t have a dramatic impact on a team’s chances of prevailing. And after 11 games of mostly uneven and uninspired performances, the Giants are way overdue to accomplish something they are not expected to accomplish — like winning two games in a row for the first time this year. 

So no excuses: The Giants need to figure out how to win this game and keep their season alive. Remember, this is a franchise that once won a Super Bowl with a backup quarterback, against an opponent that would beat the 2021 Dolphins by three touchdowns. 

Giants Mike Glennon walks onto the field at practice Wednesday. Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

No, Glennon isn’t Jeff Hostetler, not even close. But the point is, there are ways for mediocre and even sub-mediocre teams to win with backup quarterbacks. The Jets won a game this season with a backup, Mike White, who looked like Joe Namath on steroids against a playoff team, the Bengals. The Texans beat the Titans on the road with Tyrod Taylor throwing for just 107 yards. The Dolphins beat the Ravens with Jacoby Brissett throwing for just 156 yards. 

“We have a lot of confidence in Mike,” said Giants head coach Joe Judge, who called the eight-year veteran “a true professional” who takes his preparation very seriously every week. 

“We expect Mike to go in and run the offense,” Judge said.

 

Maybe Glennon will even run the offense better than Jones did, though that’s an awfully low bar to clear. The Giants are averaging 18.4 points per game, a stat that got Jason Garrett fired as offensive coordinator and got Freddie Kitchens promoted to play-caller. Given that the 6-foot-7 Glennon is far less mobile and athletic than Jones, and given that Judge’s former colleague in New England, Miami coach Brian Flores, loves to attack on defense, expect the Dolphins to throw the kitchen sink at Kitchens’ quarterback. 

 

Glennon might be able to handle it, despite the fact he hasn’t won a start since 2017 and went 0-5 for last year’s 1-15 Jaguars. He looked pretty good in his one Giants appearance at Dallas, after Jones suffered a concussion, throwing for 196 yards and a touchdown in the second half. And for what it’s worth, his career quarterback rating of 83.1 is right behind Jones’s (84.3) and Eli Manning’s (84.1). Oh, and it’s ahead of Hostetler’s (80.5). 

The Giants will still need to play at a high level around Glennon to make this work, and that won’t be easy without Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney. But as they stand one game out of the NFC’s seventh and final playoff spot, with a long list of fellow mediocrities to hurdle on the way there, the Giants should be motivated to honor the words of co-owner John Mara, who called theirs a playoff roster in the spring. 

The returning Logan Ryan, two-time Super Bowl champ with the Patriots and a veteran of 15 postseason games, said last week’s ugly victory over Philadelphia was reason to hope that the Giants can still qualify for the tournament. 

 

“A playoff team needs to be a team that’s resilient,” he said. “It doesn’t matter how it went. … A team like Miami, who lost seven straight, they just won four straight. They’re playing as well as anybody in football right now at finding ways to win. A playoff team finds a way to win — ugly, pretty, whatever it is. Last week was a good example of that. … You’ve got to play well at the right time, and this is the time that matters.” 

This is the Sunday that the Giants need to become relevant again. They are not playing Don Shula’s 1972 Dolphins. They are playing a beatable team that they need to handle, and no, a backup quarterback doesn’t qualify as an excuse to fail.

 
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