Giants release Ogletree, Martin

The Giants today began what is expected to be a significant restructuring of their defense when they released linebackers Alec Ogletree and Kareem Martin.

Ogletree and Martin played two seasons for the Giants.

Ogletree was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams for fourth and sixth-round draft choices on March 14, 2018. In his two years with the Giants, he started all 26 games in which he played – missing three each year – had a team-high 173 tackles and was twice elected a team captain.

In 2018, Ogletree was second on the team with 93 tackles (58 solo), including one sack, and led the Giants and all NFL linebackers with five interceptions. He tied the single-season record for interceptions by a Giants linebacker, set by Jerry Hillebrand in 1963. Ogletree returned two of the interceptions for touchdowns, on a 15-yard return vs. Tampa Bay on Nov. 18 and an eight-yarder against Chicago on Dec 2. He was the only NFL player with two interception return touchdowns in 2018, and the first linebacker in Giants history to score twice on interception returns in a season.

In the recently-concluded 2019 season, Ogletree again started 13 games and he finished third on the team with 80 tackles (48 solo). Ogletree added one sack, one interception and six passes defensed.

Martin joined the Giants one day after Ogletree, as a free agent from the Arizona Cardinals. In his first season with the Giants in 2018, Martin played in all 16 games with seven starts at strongside linebacker and finished with a career-high 48 tackles (22 solo) and tied his career best with 1.5 sacks.

But Martin played in only five games in 2019. He hurt his knee in the season opener in Dallas, was placed on injured reserve and was sidelined for three months. Martin returned for the season’s final four games and finished the season with six tackles (three solo).

Courtesy: Michael Eisen

Giants’ Jones: ‘I think there’s a certain sense of urgency in the building’

When you are on a four-game losing streak, you have to do different things as a team, and for the New York Giants, a players-only meeting on Monday was the first step in changing things.

What happened at this meeting? No one is saying.

“We’re going to keep all that kind of stuff between us as players,” Giants starting QB Daniel Jones said on a conference call. “I think there’s a certain sense of urgency in the building, but in terms of that stuff, we’re going to keep that in-house.”

When asked if the meeting was necessary, Jones had this to say:

“Again, like I said, we certainly feel a sense of urgency, and I think guys are coming into work, determined to get it right, but in terms of how that went, we’re going to keep that in-house.”

According to Giants LB Alec Ogletree, the players were happy about what came from the meeting.

“I’ll just leave it at, the players wanted to have our meeting, and we had our meeting and accomplished what we wanted to get done,” Ogletree said.

“We’ve always been together. It’s only us that go out there on the field and play together, so it’s just a matter of making sure everybody is still communicating, still on the same page, and trying to fix the problems.”

If players-only meetings really worked, teams would have them all the time, but maybe this could change things for New York. The big test on whether this meeting worked will be next Monday night against the NFC East-leading Cowboys. A loss against Dallas(4-3) ends New York’s slim chances of winning the NFC East, which is a long shot. However, this is the NFL, so anything can happen.