New York Giants CB Sam Beal has become the third Giants player to opt out of the 2020 NFL season, the team announced on Tuesday.
He joins starting left tackle Nate Solder and wide receiver Da’Mari Scott in choosing not to play this year.
Under the agreement reached between the NFL and the Players Association, players can choose not to play in the upcoming season without penalty. The deadline is 4 p.m. tomorrow and the opt-out is irrevocable.
Beal was expected to compete for increased playing time this season. A third-round selection in the 2018 supplemental draft, he missed his entire rookie year with a shoulder injury he originally sustained at Central Michigan.
In 2019, Beal spent the first nine games of the season on injured reserve with a pulled hamstring and missed the season finale vs. Philadelphia with a shoulder injury. He played in six games with three starts and totaled 26 tackles (20 solo) and one pass defensed.
Free agent acquisition James Bradberry will almost certainly start at one corner. With DeAndre Baker on the Commissioner Exempt List and Beal opting out, the corners competing for jobs and reps are Corey Ballentine, Grant Haley, Montre Hartage, 2020 draft choices Darnay Holmes (fourth round) and Chris Williamson (seventh) and perhaps second-year pro Julian Love.
*Linebacker Josiah Tauaefa was activated off the reserve/COVID list, one day after he was placed on it.
Two Monday night home games – the season-opener against Pittsburgh and another vs. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers – and a visit by the defending NFC champion San Francisco 49ers highlight the Giants’ 2020 regular-season schedule, which was announced today.
It is the first time the Giants will host two Monday night games in the same season in the 51-year history of Monday Night Football.
The Giants will play their first road game in Chicago, the first time since 2014 that their first road contest won’t be in Dallas. They will play their Thursday night game in Philadelphia, twice travel to the west coast (to face the Los Angeles Rams and Seattle Seahawks) and end the season at home against the Dallas Cowboys.
“I’ll tell you what, when you get the schedule, it definitely does give you a little surge of energy,” first-year head coach Joe Judge said. “It stimulates a lot of conversation between all areas of the organization – support staff, coaching staff — and you start preparing immediately for it.
“The number one positive is we’re getting ready to play football, so that’s the biggest thing. Once you get the schedule, it starts moving a little bit faster in your mind in terms of preparing for what’s in front of you. The thing we were waiting to see a little bit on was how some of the cross-country games played out. That ties in a little bit to how you plan out a lot of your travel for the year, which is tied to how you practice those weeks. You start mapping out how you’re going to go about each week by week through the season.
“We can start working on hotels and you start having more conversations that are going to tie into how you’re going to plan and prepare throughout the flow of the season. You look at the bye week, you look at how shortly before that is the Thursday night game, which leads into a Monday night game. How can you use some of the breaks in the season to help your players? How can we structure practice accordingly? You’re also tying in the new rules with our limited number of padded practices. You just start calculating as you look on down the list of opponents.”
Since Tom Coughlin became head coach in 2004, the Giants have traditionally traveled to the west coach the day prior to a game. Based on his eight seasons with New England, when will Judge take the Giants to L.A. and Seattle?
“I’d say for the most part, historically, we’ve gone out on Fridays and given them an extra day to get out there and get acclimated to a few things,” he said. “But that’s nothing that’s locked in concrete. We’ll talk as a coaching staff and make sure we hammer what we think is best for this team. To be honest with you, we’ll have a game plan to go out there early and be prepared to cancel the extra day if we need to as we get a feel for how our team goes throughout the season.”
Judge will make his head coaching debut on Monday, Sept. 14 in MetLife Stadium against the Pittsburgh Steelers at 7:15 p.m. It will be the Giants’ first Monday night season opener since 2014, when they lost in Detroit (which is also the last time their first road game was somewhere other than Dallas); their first Monday night home opener since 1995, when they lost to Dallas; and the first time their opening home game will be played on a Monday night since 2011, when they defeated the St. Louis Rams in Week 2.
Judge was asked if his first game will be particularly special because it will be showcased on a Monday night.
“For me, any game is going to have the same amount of juice,” he said. “I think everyone is going to have a lot of energy for the opener, us and Pittsburgh. It’s going to be a situation where look, you get to play under the lights, you get to play at home. But it’s the opening game for both teams. Both teams will be coming out of training camp sick of beating up on each other and ready to see an opponent.”
On Sunday, Sept. 20, the Giants will begin their road schedule when they visit the Chicago Bears for the second consecutive year. Kickoff is 1 p.m. Last Nov. 24, the Giants lost in Soldier Field, 19-14.
One week later, also at 1 p.m., the Giants host the 49ers, who lost Super Bowl LIV to the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-20. San Francisco will visit MetLife for the first time since 2015.
The Giants begin a two-game road trip when they face the Rams in brand new SoFi Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 4 at 4:05 p.m. The following week, the Giants play their first NFC East game when they visit the Cowboys in Arlington, Texas at 4:25 p.m. That will be the first of five division matchups in a six-game span.
“It doesn’t matter if they’re in a row or spaced out, division games are obviously big for you,” Judge said. “Those are key opponents. It definitely jumps out at you that you have five of those in six weeks and only having a couple of weeks in between each of the opponents with the Redskins and Philly. That’s sometimes a different flavor in terms of how much change can happen within those couple of weeks. How much the opponent’s done differently, how much have you adjusted. That plays more into it than just having a string of division opponents.”
The Giants return home on Sunday, Oct. 18, when they host the Washington Redskins at 1 p.m. Four days later, they will be in Lincoln Financial Field to face the defending NFC East champion Eagles at 8:20 p.m.
After an 11-day break, Brady and the Buccaneers provide the opposition for the Giants’ second Monday night home game of the season on Nov. 2 at 8:15 p.m. Judge, of course, spent the previous eight seasons working with Brady as a member of the Patriots staff.
“I think we’ll be very aware of Tom being on the other team,” Judge said. “At that point of the year, I’m sure everyone is going to get used to him wearing a different color jersey. I’m in a different jersey myself. We’re more conscious of the opponents we’ll be playing. The Buccaneers have a very good defense, they have tons of receivers, tons of weapons, and they made some great additions in the offseason with Tom and Rob (Gronkowski). Seeing those guys over there, no matter where our paths may have crossed in the past, all that’s going to matter is that Monday night.”
The Giants will travel on a short week for the third time for their next game, a rematch with the Redskins in FedExField on Sunday, Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. The following week, they again face a division foe for the second time in four games when they host the Eagles at 1 o’clock.
“Whether it’s a short week or a long week, we’re going to do everything we can to just line it up and get prepared for our opponents regardless of if you play them on a short week or you play them home or away,” Judge said. “I don’t think we really want to make too much of the length of the weeks. It is what it is. You’re fortunate to be able to play in some primetime games. You’re lucky to be able to be under the lights. We’ll just make sure we prepare for those teams a little bit more on the front end to account for a day or so after the game.”
In Week 11 – which includes Sunday, Nov. 22 – the Giants will have their bye. It is the third consecutive season the Giants’ bye is in November.
“Look, it’s a long season,” Judge said. “Wherever you fit that bye in, you’re going to have to find ways to structure your team and how you practice and prepare to account for guys through attrition, through injuries, your guys getting worn down. You have to find ways throughout the year, regardless of when your bye comes, of managing your team. You look at it more in terms of just when it falls and what the stretch looks like afterwards. I’ve had very, very early byes. We’ve had late byes. I think where our bye is right now is a good spot for it. But at the same time, you have a long stretch of games before and you have a lot of tough opponents after it. That bye week is not going to do a whole lot for you when the whistles blow on Sundays.”
When they return to action, it will be to start another two-game trip. On Sunday, Nov. 29, the Giants visit the Bengals in Cincinnati at 1 p.m. The following week, they return to the west coast to play the Seattle Seahawks in CenturyLink Field at 4:05 p.m.
The kickoff for each of the Giants’ final four games, including three at home, is scheduled for 1 p.m.
“I don’t think too much about if it’s a home or away game,” Judge said. “I look at it more as the opponent we have to play. They are all teams that have a lot of explosive qualities on their offense and tough defenses. I’m looking more at who the team is as opposed to where we’re playing them.”
The final quarter of the season begins on Sunday, Dec. 13, when the Arizona Cardinals visit MetLife for the second straight year. Last Oct. 20, the Giants dropped a 27-21 decision to the Cards.
One week later, former Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and the Cleveland Browns play in MetLife.
The Giants play their final road game of the season on Sunday, Dec. 27, against the defending AFC North champion Ravens in Baltimore.
Dallas provides the opposition for the final regular-season game on Jan. 3 in MetLife.
Some highlights from the Giants’ 2020 schedule:
*The Giants twice play back-to-back road games: Oct. 4 and 11 at the Rams and Dallas; and Nov. 29 and Dec. 6 at Cincinnati and Seattle. They play consecutive home games just once, Dec. 13 and 20 vs. Arizona and Cleveland.
*Five of the Giants’ first 10 games are against NFC East opponents and they are within a six-week span. They finish their season series against both Washington and Philadelphia by Nov. 15, the first time they will conclude their seasonal rivalry with two division foes so early since 1998, when they were finished with the Redskins and Cowboys by Nov. 8.
*In 2020, the NFC East plays the NFC West and the AFC North. Because they finished third in the NFC East, the Giants host the third-place team from the NFC South (Tampa Bay) and visit the third-place team from the NFC North (Chicago). Last season, the NFC West had two playoff teams (conference champion San Francisco and Seattle) and the AFC North had one (Baltimore, the conference’s top seed, which lost in the divisional round to Tennessee).
*The NFC West was the only one of the league’s eight divisions that had three teams over .500. The 49ers were 13-3, the Seahawks finished 11-5 and the Los Angeles Rams were 9-7. The four teams were a combined 38-25-1, a .602 percentage that made it the NFL’s winningest division last year. The four AFC North teams were 30-34. a .469 winning percentage that was the second-lowest in the league (to the NFC East’s .375) and the lowest in the AFC.
*The Giants play five games against 2018 playoff teams: Philadelphia twice, plus San Francisco, Seattle, and Baltimore.
*The Giants play three teams with new head coaches, including two in the NFC East: Dallas (Mike McCarthy), Washington (Ron Rivera) and Cleveland (Kevin Stefanski).
*When the Giants visit the Rams on Oct. 4 in SoFi Stadium, they will play their first game in Los Angeles since Oct. 16, 1994, when they lost, 17-10, a year before the Rams began their 21-year stay in St. Louis.
*The Giants are 25-41-1 on Monday nights, including 9-11 at home.
*This is the third consecutive season the Giants play two Monday night games. In 2019, they lost to Dallas at home and Philadelphia on the road. Two years ago, they lost to Atlanta and defeated the 49ers, both on the road.
*The Giants will face Brady, the six-time Super Bowl winner, in prime time for the second year in a row. Last Oct. 10, they lost a Thursday night game in New England, 35-14, in Brady’s last of 20 seasons with the Patriots.
*The Giants are 4-6 in Thursday night games since 2009, including 2-5 on the road.
*The Giants will play their final regular-season game at home for the fourth consecutive season and the eighth time in nine years.
*“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17. The Giants will have their bye in the first of those weeks. Under flex scheduling, game times can be changed, and games currently scheduled to be played on Sunday afternoon can be moved to Sunday night on NBC. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games that are played on Thursday or Monday nights.
Additionally, in Weeks 5-10, flexible scheduling may be used in no more than two weeks. In Weeks 5-16, the NFL schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time.
For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to January 3. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot. Flexible scheduling ensures quality matchups in all Sunday time slots in those weeks and gives “surprise” teams a chance to play their way into primetime.
In each of Weeks 15 and 16, up to three of five designated matchups will be played on Saturday with the remainder to be played on Sunday. Specific dates and start times for such designated Week 15 and Week 16 matchups will be determined and announced no later than four weeks prior to game day.
*The Giants also revealed their preseason opponents – the Jets, Tennessee, Green Bay and New England. Specific dates and times will be announced at a later date.
This year, the Giants do not play any of their preseason opponents in the regular season.
“I think we have four great opponents to go against in the preseason,” said Judge. “They’re all going to show you something different you have to adjust to and get the team ready for.”
In Preseason Week 1 (Aug. 13-17), the Giants visit the Jets. It will be the second consecutive August – and just the fourth time in their preseason rivalry – the teams will square off in the opener. They also did so in 1983 and 2010, the latter in the first NFL game in MetLife Stadium.
This will be the 52nd consecutive summer in which the Giants and Jets will meet since the series began in 1969. The Giants have won the four previous preseason meetings, including 31-22 last year, to tie the annual series, 25-25-1. The tie was in 1972.
The Giants are 37-30-3 in preseason openers since 1950.
The Giants are on the road in Preseason Week 2 (Aug. 20-24), when they visit the Tennessee Titans. The franchises met four times in the preseason from 1971-90, when the Titans played in Houston and were called the Houston Oilers. The Giants won that 1990 meeting in the Astrodome, 13-10. The teams met in the annual Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio, in 1985, a 21-20 Giants victory. The Oilers won the first two games in the preseason series.
The Giants play in MetLife Stadium as the home team for the first time in Preseason Week 3 (Aug. 27-30) when they host the Green Bay Packers. It will be the teams’ first preseason matchup since Aug. 22, 1997, when the Packers defeated the Giants in Madison, Wis., 22-17.
The Giants and Packers met every preseason from 1952-66 in cities as varied as Milwaukee, Boston, Bangor and Spokane. This will be their second preseason meeting in New Jersey; on Aug. 22, 1960, the Packers defeated the Giants, 16-7, in Jersey City. Green Bay leads the preseason series, 15-8-1.
For the 16th consecutive summer, the Giants face the New England Patriots in their preseason finale (on Sept. 3 or 4 in MetLife). Last year, Kyle Lauletta threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Alonzo Russell on the game’s final play to give the Giants a 31-29 victory.
The Giants lead the preseason series, 19-10. The two teams first met in the preseason in 1971.
In 2019, the Giants were 4-0 in preseason play, defeating the Jets, Bears, Bengals and Patriots.
Monday, Sept. 14, 7:15 p.m., ESPN
Pittsburgh’s 2019 record: 8-8, AFC North second place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants lead, 44-30-3
Pittsburgh won the last two and three of the last four games in the series, which began in 1933. The teams will meet for the first time since Dec. 4, 2016, when the Steelers raced out to a 14-0 halftime lead on their way to a 24-14 victory. They last faced each other in MetLife on Nov. 4, 2012, when Pittsburgh scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for a come-from-behind 24-20 triumph. The teams met every season from 1933 through 1969, except when the series was interrupted by World War II in 1943 and 44. Since the Steelers moved to the AFC in the 1970 merger they have played only 10 times, six in New Jersey and four in Pittsburgh. The Steelers lead in those games, 6-4.
Sunday, Sept. 20, 1 p.m., CBS
Chicago’s 2019 record: 8-8, NFC North third place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants trail, 29-21-2; Postseason: Giants trail, 5-3
The Giants and Bears will face each other for the third consecutive season and the second year in a row in Chicago. Last Nov. 24, the Giants led at halftime, 7-3, but allowed 16 unanswered points in the third quarter and lost, 19-14. On Dec. 2, 2018, the Giants earned a 30-27 overtime triumph in MetLife Stadium. The Bears scored 10 points in the final 1:13 of the fourth quarter to tie the game. Saquon Barkley’s 29-yard run on the first play of overtime set up Aldrick Rosas’ game-winning 44-yard field goal. These teams first played each other in 1925, making this the Giants’ oldest active series (the Giants’ first-ever road victory was in Chicago on Dec. 13, 1925).
San Francisco 49ers
Sunday, Sept. 27, 1 p.m., FOX
San Francisco’s 2019 record: 13-3, NFC West first place, NFC champions
Series Record: Regular season: Giants lead, 17-16; Postseason: Tied, 4-4
The Giants and 49ers have split their last four games dating back to 2014, with each team winning once at home and once on the road. They last faced each other on Monday night, Nov. 12, 2018 in Santa Clara, where Eli Manning’s three-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard with 53 seconds remaining in the game capped a 75-yard drive and gave the Giants a 27-23 victory. The touchdown pass was the 350th of Manning’s career. The 49ers beat the Giants the previous season in Levi’s Stadium, 31-21. The teams split two games in MetLife in 2014 and 2015. How close is this series? The teams have met 41 times combined in the regular season and postseason. The Giants have 21 victories, the 49ers have 20. In those 41 games, they are separated by only five points (Giants 843, 49ers 838).
Los Angeles Rams
Sunday, Oct. 4, 4:05 p.m., FOX
Los Angeles’ 2019 record: 9-7, NFC West third place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants trail, 26-16; Postseason: Tied, 1-1
The Giants visit brand new SoFi Stadium for the first time and play their first game in Los Angeles in 26 years when they face the Rams. The teams last met Nov. 5, 2017, when the Rams led by as many as 38 points on their way to a 51-17 victory. That ended the Giants’ seven-game winning streak in the series; they had defeated the Rams in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2016, a stretch of success that immediately followed five consecutive Rams victories in the series. The Giants were 3-10 in regular-season games and 1-0 in the playoffs in Los Angeles when they Rams were based there from 1946-94.
Sunday, Oct. 11, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Sunday, Jan. 3, 1 p.m., FOX*
Dallas’ 2019 record: 8-8, NFC East second place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants trail, 68-45-2; Postseason: Giants lead, 1-0
In 2019, the Cowboys swept the Giants for the third consecutive season. The Giants opened their season on Sept. 8 in Dallas, the fifth year in a row their first road game was in AT&T Stadium. After taking an early 7-0 lead, the Giants didn’t score another touchdown until 2:49 remained in the game and lost, 35-17. Saquon Barkley rushed for 120 yards and Eli Manning threw for 306 yards and a touchdown. In the Monday night rematch on Nov. 4, the Giants trailed by a single point after three quarters, but were outscored in the fourth, 21-3 and lost in MetLife, 37-18. It was the most points they allowed all season. The Giants have swept the season series 13 times, while Dallas has 23 series sweeps. The Giants are 20-37-1 in Dallas (5-6 in AT&T Stadium), while the Cowboys are 5-5 vs. the Giants in MetLife Stadium.
Sunday Oct. 18, 1 p.m., FOX
Sunday, Nov. 8, 1 p.m., FOX
Washington’s 2019 record: 3-13, NFC East fourth place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants lead, 102-68-4; Postseason: Tied, 1-1
The Giants last year swept the season series for the first time since 2014, ending a four-year streak which saw the teams split their two games. On Sept. 29, Daniel Jones threw for 225 yards and a touchdown in his first start in MetLife Stadium and the Giants allowed a season-low point total in a 24-3 victory. Jones threw a franchise rookie-record five touchdown passes in the rematch in FedExField on Dec. 22, when the Giants held three separate 14-point leads before winning in overtime, 41-35. The Giants have faced the Redskins 174 times in the regular season since their first game in 1932, making this their most frequently-contested rivalry. They are 7-3 vs. Washington in MetLife and 13-9-1 in FedExField. The Giants have swept the season series 33 times.
Lincoln Financial Field
Thursday, Oct. 22, 8:20 p.m., FOX/NFLN/Amazon
Sunday, Nov. 15, 1 p.m., FOX
Philadelphia’s 2019 record: 9-7, NFC East first place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants trail, 85-83-2; Postseason: Tied, 2-2
The Eagles swept the season series in 2019 for the third year in a row and the fifth time in six seasons to take the lead in the all-time series. Philadelphia has won its last seven games vs. the Giants. On Monday night, Dec. 9, the Giants jumped out to a 17-3 halftime lead, but the Eagles scored one touchdown in both the third and fourth quarters before Zach Ertz’s second two-yard touchdown reception with 4:50 elapsed in overtime gave the home team a 23-17 victory. The teams met again in the season finale in MetLife Stadium on Dec. 29. Saquon Barkley’s 68-yard touchdown run tied the score late in the third quarter, but the Eagles got a pair of two-yard scoring runs by Boston Scott and scored 17 unanswered points in the final quarter to win, 34-17. The Giants are 2-8 against the Eagles in MetLife (plus 0-1 in the postseason). They have lost their last six games in The Linc, where they are 6-11 in the regular season and 0-1 in postseason play.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Monday, Nov. 2, 8:15 p.m., ESPN
Tampa Bay’s 2019 record: 7-9, NFC South third place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants lead, 15-7; Postseason: Giants lead, 1-0
The Giants and Buccaneers will meet for the fourth year in a row and the fifth time in six seasons. The last three games between the teams were decided by a total of six points. On Sept. 22, 2019, the Giants edged the Bucs in Raymond James Stadium, 32-31. Daniel Jones started his first game at quarterback and threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns and ran for two more scores, including the seven-yard game-winner with 1:16 remaining in the game. The previous game was Nov. 18 in MetLife Stadium, the Giants held a 17-point third-quarter lead before holding on for a 38-35 victory. And on Oct. 1, 2017 in Tampa, Nick Folk kicked a 34-yard field goal as time expired to give the Bucs a 25-23 victory.
Week 11: Bye
Paul Brown Stadium
Sunday, Nov. 29, 1 p.m., FOX*
Cincinnati’s 2019 record: 2-14, AFC North fourth place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants trail, 6-4
The home team has won all 10 games in this series and the teams have alternated victories in their last five meetings dating back to 1997. The Giants won that season and in 2008 and 2016, and the Bengals won in 2004 and 2012. They most recently met on Monday night, Nov. 14, 2016, when Eli Manning’s third touchdown pass of the game, a three-yarder to Sterling Shepard early in the fourth quarter, held up for a 21-20 victory. The Giants didn’t fare as well in their last road game vs. the Bengals, losing 31-13 on Nov. 11, 2012, a defeat that left them 0-6 in Cincinnati.
Sunday, Dec. 6, 4:05 p.m., FOX*
Seattle’s 2019 record: 11-5, NFC West second place
Series Record: Regular season: Series tied, 9-9
The Seahawks have a four-game winning streak in the series, with victories in 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2017, with only the 2014 game in Seattle. The teams last met on Oct. 22, 2017, when the Giants’ early seven-point lead dissolved as Russell Wilson threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns to secure a 24-7 victory. The Giants and Seahawks last faced each other in Seattle on Nov. 9, 2014, a 38-17 victory for the home team. Marshawn Lynch ran for four touchdowns in that game. The Giants are 3-5 in Seattle, including 1-3 since CenturyLink opened in 2002.
Sunday, Dec. 13, 1 p.m., FOX*
Arizona’s 2019 record: 5-10-1, NFC West fourth place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants lead, 80-45-2
The Cardinals will meet the Giants in MetLife for the second year in a row. Arizona has won the last three games in the series, and in each of its last three visits to East Rutherford. On Oct. 20, 2019, the Cardinals earned a 27-21 victory behind Chase Edmonds’ three rushing touchdowns – a pair of 20-yarders in the first quarter and a 22-yarder in the third. Arizona jumped out to a 17-0 lead that the Giants cut to three points by halftime. But the visitors outscored the Giants in the second half, 10-7, to secure the victory. The Cardinals also beat the Giants in Arizona in 2017 and in New Jersey in 2009 and 2014. The Giants’ most recent victory in the series was in State Farm Stadium in 2011. From 1970-2002, the Giants and Cardinals were both members of the NFC East.
Sunday, Dec. 20, 1 p.m., CBS*
Cleveland’s 2019 record: 6-10, AFC North third place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants trail, 26-21-2; Postseason: Tied, 1-1
The Giants won their last two and six of their last seven games against the Browns dating back to 1991. The teams last met on Nov. 27, 2016, when three Eli Manning touchdown passes, including two to Odell Beckham, Jr., keyed a 27-13 victory. The Giants and Browns most recently met in New Jersey on Oct. 7, 2012, when the home team overcame an early 14-0 deficit and rallied to win, 41-27. Manning threw three touchdown passes, all to Victor Cruz. From 1950-69, the Giants and Browns had one of the NFL’s greatest rivalries, playing each other twice each season (except for 1968). Since the Browns moved to the AFC in the 1970 merger, they have played each other only 10 times (the Giants own a 6-4 advantage).
M&T Bank Stadium
Sunday, Dec. 27, 1 p.m., FOX*
Baltimore’s 2019 record: 14-2, AFC North first place
Series Record: Regular season: Giants trail, 3-2; Postseason: Giants trail, 1-0
The Giants haven’t won in Baltimore since Sept. 15, 1963, when they defeated the Colts, 37-28. Of course, they’ve since played there just twice, losing to the Ravens in 2004 and 2012. The teams last met on Oct. 16, 2016, when Eli Manning threw a 66-yard touchdown pass to Odell Beckham, Jr. with 1:24 remaining to give the Giants a 27-23 victory. In their most recent meeting in Baltimore, on Dec. 23, 2012, the Giants lost, 33-14, as the Ravens gained 533 yards (309 passing, 224 on the ground), and owned the ball for more than 39 minutes. Baltimore also defeated the Giants, 34-7, in Super Bowl XXXV on Jan. 28, 2001 in Tampa. The teams met in the preseason every year from 1996-2007 and again in 2010. The Ravens lead that series, 7-5.
*Game subject to flex scheduling.
Pre 1 – Aug. 13-17 at N.Y. Jets TBD TBD
Pre 2 – Aug. 20-24 at Tennessee TBD TBD
Pre 3 – Aug. 27-30 Green Bay TBD TBD
Pre 4 – Sep. 3-4 New England TBD TBD
Weel 1 – Sep. 14 Pittsburgh Steelers (Mon) 7:15 PM ESPN
Week 2 – Sep. 20 at Chicago Bears 1:00 PM CBS
Week 3 – Sep. 27 San Francisco 49ers 1:00 PM FOX
Week 4 – Oct. 4 at Los Angeles Rams 4:05 PM FOX
Week 5 – Oct. 11 at Dallas Cowboys 4:25 PM CBS
Week 6 – Oct. 18 Washington Redskins 1:00 PM FOX
Week 7 – Oct. 22 at Philadelphia Eagles (Thu) 8:20 PM FOX/NFLN/Amazon**
Week 8 – Nov. 2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Mon) 8:15 PM ESPN
Week 9 – Nov. 8 at Washington Redskins 1:00 PM FOX
Week 10 – Nov. 15 Philadelphia Eagles 1:00 PM FOX
Week 11 BYE
Week 12 – Nov. 29 at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 PM FOX
Week 13 – Dec. 6 at Seattle Seahawks 4:05 PM FOX
Week 14 – Dec. 13 Arizona Cardinals 1:00 PM FOX
Week 15 – Dec. 20 Cleveland Browns 1:00 PM CBS
Week 16 – Dec. 27 at Baltimore Ravens 1:00 PM FOX
Week 17 – Jan. 3 Dallas Cowboys 1:00 PM FOX
The Giants today added a fourth quarterback to their roster when they were awarded Cooper Rush off waivers from the Dallas Cowboys.
The transaction is contingent on Rush passing a physical after travel restrictions are lifted.
In a corresponding move, the Giants waived wide receiver Reggie White to remain at the NFL-maximum 90 players on their roster.
Rush, 6-3 and 225 pounds, will join starter Daniel Jones and veteran reserves Colt McCoy and Alex Tanney in the Giants’ quarterback room.
Rush spent the previous three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, where he worked under coach Jason Garrett, now the Giants’ offensive coordinator. He appeared in five games, including two last year. Rush threw three passes – all in 2017 – and completed one, a two-yarder at San Francisco on Oct. 22. That year, he joined the Cowboys as a rookie free agent from Central Michigan.
White was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted free agent on May 3, 2019, from Monmouth University. He was waived on August 30 and was on the Giants’ practice squad from Sept. 1-Nov. 12 and again from Nov. 27 through the end of the season. White signed a reserve/futures contract with the Giants on Dec. 30.
Michael Eisen/NY Giants
Six of the seven players the Giants acquired on the final day of the NFL Draft play defense, but the team’s primary goal went deeper than simply replenishing one unit.
“The theme of the day for defense was speed,” general manager Dave Gettleman said after the seven-hour marathon that was the final four rounds. “We really feel like we improved our team’s speed and that was what we were trying to do.”
“Dave hit this off the bat, the theme of the day was speed,” coach Joe Judge said.
The Giants believe they significantly upgraded theirs, which is vital in today’s up-tempo, no-huddle, let’s-score-quickly NFL.
Another theme is versatility, as many of the players selected will get a look at multiple positions.
The Giants’ third-day selections were defensive backs Darnay Holmes of UCLA and Chris Williamson of Minnesota; guard Shane Lemieux of Oregon; outside linebackers Cam Brown of Penn State and Carter Coughlin of Minnesota; and inside linebackers TJ Brunson of South Carolina and Tae Crowder of Georgia.
“We had a good day today,” Gettleman said. “I’m very pleased with what happened.”
The players secured on Saturday joined the threesome selected in the draft’s first three rounds: tackle Andrew Thomas from Georgia, taken with the fourth overall selection; safety Xavier McKinney of Alabama, chosen fourth in the second round and 36th overall; and tackle Matt Peart of Connecticut, picked in the third round, 99th overall.
By position, the Giants chose three offensive linemen, one safety, two defensive backs, two outside linebackers and two inside linebackers. The Giants drafted 10 players for the second straight year.
This is believed to be the first draft ever in which the Giants selected four linebackers. They chose three offensive linemen in one draft for the first time since 1989 – when the draft was 12 rounds. That year, the Giants chose center Brian Williams from Minnesota in the first round, guard Bob Kratch from Iowa in the third and tackle Dave Popp from Eastern Illinois in the seventh.
A look at the Giants’ third-day selections:
*Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA, 5-10, 198, fourth round, No. 110 overall
Holmes was a three-year starter for the Bruins, for whom he played in 35 games with 33 starts. His career totals included 121 tackles (89 solo), eight interceptions, 28 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also averaged 23.1 yards on 38 kickoff returns, including a 93-yard touchdown in 2018.
Like many of the Giants’ young defensive backs, Holmes will initially work at several spots.
“He’s a corner, he plays the nickel,” Gettleman said. “He will come in and compete for that spot right away. He’s a tough kid, he can run. We’re excited we were able to get him.”
“Darnay is definitely a guy that jumps out at you,” Judge said. “He’s got good speed, he’s got real good short area quickness. He’s contributed on the defensive side of the ball, he’s had impact in the kicking game. He plays with a good edge, shows some nasty. You can see he definitely plays bigger than his size. He’s a guy that jumped out at us at the Senior Bowl. His tape backed up what we saw down there. I’m really happy we were able to add him today.”
Holmes earned a degree in African-American studies in three years. His father, Darick Holmes, rushed for 1,769 yards and 11 touchdowns for Buffalo, Green Bay and Indianapolis from 1995-99. His older brother (Darick Jr.) played wide receiver at Arizona from 2015-18.
“I’m going to be an asset, I’m not going to be a liability,” Holmes said. “I’m just going to play my part and maximize my role, for sure. … I can’t tell you where I’m going to play, I’m just ready to contribute. Wherever they put me, I’m going to maximize that role and I’m going to make sure that I understand that role. That’s my main thing is understanding it and grasping all the concepts.”
*Shane Lemieux, G, Oregon, 6-4, 310, fifth round, No. 150 overall
Lemieux was an iron man who started 52 consecutive games for the Ducks at left guard. He was a two-time first-team All-Pac 12 selection by the Associated Press and second team by the league’s coaches. In 2019, he was selected as a first-team All-American by Sports Illustrated and second team by the AP. Lemieux helped Oregon finish as one of seven FBS teams with at least 35 passing touchdowns and 25 rushing touchdowns. He was also a team captain.
“This is a tough kid who plays mad,” Gettleman said. “He’s big, he’s powerful, he’s a pretty good athlete. We’re excited to add him to the mix.”
“He plays with nasty,” Judge said. “You turn the Auburn game on and right from the first snap, he’s tossing bodies around. You can’t help but watch him. In a lot of crossover tape he jumps out at you as well. He’s a guy that’s going to have interior swing value. We’re going to cross train him at guard and center. It’s something he has been working on out at Oregon and we’re going to keep on building with that as well.”
*Cam Brown, OLB, Penn State, 6-5, 233, sixth round, No. 183 overall
Brown played in 51 games with 26 starts at Penn State, including starts in 12 of 13 games in each of his final two seasons. He concluded his career with 199 tackles (99 solo), including 15 stops for loss; 5.0 sacks; 11 passes defensed; four forced fumbles; and two fumble recoveries. Brown had a career-high 72 tackles (28 solo) as a senior and a career-best 41 unassisted stops in his junior season.
“(He is) a big, long kid out of Penn State,” Gettleman said. “He’s 6-5 and change, he’s 230, he runs well. Cam and all the young men we took in the seventh round, we think they are players with good developmental qualities and tools. They all can run, every one of these guys can run. We’re excited about that.”
“Physically, he’s got good length,” Judge said of Brown. “He’s got a frame to fill out and play. He plays with good energy. He plays aggressive and downhill. He’s going to be bring versatility on the edge as well as a little bit of stack backer value. He brings impact in the kicking game with us.”
Sean Spencer, the Giants’ defensive line coach, spent the previous six seasons at Penn State.
“(Spencer) has spoken very highly of Cam since he got here,” Judge said “He’s also a guy that when you talk to other guys on Penn State and you hit them with who the leader on the defense is, without hesitation they all said Cam Brown. That stuck out to us. He’s been an alpha dog in the locker room and that brings the attitude we really look for on the field.”
*Carter Coughlin, OLB, Minnesota, 6-3, 236, seventh round, No. 218 overall
Coughlin played in 49 games with 39 starts – including starts in each of his final 38 games – in four seasons with the Golden Gophers. He was selected second-team All-Big Ten as a junior and senior and was an academic all-conference selection in each of his last three years. Coughlin finished his career with 159 tackles (107 solo). He is third in school history with 22.5 sacks and fourth with 40 tackles for loss. Coughlin also forced seven fumbles and recovered one. He is part of an athletic Minnesota family. His father, grandfather, uncle and cousin played football, and his mother played tennis for the state university. In addition, he grew up a few doors down from Ryan Connelly, a linebacker the Giants drafted last year, and they were teammates at Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota.
“He’s a guy that gives us more speed on the edge,” Judge said. “He brings some length with him. He plays with a high motor and a lot of aggressiveness. He was productive in Minnesota’s scheme and with the way we are going to play guys on the edge in different packages, he’s someone with a lot of value. He will come in here and compete.”
*TJ Brunson, ILB, South Carolina, 6-1, 220, seventh round, No. 238 overall (choice obtained from New Orleans)
Brunson played in 49 games, including starts in each of his last 38 contests for the Gamecocks. He totaled 283 tackles (164 solo), including 21.0 for loss and 6.0 sacks. Brunson also had one interception, seven passes defensed, one forced fumble and four fumble recoveries. As a senior in 2019, he finished second on the team with 77 tackles (44 solo), including 6.0 tackles for loss and was a team captain. Brunson graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies.
“He’s fast, he’s really athletic, he’s got good instincts,” Gettleman said. “He’s just a little bit on the small side, but he plays at about 230. We feel like he will be a really good fit and also has a lot of special teams value.”
“He’s a guy you see making tackles sideline to sideline,” Judge said. “He’s also a guy in South Carolina’s scheme, and (coach Will) Mushchamp’s scheme down there isn’t the simplest. Guys have been challenged mentally being down there. They’ve been coached hard. It’s very similar to the guys we talked about playing at Georgia and Alabama. Very similar schemes, very similar cultures. He’s a guy that was out there making a lot of calls, so you can see the communication element with him on the field as well as the productivity on the field.”
*Chris Williamson, CB Minnesota, 6-0, 200, seventh round, No. 247 overall (compensatory selection)
Williamson began his collegiate career at the University of Florida, where he played in 14 games in 2015-16. He transferred to Minnesota and after sitting out the 2017 season, he played in 24 games for the Gophers, including nine as a starter last season. He recorded 57 tackles (37 solo), including four for loss and 2.5 sacks, broke up three passes and intercepted one pass that he returned 43 yards for a touchdown against South Dakota State.
“Good-sized kid,” Gettleman said. “He’s long, he can run, and he’ll hit you.”
“This is a guy who’s going to have some combination corner to safety,” Judge said. “We call it the star position, that nickel position as well. He’ll bring some position flexibility in the defensive backfield. He’s got a good size and speed combination. We look for him to compete at multiple positions this year.”
*Tae Crowder, ILB, Georgia, 6-1, 240, seventh round, No. 255 overall (compensatory selection, final pick in the draft)
Crowder began his collegiate career as a running back before moving to linebacker midway through his redshirt freshman season in 2016. After playing in just one game that year, Crowder appeared in 43 contests in his final three seasons. His career totals include 122 tackles (50 solo), 10 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, seven passes defensed and two forced fumbles.
“He’s a 245-pound kid that runs 4.6 and plays 4.6,” Gettleman said. “He’s got some versatility and some value and definitely has some special teams value.”
“This is a guy that’s only played a couple years at linebacker,” Judge said. “We see a lot of upside with him, both in his physical skills as well as his emerging defensive understanding. He’ll come in and compete for positions at that Will linebacker spot as well as give impact to the kicking game. We think we added a very competitive group over these last few days. We think today we brought in a lot of guys with versatility and speed.”
(Michael Eisen/NY Giants)
The Giants announced today that defensive tackle Leonard Williams signed his non-exclusive franchise tag. Williams received the tag from the team on March 16.
By signing the tag, Williams is now under contract for the 2020 season at the salary assured by the tag, which is based on the average of the top five salaries from his position. He is no longer free to speak with other teams. The Giants and Williams can negotiate a long-term contract.
Had Williams signed a contract with another team instead of the tag, the Giants would have received two first round draft choices as compensation. Williams was the first Giants player to receive a tag since another defensive lineman, Jason Pierre-Paul, in 2015.
The Giants acquired Williams, a former first-round draft choice, on Oct. 29, 2019 from the Jets for two draft choices – a third-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday, and a fifth-round choice in 2021.
Williams, 6-5 and 302 pounds, is a disruptive defender against both the run and pass. He played in eight games with five starts for the Giants and had 26 tackles (13 solo), a half-sack, two tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hits, two passes defended and a forced fumble.
Williams had a season-high five tackles in the Jets’ season opener vs. Buffalo and in each of the Giants’ games against Philadelphia, including a season-best five solo stops in Lincoln Financial Field on Dec. 9.
The sixth overall selection in the 2015 draft, from USC, Williams has played in 79 career games with 75 starts. His career totals include 266 tackles (136 solo), 17.5 sacks, three forced fumbles and six passes defended.
Williams, 25, teams with 2017 second-round draft choice Dalvin Tomlinson, 2018 third-round selection B.J. Hill and 2019 first-rounder Dexter Lawrence to give the Giants a talented quartet of young defensive linemen.
(Michael Eisen/NY Giants)
In 2019, Giants RB Dion Lewis, who played for the Titans, was the backup to the NFL’s leading rusher, Derrick Henry, and in 2020, Lewis is coming to New York to backup another great RB in Saquon Barkley.
The 29-year-old Lewis, who signed a one-year deal to join the Giants and reunite with his coach in New England, Joe Judge, believes he has a lot to offer the Giants, but he knows that a player of Barkley’s caliber should be on the field very often.
“With a player like Saquon, you want him on the field as much as possible,” Lewis said via a conference call on Friday. “He is one of the better backs in this league, and I understand that. I’m just going to work hard, do whatever the coaches ask me to do, compete every day and try to figure it out that way instead of going in there with hopes or what I think is going to happen. I’m just going to do what I’ve always done, go in there compete, work hard, build relationships in the running back room and take it from there.”
Because Lewis did not get a lot of snaps in 2019, he feels his body is in good shape heading into next season, and he is willing to do whatever he has to do for the Giants to be successful in 2020.
“My body feels pretty well,” Lewis said. “I didn’t take too much of a pounding last year. My body is relatively fresh. Whatever they need me to do. I keep myself in great shape, I pride myself on taking care of my body. I feel like I still can play, I can do the things I am accustomed to doing, I still can make guys miss. Whatever they need me to do, if my number is called, I’ll be ready. Whatever they need me to do or how much they need me to do it. I’ll be open to whatever they want me to do.”
It should be interesting to see how much Lewis has left; he did not put up a lot of numbers last season(209 rushing yards, 25 catches for 164 yards, and one touchdown). But based on how much and how well Henry played last season, it’s understandable; however, in 2018, Lewis had 59 receptions for 400 yards and one touchdown and ran for 517 yards with one touchdown, so if he has the opportunity, maybe Lewis can still get it done.
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
The Jacksonville Jaguars have hired Ben McAdoo as the team’s quarterbacks coach, the club announced today.
“Coach McAdoo brings a lot of experience and knowledge to the quarterback room, and we’re excited to add him to our offensive coaching staff,” said Head Coach Doug Marrone. “He has mentored several great quarterbacks throughout his career, and his understanding of the position will be a valuable addition to our team and for the development of that group.”
McAdoo, 42, has 17 seasons of coaching experience, including 14 seasons in the NFL. Most recently, McAdoo served as the head coach of the New York Giants from 2016-17 after serving as the team’s offensive coordinator from 2014-15. As head coach of the Giants, he led the team to an 11-5 record in 2016 en route to a playoff berth.
In McAdoo’s two seasons (2014-15) as the offensive coordinator for the Giants, he inherited an offense ranked 28th in 2013 and improved them to 10th and eighth, averaging 367.2 total net yards per game in 2014 and 372.3 total net yards per game in 2015. Under McAdoo’s tutelage, two-time Super Bowl MVP QB Eli Manning averaged a 62.9 completion percentage, 4,290 yards and 30 TDs.
In 2012, in his first season as the quarterbacks coach for the Green Bay Packers, McAdoo mentored QB Aaron Rodgers, who was named the NFC Pro Bowl starter after completing 371 of 552 attempts for 4,295 yards and 39 TDs against eight INTs. Rodgers also led the NFL in passer rating for the second consecutive season (108.0). In 2013 as the quarterbacks coach, despite losing Rodgers for seven games with a fractured collarbone, the Packers’ offense finished the season ranked third in the NFL (400.3 yards per game) and sixth in passing yards (266.8 yards per game).
Now, whether it’s Nick Foles or Gardner Minshew, the Jaguars are hoping that McAdoo can help Jacksonville’s quarterbacks get to the next level.
Giants coach Joe Judge today announced the three most significant members of his coaching staff: coordinators Jason Garrett (offense), Patrick Graham (defense) and Thomas McGaughey (special teams). Graham will also serve as assistant head coach.
“We’re setting out to develop a smart, tough and really sound football team and that’s going to start with the coordinators setting the tone in each room,” Judge said. “Each one has experience, each one has the ability to run multiples (schemes), put the pressure on the opponent, and each one is an excellent teacher.
“All these guys were priorities to add to our staff. You have a short list when you come into this and you make sure you go ahead and take your time and get those guys in with whatever it takes. The priority is to put the best teachers and the best people around your players so you can form a strong locker room and make them fundamentally sound and situational. And I think all three of these guys bring that to the team.”
Garrett is a former Giants backup quarterback who recently completed a 10-year stint as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach. He was Dallas’ offensive coordinator from 2007 until his appointment as head coach midway through the 2010 season.
The Cowboys consistently had one of the NFL’s most productive offenses under Garrett. In 2019, Dallas had league-high averages of 431.5 yards a game and 6.5 yards per play. The Cowboys were second in the NFL in passing yardage (296.9 a game), fifth in rushing (134.6), tied for second in third-down conversion percentage (47.1 with 96 success in 204 opportunities) and sixth with an average of 27.1 points a game.
That continued a trend of offensive excellence by Dallas during Garrett’s tenure. The top-rated offense in the recently-concluded season marked the eighth time the Cowboys finished in the top 10 with Garrett as either coordinator or head coach. They were second in 2007 and 2009, 10th in 2010 and 2013, sixth in 2012, seventh in 2014 and fifth in 2016.
“I’ve known about Jason for a long time, not only through the general public as well-known as he is as head coach of the Cowboys,” Judge said. “There were guys I worked with that I came across in my career at both Alabama and at the New England Patriots that worked with Jason through their time in Miami with him. They consistently all reflected on how smart he is, how great a teacher he is and how his perspective of the game was through a different lens than most coaches. And when he sees it, he’s able to communicate it and paint that mental image to the players. And he does a fantastic job of making in-game adjustments.”
Garrett visited the Quest Diagnostics Training Center this week and spent much of the day meeting with Judge.
“We had some great conversations when we were able to bring him in here,” Judge said. “It was a great opportunity to get to know each other a little better than we had before. It was a great opportunity to sit there and talk ball and share philosophies and views on the game. It’s a great system he brings with great teaching that will allow our players to go out there and play aggressively.”
Under Garrett’s tutelage, quarterbacks Tony Romo and Dak Prescott, running backs DeMarco Murray and Ezekiel Elliott, wide receivers Miles Austin, Dez Bryant and Amari Cooper, tight end Jason Witten and numerous offensive linemen became Pro Bowl players.
Garrett’s teams were 85-67 in the regular season and won NFC East titles in 2014, 2016 and 2018. He was selected the NFL Coach of the Year in 2016.
The new coordinator will take over an offense that includes two players chosen in the top six in the last two NFL drafts, running back Saquon Barkley (the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year who was taken second overall, and quarterback Daniel Jones, the No. 6 selection in 2019, who threw for 3,027 yards and 24 touchdowns in 13 games (12 starts) as a rookie. The Giants finished 23rd in the NFL in total yardage (338.5 per game) and were tied for 18th in points (21.3 a game).
Garrett began his coaching career as the Miami Dolphins’ quarterbacks coach from 2004-06. He was named the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in 2007. Three years later, he was elevated to head coach after Dallas started 1-7. His first game was a 33-20 victory against the Giants in MetLife Stadium. Garrett guided the Cowboys to a 5-3 record in the second half of that season. His 2015 team was the only one that finished with a losing record.
As a quarterback, Garrett played in 41 games with nine starts in a career that spanned from 1993-2004. He made all of his starts with the Cowboys from 1993-99. His career totals included 165 completions in 295 attempts for 2,042 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Garrett played on two Super Bowl-winning teams in Dallas.
In 2000, Garrett joined the Giants and spent four seasons as a backup, primarily to Kerry Collins. He spent the 2004 season with Tampa Bay and Miami without appearing in a game. Garrett began coaching with the Dolphins the following year.
As a senior at Princeton University in 1988, Garrett was named the Ivy League’s Player of the Year and honorable mention All-American. He earned his degree in history in 1989 and moved on to the NFL as an un drafted rookie free agent with the New Orleans Saints’ developmental squad. After being released prior to the 1990 season, he spent the fall of 1990 as an assistant coach at Princeton. In 1991, Garrett played in the World League and the Canadian Football League before joining the Cowboys’ practice squad in 1992.
Garrett’s father, Jim, spent more than 30 years in the NFL as a coach and scout. His brother, John, is the head coach at Lafayette College in Pennsylvania.
Graham, who turns 41 on Jan. 24, joins the Giants with 11 years of NFL coaching experience with four teams. He has coached in the playoffs in eight of those seasons and has been part of teams that have won seven division titles, two conference championships and one Super Bowl (XLIX).
A former Giants assistant coach, Graham was the Miami Dolphins’ defensive coordinator in 2019. He led a unit that had a constantly-changing cast of available players because of roster transactions and injuries. The change was particularly pronounced in the secondary, where only one of the training camp starters – safety Eric Rowe – played in all 16 games. The unit’s best player, former first-round draft choice Minkah Fitzpatrick, was traded to Pittsburgh on Sept. 17. Cornerback Xavien Howard played in five games before going on injured reserve with a knee injury. Safeties Reshad Jones, a two-time Pro Bowler, and Bobby McCain appeared in four and nine games, respectively, before they were placed on I.R. on the same day.
Two linemen released by the Giants on Aug. 31 – Avery Moss and John Jenkins – started a total of eight games.
Despite the changes, the defense helped Miami win five of its last nine games after an 0-7 start (one of the losses was to the Giants). In the season finale on Dec. 29, the Dolphins earned a 27-24 victory at New England that cost the Patriots – who won the first meeting 43-0 – a first-round bye. Graham’s defense limited the Pats to 352 yards, 18 first downs and three third-down conversions.
Numerous young defenders in Miami improved significantly under Graham’s tutelage. They included linebackers Jerome Baker, who led the team with 124 tackles (74 solo), Raekwon McMillan and Vince Biegel (who was acquired in a trade for Kiko Alonso), and tackle Christian Wilkins, Miami’s first-round draft choice last year.
“We’ve had a lot of discussions, both before he came here as well as since he’s been here, in terms of what he would want to do with the scheme,” Judge said. “We share the same vision to be able to run multiples and use the players on our roster to the best of their ability to match up against the opponent.”
Prior to joining the Dolphins, Graham spent the 2018 season as the Green Bay Packers’ inside linebackers coach and defensive run game coordinator. He helped linebacker Blake Martinez have the best year of his career to date, totaling 144 tackles (91 solo) and a career-high 5.0 sacks.
Graham spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons as the Giants’ defensive line coach. In 2017, he helped Jason Pierre-Paul lead the team with 8.5 sacks and Damon Harrison post 76 tackles (51 solo), which was second on the team and led all NFL defensive tackles.
The previous year, Graham helped the Giants’ defense become the most improved in the NFL. The team allowed 158 fewer points and 1,290 fewer yards than it did in 2015. Their 17.8 points per game allowed was second in the NFL and the team’s best since 2002.
Graham began his NFL coaching career in New England, where he spent seven seasons (2009-15). He began as a coaching assistant in 2009 before being promoted to defensive assistant in 2010 and linebackers coach in 2011. He moved to defensive line from 2012-13 before going back to linebackers in 2014-15.
During his tenure with New England, the Patriots won the division all seven seasons, the AFC twice and Super Bowl XLIX. In his five seasons as a position coach (2011-15), New England led the NFL in takeaways (150) and was tied for fourth in sacks (214).
Graham came to New England following two seasons (2007-08) as a graduate assistant at Notre Dame, where he worked with the defense. He spent three seasons (2004-06) as an assistant coach at Richmond, mentoring tight ends from 2005-06 and the defensive line in 2004.
Graham began his coaching career as a graduate assistant at Wagner (2002-03), while he pursued an MBA with a concentration in finance. He coached the junior-varsity team to an undefeated season and also served as strength and conditioning coach and academic coordinator.
Graham played collegiately at Yale, where he was a defensive lineman for the 1999 team that shared an Ivy League title with Brown. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology with a concentration in economics and African-American studies.
McGaughey recently completed his second season as the Giants’ special teams coordinator. He was previously a coordinator for three other teams and was the Giants’ assistant special teams coach from 2007-10.
“I’ve known T-Mac from going against him as well as being in the business and I have a good relationship with him professionally and personally,” Judge said. “I have a lot of respect for him as a coach and I have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a person. He gets the most out of his players. I’ve competed against him and I knew it was always going to be tough sledding in the game there. From the perspective of having to go against him, you understand you don’t want to get him out of the building; you want to hold onto guys like that. They’re definitely key assets. He and (assistant former coordinator) Tom Quinn do an outstanding job of working together, coaching the players in techniques and coming up with schemes for game plans that allow them to apply pressure on the opponents.”
The special teams have consistently been among the NFL’s best under McGaughey.
In 2019, the Giants’ kickoff coverage team led the league by allowing an average return of 18.1 yards. The punt coverage team was tied for fifth as opponents averaged just 5.7 yards a return. Conversely, the Giants were fourth and 10th, respectively, in the NFL in punt (9.8 yards) and kickoff (23.5 yards) return average. Punter Riley Dixon was ninth in the league with a franchise-record 42.3-yard net average. He set the previous mark of 41.8 yards, set in 2018.
The special teams performed impressively in McGaughey’s first season as coordinator in 2018. Aldrick Rosas had one of the finest seasons by a kicker in Giants history as he was selected to his first Pro Bowl and named second-team All-Pro after making 32 of 33 field goal attempts and 31 of 32 extra point tries. The 32 field goals were the fifth-highest total in Giants history.
Rosas’ .970 field goal percentage was a Giants record and was just 1/100th of a percentage point behind NFL leader Robbie Gould. Rosas’ 127 points tied Ali Haji-Sheikh (1983) for the fifth-highest total in Giants history. He hit his final 19 field goal attempts, including a team-record 57-yarder against Chicago in MetLife Stadium.
Michael Thomas led the Giants with nine special teams tackles (six solo) and was the NFC special teams player in the Pro Bowl.
The Giants finished second in the NFL in kickoff coverage, limiting opponents to an average return of 20.4 yards, and seventh in punt coverage with a 6.6-yard average. The team’s kickoff return rose from 19.6 to 24.4 yards, and their average punt return improved from 5.5 to 6.2 yards.
McGaughey was the special teams coordinator at LSU from 2011-13 and for the Jets (2014), San Francisco 49ers (2015) and Carolina Panthers (2016-17) before returning to the Giants.