It’s hard to win in the NFL when you’re at full strength, and it becomes even harder when you’re banged up, and right now, the New York Giants(1-4) are banged up.
Coming into Sunday’s 44-20 loss to the Cowboys(4-1), New York was without wide receivers Darius Slayton and Sterling Shepard, and during the game, it got worse. Running back Saquon Barkley left with an ankle injury in the first quarter, and QB Daniel Jones went out with a concussion in the second quarter. Also, wide receiver Kenny Golladay left with a knee injury.
“Our guys are going to keep playing,” Giants head coach Joe Judge said after the game. “That’s not even going to be a question. We’re going to play for 60 minutes. You don’t want anybody to get hurt. You don’t want your teammates to get hurt. You don’t want the other team to get hurt, either. I say it all the time, \but that’s just the truth. You want to have everyone come out of the game healthy. That’s part of the philosophy we believe in. In terms of the next-man-up mentality, well, there’s a lot of good examples today in the game. We have guys stepping up, taking on different roles, being productive, making plays.”
It’s rare for a team to lose its number one receiver, quarterback, and running back in the same game; according to Giants RB Devontae Booker, he’s never experienced anything like it.
“Not that I can recall,” Booker said. “It’s always just one or the other. This today, I was just like, damn. It is next man-up mentality, and we all have to go out there and perform and fight our butt off.”
Also, the Giants would lose rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney for another reason. In the fourth quarter, Toney, who caught 10 passes for 189 yards, both career-highs, got involved in a skirmish, which ended with him punching Cowboys safety Damontae Kazee.
After the game, Judge, who escorted Toney off the field, reacted to the rookie’s ejection.
“Look, there’s a pretty distinct line in terms of competing and doing the things we’re not going to condone as a team that put us behind,” Judge said. “That’s not going to be accepted. It’s not going to be condoned. That’s as far as I’m going to go with that. Obviously, it resulted in him leaving the game, and I’m just going to leave it at that right now.”
Without many of their top players, it will be tough sledding for New York, and it doesn’t get easier as they host the Rams next Sunday.
Watch below as Judge reacts to New York’s loss to the Cowboys:
Down 21-10 to the Saints(2-2) in the fourth quarter, it appeared the New York Giants were about to fall to 0-4. However, Daniel Jones connected with Saquon Barkley on a 54-yard touchdown pass, and Jones led the Giants on a drive that ended with a 48-yard Graham Gano field goal to send the game to overtime.
In OT, Jones would lead New York on a nine-play, 75-yard drive that ended with a six-yard Barkley touchdown run to give New York(1-3) their first victory of the season 27-21 at Caesars Superdome.
“We needed a win, and there was a high sense of urgency to do that,” Jones said after the game. “We treated it as one week at a time. We focus throughout the week preparing and playing our best on Sunday. That was our focus this week. We have to continue to work and continue to sharpen things up. It was a big win.”
The Giants gained 485 yards against New Orleans, their highest total since they finished with 552 in the overtime victory in Washington two years ago.
Both Jones and Barkley had big-time performances on Sunday. The third-year quarterback completed 28 of 40 passes for 402 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. The 402 yards is a career-high.
“Look, I love Daniel(Jones),” Giants head coach Joe Judge said. “He had a heck of a game today. “I am going to leave that right there… Daniel Jones is our quarterback… I am very proud of how he came down here and prepared throughout the week and performed in that environment against that defense.”
Regarding Barkley, he rushed for 52 yards on 13 carries and caught five passes for 74 yards. This was the fourth time Barkley scored rushing and receiving touchdowns in the same game. Barkley’s 126 yards from scrimmage marked his 21st game with more than 100 yards.
Barkley, who’s coming back from a torn ACL, was excited to get the win and feels his knee is getting stronger.
“We haven’t won a game all year, so for us to come out here and win a game in a tough environment against a great defense and a great team is great,” Barkley said. “We have been in a lot of close game. We have to keep going. We have to keep working every day. We have to keep believing in each other and get ready for next week. Personally, it helps with your confidence to make plays out there, especially late in the game. It feels good to get the win. It definitely builds my confidence up. Each week I keep feeling my knee getting better and better. I just have to keep trusting the process and keep going.”
Giants head coach Joe Judge added about Barkley: “He’s gone through a lot of things, but he’s always kept the team first in everything he’s done, and they see that There’s a reason he was selected as a captain by his teammates and to represent them with how he works and performs on the field. In terms of seeing him have success, it’s collective success. It is everyone’s win. Saquon obviously punched the ball in at the end to close it out. That’s what we wanted, to get the ball back and finish the game out right there. That’s what we were able to do.”
This was a must-win for New York, who had lost two straight games on the final play. Now, they have an opportunity to make a move in the NFC East as they go on the road to battle the 3-1 Cowboys next Sunday.
Watch as Barkley discusses New York’s first victory of the season:
Many people call Giants quarterback Daniel Jones’s 2021 season a make-or-break year, and yesterday epitomized what we have seen out of Jones in his short career.
We saw some decent moments from Jones, including a 37-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Shepard that gave the Giants an early 7-3 lead. However, in the third quarter, with New York trailing 17-7 and driving deep into Broncos’ territory, Jones fumbled after a 15-yard scramble, which Denver recovered.
After the fumble, the Broncos would add a field goal to take a commanding 20-7 lead.
“Yeah, turnovers are always going to hurt you at any point in the game, and they’re big plays,” the third-year quarterback said. “We’ve got to do a good job of taking care of the ball, and you’ve gotta do a good job. But we’ll keep moving forward and keep improving.”
Giants head coach Joe Judge added: “We’ve got to do a better job as a team eliminating the penalties and turnovers. That’s a team focus right there, so this isn’t about any one player. It’s about a team improving and, look; good teams improve week to week. As I talked to the team, that’s what our focus has to be, to be a better team in Week 2 and a better team in Week 3. 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 and make sure we’re the best team we can be.”
This loss is not all on Jones. The Broncos were able to move the ball against the Giants effectively. Broncos quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was 28/36 for 264 yards with two touchdowns, and Melvin Gordon had 101 yards rushing, including a 70-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
Denver converted 10 of 18 third and fourth-down opportunities, and according to Giants safety Logan Ryan, the defense did not play well on Sunday.
“It wasn’t our standard,” Ryan said. “We were terrible early last year in a similar way on third and fourth downs. We have to be better.”
Disappointing game for the Jones and the Giants’ defense, but fortunately for them, they get back at it on Thursday night in D.C against the Washington Football Team.
The New York Giants have signed special teamer Nate Ebner, the team announced on Tuesday.
The 10-year veteran joined the Giants as a free agent last year. He participated in a team-high 328 special teams snaps and tied for second with six special teams tackles.
Ebner, who was a team captain in his first season with the Giants in 2020, was a free agent after trying out for one of the 12 spots on the United States National Rugby Team that competed in the Tokyo Olympics this summer. The 32-year-old Ebner participated in the Games in Rio in 2016.
When Ebner was an Olympian five years ago, he played for the New England Patriots. Giants head coach Joe Judge was the team’s special teams coordinator at the time.
“He’s a guy that’s very locked in and focused,” Giants head coach Joe Judge said about Ebner in May. “He was a captain last year and is a great team leader. This team, what he’s helping build, is very important for him, and while I don’t speak for anyone else, I don’t mind echoing that for Nate because I know I can speak very directly and honestly. But look, he’s a very important part of this team, and we look forward to getting him back.”
Ebner has played in 143 NFL games, including 16 in the postseason. A special teams’ standout since entering the NFL in 2012, Ebner played on the Patriots teams that defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX, Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, and the Rams in Super Bowl LIII.
On Monday, the New York Giants announced the following seven players will be team captains this season: Quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley, center Nick Gates, linebacker Blake Martinez, safeties Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan, and kicker Graham Gano.
Barkley is a third-year captain; Jones, Martinez, and Peppers were selected for a second season; and Gates, Ryan, and Gano received the honor for the first time.
Giants head coach Joe Judge explained what he wants to see from his captains.
“To me, the important thing for a captain is they’ve got to set the tone for the team in how they work, how they perform, and also how to put the team first,” Judge said on Monday. “They have to be the example of the most unselfish players on the team. The other important role for captains in any locker room is they’ve got to be the voice of the team directly to the head coach. So, if there’s an issue, or if there’s something that needs to be addressed, they’ve got to be someone who the team trusts to speak for them on their behalf and make sure that the issue is getting addressed. It’s important that these guys are good players who put the team first, and also have good communication as well and are not afraid to speak their mind.”
Ryan, who joined the Giants last season, was very impressed by Jones’ offseason, and he discussed what went into the selection of the Giants’ captains.
“Daniel (Jones), obviously. He did a great job; he deserves that. He worked his butt off. I’ll probably give him the offseason award winner – I think he outworked me this offseason,” Ryan said. “He really put a lot of work in. (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley), (Center) Nick Gates, obviously great players for our offense. On the defensive side, Myself, Jabrill (Peppers), Blake (Martinez), and then Graham Gano… The one thing I like about here is, Joe says, like last year I got to the team like two days, and he’s like, ‘You don’t know anybody here, don’t even vote for captain. Don’t waste a vote.’ If you’re new here and you haven’t been here, you don’t really know who the captains are, who’s earned it – we’re not going to have everyone just vote. It’s not going to be a popularity contest.
Ryan also discussed what being a team captain means to him.
“I just try to do a good job of serving my teammates, anything the younger guys asking me from my years in the league, I try to be an open book,” he said. “I’m not worried about those guys in terms of holding everything to myself and really just try to put my teammates in the best positions to succeed because we all need each other. I’m honored to be a captain, I take it very seriously, and I’m going to try to do my best with it.”
The seven captains match the 2019 team for the Giants’ highest number since they began selecting season-long captains in 2007
Giants starting quarterback Daniel Jones and many other of New York’s starters are expected to make their preseason debuts on Sunday at MetLife Stadium against the New England Patriots in the final game before the regular season for New York.
Many of the Giant reserves started the first two preseason games, including backup QB Mike Glennon, who started the first two preseason games for New York, including Sunday’s loss to the Browns.
According to Giants head coach Joe Judge, the plan all along was to get Glennon some work and play Jones and many of the starters in the preseason finale.
“The plan all along was to make sure (QB) Mike (Glennon) got as much time as he could in the first game when we played against the Jets, along with a lot of other guys that were in the game,” Judge said on Monday. “Mike meshed with some of our older offensive linemen, got out there, got some chemistry together with those guys. In terms of not playing this last week, it truly came down to what we thought we accomplished in practice with both the volume and intensity as a unit, along with some of the things that the Browns were doing in the game themselves. To me, him not playing, we initially thought about playing those guys for about a quarter or so. We made the decision based on what they had gone through from a physical load standpoint and intensity…
“This week, we’ll treat more as a dress rehearsal for the regular season,” Judge said. My expectation at this point would be for Daniel(Jones) to play at least the first half, and we’ll decide on what we’re going to do in terms of coming out of halftime later in the week.”
Judge was unsure if RB Saquon Barkley, who is trying to return after tearing in his ACL last September, would play against New England,
“That’s not decided yet,” Judge said about Barkley playing against New England. “We’re going to talk a little bit later today with the medical team. The priority will be to continue ramping him up and doing more and more. Last week in Cleveland, he did some one-on-ones, some pass drills with our guys, and against our defense early in practice. We were keeping him out of competitive periods last week; that was by design. We’ll see where he is. He keeps advancing in his rehab. His foot is tapping every day, wanting to do more and more, and physically he keeps progressing and showing us he can do more and more.
“Once we talk to the doctors today, we’ll formulate a plan for what he’s going to do in Foxborough through the practices and the game, but I would expect it to be more than what we saw last week. Now, I can’t say that means 11-on-11 or seven-on-seven; I can’t give that answer right now.”
The Giants will travel to Foxboro on Tuesday as they will have joint practices with the Patriots on Wednesday and Thursday.
Training camp fights often happen in the NFL, but rarely does a team’s starting quarterback get involved, and that is what we saw with Giants starting quarterback Daniel Jones on Tuesday.
The third-year quarterback was at the bottom of the pile after tight end Evan Engram came to running back Corey Clement’s defense following a late hit. Ultimately, S Logan Ryan hit Engram from behind, which led to a significant brawl, with Jones involved.
“I’m part of the team,” Jones said. “Part of the team and part of the offense, and we’re competing, so I don’t see myself separated from that.”
Ryan added on the brawl: “We had a competitive practice. Guys getting after it. First day of pads, it gets physical; it gets chippy. Obviously, can’t have penalties. It’s unfortunate, but I think everybody’s protecting their sides and just trying to establish physicality the first day, but we’ve got to keep it within the rules.”
Following the skirmish, Giants head coach Joe Judge was angry and addressed the team. Giants’ players had to run laps and do pushups after the big fight.
“Yeah, he’s a pretty – he can get excited,” Jones said about Judge. “And I think the guys respond to it, and I think we certainly got the message today.”
Ryan does not believe there will be an issues within the team because of the brawl, and he thinks these types of things build toughness, which Ryan believes is needed to win a Super Bowl.
“We’re all Giants, and whoever comes in here this year, hopefully, we have a home-field advantage with the fans, and we’re going to be a chippy, grimy group,” he said. “If I learned anything from those veterans who came in yesterday and spoke about winning Super Bowls, you need a tough locker room, and I’ve been in a couple tough locker rooms, and I’ve won a couple of Super Bowls, and I know what it takes, and I know what those training camps were like, so, like I said, it wasn’t my first time as part of a training camp fight. It wasn’t my first lap. It wasn’t my first f-bomb, my first pushup. I’ve been in this for quite some time. It’s not necessary all the time but understand there was a lot of passion out there, and I’ll take passion.
This is really not a big deal. Training camp fights happen, but they might want to keep the starting quarterback out of it in the future.
Watch below as Ryan addresses the media after practice on Tuesday.
The nature and form of offseason workouts across the NFL has been a hot topic of discussion throughout the spring. Players on several teams have negotiated directly with their coaches to change practice schedules and regimens.
The Philadelphia Eagles did away with 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills and canceled their mandatory three-day minicamp. In Green Bay, the coaches agreed to two weeks of virtual workouts and to move the minicamp up one week. And Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores consented to a modified schedule in which the team won’t have virtual meetings on the two days per week that they hold walkthrough practices. And to ensure they’re strictly walkthroughs, the Dolphins players negotiated for mandatory flip-flops at those workouts.
Giants coach Joe Judge said today he’s had no such discussions with his players, and he is sticking to his offseason plan.
“I think our players understand that any time we put them on the field we are always going to do so first off with their safety in mind,” Judge said in a Zoom news conference before the team took the field for an organized team activity. “Then also what we think is best for the team to progress each individual’s technique and conditioning as well as the team collectively going forward. No, look, I’m always very clear, very transparent with the team in terms of how we’re going to practice, what we are going to do and what our intents are going on the field and the reason behind that. We haven’t had any discussions like that. If at some point some player wants to talk, I’m always very open and I’ll give them a very direct answer.”
The Giants will be on the field 11 times this spring – eight OTAs (two under the allowed maximum), plus a three-day mandatory minicamp next month.
“That was just a good schedule for us to work on in terms of getting what we want accomplished through the install and the players to get a chance to jump on their summers,” Judge said. “A lot of guys will be training elsewhere with different players and locations and others go to family vacation and build back into training. We thought it was a good time frame for us to wrap up camp. The rookies have time on the back end when the vets leave to stay and get some extra meeting time and with the strength and conditioning staff and to really help their development leaving training camp.”
What does Judge hope to accomplish before the players depart for their pre-training camp break?
“The first part is see where our players are at physically,” he said. “Until I know these guys can go out and operate at 100 percent and stay healthy and protect themselves on the field, soft tissues, and we want to avoid collisions at this part of the camp. Until we know that, we are not really going to go ahead and keep this as a competitive drill. You will see team on team, 11-on-11 activities out there, but we will control the tempo in practice. But there are other times in individual and group work where we will ramp that up and make sure the guys work on skill development, timing, offense, defense, and place a large emphasis on communication this time of year.
“You have to take the mental steps forward in terms of the understanding of the scheme and you have to develop chemistry with the communication on offense and defense. This is a great time of year to have it. You’re not preparing for an opponent and you can take it day-by-day and challenge the players in different ways and see the interaction grow with young and old guys.”
*Because of the pandemic, the Giants did not have a single fan attend any of their eight home games in Judge’s first season as coach. But the state of New Jersey this week gave the Giants the green light to host capacity crowds this year in MetLife Stadium.
“I couldn’t be more excited to know there’s going to be 100 percent capacity,” Judge said. “I’m not going to speak for the entire team, but I know there’s a lot of energy, upon hearing that announcement. Personally, I can’t wait to walk in a stadium and hear it at a deafening level. That’s something I’m really looking forward to and feeling the energy of the fans. It’s something we’ve missed, and I’ve expressed before how much we value and thrive on as a team, going out playing in front of your home crowd and the animosity playing on the road against a visiting crowd.”
Sixth-year wide receiver Sterling Shepard, the longest-tenured Giants player, looks forward to the return of large and loud home crowds.
“I feel great about it,” Shepard said. “I missed the fans a lot. Last season was a little weird playing without them. Happy to get them back in the stands, cheering us on.”
*With the NFL loosening restrictions on jersey numbers, Shepard has switched from No. 87 to No. 3, which both his late father and he wore at the University of Oklahoma.
“(It’s) something that means a lot to me,” Shepard said. “It’s been a number that I’ve been since I was a little kid, after my father passed. He wore No. 3 in college. That’s something that meant a lot to me, a lot to his teammates. I wanted to carry that on.
“When I came into the league, you couldn’t get single digits. Whenever the rule changed, I was happy to grab that.”
Via: Michael Eisen/NY Giants
The flexibility and multiple skills Julian Love contributes to the Giants’ secondary is perhaps best exemplified by his positioning and performance in the team’s first and final games of the 2020 season.
In the season opener against Pittsburgh, Love started and played all 64 defensive snaps and had three solo tackles at safety. Sixteen weeks later, he started at cornerback, missed just one of the 82 defensive plays and had seven tackles (five solo) in the season-ending victory against Dallas.
So, where will Love play in 2021, when he will be a third-year pro in a defensive backfield that is arguably the Giants’ deepest position group? Anywhere the team wants him.
“After talking to the coaches, the versatility role for me is kind of what will happen going forward as well,” Love said on a Zoom call today. “Kind of being able to play a lot of positions, and then we’ll see how the offseason goes. I’m going to keep working and try to really establish myself in a role. But right now, my role is the guy who can get it anywhere for us.
“I think that’s kind of what I’ve always done before college, high school ball and growing up. It’s kind of a fun aspect of playing the game.”
The drawback to not having a set position is that Love spends more time in some games on the sideline than on the field. He played no more than 50% of the defensive snaps in six games and played only on special teams at Dallas on Oct. 11. In the season’s penultimate game, he participated in only 11 defensive plays (16.2%) in Baltimore.
“They told us that’s kind of how things might operate,” Love said. “One week you might not play at all, one week you might play every snap. I thought it was kind of a joke, like, ‘Oh okay, yeah you need to be ready, you have to be flexible,’ all that stuff. But for me, it was pretty real. It requires some patience at times. But I knew there was always a plan. That kept me motivated, it kept me going. I was always really on the game plan and really ready to go. The ending, a lot of snaps played, I played the last game, it sent me into the offseason ready to keep working and keep growing.”
Love did play in all 16 games, starting six, and was on the field enough to finish fourth on the team with 61 tackles (45 solo). He picked up his second career interception – both in Chicago – and had three passes defensed.
Love made his first pro start at cornerback against Cleveland on Dec. 20, after James Bradberry was placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 list. He played little against the Ravens but replaced Isaac Yiadom at the corner opposite Bradberry on Sunday vs. the Cowboys.
“He’s a guy that brings a lot of versatility to us,” coach Joe Judge said. “He’s just a steady, even-keeled guy. (Against Cleveland), we had a situation come up with the corner position. When we went to Julian and said, ‘Hey, you have to play corner this week,’ he didn’t blink. He said, ‘Whatever you need,’ and went out there and worked it. I thought he played a solid game for us right there. That just kind of shows his overall value to the defense, his ability to play nickel corner, perimeter corner, or deep field safety. He does a lot of things for us and that’s a strength.”
Love played cornerback at Notre Dame where, as a junior in 2018, he started all 13 games and was one of three finalists for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented to the nation’s best defensive back. The Giants selected him in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft and after playing as a reserve early in his rookie season, Love started the season’s last five games at strong safety, after Jabrill Peppers suffered a season-ending back injury.
This year, Love started the season’s first two games at free safety before veteran Logan Ryan replaced him. He started two games at midseason as an extra safety. When Love next appeared as a starter, against the Browns, it was at corner. He played there against Dallas and helped limited the Cowboys’ talented trio of wideouts – Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb – to 133 yards and no touchdowns on 15 catches.
“It was pretty fun,” Love said of returning to corner. “Kind of going back to some of the roots I established in college. I enjoyed it.
“Julian Love had to be prepared,” Ryan said. “He looked like he was up for the Thorpe Award again, like he was at Notre Dame. It was like his old Notre Dame days again. There was a lot of him.”
Ryan is a role model for Love. Prior to joining the Giants, Ryan played seven seasons for New England and Tennessee and started 95 regular-season and postseason games. Every one of them was at cornerback or as an unspecified defensive back. Ryan made his first career start at safety on Sept. 27 against San Francisco.
“Logan Ryan, having him on the team really helps me, football wise and just off the field wise,” Love said. “He’s a true pro in all he does. It’s easy to look at him and say, ‘Alright, this is kind of what I want to be. This is the type of player and person I’m striving to get toward, the type of career I’m trying to have.’ He was a guy I could always ask any question about, whether it was technical or not. He always had an answer for me. Him and Nate Ebner have really just helped me grow. Those guys, their careers are something you only dream of. Hopefully, I can learn from them going forward.”
The Giants have a talented group of returning defensive backs, including Bradberry, Ryan, Peppers, 2020 rookies Xavier McKinney and Darnay Holmes, and Love.
“We have some very talented pieces, and it does nothing but excite us going forward,” Love said. “We have a lot of players who have that just base of being ballplayers, and guys who are versatile, guys who can play different types of schemes. I know we’re going to use that to the best of our ability. We’re going to max out everything we have in the back end because when you look at it, we have kind of a young core. Logan Ryan and James Bradberry are experienced players. We’re young but we’re very talented. We feel the sky is really the limit for us. I think it’s perfect Xavier McKinney finishing the game (with an interception), finishing the season for us. That just shows kind of where our trajectory is, really.”