Eagles’ Pederson: ‘We know our division is down’

The NFC East has turned into the NFC Least this season. After six weeks, every team in the division is below .500. The division is a combined 5-18-1, and there’s a very good chance that the winner of this division could end the season below .500. 

On Thursday, the New York Giants(1-5) travel to Philadelphia to battle the Eagles(1-4-1). If the Eagles win, they are on top of the NFC East. If the Giants win, they will be a 1/2 game behind the Cowboys for the top spot in the division. Every game in the NFL is big, but this is a division game, and being that it’s highly unlikely any of these teams will get a wild card spot, this game becomes even bigger.

However, according to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, this game is no different than any other game.

“Every week is heightened,” Pederson said on Wednesday. “The sense of urgency each week to win a football game, right? We understand where we are, the sort of the hole we dug ourselves into, and it’s all about just one-game-at-a-time mentality. You don’t want to look past the Giants. This is a good football team coming in here Thursday night, and we have to be prepared. It’s a short week, we came off an emotional game this past Sunday with Baltimore, and we got to turn around and play. So, the sense of urgency each week is always there, and again it’s a one-game mentality, one opponent at a time…

“We know our division is down, and maybe it’s up for grabs. All I know is we’re going to focus on one week at a time, and I think that’s all I can ask of our players. This is a short week. The New York Giants coming to town, it’s a good football team. I know their record doesn’t show it either, but these guys are good on defense, they’re good on offense, and got really good special teams. So, we have to prepared to win this game come Thursday and play hard.”

Giants safety Logan Ryan knows the importance of this game, and according to him, it’s pretty close to a must-win game for New York.

“The division games matter, and we’re tying to win it,” Ryan said on Tuesday. “Like I said, the history of the years prior, this is my first year playing in the NFC period. I have been in the AFC for seven years. It is what it is. Our division is winnable. We have to go out here and win some games in our division to put us in a position at the end of the year to strike.

“That’s what we’re doing week in and week out. You prepare hard to put yourself in position to win the game. At the end of the game, I think three or four games this year have come down to the final drive. Our record can swing either way. We found a way to win last week. We need to find a way to win this week. It’s probably going to be a close game. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of that.”

At this point, both teams are not very good, but somebody has to win it, and ultimately, somebody has to win the division. The winner of Thursday’s game will put themselves in a good position to do just that.

Giants’ Ryan: ‘We need to find a way to win this week’

 Joe Judge has a football coach’s proclivity for tunnel vision.

The results in Week 6 of the NFL season left the Giants with as good a chance as any of their rivals to win the NFC East title. The Giants were the only one of its four members to win last week. Current leader Dallas is 2-4, while the other three teams all have one victory. That includes the 1-5 Giants, who are in a stretch in which they play five division games in six weeks. They can move closer to the top when they visit the 1-4-1 Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow night in Lincoln Financial Field.

But Judge, as coaches are wont to do, is fixated only on the next opponent. Nor is he discussing the division race with his players.

“I don’t really get into those kinds of things,” Judge said. “Our goal every week is to be 1-0, and right now, our goal for this week is to be 1-0. But we have a division opponent, a rival, so that’s all of our focus right now.”

“All these divisional games are big, and I think guys understand that,” quarterback Daniel Jones said. “Guys have an awareness as to where the division is and the standings. But we’re focused on this week. We’re focused on this game and it being a big divisional game. It’s important for that reason. Guys are locked into that and excited to get out there.”

Short-week games always present a physical challenge and both the Giants and Eagles are missing key players to injury. The Giants have lost one of their young linebackers in each of the last three weeks, first Oshane Ximines, then Lorenzo Carter and this week Tae Crowder, who scored the go-ahead touchdown against Washington on a 43-yard fumble return but joined the others on injured reserve this week. The Giants apparently have a chance to get back wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who missed the last four games with turf toe but returned to practice yesterday.

Philadelphia finished its 30-28 loss to Baltimore Sunday with only two projected offensive starters, quarterback Carson Wentz and center Jason Kelce, on the field. And coach Doug Pederson said they were playing hurt. Philadelphia has lost its top wide receivers (though at least one might return tomorrow), tight ends and running back and is playing backups at four offensive line positions.

When Pederson was asked how he viewed his team’s record in light of the numerous injuries and inconsistent performances, he said, “That’s right where we should be – 1-4-1.”

Judge views the Eagles through a different prism.

“This is a very good team,” Judge said. “This is a very, very explosive and capable team. They’re loaded on defense up front. They can really affect your running game, get after your passer. They have really aggressive and opportunistic defensive backs on the back end. They do a great job of stripping and punching at the ball creating turnovers. Offensively, whether it’s the run game with explosive runs, the pass game, and that’s throwing to the running backs, the tight ends or the receivers. They do a great job of that. They have a two-headed monster at the quarterback position with how they’re using Jalen (Hurts) and getting him involved in the game. Carson can make throws anywhere down the field and he can extend plays and make plays down the field like we’ve seen time and time again, especially this last weekend with his legs. It doesn’t matter who has the ball in their hands. Every player on this offense is explosive, every player on their defense plays with great effort, energy and technique.”

Judge is also quick to credit Pederson, who has led the Eagles to three playoff berths, two division titles and a victory in Super Bowl LII in his first four seasons.

“I think it’s important to really study Doug and what he’s done throughout his tenure there,” Judge said. “One thing he’s done a phenomenal job of every year is they’ve always had to make a lot of personnel moves. They’ve been nicked up and banged up and they plug and play guys, whether it’s the bigs up front or whether it’s the skill players. They find a great way of really balancing out developing their players and getting them ready for game action. They don’t have too much of a drop off no matter who’s in the game. They’re a very explosive team who can score points, and they’re very good on third down, two minute and the red area, so we have to be very good in situational football this week.”

The Giants also need to end a couple of streaks to defeat the Eagles. They have lost seven consecutive games and 11 of the last 12 to Philadelphia and six in a row in Lincoln Financial Field.

But with the NFC East there for the taking, it’s the perfect time to assert themselves against their longtime rivals.

“Our division is winnable,” said defensive back Logan Ryan. “We have to go out here and win some games in our division to put us in a position at the end of the year to strike. That’s what we’re doing week in and week out. You prepare hard to put yourself in position to win the game. At the end of the game, I think three or four games this year have come down to the final drive. Our record can swing either way. We found a way to win last week. We need to find a way to win this week. It’s probably going to be a close game. I’m looking forward to the opportunity of that.”

“I don’t think anyone in the division needs any motivation to play anyone else in the division,” Judge said. “This is a big Thursday night game. Obviously, we haven’t had a chance to play the Eagles yet this year. It’ll be a big atmosphere for us right there.

“I’ve told the players from the very beginning of the season, it’s a long year. If you get too focused on looking down at the end stretch at this point right here, you don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have to keep grinding week by week, but the focus stays on going 1-0 each week. No matter what happened last Sunday, we need to come in with the same mindset to improve as a team, to improve individually, which will lead to our collective rise, and then to be able to match up our opponent and just play well for 60 minutes on Thursday night.”

Via: giants.com

 

Giants’ Judge: ‘I have a ton of memories with Logan(Ryan)’

Joe Judge deviated from his norm today and spoke at length about a player who is not yet eligible to participate in a Giants practice.

But Logan Ryan is no ordinary player.

Judge and the Giants’ newest acquisition were together in New England for the first four years of Ryan’s career after the Patriots selected him in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. The eight-year pro is a talented, versatile and experienced defensive back who will upgrade the Giants’ secondary the instant he steps on the field.

Though Ryan agreed to contract terms yesterday, that moment will have to wait until Ryan fulfills his testing obligations mandated by the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol.

“With the protocols in place, we won’t see him before Thursday (when the Giants will hold their second scrimmage in MetLife Stadium),” Judge said.

Judge knows exactly what he’ll be getting when Ryan does begin practicing.

“I think Logan’s a guy who comes to work every day with the right demeanor,” Judge said today. “He’s a smart guy that plays tough on the field. He’s a player that I noticed through my time with him and then also my time away competing against him that he’s a guy that really improves from year to year. He really works on his craft. He’s not just a guy who’s out there kind of ‘this is what I am.’ He’s always looking to work on maybe something that hurt him the year before and he’s looking to always go ahead and improve on his strengths.

“Look, he brings a lot of versatility. He’s a smart, tough football player. We’re glad to have him. We have a lot of guys in the defensive backfield make a lot of improvements every day. It’ll be good to get him in the mix with all of those guys.”

When asked if Ryan will be a corner or safety, Judge again stressed the player’s flexibility.

“He’s going to play a variety of roles for us, so if I gave you one answer right there, I’d be lying,” Judge said. “Logan, one of his strengths really is versatility. We’re going to play him in different packages all over the field. Really, having a guy like that allows you to play other guys in fewer positions because he can handle a lot of the multiples while these guys are learning the system.”

Ryan has an impressive resume. In 109 regular season games, including 85 starts, he has 522 tackles (374 solo), 17 interceptions and 11.0 sacks. Ryan also has 89 tackles (70 solo), 1.0 sack and two interceptions in 15 postseason games, including two Super Bowl victories.

In 2019, Ryan started all 19 games for the Tennessee Titans and led the team in tackles in both the regular season (when he had career-high totals of 113 stops, 4.5 sacks, plus four interceptions) and the postseason 25 tackles (18 solo) and added one pick.

At 29, Ryan is the Giants’ second-oldest defensive back after 31-year-old Nate Ebner, who was also on those Patriots teams and plays almost exclusively on special teams.

“To me, it’s valuable to bring in good football players, no matter what age they are,” Judge said. “I’ve referenced before, it doesn’t matter what year you are in the league. If you’re a good player, you’ll help us. It’s our job as coaches to make sure everyone knows how to play, what their responsibilities are, and make sure they know what the expectations and the culture are. We’re excited to have Logan on his way.”

The two men have previously shared success. The Patriots won the AFC East title in each of their four seasons they were together in New England and defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX and Atlanta in Super Bowl LI. Ryan played every game during that time and intercepted 13 passes, including a career-high five as a rookie.

“I have a ton of memories with Logan,” Judge said. “It was only my second year in the league when we drafted Logan. We kind of learned a lot of stuff together, to be honest with you. As you get working, I was working with him as a gunner, a vice player and a core special teamer for us, and obviously, he was growing within his defensive role.

“I think the thing that stands out to me the most about Logan is the improvement I watched him make from year one to year two. The thing you noticed was he was a guy when the season was over, he hung behind. He wasn’t in a hurry to get out of there. Him and Duron Harmon were actually two Rutgers teammates. They hung around the building the entire offseason and you could physically see the transformation in their bodies. You could see the work and evidence in how they changed how they looked, and it transferred over on to the field in how they played.”

And beginning next week, the Giants will be the beneficiaries of that dedication.

Courtesy: Giants.com