Giants’ Daboll on Shepard: ‘It kind of looked like a freaky accident there’

The New York Giants(2-1) suffered their first loss of the season on Monday night as they fell to the Dallas Cowboys 23-16 at MetLife Stadium, and unfortunately, they lost a key piece on offense.

On Tuesday, Giants head coach Brian Daboll announced that WR Sterling Shepard would miss the rest of the season with a torn left ACL.

Shepard, who is coming off a torn Achilles last season, injured his ACL late in the game against the Cowboys.

“ACL. Got that news just about 15 minutes ago in the doctors’ meeting,” Daboll said. “And again, to reiterate what I said yesterday, he’s a tremendous person. He worked so diligently to get back, and (I) feel terrible for him that he had that injury. He’s a big part of our team, and we’ll miss him out on the field.

It was a non-contact injury, and it appeared that Shepard was jogging along when it happened. According to Daboll, it was a “freak accident.”

“He’s just slowing down,” Daboll said. “It could have happened; I’m not saying it happened; you see a couple of plays before where he turns when he’s running an in-cut, and he’s extended. He went out there on the next play and did something. Again, it kind of looked like a freaky accident there.”

It was a big blow for Shepard, who put in the work to get back on the field and a big blow for the Giants as they’ve battled injuries at the wide receiver position(Wan’Dale Robinson, Kadarius Toney). 

Neal struggles

Giants rookie RT Evan Neal struggled to block Cowboys DE DeMarcus Lawrence, who had three of Dallas’ five sacks. Despite the struggles, Daboll is not worried about Neal.  

“We just keep on building the technique,” Daboll said. “There’s growing pains. I would say it’s not just Ev (Evan Neal), which he got beat a couple times on the edge by a pretty good player. There was a lot of things we could have done better. And protection-wise, after going through it, whether it’s the chips, the (running) backs, one-one-ones against the blitzers, the inside movement, the games inside. There was quite a bit of things. But Evan’s a diligent guy. We’ll work on improving him and try to be better next week.

New York will have a short week as the Bears(2-1) come to town on Sunday.

Giants’ Gano wins NFC Special Teams Player of the Week

New York Giants kicker Graham Gano was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his four-field goal performance in the 19-16 triumph vs. the Panthers on Sunday, the league announced Wednesday.

The 13-year veteran, scored 13 of New York’s 19 points against Carolina, adding an extra point to his field goals.

Last Wednesday, Saquon Barkley was named the conference’s Offensive Player of the Week. The Giants last received Player of the Week awards after consecutive games in Weeks 14 and 15 of the 2016 season, when punter Brad Wing earned the special teams honor

Gano hit field goals from 36, 33, 51, and 56 yards, and the game-deciding kick(56) is tied for the second-longest field goal in Giants history.

Sunday was the second game in which Gano kicked two 50-plus yard field goals in the fourth quarter or overtime. He is the only kicker in Giants history to accomplish that feat. He first did it in Washington on Sept. 16, 2021, when he kicked 52 and 55-yarders – plus a 35-yarder – in the fourth quarter.

The current Player of the Week award is the fifth of Gano’s career and this third in three seasons with the Giants.


Giants’ Barkley: ‘Culture’s different’

Again, it wasn’t pretty, but again, the New York Giants got another victory on Sunday at MetLife Stadium as they defeated the visiting Carolina Panthers 19-16.

With the victory, the Giants have won two games by a combined four points to improve to 2-0 for the first time since 2016.

The Giants trailed 13-6 in the third, and the offense immediately responded. Jones led the team on an eight-play, 75-yard drive, which ended with Jones connecting with rookie tight end Daniel Bellinger on a 16-yard touchdown pass that tied things up at 13. 

In the fourth, it was the Graham Gano show as he connected from 51 yards to put New York up 16-13 and hit from 56 yards to give New the lead for good at 19-16. Gano finished the game with four field goals.

Finally, Jones ended the game on a beautiful 11-yard scramble on third and long to put the game away for the undefeated Giants. 

Giants head coach Brian Daboll knows the team has to play better, but that’s something to worry about for next week when they host the Cowboys on Monday night.

‘There’s certainly a lot of things we need to do better, but I’m happy for the guys,” Daboll said after the win. “(Kicker) Graham (Gano) made all his kicks. (There were) some big kicks there at the end for us, and (Quarterback Daniel Jones) DJ led the team down to get some extra points there, which was a huge difference. (I) thought the defense played well; started out fast. Wish we could’ve gotten more points on the board early on after those two turnovers, but all-in-all a good team win. And (we’ll) get ready for next week.”

Jones was not great, but he was solid(22/34, 176 yards, touchdown) and made the right play time after time, including the game-clinching first down on the team’s final drive, which he discussed postgame.

“Situation (where) we got in the perimeter there,” he said. “Want to keep the clock moving with a completion or a run. Getting out of the pocket on that movement gives you the options to do both. I thought they matched (Running Back) Saquon (Barkley), and I saw a lane to get up and get the first down. I thought it was a good call on the situation and just tried to execute it the best we could.”

Saquon Barkley, who ran for 72 yards on 21 carries, like Daboll, is happy to be 2-0 but knows New York has to be better.

“It feels good to be 2-0,” Barkley said. “It’s not easy to win in this league. This is my first time in five years being 2-0. The team played great all three phases. Offense, we have to execute a little bit better, but at the end of the day, we were able to grind out a win.”

Things are a little livelier in the Giants locker room, unlike the previous two seasons under Joe Judge. Winning games helps, but Barkley thinks the culture is different in New York overall.

Culture’s different,” Barkley said. “Coming here, music playing before the game, playing after the game, you’ve got your Head Coach coming in and rapping Biggie. It’s fun. It’s fun. And it all starts with winning. That’s what really breeds fun. You come out here and win games, and we’ve got to continue to do that, but we can’t get too caught up in the hype. We’ve just got to continue to keep the mindset within this locker room, continue to trust the guys, the men, and women in our facility, and just keep getting better.”

A win is a win; fortunately for the Giants, it does not always have to be pretty.







Barkley on winning NFC Offensive Player of the Week: ‘It’s great, but any individual award is really a team award’

New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week award, the NFL announced Wednesday.

The fifth-year running back rushed for 164 yards on 18 carries (9.1-yard avg.), including a 68-yard run that set up his four-yarder for the Giants’ first touchdown of the season. He added a team-high six receptions for 30 yards. Barkley caught a pass from Daniel Jones for the two-point conversion that accounted for the game-deciding points in the Giants’ season-opening 21-20 victory against the Tennessee Titans in Nissan Stadium.

Barkley’s 164 rushing yards and 194 yards from scrimmage both topped all NFL players on Kickoff Weekend.

“It’s great, but any individual award is really a team award,” he said about winning the award. “I don’t get that without the help of my offensive linemen, wide receivers blocking down the field, (Quarterback) Daniel (Jones) making great calls, and (Offensive Coordinator Mike) Kafka making great calls. At the end of the day, the most important thing last week was getting the win, and we’ve got to shift to Carolina.”

The 164 rushing yards was the third-highest total of his career and the most he’s had in a game outside FedExField. Barkley ran for a career-high 189 yards on Dec. 22, 2019, and 170 yards on Dec. 9, 2018. Both of those games were in Washington.

Barkley’s 68-yard run was on the first play of the third quarter. It is his fourth 68-yard run, tied for the second-longest of his career. 

This is Barkley’s third Player of the Week award; he is the only Giants running back to be honored since Ahmad Bradshaw in 2011.

Barkley and the Giants are hoping to get win number two as New York(1-0) battles the Panthers on Sunday in their home-opener.

Giants’ Daboll talks dance in locker room following big win against Titans

After the Giants defeated the Titans in comeback fashion 21-20 in Tennessee on Sunday, Giants head coach Brian Daboll, who got his first career win following a gutsy two-point conversion try that gave New York the lead late, was seen on television dancing in the locker room. 

On Monday, Daboll, who snapped New York’s five-game opening day losing streak, revealed what song he was dancing to and celebrating with the team.

“It was a Biggie(Smalls) song, and it was a good win,” he said.” These guys worked hard. They were dancing before I got in there. So, I don’t know if I was really dancing very much, if you want to call it that. But it’s good to celebrate with your guys. They put a lot of work (in). And again, credit to the guys that are out there playing. They had a lot of juice after that game, and rightfully so. They played a tough 60-minute game and had some good plays and had some bad plays that you had to bounce back from. They brought me in the circle there; I don’t think I’d call it dancing.”

Conventional wisdom says after you score a touchdown late in the game with an opportunity to tie, you kick the extra point, but Daboll rolled the dice and went for two, and of course, it worked. According to Daboll, he used analytics and other things to make his decision.

“I think analytics always plays a role in key decision makings,” he said. “I know what we do is we talk about that during the week, myself and (Director of Football Operations & Innovation Ty Siam) Ty and (Offensive Assistant/Game Manager) Cade (Knox), two of the guys that run that department on gameday with myself. And we go through tons of different situations; I mean, there were times on fourth down when I was deciding whether or not to go for it, just thought at the point in the game, regardless of what it said, it was a wise thing to punt. It just felt comfortable. We had conversation with it; defense stopped them. I just felt that the momentum of the game and the way we were playing in the second half, if we got down there to score again, we were going to do that regardless. But you certainly take into factor the three timeouts; we would probably have had an on-side kick if we didn’t get it, bring the three timeouts, and then have a really long field. But those are conversations that are happening during timeouts or in between series. But I lean heavily on those guys. One of them went to Cornell; another one went to Harvard. So, they’re pretty good guys to have.”

It was a bold call for sure by Daboll. Fortunately for the Giants, Tennessee’s Randy Bullock missed a field goal from 47 yards at the buzzer, and fortunately for New York, they were able to escape with a victory.

Giants’ Daboll: OC Kafka to call the plays for team

In the preseason, Giants offensive coordinator Mike Kafka was calling the plays for the team, and according to head coach Brian Daboll, that will continue into the regular season.

Daboll announced Monday that Kafka would call the plays for the team in the season-opener against the Titans in Tennessee this Sunday. 

I talked to Mike over the weekend. We were working yesterday; talked to him today,” Daboll said via Zoom. “I have a lot of confidence in Mike. We’ll stay with how we did things in the preseason.”

Daboll was the offensive coordinator for the Bills from 2018-21, and he says for him, not calling plays felt strange at times.

“I tell you when it was strange was before the game and the night before,” Daboll said. “You’re going through so many things in your head and thinking about situations. Whether it’s the preseason, regular season, or the playoff game, whatever it may be. You know, it’s a tough job to call plays, and you got to really put a lot of time and effort and energy into it, and Mike has done a good job with it.”

Kafka was around a great offensive mind in Andy Reid with the Chiefs as he was the quarterbacks coach in Kansas and passing game coordinator from 2018-21, so he has the experience, and Daboll is confident in his ability to get the job done. 

Giants release LB Blake Martinez

The New York Giants released linebacker LB Blake Martinez, the team announced on Thursday.

According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, Martinez’s split with the Giants was a mutual decision, 

Martinez, 28, played the first three games with Giants but suffered a torn ACL against the Falcons, which ended his season. He returned to the field in training camp and started the final two preseason games, recording two tackles (one solo).

The seven-year veteran spent the first four seasons of his career in Green Bay before signing a three-year, $30 million contract with the Giants as a free agent in 2020.

In addition, New York claimed OL Tyre Phillips from the Baltimore Ravens. 

The Ravens released the 25-year-old on Wednesday.

Phillips, 6-5 and 344 pounds, is entering his third NFL season. In 2021, Phillips played in 10 games with five starts – four at right tackle and one at left tackle. He was twice played on injured reserve with a knee injury that forced him to miss the first four and the last three games of the season.

He joined the Ravens as a 2020 third-round draft choice, No. 106 overall. In two seasons in Baltimore, he played in 22 regular-season games with 13 starts and started both postseason games in which he played in 2020.

New York Giants get down to 53

The New York Giants released 20 players on Tuesday to get to the league maximum of 53 players.

This roster will probably change a little more before the start of the season, which begins September 11 in Tennessee against the Titans.

Quarterback Davis Webb, wide receiver Alex Bachman, and safety Nate Meadors, who led the Giants in passing, receiving yards, and tackles, respectively, were let go by New York.

Webb was one of five veterans whose contracts were terminated, along with wide receiver C.J. Board, guard Jamil Douglas, tackle Will Holden, and defensive end Jalyn Holmes.

In addition, the Giants waived Bachman and Meadors and 13 other players: 

RB Jashaun Corbin, WR Jaylon Moore, TE Austin Allen, OL Garrett McGhin and Roy Mbaeteka; DL David Moa and Ryan Anderson; LB Quincy Roche; corners Khalil Dorsey, Darren Evans, Zyon Gilbert, and Harrison Hand; and S Trenton Thompson.

“We met with a lot of players today, this morning, and yesterday,” coach Brian Daboll said. “And again, I’ve said this before, it’s always a tough time of year for players, and I’d say for the rest of the people in the organization.

“These guys put a lot of time and effort and energy into doing everything they can do to create a role for themselves, and it’s tough when you’re talking to each individual. And each individual is different. Each individual handles things different. But I think that relationship that you build when you have to tell somebody that they didn’t make it, that’s always – at least for me – that’s tough.”

Here is the Giants’ 53-man roster for now.

Offense (25)

QB (2): Daniel Jones, Tyrod Taylor

RB/FB (5): Saquon Barkley, Matt Breida, Gary Brightwell, Antonio Williams, Chris Myarick

WR: (7): Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, Kadarius Toney, Wan’Dale Robinson, Richie James, David Sills

TE (2): David Bellinger, Tanner Hudson

OL (9): Andrew Thomas, Mark Glowinski, Jon Feliciano, Shane Lemieux, Evan Neal, Ben Bredeson, Joshua Ezeudu, Max Garcia, Devery Hamilton

Defense (25)

DL (5): Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, Justin Ellis, D.J. Davidson, Nick Williams

OLB (6): Kayvon Thibodeaux, Oshane Ximines, Azeez Ojulari, Elerson Smith, Jihad Ward, Tomon Fox

ILB (6): Blake Martinez, Micah McFadden, Tae Crowder, Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin, Austin Calitro

CB (5): Adoree’ Jackson, Darnay Holmes, Aaron Robinson, Rodarius Williams, Cor’Dale Flott

S (3): Xavier McKinney, Julian Love, Dane Belton

Special Teams (3)

K: Graham Gano

P: Jamie Gillan

S: Casey Kreiter

Jets QB Joe Flacco talks Daniel Jones

Football is a game of continuity. The coaching staff and everyone on the field must know the assignment and what they’re doing at all times. However, coaches change, personnel change and players must learn new things.

Giants quarterback Daniel Jones is learning a new offensive system for the third time in four seasons as New York hired former Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll as their head coach in the offseason.

According to Jones, learning a new offense takes time.

“I think I do have some experience with it now, so that’s helped in the process in learning it,” Jones said after the joint practice with the Jets on Thursday. “I think the toughest part is that it takes time, it takes the reps, it takes practice, it takes meetings, having the conversations, correcting things, getting on the same page, moving guys around. All that takes time; there’s a process to it. That’s what we’ve been doing, and I think we’ve done a good job up to this point. Like I said, the next couple of weeks are important for us before we kickoff in Nashville.

Jets QB Joe Flacco is with his fourth team in four seasons, and like Jones, had to learn new offenses. According to the 15-year veteran, if Jones plays well, he and Daboll can be together for many years.

“You would obviously like to get in with a good guy that you really like and gain a rapport with,” Flacco said. “When you’re back there playing quarterback, you’re not having to think about all the little details because you’ve just done it for long enough that it just comes naturally, so I can relate to that a little bit, and for him at this point, it is what it is. I would say to him; hopefully, he has as much success as possible this year so that it doesn’t have to happen anymore, and I think the good thing with him is this offense is created by the head coach, so if they can do well together, then they can be in it together for a long time.”

Flacco had some praise for the 25-year-old Jones:

“I think he’s a hell of an athlete and a great young quarterback, so I wish him the best of luck.’

The time is now for Jones to make it happen if he wants to stick around in New York after this season. He’s not Daboll’s guy, which could make things challenging, but if he wants to be Daboll’s guy, Jones is going to have to show him and the organization a lot in 2022. 

Giants’ Shepard is hoping to be ready for team’s season-opener

On December 19, 2021, Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard’s season ended after he tore his Achilles tendon against the Cowboys. From there, he had surgery and began rehabbing to get back on the field.

At the start of training camp, the 29-year-old was placed on the active/physically unable to perform list, which limited him to rehabilitating and running routes on a side field away from his teammates.

After weeks of waiting, Shepard finally got out on the practice field with his teammates as he was activated from the PUP list and practiced with the Giants for the first time on Wednesday.

The seven-year veteran, who has not put on pads since the injury, says he’s taking things “day-by-day.”

“Obviously, this is my first day back, and it was a full pad practice,” he said. “I haven’t had on pads since I got hurt. So, it was kind of tough being thrown in the fire with the pads on, but I just have taken it day-by-day, limited kind of in some of the team reps; they’re throwing me in slowly. But I’ll work my way up and get my conditioning and my wind up. I’ve been playing this game since I was six years old, so kind of know what it looks like.”

The season opener is a little over two weeks away for the Giants, and while Shepard is unsure if he will be on the field on September 11 against the Titans, he’s striving to make it happen.

“I’m not sure,” Shepard said about playing Week 1. “That’s a question you have to ask Ronnie(Barnes//Head Athletic Trainer), but that’s what I’m pushing for. That’s what I’ve worked my tail off for, so I’m hoping that’s the case. I just have to keep doing my thing day-by-day, and we’ll see what happens.”

Collin Johnson to IR:

-Shepard is back from an Achilles injury, but another Giant goes on IR due to an Achilles injury. Wide receiver Collin Johnson tore his Achilles tendon in practice this afternoon. Johnson was placed on injured reserve along with fellow wideout Marcus Kemp, who has a hamstring injury.

-In addition, the Giants terminated the contracts of tight end Jordan Akins and wide receiver Robert Foster (hamstring). Foster, who received an injury settlement from the team, was placed on injured reserve last Friday.

-The Giants were awarded three players off waivers, cornerback Harrison Hand(Vikings) and wide receivers Jaylon Moore(Ravens) and Bailey Gaither(Ravens).