Accorsi on Eli: ‘He won championships, and he was always there giving us a chance to win’

Eli Manning is ready to write the final chapter of his historic career.

One of the best, most popular and most decorated players in Giants history, Manning, a two-time Super Bowl winner and most valuable player, will announce his retirement Friday, ending a 16-year career spent entirely with the team he joined in a draft-day trade in 2004.

“For 16 seasons, Eli Manning defined what it is to be a New York Giant both on and off the field,” said John Mara, the Giants’ president and chief executive officer. “Eli is our only two-time Super Bowl MVP and one of the very best players in our franchise’s history. He represented our franchise as a consummate professional with dignity and accountability. It meant something to Eli to be the Giants quarterback, and it meant even more to us. We are beyond grateful for his contributions to our organization and look forward to celebrating his induction into the Giants Ring of Honor in the near future.”

“We are proud to have called Eli Manning our quarterback for so many years,” said Steve Tisch, Giants chairman and executive vice president. “Eli was driven to always do what was best for the team. Eli leaves a timeless legacy with two Super Bowl titles on the field and his philanthropic work off the field, which has inspired and impacted so many people. We are sincerely thankful for everything Eli has given our team and community. He will always be a Giant among Giants.”

Ernie Accorsi was the general manager who traded for Manning. Though he retired after the 2006 season, Accorsi has remained a member of the Giants family and has followed Manning’s career closely.

“I learned very early that you evaluate quarterbacks on their ability to win championships, and to do it late in a game when the game is on the line, that they’re able to take a team down the field and into the end zone to win a title,” Accorsi said. “The second thing is to know that over a period of years, he’s always going to be there. Those kinds of quarterbacks always give you a chance to win, and for 16 years, he did that for this franchise. He won championships and he was always there giving us a chance to win. I don’t know how you can ask more from a quarterback.”

Manning’s first 183 regular-season and 11 postseason starts were for Tom Coughlin, the Giants’ head coach from 2004-15.

“It was an honor and privilege to coach Eli, and to go through the wonderful and magnificent moments that he and his teammates provided for all of us in the world championship ‘07-‘08 and ’11-’12 seasons,” Coughlin said. “The New York Giants, flagship franchise of the National Football League, have four world championships You have four trophies sitting there. You have (Phil) Simms, you have (Jeff) Hostetler, and you have Eli for two. Eli Manning not only is the quarterback on those great teams, but he is the MVP of the Super Bowls. He’s an incredible big- game performer. You talk about a guy that’s great to coach, focused every day, took tremendous pride in preparing, practice, had a great sense of humor, was a cynic in the locker room. But the guys loved him and they loved him for it, and they played for him. The guys that had the opportunity to play with him know what it’s like to be with a guy with as much talent, as much grit, as much determination.

“Here goes the retirement of a great, great football Giant. I and my coaching staff and our teams from 2004 right through 2015, for me at least, my part, hold Eli in the highest respect and congratulate him and his family, and his mom and dad, for all of the wonderful, wonderful experiences he’s had, and the happiness and pride that he has brought to the entire Giants family, the fanfare, the fans, the family and everyone that’s taken so much pride from his performances and for what he’s meant. He’s always been there to make the call, to stand up and represent the Giants in the best possible way.”

Manning is one of the most accomplished players in the 95 seasons of Giants football. He is the only player in franchise history to suit up for 16 seasons and his 236 regular-season games (234 starts) and 248 total games are both Giants records.

From Nov. 21, 2004 through Nov. 23, 2017, Manning started 210 consecutive regular-season games, then the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history (to Brett Favre’s 297). After sitting out one game, he started the next 22 in a row, giving him 232 starts in 233 games – plus 12 postseason games. Manning never missed a game because of injury.

“I can’t tell you what that means to a coach, to be able to prepare every week knowing your starter is going to be there,” Coughlin said. “It’s almost impossible today to be able to do that. Some teams are fortunate. Many teams it doesn’t happen to. You get a guy nicked, you get him hurt. I remember once he was hurt with a shoulder. He didn’t practice all week. We didn’t know if he’d be alright. He started and played the whole game and played well. It meant a great deal to us to be able to prepare knowing he was going to be on the field and be the starting quarterback for all of those games.”

Manning led the Giants to victories against the New England Patriots in Super Bowls XLII (when they defeated a Patriots team that was 18-0) and XLVI. In each game, he led the Giants on a long fourth-quarter drive to erase a fourth-quarter deficit. On Feb. 3, 2008, it was a 12-play, 83-yard march highlighted by Dave Tyree’s famous helmet catch and the 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with 35 seconds remaining that gave the Giants a 17-14 victory. Four years later, the decisive series covered 88 yards in nine plays, most memorably a 38-yard sideline throw to Mario Manningham and Ahmad Bradshaw’s seat-of-his-pants one-yard touchdown run for a 21-17 triumph.

Manning won the Rozelle Trophy as the game’s most valuable player each time. He is the only Giants player to win the award twice and is one of just five players in NFL history to win multiple Super Bowl MVP awards. All of them are quarterbacks (Tom Brady, 4; Joe Montana, 3; Terry Bradshaw and Bart Starr, 2 apiece).

Manning is one of 21 quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl without losing one and one of 12 to win at least two Super Bowls.

In 2016, Manning was the co-recipient (with Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a fellow member of the 2004 draft class) of the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. He is the only Giants player to be so honored in the award’s 49-year history.

Manning owns every significant Giants career passing record. He is sixth in NFL history with 8,119 attempts and seventh with 4,895 completions, 57,023 yards and 366 touchdown passes. Manning also has the franchise’s highest career completion percentage (60.29). Manning holds the seven highest single-season completion totals and the four highest yardage totals (he threw for more than 4,000 yards seven times) and completion percentages. He was selected to four Pro Bowls.

Manning also excelled in the postseason, when he had an 8-4 record. He set Giants career playoff records with 400 passes, 242 completions, 2,815 yards and 18 touchdown passes.

In the recently-concluded 2019 season, Manning played four games. He started the first two games before being replaced by Daniel Jones, the sixth overall selection in the draft last year.  Jones sprained his ankle against Green Bay on Dec. 1 and Manning started the next two games, a Monday night game in Philadelphia and the following Sunday at home vs. Miami. Manning threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns in a 36-20 victory over the Dolphins and left the game to a long and loud ovation with 1:54 remaining. The victory evened his regular-season record at 117-117.

Off the field, Manning has been one of the most giving Giants, donating his time and money to numerous civic and charitable causes. He heads the Tackle Kids Cancer Initiative at Hackensack UMC and he launched “Eli’s Challenge” by pledging to match grassroots donations from local organizations dollar-for-dollar up to $100,000. He and his family built “The Eli Manning Children’s Clinics” at the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children in Jackson, Miss. Manning supports numerous other charities, including Children’s of Mississippi Capital Campaign, March of Dimes, New York March for Babies, Guiding Eyes for the Blind, American Red Cross, Scholastic’s Classroom Care Program and the PeyBack Foundation.

Fittingly, one of the many awards he has received for his work in the community is the Ernie Accorsi Humanitarian Award at the National Football Foundation.

“That’s what it’s all about – it’s about giving back,” Coughlin said. “You think that the good Lord gave you these tools for you to hold inside you and be selfish about it? No chance. He goes out in the community, he’s himself when he’s out there. He’s done a tremendous amount of work for the Jay Fund (Coughlin’s charity foundation, which benefits the families of children with cancer). He goes to see cancer kids over in Hackensack and throughout New York City. His heart is in the right place.”

Next week in Hollywood, Fla., Manning will be presented with the 2020 Athletes in Action/Bart Starr Award. The award, bearing the name of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bart Starr, honors Starr’s lifelong commitment to serving as a positive role model to his family, teammates and community. Manning was selected by his peers in the NFL, making it the only award – other than the Pro Bowl – voted on by all the players.

Coughlin was three months into his 12-year tenure as the Giants’ coach when Manning joined the team roughly an hour after the San Diego Chargers selected him first in the 2004 NFL Draft. Picking fourth, the Giants selected another quarterback, Philip Rivers. Accorsi then engineered a trade that brought Manning to the team he had hoped to play for all along. The Giants sent Rivers, their third-round choice in 2004 (No. 65 overall), and first and fifth-round picks in the 2005 draft to the Chargers for Manning.

“(The late Beano) Cook told me once, ‘You could be on the first civilian flight to Mars, and the first line of your obituary is going to be that you traded for Eli Manning,’” Accorsi said. “No question about that. I’m honored to be associated with Eli Manning in every way possible, as a person and as a player.”

So is everyone else who had the privilege of working with Manning for 16 years.

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Giants interview Kris Richard

Kris Richard today became the first candidate interviewed by the Giants for their vacant head coaching position.

Richard, 40, met with team president John Mara, general manager Dave Gettleman, vice president of football operations Kevin Abrams, as well as other staff.

Pat Shurmur was dismissed as head coach on Monday.

Richard spent the past two seasons in the NFC East as the Dallas Cowboys’ defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach.

In 2019, Dallas’ pass defense ranked 10th in the NFL, allowing 223.5 yards a game. The Cowboys allowed 21 touchdown passes, tied for the league’s eighth-lowest figure and about four fewer than the NFL average.

The previous season, the Cowboys finished 13th in pass defense, allowing 234.7 yards a game, and 22 touchdown passes. Three important contributors to the pass defense, end DeMarcus Lawrence, cornerback Byron Jones and rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, were selected to the Pro Bowl. Richard moved Jones back to corner after the player had spent the majority of his time at safety.

Prior to joining the Cowboys, Richard spent eight seasons on the coaching staff of the Seattle Seahawks, for whom he helped develop the famed “Legion of Boom” secondary that included Richard Sherman, Earl Thomas, Kam Chancellor, Brandon Browner and Byron Maxwell.

After beginning his tenure in Seattle in 2010 as the team’s assistant defensive backs coach, Richard spent one season as the cornerbacks coach and two as the defensive backs coach. In 2015, he began a three-year stint as the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator.

Under Richard’s tutelage in Seattle, Thomas earned five Pro Bowl nominations and four AP All-Pro (three first-team, one second-team) selections, Sherman was a four-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro (three first-team, one second-team) and Chancellor a four-time Pro Bowler and two-time second-team All-Pro.

In Richard’s first season as coordinator in 2015, Seattle led the NFL in scoring defense for the fourth consecutive season, becoming the first defense in the Super Bowl era to accomplish the feat. The unit led the league by allowing just 81.5 rushing yards a game and a franchise-record low 1,304 yards.

Richard’s 2013 secondary was one of the most dominant in NFL history. The Seahawks ranked first in the NFL in passing defense (172.0 yards per game), interceptions (28) and opposing quarterback passer rating (63.4). In Seattle’s Super Bowl XLVIII victory against Denver in MetLife Stadium, Seattle’s secondary held Peyton Manning to 280 passing yards – 60 less than his regular-season average – and a 73.5 rating (after he had posted 115.1 rating during the season).

During Richard’s tenure, Seattle’s defense ranked in the top five in five consecutive seasons (2012-16). The Seahawks also became the fourth team in NFL history to lead the league in fewest points and yards allowed in back-to-back seasons (2013-14).

Prior to Seattle, Richard spent two seasons (2008-09) as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, USC, working with the defensive backs.

Originally a third-round draft choice (85th overall) by Seattle, Richard played in 38 games at cornerback with one start in three years for the Seahawks before playing one season in San Francisco. At USC, he was a four-year letter winner from 1998-2001 and a started in his final three seasons. Richard had eight career interceptions and returned three for touchdowns, along with 125 tackles, 19 deflections and two fumble recoveries.

Courtesy: Michael Eisen

Manning: ‘It’s a special day, a special win, and one I’ll remember’

It what might have been his final start at MetLife Stadium, Giants QB Eli Manning helped New York break their nine-game losing streak, as the Giants defeated the Miami Dolphins 36-20 on Sunday. 

“The way the season is going, the way these last 10 or 11 weeks have gone, the team obviously needed a win just for morale and to keep things going,” Manning said after the game. “It’s tough to go every week, be close, to compete and practice hard. Guys are giving great effort and doing a lot of good things; we’re just falling a little short. But today, we obviously were able to put it all together.

“The defense played great. Offensively, we ran the ball well, hit up big plays in the passing game, and did enough good things to get the win. Just proud of the guys. I know they all wanted to get me a win, and I wanted to get them a win as well.”

After a slow start, which included two interceptions in the first half, the Giants trailed 10-7 at halftime, but in the second half, the 38-year-old Manning was able to lead New York on four scoring drives. Manning finished the game completing 20 of his 28 passes for 283 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

Late in the contest, with the game in hand, Manning received a standing ovation. 

“Obviously, I don’t know what the future is,” Manning said. “I don’t know what lies next week, let alone down the road. Obviously, the support and the fans, their ovation, chanting my name from the first snap to the end, I appreciate that. I appreciate them always and all my teammates coming up to me. It’s a special day, a special win, and one I’ll remember.”

When asked what he will remember the most about this victory over the Dolphins, Manning had this to say. 

“I don’t know. Probably just the fans, the chants, the awkward feeling of standing there on the sideline, kind of a circle around me,” he said. “Everyone looking at me and staring at me, a camera on me and not feeling real comfortable in that circumstance. But getting taken out there in the fourth (quarter) and just having all my teammates come up to me and say something, little hugs. You appreciate all of those guys and everything they’ve done to get this win today.”

It was a great day for a great player, and when it’s all said and done, the two-time Super Bowl MVP will probably be forever remembered in Canton one day. 

Giants’ Shurmur explains decision to waive CB Janoris Jenkins

On Friday, the Giants announced that cornerback Janoris Jenkins had been waived, which comes days after he argued with a fan on social media.

On Wednesday, the 31-year-old Jenkins got into it with a fan on Twitter. During their exchange, Jenkins called the fan a “retard.” Jenkins would apologize a few hours later via Twitter. 

On Thursday, Jenkins explained his use of the word “retard”: 

“Where I’m from, we use all kind of words for slang,” Jenkins said via nypost.com. “If it offends anybody, I’m sorry,” Jenkins said. “It’s a culture that I grew up in where I’m from. You know what I’m saying, we use all kinds of words for all kinds of slang. If you don’t know, it’s a hood thing or whatever.”

Jenkins joined the Giants as a free agent in 2016 after signing a five-year, $62.5 million deal. He started every game since the beginning of the 2018 season, a streak that reached 29 in a row vs. the Eagles. This year, he leads the team with 14 passes defensed and is sixth with 54 tackles (48 solo). 

Here is what Giants head coach Pat Shurmur had to say about Jenkins on Friday:

Q: How did you go about the process of determining today’s news on Janoris (Jenkins)?

Shumur: I released a statement, so I really don’t have much more to add other than the fact that I spoke to him. My understanding was he made an apology. After the apology, he made an attempt to rationalize his beliefs. Then yesterday, there was a decision made top down that we were going to move on.

Q: Is there more to it than just this incident? Was this like a final straw type situation?
A: I wouldn’t call it a final straw. Anytime moves are made, it’s obviously more than one thing.

Q: How much did his comments yesterday factor into the final decision, because you said you had spoken to him before?

Shumur: Yeah, it had something to do with it, for sure.

Q: He had used that word before in August of last year. Was he disciplined then for it?

Shurmur: Last year? I wasn’t aware that he used it, so no. I wasn’t aware that he used that word. It’s not a word you should use. I made that very, very clear yesterday. I made it clear to him as well.

Q: You guys made a big point of putting him in a leadership role and feeling confident about putting him in that role. Do you regret that seeing how things have played out?

Shurmur: No. You know what, you try to get all of the players to grow with regard to leadership. There are many things about Rabbit that… He practiced, he worked hard. As an older player, we had, as you all know, we have a very young group, so you try to promote leadership in all of the players. Just like working on any other element of a player’s game, you try to help them become better leaders.

Q: He had said some controversial things about the actual team earlier this year. The pass rush, then (Defensive Coordinator James) Bettcher. Every time you sat down with him, do you feel like he was listening to you then in hindsight or was he lying to you?

Shurmur: I had a relationship where I could talk to him and be very frank about my feelings all the way along. Our ability to communicate all along has been good. He was able to explain to me what he meant by what he said. (I’ll) just leave it at that.

Q: Were you surprised then how after sitting down with him, that that’s how it went from when you sat down to him to what he came out and said publicly afterwards?

Shurmur: I have nothing more to say on it. I’m not surprised by anything right now.

Q: Why cut instead of suspend? Why such a final decision?

Shurmur: It was just something we felt was best from the top down. That’s why. I don’t need to get into the rest of it

Barkley: ‘My body is getting healthier and healthier each week’

Saquon Barkley has not rushed for at least 100 yards in seven consecutive full games, three more than the longest streak in his 2018 Rookie of the Year season or in his three seasons at Penn State.

“I don’t care about that,” Barkley said today. “I just want to win, to be honest.”

That’s a noble and understandable sentiment, considering the Giants’ drought is longer than Barkley’s. They have lost nine straight games and are 2-11 as they prepare to host the 3-10 Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

But it’s not illogical to think if Barkley can end his streak, it will help the Giants halt theirs. He is still high up on any list of their most talented players, and said he is fully healed from the ankle sprain that forced him to miss 3½ games early in the season.

Barkley has played nine complete games (plus most of the first half at Tampa Bay, where he ran for 10 yards on eight carries). In those nine games, he has rushed for 600 yards (66.7 per game) and averaged 4.1 yards a carry. He exceeded 100 yards in the season’s first two games with 120 at Dallas and 107 vs. Buffalo. Since then, his single-game high was 83 yards vs. Green Bay two weeks ago.

Barkley actually has 14 more yards now than he had in his first nine games last season (586), when he averaged 4.5 yards a carry. But last year at this juncture, he had eight runs of 20 or more yards, including three of at least 46 yards. Currently, he has four 20+-yard runs and just one longer than 27 yards – a 59-yarder in the season opener against the Cowboys.

“You can see a lot of the focal point of defenses is to stop the run,” he said today. “But I think we are doing a good job of taking what the defense is giving us. In these last couple of weeks, I think we’ve been getting those dirty runs, taking those four and those fives. But the game also has got to present you to continue to run the ball. The Eagles did a really good job (Monday night), especially in the fourth quarter, in the second half, of holding the ball. I don’t really know the time of possession, but it definitely was in their favor. Green Bay, they got up on us. A lot of teams, the mindset is to go throw the ball to come back to try to win the game. In Chicago, they got up on us.

“So, I think in the last couple of games, we’ve been averaging 4 or 4.5, around there. But you’ve got to be able to continue to run the ball into the fourth quarter. Obviously, everyone wants those big 60-yard, 80-yard runs, but sometimes those come by just wearing defenses down. We haven’t really gotten the opportunity to do that. I don’t think we’ve been in a four-minute (protect a late lead) situation yet this season, or that I’ve been a part of.”

It was in the 10th game last year when Barkley really began to take off, beginning a stretch of four consecutive 100-yard games. He has only three games left to play this season, but the Giants would love to see him finish with a similar surge.

“Last year when we got rolling, it was you get on a roll and you stay on it,” offensive coordinator Mike Shula said. “That’s our goal to do that every year. More importantly, to win football games. We know that the running game is going to be a big part of that. I think that probably four or five weeks ago, we kind of struggled just with a few things, just with some moving parts. Saquon was just getting back from his injury. I think the last few weeks, though, we’ve been back heading in the direction where we want to go. We’re not quite there, but there are a lot of positive runs, a lot of efficient runs. You see our offensive line coming off the ball, you see them re-establishing the line of scrimmage, Saquon is hitting it up in there. We’ve had a few that have been really close, really in the last three games, from breakouts. I felt that way the week before. Unfortunately, we had to punt it over and then got down a couple scores. We had to kind of get to throwing the football. Then last week, we were kind of the same. But there is a lot more good now than basically what we saw four or five weeks ago.”

The Dolphins’ run defense is tied for 30th in the NFL, allowing 141.1 yards on the ground per game. Perhaps this is the week Barkley and the Giants’ rushing attack begins to gain the yardage they’d like to.

“I think I’m getting better and better each week,” Barkley said. “My body is getting healthier and healthier each week. Try to finish the season off strong.”

*Daniel Jones practiced on a limited basis today, but coach Pat Shurmur is still not ready to declare whether he or Eli Manning will start at quarterback. Speaking prior to practice, Shurmur was asked if he expected to have any clarity on the issue today.

“Probably not,” he said. “It’s going to probably take time, as we did all year (with injured players). Not full clarity, I would say. Just like any injury, it’s a process to come back.”

Jones sprained his ankle against Green Bay on Dec. 1 and did not play Monday night in Philadelphia.

“He’s getting better,” Shurmur said. “We’ll put him out there today, see how he does moving around and then see how he responds through the evening, and just keep getting him. But, he’s making progress, we’ll just see if he’ll make enough to play.

If Jones doesn’t play, Manning will start again.

“Eli is an outstanding player, so him back in the game is a good thing,” Shurmur said. “You never want to have an injury to anybody, but in our situation, Eli going out there, he can execute at a very high level and he’s done it for many years.”

*The two Giants players who did not practice today are both starters: right guard Kevin Zeitler (ankle/wrist) and cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle). Zeitler has started 85 consecutive games since last sitting out on Nov. 2, 2014, when he was a third-year pro with Cincinnati. If he doesn’t play, Nick Gates will replace him. A first-year pro, Gates started one game this season, at right tackle against the Jets on Nov. 10.

*In addition to Jones, tight ends Evan Engram (foot) and Rhett Ellison (concussion/non-contact) were limited. Wide receiver Golden Tate (foot) and cornerback Corey Ballentine (concussion) practiced fully).

Courtesy: Michael Eisen

Eli: ‘I’m trying to go out there, play hard, compete, and try to get a win for the team’

For 11 weeks, Giants backup QB Eli Manning has watched from sidelines, but with rookie QB Daniel Jones dealing with a high ankle sprain, Manning might make his return on Monday night as the Giants(2-10) travel to Philadelphia to battle the Eagles(5-7).

Jones injured his ankle in the Giants’ 31-13 loss to the Packers last Sunday.

“At this point, Daniel hasn’t been able to practice today,” Shurmur said on Wednesday. “If we had to play tomorrow, he couldn’t play. As the week goes on, it’ll be more and more evident that he’s not going to be ready to go. As we practice, Eli takes all the reps, and then we move on.”

The 38-year-old Manning has not played since Week 2 after Jones was named the starter in Week 3. 

Today, Manning addressed the media.

Here is what he had to say:

Q: When did you hear the news and how were you told?

Manning: I knew Daniel was dealing with an injury, I didn’t know the severity since he finished the game. I talked to the coaches yesterday and they said he probably wasn’t going to practice today and they didn’t know the circumstances, so (they told me) just be ready to practice this week. We’ll see where it goes for Monday night.

Q: What have the last 10 or 11 weeks been like for you?

Manning: A little different trying to adjust to it and always be prepared to go. Try to get Daniel as prepared as possible each week. I faced a lot of the teams that we have been playing and just look through old notes and tips on trying to diagnose defenses. Also trying to get myself ready to play each week.

Q: Emotionally, what is it like for you to come back and play?

Manning: We’ll see what happens Monday, but business as usual. In the sense of you get the game plan, start prepping for Philly. (We’re) going against a good defense we ‘ve faced a number of years, (we) know them well. Just have to get back in the mix with the offensive line and receivers, make sure timing is where it needs to be.

Q: What’s been the toughest part of these last 11 weeks for you?

Manning: Not playing in the games. You miss being a part of the action and practicing and all that. Felt good to get out there today and throw it around and compete a little bit.

Q: Did you think you had played your last time for the Giants? Had you thought about playing in a game late in the season when Daniel wasn’t playing?

Manning: No, just taking it one week at a time. You never know what can happen and always be ready.

Q: Has this impacted anything about your future plans?

Manning: Again, just take it one game at a time. You never want to try to make decisions about your future while you’re still living in the present and don’t know the circumstances of what could happen. Just have to go out there and try to get a win for the Giants if I’m asked to do that. I’ll analyze everything else after the season.

Q: How do you feel physically, you haven’t been hit for a couple months?

Manning: Physically I feel good. I’ve had time to get extra workouts and do those things just to stay in shape, so you’re not banged up. I feel fresh and ready to go.

Q: Do you feel like you can be sharp? It has been a while…

Manning: Yeah, you’re still practicing, you’re still out there. Sometimes you’re running other people’s plays but you’re still throwing it, hitting guys in stride and trying to throw it accurately and doing all of the drills. Hope to get back there and be sharp.

Q: How much do you think this can serve as a showcase for next year for you?

Manning: I’m not worried about that. I’m trying to go out there, play hard, compete, and try to get a win for the team. The team is obviously going on a long stretch. Guys are working hard and doing everything right and deserve to feel good about the work that we’re putting in.

Q: What has been your impression of Daniel (Jones) as you’ve watched him play?

Manning: Daniel is competing and learning. He makes a lot of great plays and I think he’s doing everything to get prepared and make progress each week. I’ve just been impressed with his work ethic and the dedication he has put towards getting ready to play each week.

Q: Pat Shurmur said you were, ‘eager.’ How eager are you to play?

Manning: I think you’re always eager to play, that’s why you play. That’s why you compete, and you work out and do everything— to go out there and compete on gameday and get wins and put your team in a situation to win. I think when you’re not doing that you miss it, and you’re excited about the competitive part of it.

Q: Year after year, you’ve heard backups here talk about, ‘We have to be ready, I know I’m not starting but we have to be ready to play.’ You weren’t on the other side of that. How hard is that now that you’ve lived through that for two months?

Manning: Yeah, I mean it is difficult. Especially when you’ve been the starter for so long and you’re not really accustomed to preparing and preparing and not putting it to use, in that sense. I think just having a lot of experience and knowing the offense and knowing I can pop in there and be ready to go at any time.

Q: Obviously a lot has happened since we last spoke to you. What was the trade deadline like for you? Was there any discussion of possibly going anywhere else?

 Manning: No, I don’t think so. That was a long time ago, I can’t think that far back.

Q: How wild is it the fact that you spent 15 years and took every single snap and here’s a kid in his first year and he ends up getting an injury. Does it make you feel that much more fortunate that you were able to play for such a long period of time without getting hurt?

Manning: Well, you had injuries and stuff and you just try to fight through things and get ready. I think Daniel wants to play, I think he’s going to do everything possible to get back and rehab. He’s a young kid, so I’m sure he’ll bounce back quickly. I’m sure the staff and everybody wants to be…they don’t want to take something that can be somewhat minor and turn it into something that’s a bigger deal down the line.

Q: Did you have any conversations with the Giants prior to today about wanting to play at least one more game in a Giants uniform?

Manning: No, never. It never came up.

Shurmur on Jones: ‘He’s thrown 15 touchdowns, he’ll look at the eight interceptions, and look at the fumbles’

Nick Gates played every snap at right tackle in the first start and extensive action of his career. Eric Smith, who had never before played a regular-season down, participated in 75% of them at the crucial left tackle position after Nate Solder suffered a concussion. When Janoris Jenkins was later concussed, the top three cornerbacks were rookies DeAndre Baker and Corey Ballentine and Sam Beal, who played his first professional game, preseason or regular season.

Oh, and rookie quarterback Daniel Jones played another game that displayed his exhilarating possibilities while also fumbling three more times, including one that was returned by the opposition for a touchdown.

The promise and potential of youth is always exciting, but the growing pains associated with it, not so much. The Giants were reminded of that again yesterday in their 34-27 loss to the Jets, their sixth consecutive defeat.

“The decision to go with them, in most cases, there is no decision,” coach Pat Shurmur said today. “They are the best players at the position. The challenge is for anybody that does anything for the very first time. They are talented players, but anybody that does anything for the very first time, there is a lot to be learned. There’s, I guess, pains that come with growing and we’ve just got to be very consistent, we’ve got to raise them right, we’ve got to coach them hard, and we’ve got to do like you do with any player. But they have the ability to get experience, and we all know there is no substitute for experience.”

The Giants, who next play in Chicago on Nov. 24, saw both sides of the young player coin yesterday.

Jones threw for 308 yards – his third 300-yard game since taking over as the starter in Week 3 – and for the second time in three weeks, threw four touchdown passes without an interception. Fellow 2019 draft choice Darius Slayton – playing in his eighth game – caught two of the scores, part of his career-best 10-catch, 121-yard game.

But Jones was victimized on one of the game’s biggest plays, when he was sacked for a nine-yard loss by safety Jamal Adams, who ripped the ball from his hands and raced 25 yards for a touchdown that extended the Jets’ lead to 21-13 early in the third quarter.

The Giants will practice tomorrow and Wednesday before beginning their bye-week break. Shurmur was asked what the to-do list will be for Jones, who has lost nine of his 13 fumbles.

“He has already been here, so first and foremost, we debriefed the game,” Shurmur said. “We are going to practice for two days and he’s going to go through the same process we as coaches do. I think of quarterbacks in that way. He’ll go through all the situational football, he’ll look at the things he’s done well. He’s thrown 15 touchdowns, he’ll look at the eight interceptions, and look at the fumbles. You basically go through everything that you’ve done, and you try to sit back, take a breath, and try to do the things you need to do to correct them. Which we’ve been working on all along, you are just able to sit back and do it in total.”

Shurmur praised Gates, who stepped in for the injured Mike Remmers (back).

“I thought he played well,” Shurmur said. “Listen, he’s a tough, competitive guy. We were looking forward to seeing him play because we feel like he has a chance to be a good player. He battled. One thing about Nick Gates, he’s tough, he’s competitive and he tries to do things the right way. He had a lot of really good plays out there.”

Defensively, the Giants started three rookies in tackle Dexter Lawrence and cornerbacks DeAndre Baker and Corey Ballentine. They combined for five tackles. Young linebackers Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines totaled six stops. Beal was called on later in the game. “(He) actually did a pretty good job the first time back, competing on special teams a little bit,” Shurmur said.

But Baker was flagged for a costly pass interference penalty to open the fourth quarter, setting up Le’Veon Bell’s go-ahead one-yard touchdown run on the next snap. Shurmur was asked if he is considering “wholesale” changes in the secondary.

“We’re constantly working all the players,” he said. “When Beal was in there, our starting three corners were a guy that didn’t play last year and two rookies. Certainly, Julian Love gets work at safety for us. We’ll just see as we move forward.

“When you look at mistakes, sometimes there are physical breakdowns, and that happens. A guy just gets beat. In any situation, you’re always working on the fundamentals. It’s something you work on all the time. There is a lot of really good fundamental play, and then there are times when you see somebody do something right three or four or five times, then the next time it doesn’t come out the right way.  That’s what you have to just keep working on.”

Then, presumably, the young players will continue to grow and improve.

“We’ve just got to take advantage of this time we have here, go back and look at some of the things that we’ve done well, because there were a lot of things we did well,” Shurmur said. “But, we certainly made mistakes in that game that cost you and we’ve got to find a way to eliminate those. We’ve got to keep getting some of these guys that are out there playing for the first time to be more consistent throughout the game. So, that’s where we’re at. Our focus is obviously to improve and do what we can to win our next game following this bye week.”

*Shurmur said Saquon Barkley is “feeling much better. He’s fine. … I saw him today and he said he was feeling a lot better.” Barkley gained just one yard on 13 carries yesterday. He missed three games earlier this season with a sprained ankle, but he refused to blame his output against the Jets on any injury.

*Tight end Rhett Ellison was placed in the concussion protocol after the game.

Courtesy: Michael Eisen

Giants’ Tate: ‘I don’t feel like we’ve tanked, despite our record’

The losing streak is up to five games for the New York Giants(2-7) after losing to the Cowboys at home on Monday night 37-18. Fortunately for the Giants, they have a chance to snap their losing streak when play the Jets(1-7) in the battle of New York on Sunday.

“Yeah, I can only speak for us, but we want to get this thing back on track,” Giants WR Golden Tate said on Wednesday. “Like I said a lot of the last few weeks, I feel like we do have a good team; we have great personnel. I don’t know if you guys can get a sense for this locker room, but we don’t seem down and depressed.

“I don’t feel like we’ve tanked, despite our record. I think we’re still hungry to win and I think we still feel like we have a shot to do something special. We’ve just got to get it going, and it’s going to start with us.”

When healthy, the Giants have decent personnel, especially on the offensive side of the ball, but the defense has struggled at times and rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has struggled with turnovers, and quite frankly, he has played like a rookie.

No one expected the Giants to be very good this season, and therefore, no one would accuse them of tanking. But, they should beat the Jets on Sunday; however, both teams are struggling, so this game could go either way.

 

Barkley on Harrison: ‘I’m really excited to get to go play against a guy like that’

Saquon Barkley will come face-to-face with one of his first NFL tormentors on Sunday, and this time it will have a much greater competitive intensity.

When the Giants play the Detroit Lions in Ford Field, Barkley will run into a defensive front that is anchored by his former teammate, Damon “Snacks” Harrison. The two had numerous practice field encounters before Harrison was traded to the Lions one year ago tomorrow, though they were far friendlier than what is likely when they meet as adversaries for the first time. Each team is looking to end a three-game losing streak.

“I remember last year, he said something like, in the beginning when I first got here, that he can’t wait to hit my ‘You know what,’” Barkley said today. “He always used to joke around here and on Twitter and stuff like that. But he’s Snacks, he’s a great dude. When he was here, he was someone that I was able to go to talk to for advice, just how to handle yourself throughout your career. He’s been playing at a high level for a really long time. He’s well-respected, so I’m really excited to get to go play against a guy like that.”

According to the Lions, Harrison last year became the first defensive lineman since 1930 to appear in 17 games in a season – including the first seven for the Giants – and only the eighth player to do so since 1931. He was able to accomplish that rare feat because he was dealt prior to the Giants’ bye week, but after Detroit had its week off.

Harrison has started all six games this season and all but one of his last 103 games. This season, he has been credited with 15 tackles (seven solo), two tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. He joins end Romeo Okwara and linebacker Devon Kennard as former Giants now starting for the Lions.

“He’s a heck of a player,” Barkley said of Harrison. “He’s a great player. I know personally, he wanted to get his hands on me since I got here last year, so he’s going to actually get that chance. But not only him, Romeo, all of those guys that we’ve got over there right now, they’re heck of players. I wish nothing but the best for them, but this week I just hope they don’t play to the level that they are capable of.”

Barkley will play his second game after missing the previous three with a sprained ankle. Last week against Arizona, he led the Giants with 72 rushing yards on 18 carries and caught three passes for eight yards.

Barkley said when he watched the tape of the game he saw a strong impersonation of his normal self.

“The only thing I felt personally, in the beginning I think I tried to do a little too much,” Barkley said. “I went back to my college habits, my old habits a little bit. But I guess that was just more excitement. But as the game went down, I felt like I settled down in the run game, but I didn’t make enough plays to help my team win. That happens, so you go back and you watch it, you learn from it and move on. Now you get ready for Detroit on Sunday.”
Barkley briefly left the game after that his landed awkwardly on the ground but said today he was not scared that he was seriously re-injured.

“No, it was football,” he said. “The probability of him actually landing like that again on me is probably not high. I was a little upset that, more upset to the fact that it happened again. That’s football, that happens when you have a high ankle sprain. There are going to be times when you feel a little bit of pain, but you also have to be a man and know where you’re able to toughen up at. I think in that spot and in those areas, I am able to.”

Is lingering soreness something Barkley will have to deal with for a few weeks?

“If it’s anything like it was when I had it in college, I don’t want to put a time on it, but it didn’t last a whole season in college (at Penn State),” Barkley said. “The rest of the season in college I felt it for a little bit, but the more time you give to relax it and treat it, the better it feels throughout the year. But nothing that I’m concerned about.”

Barkley was a full practice participant today after he was limited yesterday. Coach Pat Shurmur, who is always monitoring the cumulative wear of the season on his players, said Barkley’s practice load will be reduced at times.

“He may be a guy that we rest a little bit throughout the weeks to get him ready for the game,” Shurmur said.

Barkley, ever the good teammate, has no problem with that.

“As a competitor, you want to, not just only in the game but in practice, go out there every single day,” he said. “But whatever is going to benefit the team and benefit me, I guess, to help my team on Sunday. So that’s the way that coach believes is going to help. Like I said, continue to be open-minded like I was when I had the injury. Be open-minded and just take it day by day and continue to try to prepare myself to be ready.”

On Sunday, he’ll have to be ready for a 350-pound former teammate looking to put him on the ground.

*Rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine remains in the concussion protocol and did not practice. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard is still limited because he is in the protocol. Wide receiver Cody Latimer (quad) and linebacker Lorenzo Carter (ankle) practiced fully.

*The Giants this week signed linebacker Deone Bucannon, their fourth player who previously played for defensive coordinator James Bettcher with the Cardinals. The others are safety Antoine Bethea, defensive tackle Olsen Pierre and linebacker Kareem Martin (who is on injured reserve).

“My history with Buc, the things I know for certain about him, he loves football, he plays fast, he’s a guy that was always much more physical than the frame and the stature of the guy,” Bettcher said. “That’s really what stick out to me. I think just getting him out here the last couple of days, getting back into our system and our scheme, we are able to have some of the conversations reflecting back to Arizona and some of the things we did. He’s working hard and he wants to try to earn some time.”

*Coordinator Thomas McGaughey said he wasn’t just challenging Mike Thomas last week before the safety and special teams captain blocked a punt that resulted in a touchdown vs. Arizona.

“We were kind of struggling a little bit as far as just who are we as a group, our identity,” McGaughey said. “There’s been a lot of turnover, a bunch of different guys. The guys we had in the spring, there’s not a lot of the same guys, a bunch of different guys. So, not so much challenge Mike T, but just challenge the room. We’ve played at a certain level here when it comes to special teams, and I wanted the room to understand that this is the level that we play at, we play here. Regardless of who is in the game, we’re not making excuses like ‘This guy is here,’ or ‘This new guy is here,’ or ‘We’ve got three new guys here, we’re rotating, we’ve got to set up a new punt team.’ There’s no excuse. Nobody cares. Literally, nobody cares and there’s no help coming, so let’s go. So, that was kind of the message to the room.”

Courtesy: Michael Eisen

Shurmur on Jones: ‘He’s tough, he’s resilient, and I think he has a bright future’

Pat Shurmur is walking a tightrope on which many NFL head coaches have previously tried to keep their balance.

Like anyone in his position, Shurmur’s primary objective is to win football games. His concurrent and sometimes contradictory challenge is to win them while developing a rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones. And right now neither endeavor is as seamless as Shurmur would prefer.

The Giants yesterday fell to 2-5 with their third consecutive loss, 27-21 to the Arizona Cardinals in soggy MetLife Stadium. Jones passed for 223 yards, including a perfectly-thrown 28-yard touchdown to tight end Rhett Ellison. But he also threw an interception and lost two fumbles, turnovers that led to 17 Arizona points. Jones had a third fumble that was recovered by tackle Nate Solder.

In five games since taking over as the starter, Jones has thrown six touchdown passes and seven interceptions. He has also lost five fumbles for 11 total giveaways, or more than two a game.

Both Shurmur and Jones believes those miscues will decrease as the rookie gains more experience. Until then, Shurmur will emphasize the importance of securing the ball.

“We have to continue to do that,” Shurmur said. “Certainly, ball security is primary, especially for the quarterback. He got it swatted out of his hand on a screen. He was trying to hold off, Saquon (Barkley) popped a little bit late. But generally speaking, yeah, he has to secure the ball better.”

Asked how he can avoid some of the turnovers, Jones said, “I think just making sure I have two hands on the ball in the pocket is a big thing, just not letting myself get lazy with that at all, just making sure I’m consistent with that. And when I’m running, keeping the ball secured, I think all those little things that you’ve heard for a long time that are just kind of fundamental to anyone holding the ball I think are things that I need to do better.”

Another emphasis is for Jones to release the ball quicker. He was sacked eight times yesterday and could have avoided some of them by simply releasing the ball a tick or two earlier.

“That’s always something that they have to do,” Shurmur said. “They have to get the ball off on time, and most of the time he does. But those couple of plays he doesn’t, we have to get those fixed.”

Jones conceded he might have to speed up the play timer all quarterbacks have in their heads.

“I think that’s important to always have that in mind, and I think I need to do a better job in a lot of cases of just sensing when that timer is going off or when maybe I do have an extra half-second,” he said. “I think kind of just developing that, continuing to learn in those situations, and I’ll be using that to help me progress and help me in the next situation. So, yeah, I think I need to do a better job with it.”

Shurmur was asked if he would consider a quarterback change if neither the turnover situation nor Jones’ performance improved. That would presumably mean going back to Eli Manning, who, by the way, also threw seven interceptions – against three touchdowns passes – but lost only one lost fumble in his first five career starts 15 years ago.

“No,” Shurmur said. “I think Daniel is going to learn from everything that’s going on. Just like all the other rookies and their playing, they’re going to learn from the things that happen. But you have to learn and you have to win games, and I’m well aware of that. I’m totally well aware of that.”

Though the turnovers tend to obscure the fact, Jones is making strides.

“I think I’ve made progress in some senses,” he said. “In some plays, in certain situations, I’ve made progress, and in others, I haven’t. So, that’s the challenge, to keep making progress and to make progress throughout the game, throughout the situation, whatever it is, to continue to improve on everything.”

“I think he made a lot of nice throws in the game yesterday,” Shurmur said. “Obviously, that was a tight throw to Rhett in the end zone for a touchdown. He’s aggressive. He made another one down the sideline to Evan (Engram) that would have put us in scoring position (but the ball was dropped). He made some other really good throws. He’s tough, he’s resilient, and I think he has a bright future. That’s what I like about him.”

Jones’ youth and inexperience are not atypical of these Giants, who have 23 players on their 53-man roster who are rookies or second-year players.

“I think we’ve all made that point, that we’re very young,” Shurmur said. “There are a lot of rookies out there. We have to win games, and we have to find a way to do it this week (at Detroit).”

*Shurmur was asked to review his decisions late in the fourth quarter yesterday, most notably eschewing a punt at the Giants’ 33-yard line with 2:35 remaining and going for it on fourth-and-15 with the Giants trailing by three points. Jones was sacked for a 13-yard loss by blitzing cornerback Patrick Peterson, who forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Hasson Reddick. Zane Gonzalez kicked a 35-yard field goal that extended Arizona’s lead to 27-21.

Barkley had gained just three yards on a third-down draw. Shurmur, who had decided before that play to try to get the first, was asked if anything could have altered his decision.

“Anything could change anything as you go along,” he said. “The flipside of it is if you punt the ball away, you may never see it again. That’s the flipside. The reality of it was we didn’t make it, so I’m here standing here with the scrutiny of not making it. I get that. But the reality of that was we then stopped them. We had two timeouts and the two-minute warning. We did stop them and make them kick a field goal, and we still had another opportunity to go in there and win the game. I get that. We all live with the decisions we make. The ones that we make that don’t work, we have to live with it and you try to learn from it.”

*Shurmur did have one bit of good news: “There were not really any injuries to speak of from yesterday.”

Courtesy: Michael Eisen