In the last two weeks, the New York Giants had leads in the fourth quarter, and both times, they could not hold it, including on Sunday against the Falcons when they had a 14-7 lead in the fourth quarter. However, the Falcons(1-2) would tie the score at 14 and defeat the Giants 17-14 at MetLife Stadium as Falcons kicker Younghoe Koo made a 40-yard field with no time left on the clock.
The Giants are now 0-3.
Last Thursday, the Giants led Washington in the fourth quarter, and just like on Sunday, they would lose by a field goal with no time left on the clock.
On the day the Giants retired former quarterback Eli Manning’s number 10, New York got another solid performance from quarterback Daniel Jones, who was 24/35 for 266 yards. While he did not throw a touchdown pass, Jones did not turn the ball over. What made the performance even more impressive was Jones lost wide receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton to hamstring injuries.
At 0-3, the Giants have put themselves in a hole, and according to Jones, the team is frustrated with the losing.
“I think guys are frustrated and certainly disappointed with the results,” Jones said postgame. “We’re all competitors, and we want to win, and we expect to win, so that’s frustrating, and we’ve got to understand that and feel that today. But as we move forward, we’ve got to use that to motivate us to look at what we’ve done well and what we need to correct and how we need to attack this week going forward.”
Saquon Barkley, who ran for 51 yards and had his first rushing touchdown of the season on Sunday, has experienced a lot of losing since joining the Giants, and the fourth-year running back is tired of it.
“I’m sick of losing; everyone is sick of losing,” he said. “No one wants to lose, but I wouldn’t consider us a bad team. We just have to figure it out, and that’s the difference.”
Despite being winless, Giants head coach Joe Judge believes the team will continue to work to turn things around.
“I think the DNA of our team is a team that comes back and goes to work,” Judge said. “Look, no one is going to be happy after a loss; that’s the reality of what it is. The element of what we do as professionals (is) we’ve got to come back and go to work. We’ve got to watch the tape, we’ve got key on it, and we’ve got to prepare for a tough opponent coming up next week.”
New York’s next few games won’t be easy as they head on the road for the next two games against the Saints and Cowboys and then come home for two against the undefeated Rams and Panthers before going on the road to battle the Chiefs, so things could be challenging for the Giants going forward.
Barkley reacts to team’s loss to Falcons:
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley got his first full team reps on Thursday. However, he was treated like a quarterback. Barkley wore the red jersey, which means hands-off, don’t touch.
While it’s for his protection, Barkley did not like it.
“I hate it, I hate it,” Barkley said about wearing the red jersey after the team’s last joint workout with the Patriots outside Gillette Stadium. “You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. I said something in the locker room today, ‘I don’t care if it’s pink, orange, yellow, whatever color is on, as long as I’m going to be able to get out there. I’m going to take some reps for my team, and that’s the only thing that matters to me.'”
Barkley passed his physical and began practicing on AugUST 9. On Thursday, Barkley, who tore his ACL in Week 2 against the Bears, took his first reps in seven-on-seven drills and then his first four in 11-on-11.
“It feels good being with the team, feels good to get a couple of team reps,” Barkley said. “It’s just fun to be able to play football again, feel like a little kid, and just taking it day by day.”
According to a press release from the Giants, Barkley caught two passes in a two-minute drill, where he had some light contact from a Patriots defender.
The fourth-year running back, who rushed for 2344 yards and 23 touchdowns on the ground in his career, can’t wait to get hit.
“I definitely want to get hit again,” he said. “To me, it’s not just the hitting; it’s just playing football. Even though I only took two reps and a couple of reps in seven-on-seven, those reps are so valuable right now and going to help me in the long run.”
When healthy, the 24-year-old Barkley is a big-time running back, which helps make the Giants’ offense more dynamic. Personally, Barkley, whose fifth-year option was picked up by the team in April, which guaranteed his salary for 2022, would like to get a contract extension at some point, and if he proves that he’s completely healthy, he will get paid.
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.
The New York Giants have activated RB Saquon Barkley and LB Oshane Ximines from the physically unable to perform(PUP) list, the team announced on Monday.
Both were expected to participate in practice for the first time in training camp on Monday afternoon.
Barkley and Ximines have been on the physically unable to perform/active list since camp began last month.
Barkley, 24, tore his right ACL in Chicago on September 20. The fourth-year running back underwent surgery on October 30.
Once fully healthy, Barkley will step to the front of a running backs group that includes Devontae Booker, Corey Clement, rookie Gary Brightwell, and Alfred Morris.
Ximines, 24, injured his shoulder on October 4 against the Rams. The third-year linebacker was placed on injured reserve five days later. Ximines returned to practice on November 23, but the shoulder continued to be an issue, and he underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff on November 30.
Six players were placed on the PUP/active list when camp began, and two remain there: tight end Kyle Rudolph and rookie cornerback Aaron Robinson, the team’s fifth-round draft choice.
The Giants open their preseason schedule Saturday night against the Jets.
The New York Giants placed RB Saquon Barkley, TE Kyle Rudolph, and four others on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, the team announced on Thursday.
Barkley is looking to return after tearing his right ACL last September, while Rudolph is working his way back from offseason foot surgery.
In addition to Barkley and Rudolph, center Jonotthan Harrison (hamstring), tackle Matt Peart (back), linebacker Oshane Ximines (hamstring), and rookie cornerback Aaron Robinson (core muscle), the team’s third-round draft choice, was also placed on the PUP list.
According to the NFL, players on the Active/PUP list can be activated at any time during training camp. If they are still on the list at the final roster cutdown to 53, they must either be activated or moved to the Reserve/PUP list. Players on the Reserve/PUP list must be inactive for the first six weeks.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley was looking to have a big season in 2020. The third-year back has been over one-thousand yards in each of his first two seasons, and he was hoping to be better this season. Before the start of the season, in 29 games, Barkley rushed for over 2300 yards and 17 touchdowns on the ground. In addition, Barkley has over 1200 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
However, in Week 2 against the Bears, Barkley’s season ended after he tore his ACL. As Barkley works his way back from the injury, he is in line for an extension.
The two running backs that got paid recently were the Saints’ Alvin Kamara(15 million per season) and the Panthers’ Christian McCaffrey(16 million per season).
Will Barkley get paid like those guys?
It should be interesting to see what the Giants will do with Barkley. If New York does not extend Barkley, he can become a free agent after the 2021 season. However, if the team picks up his fifth-year option, Barkley would be under contract for the 2022 season. After that, they can use the franchise tag to keep him in New York through 2023.
Coming off an ACL injury, Giants co-owner John Mara expects Barkley to return to form and be a big part of the team for a long time.
“It was brutal to watch him go down in Week 2,” Mara said about Barkley on Wednesday. “He’s such an important part of this team, not only for what he does on the field but the leadership and all of the intangibles he brings to us off the field. That was really a gut-punch. Listen, I’m still happy that we have him. I think knowing him, he’s going to come back stronger than ever and be a big part of this team next year. In terms of what the time table is, it’s hard to predict that right now. I know our medical people are very pleased with the progress he’s made. I certainly expect him to be a Giant for a very long time.”
If Barkley had stayed healthy and put up big numbers in 2020, he would have most definitely gotten paid, but now things are uncertain. However, if Barkley comes back the same guy, he’s probably going to get paid. It just might happen a year later than he thought.
Dave Gettleman believes in Daniel Jones as strongly as ever and is excited about the prospects for the Giants’ offensive line. He is also dissatisfied the team averaged only 17.5 points a game in 2020.
Because of that, the general manager today had no reason to be coy regarding the franchise’s objectives as it enters a critical offseason.
“At the end of the day, we need to find playmakers,” Gettleman said during his annual postseason news conference on Zoom. “That’s all there is to it. I’m not sugarcoating it. If you talk about philosophically doing roster building, it’s the Q (quarterback), it’s the big men who allow you to compete. On offense, it’s playmakers. We have to be very conscious of it. We’re going to find the right guys to help Daniel get us over that hump.
“We’ve got great leadership. We’ve got a young club, a new, young team. I understand that. At the end of the day, this is an important offseason, roster building offseason, for us. We’ve got some solid pieces. We’ve built up the lines. We’ve done some things. We have to continue to get good players and part of it is getting playmakers, because that’s what you’re referring to. This is a goal of ours, obviously, for the offseason.”
On his own Zoom call with reporters, team president and chief executive officer John Mara expressed a similar sentiment.
“I think we certainly need to help our offense a little bit this offseason, be it free agency and the draft,” Mara said. “I think we need some more pieces there. Part of the problem that we had is we had a brand new offensive line with new guys playing new positions. They had never played together before, we had no offseason, we had no preseason games for them to get to know each other and get the feel for playing with one another, and they struggled, particularly early in the year, no question about it. I thought they started to play better in the second half of the season. But there’s no question that we need to help our offense going forward and add some more pieces. That will be a priority for us.”
The Giants were 6-10 and NFC East second-place finishers in 2020. Despite the record, they would be preparing for a postseason game as division champions had Washington lost to Philadelphia Sunday night.
Gettleman acknowledges the roster must be upgraded before the 2021 season begins. But he strongly believes the Giants have the two elements most critical to any improvement with Joe Judge as coach and Jones at quarterback.
“The bottom line is, with Joe, is his big picture view and then the follow up on the attention to detail,” Gettleman said. “That’s what’s really critical. He starts at A and gets to Z. That is huge, that is really huge. Obviously, he is a very bright guy. That’s what really sticks out in my mind. Just the big picture and the attention to detail. No detail is too small, the old saying, ‘The devil is in the details.’ He and his staff, he is really tuned into that.”
Gettleman selected Jones sixth overall in the 2019 NFL Draft and he’s more convinced than ever that it was the correct decision.
“Obviously, he flashed last year,” Gettleman said of Jones’ rookie season. “He had some big games and played well. Then he had games that weren’t so great. This year, early in the season he was struggling with his ball protection. We all know that. The second half of the year unfortunately he had that blip with the hamstring (and missed two games). He finished the season very strong. He played well against Baltimore despite getting chased all over the place to a degree. Made some big-time throws.”
In the season-ending 23-19 victory against Dallas on Sunday, Jones completed 17 of 25 passes for 229 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for a season-best 106.9 passer rating. That would have put the Giants into the postseason had the Philadelphia Eagles defeated Washington that night.
“Really and truly, it may sound trite, but obviously the last game of the year was a playoff game for us, it really was,” Gettleman said. “We have to win that game to force Washington to win their game. Daniel played very well. He made a couple of big-time throws. Protected the ball for the most part. The one pick was off of Evan’s (Engram) hands. He’s done a lot of really good stuff. He’s made of the right stuff mentally and physically. Again, we’re talking about a young quarterback who has had two different offensive coordinators in the NFL. Two different systems. Obviously, he had a different one at Duke, so he got three different systems in three years. I thought he got beyond the hamstring the last two games and he played well. We have complete confidence in him moving forward.”
Upgrading the offensive line has been one of Gettleman’s priorities since he arrived. This year, the group had three new starters in left tackle Andrew Thomas (the team’s 2020 first-round draft choice) left guard Shane Lemieux (a fifth-round selection) and center Nick Gates, a third-year pro who had never before played the position. Communication and continuity are considered critical for an O-line and as Mara noted, this group (which early in the season had Will Hernandez at left guard) had to develop a rapport via virtual meetings and training camp practices.
“We’ve got some really nice, young pieces,” Gettleman said. “Nick Gates stepped in there. He’d never played offensive center before. We drafted Will (Hernandez) and Shane Lemieux. You have (Kevin) Zeitler and Andrew Thomas who acquitted himself very well when he had that rough patch and then he got himself rolling again. I think this offensive line can compete. You can cherry pick here, cherry pick there, in terms of which game you want to pick and how the offense did. The offensive line showed very good progress. They’re big, they’re young, they’re strong and they’re tough and smart. This O-Line has a chance to be pretty damn good.”
The defensive line already is, most notably Leonard Williams. Gettleman was roundly criticized at midseason in 2019 when he sent three and fifth-round draft choices to the Jets for Williams, a first-round draft choice in 2015. Williams was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week twice following two of the final five games, including after his career-high three-sack performance against Dallas. He finished the season with a team-high and career-best 11.5 sacks.
“Leonard deserves a lot of credit for how he prepared this year,” Gettleman said. “Sean Spencer working with him as the D-line coach, the scheme that (defensive coordinator) Pat (Graham) had for him.. There was a reason that (Williams was the sixth overall selection in the draft). Leonard did a great job. He did a great job of working his fanny off. Again, the atmosphere for our players – one of hard work, you can have fun, you can enjoy yourself and Leonard did a heck of a job and his position coach, Sean Spencer, Pat Graham and Joe. The bottom line is he thrived in our atmosphere. I’m ecstatic. It’s like I tell players all the time, ‘I only want you to be successful and I want you to make me cry when it comes to negotiations.’”
While the Giants have numerous promising pieces on offense and defense, growing pains are always difficult to endure. Aside from perhaps Mara, no one has felt them more acutely than Gettleman.
“Of course, it’s disappointing,” Gettleman said. “It’s disappointing not just for me personally, but I’m disappointed for the organization. I’m disappointed for the players and the fans. Sure, it’s disappointing. Listen, last time I double checked, it’s about winning. I’m very disappointed. I guess the best thing I can say is – John said in 2018 we didn’t have a stellar year, didn’t have a stellar roster building season, it’s affected us. We’re on the right track right now. We’ve done some really good stuff the last two years. We’re going to fix this. We are going to fix this.”
Gettleman is a cancer survivor who turns 70 next month. But he is determined and motivated to lead the fix.
“I feel good, I feel strong. I had my 24-month review with my lymphoma doctor. He says you’re as healthy as a horse. Let’s just keep moving, so I’m ready to rock.
“It really is dependent upon the Lord how long I stick around for. We’re all day to day, by the way, in case anybody missed that point. I feel fine, I feel good, I’m excited. I just want to keep going. I don’t know where this retirement stuff came from. I have no idea what that’s all about. There are probably some people that… at the end of the day, I feel great. So, let’s keep going.”
Saquon Barkley and Adrian Peterson first met on Oct. 28, 2018, when Peterson scored two touchdowns and Barkley totaled 111 yards from scrimmage in Washington’s 20-13 victory against the Giants in MetLife Stadium. The two stellar running backs came together at midfield following the game and expressed their mutual admiration and Peterson told the then-rookie, “the sky’s the limit for you.”
Before retreating to their respective locker rooms, the future Hall of Famer had four words of advice for Barkley: “stay focused and keep grinding.”
More than two years later, that counsel has become particularly poignant to Barkley.
On Sept. 20, he suffered a serious knee injury in the Giants’ second game of the season. Barkley underwent surgery on Oct. 30 to repair a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. He spoke publicly today for the first time since that operation on a Zoom call with reporters when he was asked if he has any uncertainty about becoming the same player he was before the injury.
“No doubt in my mind,” Barkley said.
That confidence comes from his dedication to an arduous rehabilitation and his determination to return to the level of play that made him the 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the first player in Giants history to exceed 1,000 rushing yards in each of his first two seasons. It also emanates from the example Peterson set nine years ago.
On Dec. 24, 2011, Peterson, then a fifth-year pro with the Minnesota Vikings, tore his ACL and MCL in a game in Washington. He ended his season with 970 rushing yards, his first season with less than 1,000.
Peterson more than made up for it in 2012, when he led the NFL with a career-high 2,097 yards and was named the league’s Most Valuable Player, still the last non-quarterback to win the award. Now with the Detroit Lions in his 14th season, Peterson has 14,660 career rushing yards and 115 touchdowns – including 7,908 yards and 51 scores since his surgery.
It’s no surprise Barkley would like to emulate Peterson’s on-field exploits.
“Someone who’s really important to me would be A.P.,” Barkley said. “Obviously, when you hear this injury, the first person that comes to your mind is the season that A.P. had. I reached out to him or he reached out to me. He put me in contact with his trainer, I was able to ask him a lot of questions. Also, I think the day before surgery, I got to chat with A.P. for a very long time. I could see myself continuing to chat with him throughout.”
The post-injury production of Peterson and numerous other running backs has helped convince Barkley he will be the same dynamic player he was before his surgery.
“That’s the mindset,” Barkley said. “I’m never going to go in it with a negative approach. I feel like you should never go into anything in life with a negative approach. I think a positive mindset is going to be the thing that helps you get through a lot of things in life. That’s the mindset I’m going to have. I know that I’m going to be able to come out and be a better player. That’s what I’m going to challenge myself with. I know that starts with today.”
Though he exudes confidence, Barkley made no grandiose promises or boasts. He wouldn’t say when he expects to return to optimal health.
“No target date in mind,” he said. “Just coming every single day trying to get one percent better and continuing to trust in the medical staff and the trainers here.”
But Barkley admits it has been difficult being a spectator. After 625 touches in his first two years, he had just 19 rushing attempts and six receptions before the injury ended his season.
“It’s definitely a challenge,” he said. “Just the fact that the game that I love and been playing since I was seven is taken away from me a little bit. That definitely is challenging. But I’m just trying to be as supportive as I can. I love seeing my guys out there balling, doing their thing, especially the way we’re playing right now. That definitely makes life a lot easier. I have a lot of great people in my corner, with my family, my friends staying with me and pushing me through. That’s really the focus.
“Yes, I’m a competitor and I would love to have this over yesterday. But that’s not the case, so just have to come with that mindset of taking the same approach as I would if I was on the football field, trying to get better every single day, taking that into rehab.”
Barkley is heartened by the Giants’ recent success, three consecutive victories, as they prepare to play the Seahawks Sunday in Seattle. That includes the improvement of the team’s rushing attack, which initially struggled without Barkley, exceeding 100 yards just once in the first five games. But the Giants have exceeded that figure in each of the last six games, the team’s longest such streak since 2010. Wayne Gallman has rushed for 293 yards and six touchdowns in the last five games.
“Wayne Train, I’m so proud of him,” Barkley said. “He’s playing amazing. Not only him, but Alfred (Morris), EP (Eli Penny), the offensive line, they’re playing amazing. I remember after the Steelers game, when obviously, I guess you could say the run game wasn’t so pretty (totaling 29 yards in the season opener), I remember talking to the offensive line right there and saying, ‘We know what we have here. We’re going to get this thing figured out.’
“Honestly, I wish I was able to be a part of it. But I’m still part of it, to be completely honest. That’s my mindset. I’m still part of it in a way. But to see those guys open up those holes and seeing the running backs run in a way that Wayne is running is honestly amazing. It’s really helped the team.”
Barkley said he is “doing pretty well” mentally and emotionally while acknowledging that challenges lie ahead.
“I imagine there are going to be some more dark places coming up,” he said. “I would say really, probably the darkest time for me was right when it happened. Even though it wasn’t diagnosed what it was, I kind of had a feeling what happened. Obviously, that kind of brings you to tears. It’s tough in that moment. I know how hard I worked. I know how hard we worked as a team and what I wanted to help this team do this year, and I knew that was all taken away at that moment.
“But kind of have to suck it up. You can’t cry about it too long. You can’t complain about it too long. You have to move on. Everything happens for a reason. I have to have that mindset. Like I said, I have amazing people in my life, an amazing team and an amazing staff here and teammates and all those guys who help me and are continuing to help me get through this.”
So is the example set by Adrian Peterson.
The New York Giants have signed former Falcons RB Devonta Freeman, the team announced on Wednesday..
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s a one-year deal worth up to $3 million. After they lost RB Saquon Barkley to a torn ACL in Sunday’s loss to the Bears, the Giants turned to Freeman.
Last season, Freeman, 28, rushed for 656 yards and two rushing touchdowns for the Falcons. The two-time Pro Bowler was pretty good outside the backfield in 2019. Freeman had career-highs in receptions(70) and receiving touchdowns(4).
On Wednesday, Giants head coach Joe Judge discussed the signing of Freeman.
“He had a good workout for us yesterday,” Judge said via a video call. “We watched his tape from the past few years. Obviously, we have familiarity, Jerome Henderson was in Atlanta with him. He really spoke highly of the character he brings to the team, the kind of teammate he is in the locker room. I think he’s got some juice left in the tank. We’ll give him the opportunity to prove that.”
The six-year veteran did practice with the team today, and according to Judge, New York hopes to have him on the field this Sunday against the 49ers.
“We just got him in the building, so today will be a day of trying to catch him up and build him into the game plan,” Judge said. “Obviously, he has a lot to learn going into Sunday. But we’re going to do our best to get him ready for Sunday if we can do that.
While he is not Barkley, Freeman could be a good option for the Giants. It should be interesting to see how much he does have in the tank, and if you listen to what Judge had to say on Wednesday, it’s clear, they will give him every opportunity to show he can still play at a high level.
To make room for Freeman, the Giants placed wide receiver Sterling Shepard on injured reserve with turf toe. Like Barkley, Shepard was hurt in the second quarter of the Giants’ 17-13 loss in Chicago on Sunday. He is eligible to be reinstated to the roster after missing three games.