The Giants stepped back from the brink of yet another disastrous season with a 22-17 win in Houston on Sunday, as they put together just enough offense to improve their record to 1-2.
Here are grades for each specific position group...
The Giants stepped back from the brink of yet another disastrous season with a 22-17 win in Houston on Sunday, as they put together just enough offense to improve their record to 1-2.
Here are grades for each specific position group...
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When training camp opened back in July, John Mara was admittedly still stuck in a "nightmare". It had been nearly seven months since the Giants had ended their disastrous 3-13 season. But the memories were still painfully fresh.
"I haven't gotten over last season quite yet," he said. "I have to be honest about it -- I did not see it coming. I felt very good this time last year. I think most of you predicted that we were going to have a great season, some of you even predicted we'd go to the Super Bowl. I wasn't quite buying into that but I certainly did not see 3-13 coming.
The Giants released their unofficial depth chart on Monday, and though it isn't set in stone, there are a few things worth noting.
Here are the five biggest takeaways from how this roster looks early on in training camp...
Former Jets offensive coordinator Tony Sparano passed away unexpectedly on Monday at age 56.
Sparano, who has been with the Vikings as their offensive line coach for the past two seasons, joined the Jets in 2012 to be the head of their offense. Before that, he spent three seasons as the Dolphins' head coach from 2008-11.
Vikings owners Mark and Zygi Wilf made a statement that paid homage to Sparano's energetic nature and passionate personality for the game of football.
Giants DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison is never one to back down from defending his play on the field. In fact, his favorite way to do so is on Twitter.
Another perfect example came on Saturday when Harrison retweeted a Pro Football Focus graphic that showed he had the best run-stop percentage (13.4 percent) out of any defensive tackle in the league. But an Eagles fan decided to go back at Harrison in the comments section, saying "he isn't good at all."
Well, Snacks wasn't having any of that.
EA Sports released its highly-anticipated Madden NFL 19 ratings on Tuesday, and the Giants saw themselves at the bottom of the pack.
Despite some high-profile names on the roster, Big Blue came in rated 73 which is the third-worst ranking in the popular video game. The ratings do change based off team performance throughout the year.
The highest-rated player on the Giants is WR Odell Beckham Jr., who came in at 95 overall. That makes him the third-best receiver in the game behind Steelers' Antonio Brown, who has a nearly perfect rating of 99, and Falcons' Julio Jones' 98 rating...
On the first day of the Giants' three-day mandatory minicamp, Giants DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison let rookie RB Saquon Barkley know that once the pads are on, he isn't holding back.
"I'm excited to get out there in training camp, so I can hit his ass," Harrison said. "See what he's made of. I told him, it's not Penn State. He's not going up against (DT) Josh Banks at Wake Forest."
It was all meant in good faith, but Barkley understands fully what Harrison is on the Giants to do: stop the run. That is why when asked to rebuttle Harrison's comments, the rookie took the high road instead.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Saquon Barkley has dazzled his teammates with the Giants this spring even though he hasn't taken a hit yet in the NFL.
That first hit, though, is coming soon. And it may happen long before he ever gets into a game.
"I'm excited to get out there in training camp, so I can hit his ass," Giants defensive tackle Damon Harrison said on the first day of minicamp Tuesday. "See what he's made of. I told him, it's not Penn State. He's not going up against (DT) Josh Banks at Wake Forest."
In a series of tweets, Giants DT Damon Harrison reacted to the NFL's new national anthem policy on Wednesday.
The new policy, which the NFLPA immediately fired back at, requires all team and league personnel on the field "to stand and show respect for the flag and the anthem" or stay in the locker room or another inside area until the anthem is completed. Those who violate the policy will receive "appropriate discipline" from the commisioner.
Harrison was among Giants who knelt during the anthem at points last season for social justice reasons. Click below to see his tweets...
For those who didn't vote for Giants DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison in the NFL Top 100 this year -- good luck.
It appears that Harrison, who was No. 96 on the 2017 Top 100 list, won't make it this season as the latest installment of the list (No. 80-71) didn't include him.
Well, it is safe to say that Snacks doesn't appreciate it after warning "every lineman we play this year" that he will have no mercy.
The NFL Network begins its annual Top 100 Players ranking tonight, and according to The Athletic's Patricia Traina, a Giants player will be announced.
But Giants DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison says it better not be him. In last year's rankings, Harrison was labeled the 96th-best player in the NFL, and he didn't think that was high enough.
So, he warned NFL Network not to make the same mistake again...
The Giants stuck with defense in the third round as they took N.C. State DT B.J. Hill with the 69th overall pick.
Hill played four seasons with the Wolfpack where he totaled 183 tackles (23.5 for loss), eight sacks, nine passes defended, and two forced fumbles.
The Giants took a defensive tackle in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft in Alabama's Dalvin Tomlinson. With Damon "Snacks" Harrison next to Tomlinson, Hill will have tough competition to see starting time next season.
Bent, theJetsBlog.com Follow on Twitter
The Jets own the third pick in this year's draft, their highest since 1996. How have they drafted in the first round over the past five years?
It's too early to tell how Adams' career will pan out, but the signs so far have been promising. He started every game in his rookie year as the Jets' secondary definitely played better than it had in 2016. On the field, Adams had his ups and downs, but he showed flashes of brilliance in a versatile role. Off the field, he's played a big part in the ongoing culture change that has galvanized the team and has also been a useful tool in player recruitment.
Jets GM Mike Maccagnan made it clear he had no worries about the state of the Jets' defensive line heading into the offseason. Sure, they've lost a lot of talent in recent years, trading Sheldon Richardson, cutting Muhammad Wilkerson and not re-signing Damon Harrison.
But they still have Leonard Williams, the sixth pick of the 2015 draft, and despite a down season last year, the Jets have huge expectations for him.
Three years ago, the Jets seemed to have the makings of the best defensive line in football. They added Leonard Williams to a line that already featured Mo Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson, and Damon Harrison. The potential seemed to be huge.
Now Wilkerson, Richardson, and Harrison are all gone, and Williams is coming off a disappointing, two-sack season. So, it makes sense that the Jets will spend a bunch of their $90 million or so of salary cap space in upgrading their defensive line
Giants DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison and S Landon Collins made it to Pro Football Focus' top 101 players for the 2017 NFL season.
Harrison, who has made the list four times now, was named PFF's best run defender in 2017 after hitting 40 run stops for the third time in his career. Snacks may not have made the Pro Bowl, but PFF recognizes him as one of -- if not the most -- valuable run stopper in the game.
"There is no greater run-stuffing force in the NFL than Damon Harrison, the Giants defensive tackle," PFF writes. "Harrison won PFF's best run defender award again this season, and has made run stops and run-stop percentage a statistic owned by him alone. Harrison again topped 40 run stops this season, third time in his career, or two more times than the rest of the league's interior defenders have managed since 2006. The run game has never been less important in the NFL, but Harrison is good enough to be an exception to that rule."
Giants DT Damon Harrison admits he knows nothing about the defense that the Cardinals ran while new defensive coordinator James Bettcher coached there, but he's ready to do whatever is asked of him.
Last season, the Giants gave up the second most yards in the NFL and was tied for 28th in points conceded. Ownership decided to clean house, firing GM Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo. Since the organization hired Pat Shurmur to replace McAdoo, the new coach brought his own coaches in, including Bettcher to be the new defensive coordinator, replacing Steve Spagnuolo.
"I know absolutely nothing," Harrison said when asked what he knew about Bettcher's defenses in Arizona, via Paul Schwartz of NY Post...
The Giants may have suffered through one of their worst seasons in franchise history, but there were some individual bright spots. One of those came in the form of DT Damon Harrison, who was named Pro Football Focus' top run defender of 2017.
Harrison, 29, started all 16 games for the Giants and led the league in run stops (40), run-stop percentage (13.4) and finished tied for fifth with Carolina's Luke Kuechly with 46 solo tackles against the run. His three-year total of 138 run stops is the highest in the NFL, 44 more than the next-highest total in that span.
Landon Collins' season isn't over yet. But the end may be coming soon.
The Giants are still considering whether to shut down their star safety for the final three games after he re-injured his ankle on Sunday afternoon, according to interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo. Collins has been playing through a high ankle sprain since Week 5, and it he aggravated it on Sunday in the Giants' loss to the Cowboys.
Spagnuolo had already indicated on Monday that they might put the 23-year-old on injured reserve "to protect Landon from himself."
Giants WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring) returned to practice on Thursday, but was limited.
The wideout has been battling a hamstring ailment that kept him out in the beginning of the week.
Also, limited were RB Wayne Gallman (hip), LB B.J. Goodson (ankle), DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison (elbow), and T Chad Wheeler (concussion).
Giants WR Odell Beckham, Jr. worked out in the weight room during practice without a walking boot on his right ankle on Wednesday, according too SNY's Ralph Vacchiano..
Beckham, who had surgery to repair his fractured right ankle in October, had 25 catches for 302 yards and three touchdonws this season.
In other injury news...
Giants CB Eli Apple (hip), LB Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist), RB Wayne Gallman (hip), LB BJ Goodson (ankle), DT Damon Harrison (elbow), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger), OL Justin Pugh (back), WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring), and RT Chad Wheeler (concussion) are all on the injury report.
The Giants ruled linebacker Jonathan Casillas out for Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders due to neck and wrist injuries.
New York also listed offensive lineman Justin Pugh (back) as doubtful and defensive tackle Damon Harrison (elbow) and cornerback Eli Apple (hip) as questionable.
The Giants removed linebacker B.J. Goodson, who was limited at practice the past two days due to an ankle injury, and wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who missed the past two games due to migraines, from the injury report.
Giants OL Justin Pugh (back) returned to practice on Thursday on a limited basis. He has missed three of the last four games.
LB Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist) and DT Damon Harrison (elbow), missed practice for a second-straight day.
LB B.J. Goodson (ankle) was limited for a second-straight day.
WR Sterling Shepard, who has missed the last two games due to migraines, practiced in full after returning to practice on Wednesday.
Giants LB Jonathan Casillas (neck/wrist), DT Damon Harrison (elbow), and OL Justin Pugh (back) all missed practice on Wednesday.
LB B.J. Goodson (ankle) was limited.
WR Sterling Shepard, who has missed the last two games due to migraines, returned to practice.
The Giants will be without G D.J. Fluker (toe), LB B.J. Goodson (ankle), and OL Justin Pugh (back) on Thursday night against the Redskins.
LB Calvin Munson (quad) is listed as doubtful.
WR Sterling Shepard (ilnness) is questionable. He missed practice on Wednesday after sitting out on Tuesday due to "not feeling well," per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.
Giants WR Sterling Shepard sat out of practice again on Tuesday as he was "not feeling well," per SNY's Ralph Vacchiano.
Shepard was sidelined against the Chiefs on Sunday with migraines, and it appears that he still has them. Trainers will continue "looking at all possibilities" as to why the sophomore receiver is getting them.
The good news at practice was DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison and DE Olivier Vernon were both at practice, but were limited in what they could do. They were previously out on Monday after both suffering injuries in the win on Sunday. Vernon was said to have a shoulder injury on Sunday, but he was listed with an ankle issue which has bothered him the past few weeks. Harrison is nursing an ankle injury.
The Giants defense climbed out of their rut from the past two weeks on Sunday, and they credit the players-only meeting during the week as the reason why.
Allowing 82 combined points over two weeks is atrocious, and yet the Giants defense allowed it to happen against the Rams and 49ers. It was rock bottom after letting up over 400 yards to the 49ers, and the defense addressed what is going wrong in a players-only meeting during the week.
Defensive captain LB Jonathan Casillas was the man who called the meeting as he believed it was the right time to hash everything out.
The Giants ruled offensive lineman Justin Pugh and linebacker B.J. Goodson out for Sunday's game against the Kansas City Chiefs due to back and ankle injuries, respectively.
New York also listed defensive tackle Damon Harrison (ankle) and linebacker Devon Kennard (quad) questionable, while linebacker Kelvin Sheppard is doubtful to play due to a groin injury.
Giants DT Damon Harrison (ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis on Thursday after missing practice on Wednesday.
CB Donte Deayon (ankle), G D.J. Fluker (knee), LB Devon Kennard (quad), LB Calvin Munson (quad), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), and DT Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle) were also limited participants.
LB B.J. Goodson (ankle), OL Justin Pugh (back), and LB Kelvin Sheppard (groin) all missed practice for a second-straight day.
Not only did Ben McAdoo have a team meeting on Wednesday, but the Giants' defense held a players-only meeting to figure out their own problems.
The defense has looked like a shell of itself from last season as it has consistently dropped the ball the past few weeks. They have allowed a total 82 points in the last two weeks, and after allowing over 400 yards per game this season, they are ranked 31st in total defense.
Similar to McAdoo's meeting, effort was a main area discussed in the meeting. Every player was allowed to speak, and things were spirited in the discussions.
LB B.J. Goodson (ankle), DT Damon Harrison (ankle), OL Justin Pugh (back), LB Kelvin Sheppard (groin) all missed Giants practice on Wednesday.
CB Donte Deayon (ankle), G D.J. Fluker (knee), LB Devon Kennard (quad), LB Calvin Munson (quad), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (knee), and DT Dalvin Tomlinson (ankle) were all limited participants.
Pugh will be out for the team's matchup against the Chiefs this Sunday, per NFLN's Ian Rapoport.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants smell a "rat" or two in their locker room, and they seem determined to flush them out.
That was the general, on-the-record reaction to the two anonymous players who ripped head coach Ben McAdoo and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo in a published report on Wednesday. Several Giants players called their anonymous teammates "cowards".
And they absolutely want to find out who the leakers are.
The Giants (1-6) vs. the Los Angeles Rams (5-2) at the Meadowlands in East Rutherford, New Jersey, on Sunday, Nov. 5, at 1 p.m. ET.
That dark cloud that's been hovering over the Giants all season? Yeah, it'll be there Sunday. The forecast calls for "considerable cloudiness" and intermittent rain with a temperature in the low 60s. As if the crowd wasn't going to be small enough for this one ...
There are really two ways this season can go for head coach Ben McAdoo. His team can show some fight, keep the games competitive and maybe steal a win or two. Or his team can surrender and start getting blown out. Now that they're back from their bye, whichever way they start out is likely where the rest of the games are headed. They are very undermanned now, and they know they have nothing to play for, so motivation won't be easy. Neither will be responding when things go wrong (and things will go wrong). It will be a test of McAdoo's coaching and leadership ability. How the team reacts may determine whether he keeps his job.
The Giants (1-6) take on the Rams (5-2) at MetLife Stadium coming off their bye week.
The Giants practice on Friday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
Sterling Shepard appears ready for Sunday against the Rams
Hours after Giants' GM Jerry Reese took blame for the Giants' 1-6 start, DT Damon Harrison came to his defense and said the players are the ones resposible for the poor start.
The Giants enter a much-needed bye week as they try to figure out how to improve on an unexpected first half of the season.
Only the San Francisco 49ers own a worse record in the NFC (0-7) than the Giants, and following a first half of injuries and bad play on the field, head coach Ben McAdoo thinks it's best to get away from the game for a bit and regroup.
"I think we need to get away from it for a little bit," McAdoo told ESPN's Jordan Raanan. "We need to get away from it, we need to clear our minds, get our bodies back and get back with a fresh outlook, as tough as that may be. We need to come back, we have a lot of football left to play. We had a lot of fight in us [Sunday] and that needs to continue."
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Last week's win in Denver was a nice break from the reality of this miserable Giants season. And from the way they played in their 24-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, it's likely to only get worse.
Because the bottom line for the Giants (1-6) is this: They could barely move the ball this season with Odell Beckham Jr. on their side, and they now can barely move it even a little without him. It's been two games now since the Giants lost Beckham, Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard and Dwayne Harris, and here's their grand total: 443 yards of offense and 23 points.
It doesn't matter who's calling the plays; the Giants aren't going to win many games the rest of the way if this offense continues to produce like that.
Damon Harrison is well aware of the way Russell Wilson utilizes his mobility to move the Seahawks offense down the field, and he says the Giants defense needs to stop him in his tracks to beat him on Sunday.
Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Just when it looks like it can't get any worse … it gets worse.
Not only have the Giants lost as many games this season (five) as they lost all of last season, but they've now lost their best player, likely for the entire season, and four-fifths of what they thought would be the best receiving corps in the league.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants appear to be bracing for another offensive line shakeup -- and maybe one on the defensive line, too.
Three key players on those lines were missing from the 0-4 team's practice on Wednesday -- center Weston Richburg and defensive ends Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul. Richburg is in the NFL's concussion protocol and it seems unlikely he'll be available for the game against the 0-4 Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Vernon is dealing with ankle injury and JPP has a shoulder injury that apparently got worse over the last few days...
During a meeting with the players on Wednesday night, Giants co-owner John Mara requested for them to stand during the national anthem but said he would support those who kneel, LB Jonathan Casillas relayed to reporters on Thursday.
S Landon Collins said the meeting was a "heart-to-heart" and that Mara was "very supportive" of the players, according to Art Stapleton of The Record.
Collins, Damon Harrison, and Olivier Vernon all knelt during the anthem prior to Sunday's game against the Eagles in response to President Donald Trump's comments on Friday night.
PHILADELPHIA -- Olivier Vernon is the son of a retired police officer who served for 25 years. He's a child of immigrants, with a father who came from Jamaica and a mother who hailed from Switzerland. He has watched the racial problems he sees in this country for a while, and listened closely to the words of a man he insisted "ain't my president."
Sometime on Saturday, though, the Giants defensive end decided he had enough.
Giants DT Damon Harrison is preparing to face a quarterback who he says is more confident and mobile and a three-dimensional running game featuring a trio who can all catch the ball out of the backfield
"They have (Darren) Sproles, who is a receiving type of back. They have (Wendell) Smallwood, who is the speed guy, and you have (LeGarrette) Blount, who is the downhill, power back," Harrison said of the Eagles' running backs. "So, they have three different guys who can do three different things and you just have to be prepared. All of them can catch the ball really, so it'll be a tough game."
Harrison also hasn't lost sight of the mobility of second-year quarterback Carson Wentz, who threw 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions his rookie season. Wentz thew for 333 yards and two touchdowns in the team's 27-20 loss to the Chiefs in Week 2.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants knew they were returning almost all of their starters from last year's outstanding defense, but there was one player that Damon "Snacks" Harrison just wasn't sure about.
"I told him coming into this offseason that I wasn't a full believer in B.J. Goodson," Harrison said of the Giants new starting middle linebacker. "He was just a young guy at middle linebacker. You have to know everything. You have to get people in the right spots. He only played like 12 snaps last year so we didn't get a chance to see him. … It was just yet to be seen."
Then the 24-year-old Goodson had a strong offseason where he took control of a veteran-heavy defensive team. And then on opening night, during a 19-3 loss in Dallas, he was a dominant defensive force, making 18 tackles. Like all of the best middle linebackers the Giants have had, Goodson was all over the field.
Giants DT Damon Harrison was part of a Giants team last season that made the playoffs for the first time in five seasons, but he says many players in the locker room believe there is room for improvement heading into this season.
"We've got a bunch of guys who aren't comfortable with what they've done last year," he said on Thursday. "Whether it be [defensive tackle] Robert Thomas, or [safety] Landon Collins. Nobody is happy, or satisfied, or content - whichever word you want to use - with what they've done last year. Last year doesn't matter anymore."
Harrison can tell how driven the players are when he notices the work they do to prepare for the season -- away from the public eye.
Giants S Landon Collins and DT Damon "Snacks" Harrison weren't pleased by a dangerous hit that sent WR Odell Beckham Jr. to the locker room in the team's 10-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns Monday night.
At the beginning of the second quarter, Beckham took a low hit from Browns CB Briean Boddy-Calhoun that sprained the wideout's ankle. Though it wasn't deemed an illegal hit, Collins and Snacks both took to Twitter to voice their opinions on the matter.
Collins not only believes the hit was dirty, but he couldn't play next to someone that would that...
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Throughout camp last year, Damon "Snacks" Harrison was used to seeing Johnathan Hankins lining up next to him for each rep. This year, though, he has seen multiple jerseys swap in and out as the Giants try to figure out who will start next to him Week 1.
Who is the leading candidate? There hasn't been one player in particular who has stood out. But, according to the Giants' depth chart, Jay Bromley is ahead of the pack.
The fourth-year veteran has only four starts so far in his career, but his work ethic this offseason is one that is reminiscent of a seasoned starter like Harrison.
Giants linebacker Devon Kennard said he hopes New York's defense can maintain its high energy a year after giving up the second fewest points in the league.
"I want to see us set the tempo from ground zero, and that's me personally," Kennard said. "If safeties and linebackers are communicating well, and we are getting the things that we need to to the D-line, from a linebacker perspective, I think it starts there. If we are doing that and being physical, I like where we are headed."
The Giants bring back a strong defensive core with a defensive line that features Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison and Olivier Vernon; linebackers Kennard and Jonathan Casillas; and a secondary of Eli Apple, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. By retaining so many defenders, Kennard said the team's familiarity with the system and each other can only help moving forward.
"We already know so much about the defense, so now we can get into the little details and nuances that maybe a year or two ago we weren't able to hit the same way because there were so many guys trying to learn the defense," said Kennard, who recorded 61 combined tackles, one sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery while playing all 16 games last season.
Giants head coach Ben McAdoo spoke with reporters after practice on Friday. Here's what we learned...