Another brutal week for some teams in a Sunday that was packed with upsets and several close calls that resulted in late game finishes. The Detroit Lions were the biggest surprise of the weekend, as they forced three turnovers from the undefeated Chicago Bears in a win that ties them atop the NFC North. The Washington Redskins finally notched their first win of the season, while the Eagles, Cowboys and Giants all suffered losses. Last night, New Orleans hosted the Miami Dolphins and completed the rout that pushed them to 4-0; making a case that they will strongly compete for the NFC conference (the Saints meet the Seattle Seahawks in week 13 in a much anticipated matchup).  Here are my NFC Power Rankings for Week 4...

 1. Seattle Seahawks (4-0): Not much to say except that the Seahawks were handed a gift on Sunday against the Houston Texans. What looked like their first loss of the season was anything but that. Down 20-3, the Seahawks were able to rally and beat the Texans in overtime. A key play; CB Richard Sherman picked off Texans QB Matt Schaub for a touchdown in the fourth quarter on a poorly thrown ball and an even worse play call by Houston. Seattle has shown that it can win tight games and faces a tough test next week when they travel to Indianapolis to face Andrew Luck and the Colts. Seattle's 62-point score differential speaks for itself; this team can score and their defense is one of the best in the NFL.  Ranking last week: 1

2. New Orleans Saints (4-0):  All of the focus this year has been on the play of Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning, who is on pace to have a record-breaking year in almost every category. Behind the scenes, QB Drew Brees and the Saints are rolling; enacting some revenge after a disastrous last season in which the team finished with a 7-9 record. Last night, the Saints hosted the Dolphins and the battle of undefeated teams was as lopsided as they come. Brees threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns without an interception and the Saints cruised to a 38-17 victory. The New Orleans defense looks revitalized under defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and they make a serious case for the top spot in the NFC this week.   Rankings last week: 3

 3. Chicago Bears (3-1): A tough loss for the Bears as they couldn't find an answer to stop Lions RB Reggie Bush (18 carries, 139 yards, one touchdown). QB Jay Cutler had his worst performance of the year throwing three interceptions and the Bears were already being blown out by halftime 30-13. On a positive note, it looks as if second-year WR Alshon Jeffrey could be a viable option at receiver and take some pressure off of superstar WR Brandon Marshall; Jeffrey finished the day with 107 yards and one touchdown in the loss.  Ranking last week: 2

 

  4. Green Bay Packers (1-2):  The Packers were off this week and host the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field this Sunday, an NFC North matchup that is crucial for the standings. If the Packers can't come away with a victory and start the season 1-3, questions about the strength of this team are going to arise. The loss to the Cincinnati Bengals is still stuck in the minds of Green Bay, so look for them to come out swinging. Ranking last week: 4

 

5. San Francisco 49ers (2-2): RB Frank Gore finally had a breakout game, rushing for 153 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown, as the Niners demolished the St. Louis Rams 35-11 on Thursday night. Even better, San Francisco held the Rams to just 188 yards total, and 18 yards on 19 attempts rushing. QB Colin Kaepernick (15-for-23 passing, 167 yards, two touchdowns) was able to spread the ball around the field and it looks as if both the Niners offense and defense is back in sync again. Ranking last week: 5

 

 6. Detroit Lions (3-1): Reggie Bush has finally found the perfect offense in Detroit. After sitting out last weekend due to injury, Bush had another stellar performance in the Bears victory, running for over 130 yards . People are starting to take note of the Lions; with the Packers struggling, the Lions are going to compete for the division, one way or another. WR Calvin Johnson was held to just 44 yards on four catches and the Lions still racked up 40 points against the gritty Bears defense....scary. Ranking last week: 8

 

7. Atlanta Falcons (1-3): Struggles again in the red zone have plagued the Falcons so far this season, and it was evident against the New England Patriots on Sunday night as they were just 1-6 in red zone efficiency. The Falcons attempted a comeback, but failed to reach the end zone to force OT. Obviously WR Roddy White's ankle injury is still bothering him, but the teams believes that he is getting closer to 100 percent, and they hope so; over the past four weeks he has been a non-factor, totaling just 84 yards and has yet to score a touchdown.  The next couple of weeks are critical for the Falcons as they host the New York Jets before their bye week, and then the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after. Ranking last week: 6

 

8. Dallas Cowboys (2-2): Looks like Dallas has a problem closing games out, as they allowed the final 20 points against the San Diego Chargers to fall to 2-2. The Chargers racked up more than 500 yards and QB Philip Rivers had a field day, throwing for 401 yards with three touchdowns and one pick (that was returned for a touchdown by LB Sean Lee). WR Dez Bryant was the only option on offense (six receptions, 81 yards, two touchdowns) and with WR Miles Austin fighting through a hamstring injury, Dallas is going to have to utilize other options such as RB DeMarco Murray and TE Jason Witten if they have any chance of winning games. Ranking last week: 7

 

9. Washington Redskins (1-3):  There's a first time for everything. The Redskins were able to collect their first win of the season against the Oakland Raiders, a team starting backup QB Matt Flynn that provided him with basically an invisible offensive line. The Redskins were able to sack Flynn seven times and force an interception in their comeback win that had them down by two touchdowns. RGIII played well and injury to RB Albert Morris doesn't appear to be too bad. Ranking last week: 14

 

10. Arizona Cardinals (2-2): Talk about a barn-burner. The Cardinals hadn't scored a point in what felt like an eternity, and it took them until the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday in their 13-10 victory. CB Patrick Peterson had two interceptions late in the game and WR Larry Fitzgerald caught a 13-yard pass with less than five minutes remaining to tie the game. The Cardinals would eventually kick the game winning field-goal and leave Tampa with a victory. This Arizona team has been tough to figure out; without a solid running game and the inconsistent play of QB Carson Palmer, I am shocked that this team has two wins. It doesn't get any easier for the Cards; the next couple of weeks are down right harsh as they face off against San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta and Houston....all in a row. Ranking last week: 12

 

11. Carolina Panthers (1-2):  The Panthers, along with the Packers, were off this week; not necessarily a good thing after their explosive offensive performance against the Giants just a week ago where they scored 38 points and kept Big Blue off the board. Carolina has a pretty easy schedule over the next couple of weeks as they look to gain ground in the NFC South with the Falcons reeling. Their next four games pits them against the Cardinals, Rams, Vikings and Bucs. Ranking last week: 11

 

12. St. Louis Rams (1-3):  Just a bad performance from the Rams all around. They were only able to muster up 188 yards on offense, and their defense gave up several big plays to the Niners. The team had hopes of RB Daryl Richardson (12 carries, 16 yards) filling in nicely with the loss of RB Steven Jackson to the Atlanta Falcons, but so far, he has been a bust. Ranking last week: 9

 

 13. Minnesota Vikings (1-3): It's about time someone other than RB Adrian Peterson (23 carries, 140 yards, two touchdowns) made a big play for the Vikings. WR Greg Jennings caught two touchdowns for 92 yards in Minnesota's first victory of the season over the Pittsburgh Steelers that took place at London's Wembley Stadium. QB Matt Cassel took over the role as starting quarterback with the injury to Christian Ponder and performed well, throwing for 248 yards and two touchdowns. The Vikings move into their bye week at the bottom of the NFC North, but Cassel could find a permanent role as QB, which might turn things around for the boys in purple. Ranking last week: 13

 

14. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3): Not much can be said when your team gets trounced by one of the best teams in the NFL in the Denver Broncos. QB Peyton Manning had his way with the Philadelphia defense and while the game was still close at halftime, the Broncos blew the doors off and were able to put 52 points on the scoreboard. Philly hasn't looked like a steady team since the first quarter of their first game against the Redskins and head coach Chip Kelly needs to get this team back on track if he has any chance of keeping his job in the offseason, or it's back to college he goes. Ranking last week: 10

 

  15. New York Giants (0-4): Once again, the Giants were in the game at halftime, and then let the Kansas City Chiefs roll right through them in the second half to remain undefeated. Even after forcing the Chiefs to make their first turnovers of the season, the Giants couldn't gather any momentum on offense. At times, it looked like RB David Wilson (13 carries, 55 yards) would finally break free for a long run, but was tripped up on several occasions. The team was 1-14 on third downs and besides the 69-yard bomb to WR Victor Cruz (10 catches, 164 yards, one touchdown) in the second quarter, Big Blue's offense was anemic and failed to reach the red zone during the game. Still winless, the Giants host the Eagles and with a win, accompanied by a Dallas Cowboys loss (the Cowboys host the Broncos), the G-Men will  sit only two games back of first place in the NFC East with 3/4 of the season left to be played. Ranking last week: 16

 

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4): Tough to drop the Bucs to the last spot in the NFC, but after the debacle that QB Josh Freeman has caused and the team handing over a victory to the Arizona Cardinals on a silver platter, they deserve it. Backup QB Mike Glennon (24-for-43 passing, 193 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) didn't play terrible for his first start, but if RB Doug Martin (27 carries, 45 yards) doesn't have consistent weeks running the ball, this team is doomed. Ranking last week: 15

 

Tags: AFC, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, NFC, nfc power rankings, Seattle Seahawks
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Daniel Jones was impressive again, for the second time in two preseason games, so of course Pat Shurmur got the question again: With the way Jones is playing, is there any way he could compete to take Eli Manning's job by Opening Day?

Then came Shurmur's familiar dance, where he says "No" without actually saying "No," and closes the door while making it look like it's still open. This time he even made it seem like it wasn't his decision, as he deferred to John Mara. He even added, for good measure "I just get a sense once in a while that when I answer those questions nobody believes me."

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 16, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws the ball during the first half against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 16, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws the ball during the first half against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When the Giants scouted Daniel Jones they were convinced he had a little Eli Manning in him. They saw that same calm, even-keeled personality that Manning has - the ability to appear unflappable when things start to go wrong.

On Friday, Jones showed them they were right.

Tags: Cody Latimer, Eli Manning, Janoris Jenkins, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jones on his second game 00:01:20
New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones discusses his miscues and how he'll learn from them after playing the Chicago Bears.

Both Giants quarterbacks had strong first-half performances on Friday night against the Bears.

Eli Manning got things started, systematically moving the first-team offense down the field on a touchdown drive. Manning was 4-4 for 42 yards on the drive, capping it with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler to put the Giants up 7-0.

That would be Manning's only drive of the night.

Tags: Eli Manning
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May 3, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (97) during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 3, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (97) during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Rookie Dexter Lawrence came to the Giants with a nearly unblemished football record.

The defensive lineman has no notions of changing his status with the Giants.

Big Blue is viewed more in the short term as a rebuilding franchise, but Lawrence set the bar high for his career with the team. He wants a plethora of titles. 

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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver TJ Jones (2) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver TJ Jones (2) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Checking the box score after the Giants' first preseason bout against the Jets last Thursday, it wasn't Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, or Russell Shepard that led the receivers columns. 

It was TJ Jones. 

The five-year veteran, who spent all his NFL seasons with the Lions after being drafted in the sixth round back in 2014, finished the night with six receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. His score came on a back-shoulder pass from Alex Tanney that Jones tracked down perfectly and fell into the end zone to tally six points on the board. 

Tags: Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur looks on during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur looks on during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The news surrounding Giants camp this week is WR Golden Tate having to serve his full four-game suspension for violating the league's PED policy. 

Tate was confident that the details in his case would have the suspension exonerated, but that wasn't the case given the league's no tolerance mindset when it comes to PEDs. The veteran wideout explained that he let the NFL know immediately when he found out there was a banned substance in the prescription, yet that wasn't enough to change his verdict. 

"I just thought, after we looked at the facts in the situation, that the NFL would be understanding," Tate said. "But because it's a no-tolerance policy, they, I guess, upheld the suspension."

Tags: Cody Latimer, Corey Coleman, Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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Sep 16, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders punter Johnny Townsend (5) punts the ball in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Sep 16, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders punter Johnny Townsend (5) punts the ball in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

Two nights before the Giants' second preseason game against the Chicago Bears, the team has made a change at punter.

The Giants claimed Johnny Townsend off waivers from the Raiders.

To make room for Townsend, the team waived rookie punter Ryan Anderson, an undrafted rookie out of Rutgers. 

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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) talks with the media before the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) talks with the media before the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Giants co-owner John Mara got straight to the point Tuesday after practice when asked about the quarterback situation between veteran Eli Manning and rookie Daniel Jones, saying he hopes "Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field."

His sentiments trickled into Wednesday's post-practice availability, where Jones faced the inevitable question.

What did he think about Mara's comments?

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning
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Golden Tate reacts to NFL ruling 00:01:35
Golden Tate reacts to the NFL upholding its 4-game suspension of the WR. Tate explains his trust in his doctor that led to taking the drug.

One day after Golden Tate received his appeal fate from the NFL, which upheld the Giants wide receiver's four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, he opened up on the decision following Wednesday's practice.

Among his comments, Tate said he is considering taking legal action against the doctor who prescribed him the drug.

"We are definitely looking into it, we are kind of examining all of our options," Tate said.

Tags: Cody Latimer, Golden Tate, Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard
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May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Giants won't be able to see veteran WR Golden Tate until Week 5 of the regular season after his suspension appeal for his violation of the NFL's PED policy failed. 

But there are more implications to Tate's verdict other than him simply sitting out the first four weeks. 

It was reported yesterday that Tate will be losing $464,706 of his $1.975 million base salary for missing time. However, former agent and CBS Sports' Joel Corry says he'll also be missing out on $558,235 of his signing bonus and $176,471 of his roster bonus. 

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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (15) throws a ball to fans after the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (15) throws a ball to fans after the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Golden Tate will officially be serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's PED policy, as he has lost his appeal.

Back in April, Tate failed a drug test, which came about a month after he signed his four-year, $37.5 million deal with the Giants. The reason for failing the test came from a fertility drug that he said "contained an ingredient that is on the league's banned substance list," and noted not knowing about that when he was prescribed it by a fertility planning specialist. 

Tate said that he "immediately discontinued" the use of the drug, and reported his actions to the league's independent administrator. In fact, he did that before failing the drug test in the first place. 

Tags: Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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Giants CEO hopes Eli hangs on 00:01:00
New York Giants President and CEO John Mara was asked about his QBS and said, "I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field."

After Daniel Jones impressed many with his perfect touchdown drive in his first NFL series last Thursday, the hype surrounding the No. 6 overall pick reached an all-time high. The critics and naysayers took a backseat to those jumping on the bandwagon of Jones being Eli Manning's successor.

Now fans really want to see what Jones can do in a real game after seeing a glimpse of what he can do. But, for Giants co-owner John Mara, that day hopefully won't come this season. 

He wants to see Eli Manning on the field at all times. And Jones on the bench.

Tags: Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Scott Thompson
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Saquon understands Giants' plan 00:00:48
It's always a delicate balance between playing or not in the preseason for star players. Shurmur and Saquon discuss the running back's plan.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley did not appear in the team's preseason opener last week, a 31-22 victory over the Jets. 

As far as the rest of the preseason goes, head coach Pat Shurmur is playing his cards close to the vest.

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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Following the first week of the exhibition season in the NFL, the optimism surrounding both of New York's football teams is through the roof. 

The Jets' Sam Darnold led a single drive that was near perfect, as the second-year pro was 4-for-5 passing with a touchdown. The Giants' once looked down upon rookie QB in Daniel Jones was one pass better, as he was 5-for-5 passing with a touchdown.

So... Giants vs. Jets Super Bowl?

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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers (21) during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers (21) during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Giants safety Jabrill Peppers is one of three Giants players that played on an NFL team that will live in infamy.

Peppers was the Browns' first-round pick at the 2017 NFL draft. His first win as a professional football player wouldn't come in his rookie year as the Browns became only the second team in league history to go 0-16 that year.

But Peppers, who was traded to the Giants this offseason in a deal that sent wideout Odell Beckham Jr. the other way, recently revealed that he has fond learning experiences from that brutal season. He's happy it happened and takes positives from it.

Tags: Cleveland Browns, Jabril Peppers, Kevin Zeitler
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Aug 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (6) after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (6) after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Giants' wide receiver corps just can't catch a break.

Midway through practice, WR Amba Etta-Tawo fell awkwardly on a catch and he looked to have a leg injury as he got carted off the field. Well, the Giants announced Monday that Etta-Tawo actually tore his Achilles on the play, and is now out for the rest of the season. 

Etta-Tawo was signed to the Giants yet again this offseason due to the injuries to the group. He was with the Giants back in 2017 when he was signed to their practice squad. He landed on the Texans as well as the Birmingham Iron in the AAF last season as well. 

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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Eli Manning still has the support of Phil Simms

Regardless of what Giants brass and head coach Pat Shurmur says about there not being a quarterback competition between Manning and rookie Daniel Jones this summer, it'll still be a topic of discussion leading up to the regular season. 

Observers of the G-men are picking their sides between the two QBs and among those doing so is one of the team's former quarterbacks in Simms.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers (21) reacts during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers (21) reacts during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

When the Giants traded star receiver Odell Beckham to the Cleveland Browns on March 12, the haul brought versatile safety Jabrill Peppers back home.

Peppers, who rose up the football ranks in New Jersey via Paramus Catholic High School before heading to Michigan for three years and embarking on his NFL career in 2017, debuted Sunday with the Giants in a 31-22 win over the Jets.

The first look for Peppers in the starting defense yielded mixed results with Jets quarterback Sam Darnold going 4-of-5 passing for 68 yards and a touchdown, but the third-year defensive back keeps his head up as he and the Giants move further into the preseason.

Tags: Corey Ballentine, DeAndre Baker, Jabril Peppers, Janoris Jenkins, Sam Beal
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive back Corey Ballentine (25) participates in drills during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive back Corey Ballentine (25) participates in drills during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

As the Giants returned to the practice field on Sunday, it was without first-rounder Deandre Baker

Head coach Pat Shurmur noted after the session that Baker had actually gone for an MRI on his knee after feeling something during warm-ups.

"In his individual warm-up type stuff, (he felt) something with his knee," Shurmur told NJ.com's Matt Dunleavy. "We are just checking it out with a MRI. No information on that right now. He's getting it checked out."

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Daniel Jones makes statement 00:01:04
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano makes it clear that the impressive debut of Daniel Jones could start a QB controversy for the Giants.

Daniel Jones may have dazzled in his Giants preseason debut, but head coach Pat Shurmur is not ready to give any credence to an open quarterback competition. 

"We're not going to play the what-ifs," Shurmur said Friday on a conference call. I would say this: Nothing has changed. This is the first game and I expect Daniel to play well, go out and improve and for the people that don't know him, impress them. 

"We expect that from him, we expect that from Eli [Manning], we expect that from everybody. Expectations have not changed."

Tags: Eli Manning
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Daniel Jones makes statement 00:01:04
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano makes it clear that the impressive debut of Daniel Jones could start a QB controversy for the Giants.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - New York has fallen out of love with Eli Manning over the last few years, through all the losing and the pounding he's taken from his critics. The only thing that's saved him from a full-blown Quarterback Controversy is the lack of a viable alternative on the Giants' roster.

But that's all changed now.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive back Parry Nickerson (43) attempts to tackle New York Giants defensive back Corey Ballentine (25) on a kickoff during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports  (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive back Parry Nickerson (43) attempts to tackle New York Giants defensive back Corey Ballentine (25) on a kickoff during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

The past few months have not been easy for Giants rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine

The sixth-round pick out of Division II Washburn was shot the night he was drafted, taking a bullet to his glute, while his best friend was killed in the incident. The shooting forced Ballentine to miss rookie minicamp while simultaneously coping with the loss of his friend. 

Despite the unfortunate circumstances and late start, Ballentine has impressed throughout training camp and that continued Thursday night against the Jets in the preseason opener. 

 

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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) celebrates after throwing a touchdowns pass with defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (97) and offensive guard Will Hernandez (71) during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) celebrates after throwing a touchdowns pass with defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (97) and offensive guard Will Hernandez (71) during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Daniel Jones entered his first NFL game on Thursday night to a smattering of cheers - a welcomed change from the reception he's gotten since the Giants announced him as the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft.

And after the way he played in his debut, he might not have to worry about being booed anymore.

Tags: Eli Manning, Russell Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Evaluating Jones' performance 00:00:45
Daniel Jones had a good showing in his first preseason game. Pat Shurmur was content with the rookie QB.

The spotlight was set on Daniel Jones as he stepped on the MetLife Stadium turf for the first time in his Giants uniform. Everyone wanted to see how the No. 6 overall pick, one that was criticized by the lots, would react to the big stage in his inaugural snaps in the NFL.

He was perfect -- literally. 

Thanks to a weather delay, Jones only lasted one drive for the Giants, but he didn't disappoint. He was a perfect 5-for-5 for 67 yards, and it was capped off by an absolute strike to Bennie Fowler in the right side of the end zone for his first career touchdown. 

Tags: Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Scott Thompson
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

With all eyes on Daniel Jones, the Giants' rookie quarterback shined during his first preseason drive as a member of Big Blue.

Jones' night began on the Giants' second offensive possession. After Eli Manning led an uninspiring three-and-out drive, Jones took the field with the rest of the first-team offense, or least the way the first-team offense was comprised on Thursday.

Tags: Eli Manning
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May 29, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterbacks Alex Tanney (3) and Kyle Lauletta (17) throw the ball back and forth during Organized Team Activities. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
May 29, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterbacks Alex Tanney (3) and Kyle Lauletta (17) throw the ball back and forth during Organized Team Activities. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

Everyone's talking about the New York Giants' quarterback controversy. Featuring a trusty veteran and an upstart draft pick, preseason reps may be the best way to figure out who makes the team, and who is let go.

Oh, you thought we were talking about Eli Manning and Daniel Jones? Nope.

The real quarterback competition on the Giants is the one that nobody is talking about -- Alex Tanney vs. Kyle Lauletta. The two quarterbacks are dueling for one spot on the roster as the third-string QB, but that doesn't mean the battle doesn't have high stakes.

Losing either quarterback would involve reneging on a team investment. Of course, most fans know that Lauletta was a fourth-round draft pick just last year, and at one point, the heir apparent to Manning. He even saw a small sample of game action last year, a rarity for a rookie QB on the Giants.

Tags: Alex Tanney, Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Kyle Lauletta
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How will Jones perform vs. Jets? 00:00:44
New York Giants QB Daniel Jones will make his debut against the Jets in their 1st preseason game. The Thread hopes he comes out slinging.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Some may call it arrogance, but Dave Gettleman definitely has had a quiet confidence about the Giants team he's built for this season. His critics say he did more to tear things down. He believes he's built the foundation back up.

There's a long way to go before anyone knows who's right, but the Giants will take the first steps over the next four weeks in the preseason, which opens for them against the Jets on Thursday night. Here's a look at what Gettleman and everyone else will be watching for, as they search for signs of just how good (or not) this Giants team can be:

1. How ready is QB Daniel Jones?

The plan is for the Giants to ride Eli Manning this season, far enough that Jones never has to see the field. But plans can change, and quarterback controversies have a funny way of just happening. Whether one does, depends a lot on the ability of Jones.

Tags: Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Oct 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Markus Golden (44) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)
Oct 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Arizona Cardinals defensive end Markus Golden (44) celebrates during the fourth quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports (Brace Hemmelgarn)

When James Bettcher looks at the pass rushers on the Giants defense, he sees something that few others do. He sees potential. And he insists "We will never be limited by expectations of others."

That's good. Because those expectations are dangerously low.

The Giants had the second-worst pass rush in the NFL last season, with a paltry 30 sacks. Then they traded away Olivier Vernon, who had a quarter of that total (seven) and didn't bring in a proven replacement.

Tags: Lorenzo Carter, Ralph Vacchiano
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May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning answers questions from media during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning answers questions from media during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

During Tuesday's episode of First Take on ESPN, former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark expressed his thoughts on Tom Brady's contract history.

"Tom Brady should have been the top-paid quarterback in this league for over a decade," Clark said. "Tom Brady should have made more money throughout his career than any other quarterback that's playing this game... But the fact that Eli Manning has made so much more money than Tom Brady, it legitimately makes me sick."

The 42-year-old Brady recently signed a two-year extension with the New England Patriots worth $70 million through the 2021 season. He will become the NFL's sixth-highest-paid quarterback this season at $23 million.

Tags: Eli Manning
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Sterling Shepard
Sterling Shepard

Sterling Shepard's yellow non-contact jersey in practice has not necessarily stopped the wide receiver from taking a few hits, but he's ready to get rid of it any way. 

The 26-year-old, who broke the tip of his thumb the first day of training camp, said on Tuesday that he is hoping to be a full participant in practice soon. 

"I'm getting to the edge of that. It's time to take it off," Shepard said of his yellow pinnie. "It's for precautionary reasons, and I'm going with what the trainers want. The ultimate goal is to get to that first (regular-season) game, for sure."

Tags: Eli Manning, Sterling Shepard
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Giants ready for preseason game 00:01:02
Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawrence are excited for this first preseason game against the Jets. Fans will see plenty of Jones Thursday.

The Giants' preseason opener against the Jets on Thursday could feature a healthy dose of Daniel Jones. 

The No. 6 overall pick from Duke will play in the game, according to head coach Pat Shurmur, and could even start as Shurmur said his quarterback plan and decision to play Eli Manning will "reveal itself."

Regardless of whether or not Manning plays, all eyes will be on Jones as it will be the first real look fans will see of Manning's eventual successor. 

Tags: Eli Manning
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May 3, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 3, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Dave Gettleman is well aware of how many fans and players feel about him. The Giants GM has made a string of curious decisions since taking over the job at the end of the 2017 season that has opened him up as a punching bag for fans and media alike. 

"People make fun of me," Gettleman told Jonathan Jones of Sports Illustrated. "If it makes them happy, let them have it. I don't care. I just know I'm blessed. I've got the Lord and my family and I've got football."

Gettleman explained some of those decisions, or at least the philosophy behind his decision-making, in a lengthy SI profile of the Giants GM. Here are some of the topics he addressed:

 

Tags: Eli Manning, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley
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Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaches against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 9, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaches against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the first quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Things have cooled down for the Giants since they opened training camp with a string of injuries and a potential suspension, but head coach Pat Shurmur still had plenty to address during his press conference at Monday's practice. 

Here are the key takeaways:

Tags: Sterling Shepard
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 (Geoff Burke)
(Geoff Burke)

The NFL had reportedly warned current Redskins and former Giants safety Landon Collins to cool it after he said he would "run over" New York's General Manager Dave Gettleman on the sideline if he could this year.

Despite that, Collins still appears to have plenty of negative feelings towards the team that made him a second-round draft pick. 

Speaking to reporters over the weekend, Collins continued discussing his less-than-happy feelings toward the G-men. 

Tags: Landon Collins, Washington Redskins
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants offensive guard Will Hernandez (71) and offensive tackle Nate Solder (76) talk with head coach Pat Shurmur during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants offensive guard Will Hernandez (71) and offensive tackle Nate Solder (76) talk with head coach Pat Shurmur during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The horrific mass shooting that occurred in El Paso, Texas this weekend hit home for Giants G Will Hernandez

Hernandez lived in the city for years during his days playing for The University of Texas at El Paso, and after hearing about the tragic event, he quickly reached out to as many people as possible to make sure they were OK.  

"The first thing I did was I contact all my close friends back in El Paso; everybody was fine thankfully," Hernandez told the media after practice on Monday. "It's still something horrible and I can't imagine what some of the families living there or some of the effect, or people that knew the affected are going through right now. Even though I'm here in New York, I quickly sent out prayers, my love out to the city. That city is really important to me.

Tags: Will Hernandez, Scott Thompson
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Giants talk improvements 00:01:41
Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur and LB Alec Ogletree on making practice changes and improving as training camp continues

As he enters his second season with the Giants, linebacker Alec Ogletree knows there is room for improvement. 

The 27-year-old played in 13 games for the Giants last season, intercepting five passes while running two of them back for touchdowns. He also broke up eight passes and added a sack. Still, Ogletree knows there are areas of his game that he can step up in 2019.

Tags: Alec Ogletree
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May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Barring an unlikely turn of events, Giants wide receiver Golden Tate is expected to miss the first four games of the season while he serves a suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs. 

But head coach Pat Shurmur still likes what he's seen from the first-year Giant so far in camp.

"He's got a way of getting open in the short area," Shurmur said. "Even though we're not tackling to the ground, you can see he's got good run-after-catch [ability]."

Tags: Golden Tate
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Shepard back in pads at practice 00:00:18
New York Giants receiver Sterling Shepard was seen back at practice catching a pass from Eli Manning.

Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard fractured his left thumb last week, but he's apparently already making strides towards a full return to action.

On Friday, Shepard participated in team drills. Initially, he was not wearing the yellow no-contact jersey, as he caught passes from from Eli Manning during 11-on-11 drills. Shepard was even seen catching a pass with both hands, where he had been using only his right hand in drills since the injury.

Later in practice, though, Shepard was seen wearing the no-contact jersey once again.

Tags: Golden Tate
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Dec 2, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) reacts after the final play of the game against the Chicago Bears during overtime at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 2, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins (20) reacts after the final play of the game against the Chicago Bears during overtime at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The inability to challenge a clearly missed call in the NFC Championship game may have cost the Saints a Super Bowl appearance, and the league is determined not to let that happen again. Coaches can now challenge pass interference penalties, which should solve the problem -- in theory.

However, don't count the members of the New York Giants as supporters of the new rule.

"I mean, it could be a train wreck," Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins told NJ Advance Media. "We've got to deal with the consequences."

Tags: Janoris Jenkins, Russell Shepard
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New York Giants' quarterback Daniel Jones practices with teammates at the NFL football team's training camp in Thursday, July 25, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)
New York Giants' quarterback Daniel Jones practices with teammates at the NFL football team's training camp in Thursday, July 25, 2019, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Giants safety Jabrill Peppers is the latest teammate that rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has impressed this summer.

According to SNY's Ralph Vacchiano, the selection of Jones by the Giants was praised much more league-wide. Peppers remembers the boos and questioning that took place the moment Jones became his teammate on draft night.

But Peppers now defers to the eye test. 

Tags: Daniel Jones, Jabril Peppers
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Oshane Ximines 1 on 1 00:01:22
New York Giants rookie pass rusher Oshane Ximines explains the impact he can have on the Giants defense this season.

With their third round draft pick, the Giants selected outside linebacker Oshane Ximines at pick 95 overall. The 6 foot 4 inch linebacker became the first player ever drafted out of Old Domininon.

During an interview with SNY, he was asked about how the jump from a small school to the NFL has been for him.

"I feel like the biggest jump was the playbook and the complexity of it, but once you get out on the field it's just football man, no matter who you're playing against, it's the same thing you've been doing your whole life."

Tags: Oshane Ximines
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May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Cody Latimer (12) makes a catch during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Cody Latimer (12) makes a catch during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Giants' wide receiving corps has taken a big hit early on with Sterling Shepard injured, Golden Tate facing a four-game suspension, and Corey Coleman out for the season with a torn ACL. That was expected to be the top three players on the depth chart, but now things have changed here quickly in East Rutherford. 

But with the losses, other receivers are beginning to step up. 

Cody Latimer, entering his fifth year in the league, is looking to take advantage of this opportunity that will likely see him get many reps to start the season. The former second-round pick by the Broncos didn't pan out well in Denver, and after four years with the squad, they didn't mind moving on from him. 

Tags: Cody Latimer, Odell Beckham Jr., Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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Daniel Jones respected by NFL 00:00:45
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano reports that Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones has a lot of fans within NFL circles, despite outside criticism.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - There were boos on draft night when the Giants picked Daniel Jones sixth overall, and he was booed when he threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium a few weeks later. He was considered a reach pick by many, a symbol of a desperate, lost franchise, and proof that their embattled general manager didn't have a clue.

All that, though, was coming from outside of the NFL.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Daniel Jones talks rookie tasks 00:01:28
Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones talks about the speed of the game, and being a rookie in camp, which involves sunflower seeds and singing.

Though Wednesday's training camp was closed to the general public, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur and QB Daniel Jones took to the podium.

Here are some of their noteworthy insights:

Shurmur on Corey Ballentine's progress

Tags: Eli Manning
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers (21) reacts during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers (21) reacts during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

With injuries and a suspension sidelining the Giants' top three receivers, the team is desperate for any wideout help it can get. However, the team's latest volunteer to catch Eli Manning's passes is definitely an unexpected source.

Newly acquired safety Jabrill Peppers proved after practice Tuesday that when he says he wants to help the team however possible, he really means it.

"I think I could do whatever I put my mind to," Peppers told NJ Advance Media.

Tags: Jabrill Peppers, Corey Coleman, Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard
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Reviewing Giants progress 00:01:19
Eli Manning and Dexter Lawrence II gave a review of their respective weeks. Both were pleased with the start of camp.

As Dexter Lawrence learns the NFL ropes during his first training camp with the Giants, he's doing so at a new position. 

At Clemson, the future 17th overall pick mainly played either over the ball as a nose tackle, or as a one-technique defensive tackle when Clemson showed a 4-3 look. Throughout his early practices with the Giants, though, Lawrence has been used more often as a defensive end, lining up on the guards' outside shoulder in the three-technique.

It's certainly been an adjustment for the 6-foot-4, 342-pound Lawrence, but he's excited about the new opportunity. 

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Jul 25, 2019; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during practice drills at Baptist Health Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)
Jul 25, 2019; Davie, FL, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during practice drills at Baptist Health Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports (Steve Mitchell)

One intriguing storyline heading into the new NFL season was two top quarterbacks from the 2018 NFL Draft will be battling head-to-head twice a year in Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. The latter was traded away from the Cardinals after Kyler Murray went No. 1 overall this year, and many were looking forward to these two gunslingers going at it in the AFC East for years to come. 

But, while Darnold is set to start his sophomore season under center again, the same can't be said for Rosen at the moment. 

Dolphins new head coach Brian Flores said on Tuesday that a former Jet in Ryan Fitzpatrick is actually leading the quarterback race in Miami at the moment. 

Tags: Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Darnold
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Jun 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch during mini camp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch during mini camp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Pat Shurmur said it's business as usual as he installs his Giants offense this summer, preparing as if receiver Golden Tate will be in the Opening Day lineup.

But the reality is, he almost certainly won't be.

The 30-year-old Tate may be appealing the four-game suspension he got for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs, but "there's almost no way" his appeal will be successful, according to an NFL source. Multiple other sources agreed, saying the NFL's policy is "unforgiving" and "rigid."

Tags: Golden Tate, Ralph Vacchiano
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Going into his 14th NFL season, Giants safety Antoine Bethea believes his new team has a chance to be one of the league's top defenses. Last season, the Giants gave up the 10th-most yards in the league and allowed an average of 252.8 passing yards per game.

Nonetheless, the three-time Pro Bowler is optimistic that he, along with a couple other new faces, can be a boost to help this team reverse tides in 2019.

"For the defense? I think we could be one of the tops in the league," Bethea said. "Obviously, the guys that have been here have been in their second year under the defense. Myself, along with some other guys, being the first year coming in, plugging in, and making it happen."

Tags: Antoine Bethea, Jabril Peppers
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