Monthly Archives: May 2017

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Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. was not in attendance for the first of the New York Giants’ organized team activities on Monday.

Beckham worked out with his trainer on Monday in California, according to posts by the trainer on Instagram, and is likely to be at OTAs on Thursday, sources told ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

Monday’s session was closed to the media, as is Tuesday’s. There will be media access at Thursday’s session.

The OTAs are voluntary, and Beckham does not have language in his contract that gives bonuses for attending offseason workouts, as many players do.

He did not attend Eli Manning’s annual passing camp at Duke last month and told Newsday that he was undergoing oral surgery that week.

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Eli Manning turned over a potentially incriminating email earlier this month in connection with a lawsuit that claims the quarterback, the New York Giants and a team equipment manager knowingly provided false game-worn memorabilia to collectors.

The email was included in a court filing in Bergen County (N.J.) Superior Court by the plaintiffs — collectors Eric Inselberg, Michael Jakab and Sean Godown — who first filed suit three years ago.

On April 27, 2010, Manning sent an email to Giants head equipment manager Joe Skiba asking for “two helmets that can pass as game used.” The email was initiated after Manning was sent a note by Alan Zucker, his marketing agent throughout his career, to come up with some equipment to satisfy his obligation to provide such materials to sports memorabilia company Steiner Sports.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Brian Brook of Clinton, Brook & Peed, told ESPN that the email, included among roughly 200 pages of documents Manning produced as part of legal discovery, was key to specifically linking the quarterback to the lawsuit, which alleges an elaborate scheme to produce, pass off and sell memorabilia as game-used that was not.
The lawsuit alleges that Eli Manning not only had been aware of the passing off of inauthentic items of his as game-used but was party to its creation. Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY Sports
Prior to that email, the lawsuit had included only an alleged conversation between Manning and Skiba to put together some equipment that could be described as game-used. The lawsuit alleges that Manning not only had been aware of the passing off of inauthentic items of his as game-used but also was party to their creation.

The suit also alleges that the Giants were complicit by deleting the email from their accounts.

“The email, taken out of context, was shared with the media by an unscrupulous memorabilia dealer and his counsel who for years has been seeking to leverage a big payday,” McCarter & English, the law firm representing the Giants in the case, said in a statement. “The email predates any litigation, and there was no legal obligation to store it on the Giants server. Eli Manning is well known for his integrity and this is just the latest misguided attempt to defame his character.”

The release of the email to the public record through the filing was first reported by the New York Post.

Brook said that, based on what he believes was the Giants’ cooperation with authorities, his client, Inselberg, was one of six memorabilia dealers indicted for selling fake game-used items after an FBI investigation. The charges against Inselberg were dropped when the Justice Department admitted it lacked evidence, and Inselberg, believing his reputation was greatly damaged, then filed the lawsuit against the Giants.

The Giants conducted an internal investigation in 2011 into their selling and producing of game-used memorabilia.

The plaintiffs’ claim around that specific investigation has been dismissed, but Brook is still arguing that the results of the investigation should be admissible in court. Brook said the Giants have subpoenaed 70 connections to Inselberg and still have not been able to find any evidence that he fabricated any memorabilia.

Inselberg, who loaned many pieces of his collection to a memorabilia collection inside MetLife Stadium, said he had purchased hundreds of game-used items directly from the Giants’ equipment managers. Inselberg alleges that he was sold many of the game-used items, including a Michael Strahan Super Bowl game-used jersey that was authenticated and photo matched, despite the fact that the Giants presented another jersey to Strahan and told him that that was his jersey from the game.

The lawsuit claims other allegedly fake items included ones described as game-used from Manning, Osi Umenyiora and Tiki Barber.

It is not likely that Manning, the Giants or their employees would be subject to criminal prosecution as the alleged actions in question have passed the federal five-year statute of limitations.

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Change was necessary. The New York Giants’ offense last season was inconsistent at best, and downright infuriating more often than not.

Their running game (29th in the NFL) was bad. Their passing game (17th in the NFL) never seemed to hit a rhythm. The Giants couldn’t score points. They finished 26th with just 19.4 points per game, and the six teams below them didn’t have a capable franchise quarterback.

With those kinds of struggles, things had to change. So the Giants went and upgraded their personnel, which subsequently will allow them to alter their approach.

They signed wide receiver Brandon Marshall and tight end Rhett Ellison in free agency. They added tight end Evan Engram in the draft. This gives the Giants and quarterback Eli Manning a much more well-rounded array of weapons.

“Brandon gave us a big guy that Eli likes. That big red-zone guy. He’s been around. The guy has made six Pro Bowls, I believe. He knows all the tricks of the trade and he’s a big man,” general manager Jerry Reese said Tuesday on The Michael Kay Show on 98.7 ESPN New York. “So we have a big receiver, we have a slot receiver in [Sterling] Shepard, we have speed on the outside and a dynamic outside receiver in Odell [Beckham Jr.], we have a blocking tight that in Rhett Ellison that we got in free agency and we have a super-fast tight end who can get down the field in Engram.
Ben McAdoo is looking forward to employing more diverse personnel packages this season. William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports
“We do have some weapons. We just have to put them in the right place and they have to make plays when we’re out there.”

It didn’t happen last season with wide receiver Victor Cruz playing opposite Beckham and nary a blocking tight end on the roster. Cruz is currently a free agent after being released earlier this year. He had 39 receptions for 586 yards and one touchdown after missing most of the previous two seasons with leg injuries.

Cruz is now gone, and the new additions have coach Ben McAdoo thinking of dusting off plays and formations that were used during the 2015 season, when he was the Giants’ offensive coordinator and they averaged 26.3 points per game. It was almost a full touchdown more than this past year.

The Giants used 11 personnel (three wide receivers, one tight end and one running back) on more than 90 percent of their offensive plays this past season, including on all seven fourth-and-1 and fourth-and-2 situations. It was a head-scratcher even by Green Bay Packers standards.

McAdoo, who came from Green Bay and was raised in Mike McCarthy’s 11-personnel-heavy West Coast offense, said continuously throughout the season that this was a product of their best lineup having Cruz and three receivers on the field. And the Giants wanted their best lineup on the field as often as possible.
It appears they have reconsidered this thinking. Their best overall lineup might not be their best lineup for every situation. McAdoo said Monday in an interview on WFAN that he expects this year’s offense to be more multiple. With Engram, Ellison, Will Tye, Jerell Adams and Matt LaCosse currently on the roster there should be more two-tight end sets. There might even be formations with, dare I suggest, a fullback.

The Giants are set to bring in fullback Shane Smith as an undrafted free agent. He was added to the mix after the draft.

All of a sudden, the Giants have options. It’s different from last season, when they struggled at the tight end position and both their fullbacks suffered season-ending injuries in the summer. It left McAdoo without a fullback and spawned an offense that used almost exclusively 11 personnel.

This made life relatively easy for opposing defenses. They rarely had to change personnel when facing the Giants.

This season should be different. McAdoo appears more willing to use different looks, and he has some new pieces to potentially make it happen and work.