Monthly Archives: October 2017

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants waived defensive end Owa Odighizuwa on Tuesday, a day after he was suspended four games for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

“It is unfortunate that things have gone in this direction,” general manager Jerry Reese said in a statement, “but we wish nothing but the best for Owa as we all move forward.”

Coach Ben McAdoo echoed Reese’s statement later Tuesday. “It’s unfortunate that it came to this,” McAdoo said. “We thank him for everything that he’s done for the organization. We supported him all along and we’ll continue to support Owa, and I really have no details to offer.”

Odighizuwa said on Twitter in April that he needed some time away from the game. He was at the Giants’ facility for the start of the team’s offseason workout program but then missed most of the spring as he dealt with personal issues.

The Giants excused Odighizuwa from mandatory minicamp in June. He arrived for the start of training camp on July 27 but has declined all interview requests.

Odighizuwa, 25, has played in only 18 games and is still in search of his first career sack. His first two professional seasons were injury-plagued.

The third-round pick by the Giants out of UCLA in the 2015 NFL draft spent most of this summer working with the third-team defense.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The New York Giants thought it was an interception. The Seattle Seahawks naturally believed it was a touchdown.

It’s all irrelevant. The officials’ opinion was the only one that mattered when it came to the bizarre joint-catch made by wide receiver Paul Richardson and safety Landon Collins early in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 24-7 Seahawks victory.

Referee Tony Corrente and his crew ruled the controversial play a 38-yard touchdown for Richardson. It was a back-breaker for the Giants, putting the Seahawks ahead by 10 with 9:34 remaining.

It didn’t sit well with many of the Giants after the loss.

“That was Landon all day. He got robbed,” Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie said. “I’m going to tell you why: The guy went up and made a great play, but when he came down he lost possession of the ball. So he didn’t have it clear and then Landon took over and then he fought for it again. When you take over and you both hit the ground, whoever has it first is the winner. That is the rules.”

Basically, the Giants didn’t think Richardson completed the catch. The way Corrente and his crew saw it: Richardson caught the ball, lost it and simultaneously regained control at the same time as Collins.
A joint-catch made by wide receiver Paul Richardson and safety Landon Collins was ruled a touchdown. Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire
A tie goes to the receiver in this case.

“They went to the ground simultaneously with the football. Then they started a little wrestling match. It’s over now,” Corrente told a pool reporter after the game. “That catch is established because if the defender was to pull the ball out of his hands now, it’s still a catch because the defender has a second action. So at that point when they were on the ground together, and they’re tussling to begin with, the catch is over, that’s the touchdown. Now, after that is when he rolled over and we don’t have any clear view of, quote unquote, anything happening after that. So that’s where it stands.”

Several Giants — including coach Ben McAdoo — thought that by the time Richardson controlled the ball his leg was out of bounds. His left leg hit the white paint out of the end zone after he landed on Collins.

But Corrente seemed to indicate once they both had the football, and Collins had landed clearly in bounds, at that point the play is over. It’s a joint-catch, with the advantage going to the offense.

“That’s a touchdown,” Corrente said.

It was a strange and controversial play viewed quite differently by the two teams.
Paul Richardson and Landon Collins wrestle for possession of the ball. Both teams saw the play differently. It was ruled a catch for a touchdown. Abbie Parr/Getty Images
The Giants’ reactions:

CB Donte Deayon: “It was a throwback. They tried to hide [Richardson]. LC saw it and turned and ran down. As the ball was in the air they both turned to make a play on it. I thought LC made a great play on the ball and the call just didn’t go our way.”

S Landon Collins: “I can’t remember if it was the Green Bay game or something like that. I knew about it but at the same time I came down with the ball on my chest. Once I rolled over, he was trying to fight back into possession for it. Once that happened he had no possession of the ball anymore. It’s crazy.”

Coach Ben McAdoo: “They said they thought he clearly had possession of the ball. He lost possession, and clearly had possession of the ball before he went out of bounds and had his foot on the white. That’s why they gave him the touchdown.”

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: “That was wrong. He definitely didn’t have possession at all. They both hit the ground. One thing about it is you have to have a complete catch to the ground. By the time his knee was down, Landon had already taken the ball from him. That was the wrong call.”

CB Donte Deayon: “I thought it shouldn’t have been ruled a touchdown from the get-go because in that case at least you’ll have video evidence to see if it was or wasn’t. But if you rule it a touchdown with no evidence you can’t overturn it.”

The Seahawks’ reaction:
QB Russell Wilson: “Well what an exciting play, obviously. It was a great call by [coach Darrell] Bevel and tossed it to J.D. [McKissic], he throws it back to me and then just let Paul do his thing. Gave him a chance one-on-one. Wouldn’t want to pick anybody else one-on-one, than Paul. And he just did a great job of tracking the football, snagging it down, and it was contested, that’s for sure. I mean I think Paul got his hands on it first, obviously, and kind of brought it down and, you know, it was definitely a pretty crazy play, but it’s like baseball—simultaneous, hitting the bag first. It was a great play by Paul, a great effort obviously by Landon Collins, too, as well, but fortunate for us.”

WR Paul Richardson: “It was a tough battle man. I saw the ball man I got excited, I jumped early and everything for it, he tried to snatch it away from me. Good catch though.”

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DENVER — Something needed to change. Whatever Ben McAdoo and the New York Giants were doing wasn’t working the first five weeks of the season when they had lost every game they played.

McAdoo thought it was best to give up his playcalling duties. He did not call plays Sunday night in Denver for the first time in a regular-season game since he was hired by the Giants in 2014. Instead, offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan called the plays in a stunning 23-10 win against the Broncos.

It was a move that had to be made.

“It’s more than just today. I need to do what is best for the team, just like we ask the players and just like we ask the coaches,” McAdoo said. “I thought the team and the whole locker room needed me this week. I needed to be at my best for these players and coaches this week.”
Ben McAdoo did not call plays for the first time in a regular-season game since he was hired by the Giants in 2014. Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images
McAdoo didn’t give specifics about the benefits it has for him during the game. Maybe he can be more hands-on in assisting Steve Spagnuolo with the defense? Maybe he can be more involved in special teams or concentrate on game management? These seem like the obvious advantages of not being the full-time playcaller.

It’s also possible that the stammering offense just needed a jolt. Sullivan seemed to pull the right strings early. The Giants went 69 yards on 13 plays, using more than seven minutes on their opening drive. He was calling all the right plays, until they stalled in the red zone.

The Giants still moved the ball with relative success throughout the contest against the league’s No. 1 defense. They were in Denver territory on five of their 11 drives, even if they only finished with a pedestrian 266 total yards.

Given the success it’s a no-brainer for them to stick with Sullivan as the playcaller next week against another tough defense when the Seattle Seahawks come to MetLife Stadium.

“We’ll revisit it moving forward but it looks like a pretty good plan,” McAdoo said.

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Sullivan put together a fairly successful game plan that featured more two-tight-end sets and running plays than usual. The Giants used 12 personnel (two tight ends, two wide receivers and one running back) on 72 percent of their offensive plays against the Broncos, according to Pro Football Focus. The NFL average is 19 percent.

It’s in stark comparison to what the Giants were last season and early this season, when they were running three-wide-receiver sets more than any other team in the league.

But this Giants team needed change. McAdoo realized it was necessary and made the decision early in the week. He told Manning, but most of the Giants players didn’t know until the game. Guard Justin Pugh and center Brett Jones said they didn’t even realize until they returned to the locker room after the game.

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They all saw an offense that operated differently, in part because of their altered personnel (no Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall) and because of their opponent. McAdoo played a part in developing the game plan. Sullivan then executed it by calling 31 runs and 23 passes. That’s 57 percent passes and 43 percent runs.

The Giants were 70:30 pass:run with McAdoo calling plays the first five weeks of the season.

It can be argued that McAdoo waited too long to pass along the playcalling duties. The Giants (1-5) were already in a big hole, and their offensive struggles dated to last season. It wasn’t as if the change included any major overhaul, either.

Sullivan calls plays at practice and has done it in the preseason. He’s hardly an unfamiliar voice in Manning’s headset. They have been working together for years.

Sullivan’s first crack at being a playcaller in this offense in a regular-season game earned him some praise.
“I thought he did a good job just sticking with the run and knowing it was going to be that game, got a little lead and just staying with it,” Manning said. “I know as a coordinator and as a quarterback, you want to throw it. They’re playing man-to-man, some zero [coverages]. You want to take a shot. But just with the way things were going and the matchups and the way our defense was going, it was best just to stick with it and play conservative.”

It seemed obvious for the Giants to keep running against the Broncos. It was working and they needed to make adjustments to their offense with Roger Lewis, Tavarres King and Travis Rudolph as their top three receivers.

But who is to say McAdoo would’ve stuck to the run like Sullivan? He hasn’t exactly shown extended commitment to the running game throughout his Giants tenure. He also hasn’t displayed an ability to operate an explosive offense while being a head coach. The Giants have yet to score 30 points in a game since McAdoo was promoted.

For now it’s going to be Sullivan’s job to try to end that drought as the playcaller. McAdoo can concentrate on handling his team after a drama-filled few weeks that included disciplining cornerback Eli Apple and suspending Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. If his team was starting to slip away, he reeled them back in and took some major steps in the right direction on Sunday night.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — It was another rough afternoon for the New York Giants. They lost, 27-22, to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday and lost a few players in the process.

This is one that could hurt for a while with Odell Beckham Jr. and pretty much the entire receiving corps getting hurt. Lost in the mix was an actual game that the Giants allowed to slip away despite leading late in the fourth quarter.

Without the benefit of film review, here were the best and worst from the contest:
Giants safety Darian Thompson was solid in coverage on Sunday, including defending this pass against Chargers tight end Hunter Henry. Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports
UP

DT Damon Harrison: He had five tackles, including one for a loss, and was an all-around menace throughout the contest. The massive defensive tackle also had several quality pass-rush snaps, too. He also had multiple pressures and a quarterback hit. Harrison was again a consistent force in the middle.

RB Orleans Darkwa: He had eight carries for 69 yards and a touchdown. That’s 8.6 yards per carry. The only question is why he didn’t get more carries. Coach Ben McAdoo said it might’ve been Darkwa’s calf. Darkwa appeared to be fine after the contest.

S Darian Thompson: This was the second-year safety’s best game of the season. Thompson recorded his first interception on a nice read in the end zone in the third quarter. He also made another nice play on the ball when he jumped and batted down a pass in the end zone. Overall, Thompson played a solid game. His tackling was much better than in previous weeks when he struggled. Thompson finished with 11 tackles, two passes defended, a quarterback hit and the interception.

Honorable Mention: Odell Beckham Jr., Dwayne Harris, Ereck Flowers

DOWN

RT Bobby Hart: He allowed three sacks and committed a pair of penalties. Even though some of the sacks weren’t exactly his fault and were coverage-related, this is the NFL. You can’t allow three sacks and get flagged twice even if you’re going against a quality player like Joey Bosa most of the afternoon.

TE Evan Engram: He was a non-factor. Engram didn’t have a single catch on four targets. This after catching at least four passes in each of the first four games of his career. Not that this should count against him, but he couldn’t produce from the wide receiver spot on the game’s final drive, either.

LB Keenan Robinson: The Giants continue to struggle covering running backs and tight ends. Chargers running back Melvin Gordon caught a pair of touchdown passes, including the game-winner when Robinson appeared to get slowed in the middle of the field by traffic. Covering tight ends and running backs is where Robinson is supposed to help. Instead, he was mostly a non-factor on Sunday like he’s been most of this year, when the Giants have already allowed an NFL-high eight receiving touchdowns to running backs and tight ends, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants’ DE Jason Pierre-Paul missed his second straight day of practice with a sprained shoulder. He says that it’s something that has been bothering him for a while, but shouldn’t keep him out of Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.

“Of course I’m playing Sunday,” he said. “There’s no question.”

Pierre-Paul played all 64 defensive snaps last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He had four tackles and shared a sack with cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He has 17 tackles, 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble after signing a $62 million deal this offseason.

“I’m not playing my best ball,” he conceded while also expressing disgust with how the defense played in Sunday’s 25-23 loss to the Bucs and early this season.

It may not get any easier for them against the Chargers. Starting defensive end Olivier Vernon also missed practice Thursday with an ankle injury that forced him to leave early against the Bucs. He originally hurt the ankle the following week against the Philadelphia Eagles, but tried to play through the pain in Tampa.

Vernon’s status for Sunday against the Chargers appears significantly more in doubt.

“We have to prepare if we don’t have them. I’m hopeful we get both but if not both at least one,” defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said.

Other Giants to miss practice Thursday include running back Paul Perkins (ribs) and starting center Weston Richburg (concussion). It’s starting to look as if they won’t be available on Sunday.

Rookie Wayne Gallman and Orleans Darkwa are likely to see an expanded role at running back if Perkins is sidelined. Brett Jones is likely to start at center in place of Richburg.

It would give the Giants (0-4) their fourth different starting offensive line combination in five games.

The positive news on the injury front Thursday was that cornerback Janoris Jenkins (ankle), Darkwa (back) and wide receiver Brandon Marshall (toe) were full participants in practice.

Star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (finger/ankle) remained limited. He said Wednesday that he wasn’t feeling great but would be fine for this week’s game against the Chargers.