The New York Giants could have done a lot of things differently over the past few years, and a lot of the blame is often placed on the organization – not just the head coaches and the General Managers, but the organization as a whole, including the ownership and lesser known personnel that make up less seen but still important parts of that organization. The organization has been criticized by fans for things like Pat Shurmur’s tenure, but more recently, it would also come under fire from a well known former receiver.
Brandon Marshall played for the Giants during the 2017 season and ended up making a quick exit from the team once the year was over. Largely, he failed to meet expectations and any hopes of the Giants making another playoff appearance after their trip in 2016 were dashed during the year that Marshall played with the team. However, Marshall’s own failures don’t necessarily make his words untrue.
It’s hard to argue, after all, that the Giants were a well run team at the time, when they suffered a sharp decline from their performance just a year prior.
“I did not. I think they’re great people, I think they’re a great organization, but I don’t think they’re disruptive enough,” Marshall said on The Herd on FS1, when asked if he thought the Giants were a well-run organization. “There are a few organizations like the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants, even the Pittsburgh Steelers, where it’s all about history. They don’t want to change certain things, they want a certain guy, and I think that puts them in a box when the game is changing every year.”
Marshall went on to say that, while the Giants have great people, the team’s traditions act as more of a handicap that prevents it from changing. There’s an argument to be made that the Giants, however, have changed things in the past year.
Head coach Joe Judge is a departure from the expected Giants hires, and General Manager Dave Gettleman has vowed to do things differently after retaining his job and to involve more analytics in his strategies – the roster also looks very different than when Marshall was a player for the team. Eli Manning is no longer the quarterback, and the Giants largely rely on younger players such as Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley.
Will these changes be enough to let the Giants bounce back in the next couple of years, though? That’s something that will be discovered later on, starting with this upcoming season, the first one under a new head coach.
With the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, over the next few days I plan on breaking down the best and brightest talents in this years class. This Wide Receiver class is INCREDIBLE. This top 5 could’ve been a top 15. There are 15 guys in this class who are game changers in any draft. I’m very excited to see where they all land, here are my top guys and who I compare them too.
1. Jerry Jeudy, Alabama
Pro Comparison: Amari Cooper
Jeudy is the most complete receiver in this draft class in my opinion. Jeudy has really good speed and is one of the best route runners I’ve seen in recent memory. Jeudy is an ideal #1 receiver for the future. Jeudy has the potential to be a game changing receiver and he can open up the field for other players. Jeudy is very similar to Cooper in the backgrounds both men have and the way they give other players opportunities.
2. CeeDee Lamb, Oklahoma
Pro Comparison: DeAndre Hopkins
Lamb is the 1B of this class. Jeudy is a better route runner, but Lamb is better at running deep routes and snagging the 50/50 balls. Lamb is the kind of guy that can kill you over the top or be a short threat and get some yards after the catch. Lamb has high potential and if he develops further as a route runner, he has All Pro level potential. Lamb has the potential to be as good as Hopkins.
3. Henry Ruggs, Alabama
Pro Comparison: John Ross
I’ve heard a lot of comps for Ruggs to Tyreek Hill or Sammy Watkins. Quite frankly, I think Ruggs is tougher than Ross and more durable, but he’s not much better. Ruggs has game breaking ability and an undeniable play making potential. Ruggs just doesn’t strike me as a #1 guy. Ruggs is such a good played, but he seems to be slightly over projected in where he really SHOULD be picked. I like Ruggs, a lot, but the potential to be a bust is prominent, but the potential to be what John Ross could’ve been is there.
4. Justin Jefferson, LSU
Pro Comparison: Greg Jennings
I saw Lance Zierlien make the comp to Jennings here and I love it. Jennings was a very good, high IQ player. He was better in the slot and talented in the red zone. He also excelled when his QB excelled, not the other way around. Jefferson needs to prove he isn’t just a flash in the pan because of Burrow’s incredible play. If Jefferson can do what he did at LSU and put up video game numbers, he’ll be the next great wide out. If he falls somewhere in between Jennings and elite wideout territory, that’d be a great pick for any team and the fulfillment of Jefferson’s peak potential.
5. Denzel Mims, Baylor
Pro Comparison: Brandon Marshall
At the Senior Bowl, Mims caught a lot of people’s eyes. He was unbeatable in one on one match ups. Mims is a unique blend of size and speed. Mims has a really good catch range and is very lengthy. Mims has some risk, but I think he could be a very good outside receiver at the next level. The catch radius he has and his size is similar to Marshall.
Honorable Mention: Laviska Shenault Jr.
I was tempted to stick Shenault over some of the other guys on this list. Early on I would’ve had him as the third best wideout in this class. He’s a game breaker. He’s dynamic, and he’s an absolute beast. Durability concerns have plagued Shenault and dropped his stock. If Shenault impressed in interviews and in medical testing, he could be a surprise high day 2 pick. Shenault is a really good talent and if he stays healthy, could be an incredible steal.
Other talented players who’ve caught my eye include Michael Pittman Jr., Jalen Reagor, Chase Claypool and Brandon Aiyuk.
With the nation in need of a laugh, ESM counts down the best practical jokes in the history of the New York Jets.
Alas, our current situation isn’t one that can be remedied by the powers that be declaring “April Fools”. But, we could certainly use a laugh, or at least an “ooh? or an “ahh” in this day and age.
ESM is happy to pick up the slack on this, the first day of April. We present the New York Jets’ greatest examples of the trick play…football’s version of the practical joke:
1/3/87: Walker This Way
(skip to 16:34)
You’d perhaps never expect the Jets and Cleveland Browns to create one of the most memorable games in NFL postseason history. After all, the two are often regarded as the most cursed franchises in football. The Jets perhaps gave the game a fitting conclusion by blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter en route to a 23-20 loss in double overtime. Cleveland’s defense limited the Jets to less than 300 yards of offense and brought down Jets quarterbacks on nine occasions.
The Jets got the memorable game’s scoring off to a roaring start in the second quarter despite their problems on offense. Pat Ryan got things going with a toss to Freeman McNeil before the rusher tossed the ball back to him. Another Ryan toss, this one deeper and of the forward variety, landed in the arms of Wesley Walker to give the Jets the early lead. That single throw constituted nearly half of Ryan’s yardage output on the day (103 yards while splitting duties with Ken O’Brien).
10/6/91: Blair It Out
(skip to 31:44)
Four years after suffering that heartbreaking playoff defeat at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, the Jets created deja vu all over again. Green trickery allowed them to break another scoreless tie in the second quarter. A throw from a running back was involved, but unlike McNeil, Blair Thomas got a chance to show off his downfield prowess.
As the Jets entered the Cleveland red zone, Thomas took a handoff from O’Brien. The Browns defense converged on Thomas, who mustered only 13 yards on eight carries during the afternoon. He more than made up for it on the 16-yard floater to Rob Moore. The sophomore receiver was left wide open in the lingering infield of the Cleveland Indians and caught the “pop-up” to give the Jets the lead. Gaining a quantum of revenge, the Jets topped the Browns 17-14.
Thomas’ toss was the only throw of his NFL career. He’s one of three Jets (along with fellow rushers McNeil and Curtis Martin) to have a perfect “touchdown percentage”.
9/24/00: Wayne’s World
(skip to 1:42)
At the turn of the century, Keyshawn Johnson was apparently not pleased with how often he was getting “the damn ball”. The Jets traded the top overall pick of the 1996 draft to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April 2000. One of Johnson’s parting gifts was some harsh criticisms of Wayne Chrebet. The undrafted receiver was making a name for himself by becoming the quintessential NFL success story, but Johnson labeled the Hofstra alum as a “mascot” in his aforementioned autobiography.
Chrebet and the Jets didn’t have to wait long to serve Johnson’s words back to him. The schedulemaker placed the Jets’ interconference showdown with Tampa in the September portion. Both teams entered 3-0 and Johnson continued to run his mouth, saying comparing him to Chrebet was “like comparing a flashlight to a star”.
In the end, Chrebet earned the last laugh as the recipient of one of the most electrifying moments in Jets history. A Vinny Testaverde handoff to Martin seemed questionable with the clock running in the final minute, but Martin suddenly launched am 18-yard pass that landed in the bare hands of Chrebet, who snuck by defenders Damien Robinson and Brian Kelly. That score allowed the Jets to complete a quick comeback after trailing 17-6 within the final two minutes. Johnson was forced to wash down his serving of humble pie with a mere one-yard output in the 21-17 New York victory.
Martin is the only Jet in team history to a perfect passing touchdown percentage on multiple throws. His second and final toss came in a December 2001 loss to Pittsburgh.
10/23/00: An OT Sends It To OT
(skip to 10:03)
Offensive lineman may be the most underrated and undervalued position in all of sports. Anonymity is perhaps the blocker’s dearest friend. Create the hole for the quarterback or rusher, and the skill player gets the credit in terms of highlights and fantasy points. Failure to do so often introduces you to fans in the grimmest of ways. Entering the box score, much less the scoring summary, is a long-shot at best.
Jets offensive tackle Jumbo Elliott found a way to it in the most memorable way on a Monday night at the Meadowlands.
The final regulation touches on the Jets’ erasure of a 30-7 deficit to the Miami Dolphins was Elliott’s three-yard touchdown catch from Testaverde on a tackle-eligible play. It certainly didn’t come easy…Elliott bobbled the ball throughout the process…but after replay deliberation, the game was allowed to continue after referee Walt Coleman approved the catch. John Hall wound up finishing the “Monday Night Miracle” with a 40-yard field goal to give the Jets a 40-37 win.
They say things are bigger on Monday night, and, in Elliott’s case, that axiom came literally. His catch (the only reception of his career) allowed him to become the heaviest player in Monday Night Football’s history to score a touchdown.
Tim Tebow’s New York saga was perhaps the most attention ever devoted to a personal protector. For all the pomp and circumstance behind that chaotic year, no one in the metropolitan area seemed to truly find an established role for Tebow. His spot on the Jets’ punting unit offered the sole form of green consistency.
Tebow’s longest New York play from scrimmage came on special teams in a midseason visit from Indianapolis. The Jets led 14-6 but were forced to punt in the latter stages of the second quarter. Needing 11 yards for the first, Tebow helped the Jets earn 23. He would navigate a quickly collapsing pocket before finding linebacker Nick Bellore wide open in the middle of the pair. Colts back deep brought him down, but the Jets situated well enough to set a pre-halftime touchdown from Mark Sanchez to Jason Hill. The Jets would up crushing the Colts 35-9 after momentum was permanently shifted to their side.
The Jets welcomed fans from a galaxy far, far away last season when they hosted their first-ever Star Wars-themed day at MetLife Stadium last fall. It was hardly the first time cinematic exploits graced the East Rutherford field.
Closing on a scoring opportunity against the Los Angeles Rams, the Jets wound up punching it in on a play similar to one displayed in the climax of the 1999 coming-of-age high school football drama Varsity Blues. A Bryce Petty pass went to Brandon Marshall, but he immediately tossed the ball over to Bilal Powell on a hook-and-ladder surprise. The perplexed Rams could do nothing stop Powell’s score that gave the Jets a lead in the second quarter. It served as a moment of lateral redemption for Marshall, whose previous attempt…could’ve gone better.
The Jets’ fortunes were unfortunately not tied to those of the West Canaan High School Coyotes. Powell’s magic score accounted for their only points of the game in a 9-6 loss.
The New York Giants‘ defense has been riddled with injuries recently. The Giants have seen three linebackers miss time with injury, including rookie Ryan Connelly being ruled out for the season with a torn ACL. This has forced the Giants to plug safeties in at linebacker and create liabilities in run defense.
The Giants’ backup linebackers have not been playing particularly well, either. Nate Stupar missed multiple tackles and gave up plenty of yards in coverage against the Vikings. Still, the Giants are 2-3 and do not seem like they are ready to tank and lose games. The Giants plan on competing until the end, so they might want to look to free agency to help fix their linebacker corps before season’s end.
Brandon Marshall, The Veteran Option
The Giants’ defense is lacking a veteran presence in the middle of the field with Alec Ogletree injured. Even when Ogletree is healthy the Giants’ linebacker corps is not all that good. Brandon Marshall is a solid free agent linebacker that could fill the veteran absence and provide consistency for the Giants’ defense.
Brandon Marshall was a surprise cut this offseason after a rough preseason with the Oakland Raiders. Marshall is 30 years old and has not seen any regular season action since the end of the 2018 season. In that 2018 season, Marshall missed 5 games with a knee injury.
Marshall’s limited action in 2018 led to a disappointing total of only 42 tackles. But in 2017, a healthy Brandon Marshall was able to total 106 tackles, 3 sacks, and 4 passes defended. Marshall is now a healthy free agent that is also an efficient tackler, something the Giants desperately need.
Marshall is by no means a risk-free pick. He has dealt with injuries recently and was cut after a disappointing preseason. But he is still better than what the Giants are currently playing with and is worth taking a look at.
Stephone Anthony, The Youthful Option
While Stephone Anthony is not a young player, he is younger than Brandon Marshall. Anthony turned 27 years old last week. Stephone is a former first-round pick, being selected 31st overall in the 2015 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints.
Coming out of Clemson, Anthony had a great rookie season in New Orleans. He led all rookies in tackles with 112 combined to go along with 1 sack, 1 interception, and 2 forced fumbles.
Unfortunately, since then, Stephone Anthony’s career has been plagued with injuries. He has bounced around to a few teams and has struggled to stay on the field. He would be a very risky signing, but if the Giants want to take a risk on a former first-round pick, they could sign him for the rest of the season to see if the talent is still there.
Nick Perry and Mason Foster are a couple of other veteran options that the Giants can consider. Perry is more of a pass-rusher than an off-ball linebacker, but he was a great player for the Packers from 2012 to 2018.
Mason Foster was a full-time starter for the Washington Redskins last season and totaled 131 tackles, 4 passes defended, 2 interceptions, and 4 tackles for loss. Foster did struggle in pass defense though and was caught in the middle of the media when he criticized the fan base last season.
After the devastating injury to rookie linebacker Ryan Connelly on the New York Giants, the position not only lost its best player, but the alternatives have not performed well this season. Both Alec Ogletree and Tae Davis missed week four with individual injuries, leaving Connelly to lead the defense.
The rookie out of Wisconsin finished the day with one sack and one interception before going down on a non-contact injury. Supplementing his loss will be extremely difficult, even if the two players mentioned return in week five against the Minnesota Vikings. Without him, the task of beating the Vikings will be tall and require a team effort. However, the Giants could look to free agents to compensate for the loss of their best linebacker and new leader.
The New York Giants would need to make some moves to consider signing a player:
The first thing to consider is if there’s available cap space for Big Blue — they are running thin in this facet. They would theoretically have to release some players to open up enough room to sign a capable free agent. They currently sit on $3.12 million of space. That is where the $23.2 million in allocations in the form of Eli Manning might come in handy.
The Giants, however, will not cut Manning before his contract expires after the 2019 season. There are other players that could be on the chopping block to open up space. One player that might be willing to take a loss on his contract would be veteran in linebacker, Brandon Marshall. Drafted in the fifth round by the Jacksonville jaguars in 2012, Marshall has been impressive at times in his career.
Just two years ago, he started all 16 games for the Denver Broncos, recording 106 combined tackles, 75 solo, six tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, 3.0 sacks, and four passes defended.
Last season, he suffered a significant knee injury that limited him to just 42 combined tackles. The Oakland Raiders released him before the regular season began just a few weeks ago, as Marshall essentially used training camp to rehab and work his way back to physical form.
The Giants would likely have to rely on Ogletree and Davis moving forward, two capable options that won’t blow anyone away. They also have David Mayo, a big body that played well at times against the Washington Redskins in week four. Kicking the tires on Marshall might be a decent idea considering his past success, and if he’s willing to take a lesser amount of money to join an NFL team, he could provide value on the defense.
Keep a lookout for a second article recommending an alternative player, one that would cost far less and has the tenacity to be a physical player in the NFL.
The New York Giants waived veteran linebacker BJ Goodson on Monday morning, which could be a pre-disposed move indicating a potential signing in the near future.
With several quality linebackers on the free-agent market, Goodson became expendable. The former Clemson product simply didn’t fit in defensive coordinators James Bettcher’s system, as he is a bigger linebacker that lacks elite athleticism.
Bettcher prefers linebackers that can fly around the field and play close to the line of scrimmage and drop back in coverage.
In addition, Goodson has been injured over the course of his three-year career with the Giants. He played in 15 games, starting 13 of them in 2018. He racked up 61 combined tackles and three quarterback hits. In 2017, he started just seven games before leaving with injury. He is a quality linebacker against the run and plays well close to the line of scrimmage, but has difficulty dropping him back into coverage. He’s essentially a poor man’s Alec Ogletree.
Here are two linebackers the New York Giants could sign:
There are two specific linebackers on the market that could be of interest to the Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman. Former Oakland Raiders linebacker Brandon Marshall could be an option. He recently stated that he used training camp with the Raiders to get back to full health after suffering a serious knee injury last season.
Marshall could be a perfect fit with the Giants, as he is one of the best coverage linebackers in football, according to Raiders coach Jon Gruden. While he might be a bit more expensive, he certainly has the attributes to be a key contributor if signed to the defense.
The second option is former Denver Broncos linebacker, Shane Ray. The former first-round pick has struggled in the NFL up to this point. However, in 2016 he recorded eight sacks and 48 combined tackles. He is fast at the line of scrimmage and can wreak havoc on opposing quarterbacks. Finding a way to extract his potential in value is the hard part given his lack of productivity in recent years. He would likely be cheaper than Marshall, but his production would not be as valuable.
The Giants’ defense is all but settled when it comes to the sure-fire starters; however, there aren’t many plug-and-play options that have enough talent to succeed at the top level. With roster cuts going down on Saturday, team’s have already begun trimming, leaving quality players to find new clubs.
One of the more recent cuts, linebacker Brandon Marshall, could fit perfectly with the Giants. Coming off a knee injury, Marshall must prove he’s capable of operating at a high level, as he once did with the Denver Broncos. Raiders coach Jon Gruden called Marshall “one of the best coverage linebackers in football.”
With the emergence of Marshall on the free-agent market, it could force the Giants to cut veteran BJ Goodson in favor of the cover linebacker.
I thank Oakland for the Opportunity! Unfortunately I had to use training camp to work myself back to full health, and I did just that! Ready for what God has for me next 🙌🏾
Marshall used training camp to return to full health, as he was unable to feature during the preseason. That might have hurt his chances to start right away for the Raiders, but he could be an impactful force for a different team. The Giants are extremely thin at the linebacker position and need to inject more quality to supplement potential injury and deficiencies. On a team-friendly deal, Marshall could fit the bill perfectly.
The New York Giants have a deficiency at the linebacker position. With just Alec Ogletree and Tae Davis locking down the middle of the defense, any injuries or inconsistent play could be detrimental to the success fo the team.
Veteran BJ Goodson has fallen down the depth chart and could be cut due to his inability to fit into defensive coordinator James Bettcher’s scheme. He prefers more athletic linebackers that can successfully blitz the quarterback but also drop back in coverage.
The New York Giants could take a flier on several veterans:
The Oakland Raiders released LB Brandon Marshall on Friday morning, making him an attractive option for team’s looking to add one of the league’s top cover linebackers. Before his injury, he was considered as such, but he’s hit a few snags in his recovery.
Marshall has used all of training camp to bounce back and could be in good shape to join a team looking to utilize his talents. His surgically repaired knee would need to pass medical clearance, but his impact is proven, and the Giants could use a player of his quality.
Also, former Denver Broncos defender Shane Ray could also fit the bill. The former first-round pick is three-years removed from an eight sack, 21 QB hit season.
The Giants could kick the tires on both defenders, but their price tag might hinder the ability for general manager Dave Gettleman to bite. The lack of depth at the position for Big Blue is a cause for concern, and I believe Marshall is the better option here despite both players having their fair share of weaknesses at the moment.
Ray could be a substitute for Kareem Martin, outside linebacker for the Giants, who has failed to make a significant impact since signing with the team last offseason.
It is no secret that the Giants had one of the NFL’s absolute worst defenses in 2018. General manager Dave Gettleman has said publicly that fixing the defense is a priority for him in the 2019 offseason.
One position group that the Giants could improve at is linebacker. Luckily for them, there are plenty of quality linebackers in this year’s free agency class. On Friday, another veteran linebacker was added to the mix.
In an effort to free up cap space, the Denver Broncos declined the option of one of their defensive starters. This player is linebacker Brandon Marshall. Marshall is 29 years old and has played for the Broncos since 2013. But now, in the 2019 offseason, Brandon Marshall will become a free agent.
Marshall had a down year and 2018 and was not able to stay on the field. He played in only 11 games due to injury, but only started in 7 of them. He still managed to total 42 tackles. Despite missing 5 games in 2018, Marshall does not have an extended history with injuries.
In 2017, Brandon Marshall played and started in all 16 games. Brandon racked up 106 total tackles, 3 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, and four passes defended. On top of that, Marshall forced a fumble, and recovered one for a touchdown.
Brandon Marshall was in impact player in 2017. If he can return to form in 2019, he could wind up being a steal in free agency for whichever team signs him.
The Giants’ Linebacker Needs
Last offseason, the Giants traded for linebacker Alec Ogletree. Alec was a captain for the Giants in 2018, but he was far from being a top linebacker in the NFL. Alec Ogletree finished the season with a 50.7 overall grade, ranked 81st out of all linebackers in the league. He was inconsistent in coverage and missed many tackles that left fans frustrated with the defensive captain. B.J. Goodson performed better (66.2 overall PFF grade), but was still only the 41st ranked linebacker in the NFL.
With these low grades, the Giants are clearly in need of another linebacker. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, Marshall recorded PFF grades of 74+ each season. In 2017 and 2018, his grade was in the 60s, but that would still be an improvement from Alec’s 50.7 overall grade.
The Giants need help on defense, and adding another solid veteran linebacker would be a huge addition to the 5-11 team. Brandon Marshall should be available on a cheap contract due to his age and injury during 2018. However, that low price point is why he might be a fit for the Giants. Marshall could come in and be a solid starter for the Giants in 2019. If he is able to exceed expectations and return to his prime form, the Giants could come away with the steal of free agency.
The New York Giants seem to be ridding themselves of all the aging talent taking up too much cap-space on the team. Veteran wide receiver Brandon Marshall has been cut by the Giants, saving the team $6.15 million in cap space.
What does this mean?
By cutting both Marshall and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the team will save about $11 million in cap.
Marshall played only one season in New York, but failed to reach his potential as Odell Beckham Jr’s. complement. The former New York Jet was injured early on in the season with an ankle ailment, causing him to miss the remainder of the season.
Marshall dropped two passes late in games that could have turned the season around for the Giants early on, but those drops will now live forever in the depths of the lost 2017 season.
For the Giants, becoming younger and hungrier was the main goal when they brought on general manager Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur. It seems as if their goal is becoming more apparent now that they have cut two costly contracts from the salary-cap.