The 3 keys to the New York Giants beating the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

With Ezekiel Elliott securing a $90 million extension on Wednesday morning, the New York Giants will gear up to face one of the league’s premier running backs. He is a catalyst for the Dallas Cowboys offense and is one of the more difficult runners to bring down. Having a strong defensive front will be a priority for the Giants, and they will need to supplement the loss of Damon Harrison early last season when the two teams first collided.

Here are the three keys for the New York Giants to beat the Cowboys:

1.) Dexter Lawrence

With the Giants trading away “Snacks” last year, first-round draft pick Dexter Lawrence will be asked to fill a significant role in the defensive line this season.

He will be expected to draw double teams and put pressure on Dak Prescott during the Giants week one matchup against the Cowboys. He will be a catalyst in forcing bad decisions by Prescott and putting pressure on the pocket. Additionally, the Giants need him to be active in the run game and stop Ezekiel Elliott at the line of scrimmage. They will likely have issues dealing with him early on, but they will need to find a way to contain him and his brute style of running.

Aside from just Lawrence, the entire defensive line needs to perform well. Both Dalvin Tomlinson and BJ Hill will be expected to elevate their game, but having previously played against the Cowboys and Elliot before.

2.) Saquon Barkley

The Giants star running back, one of three players at the position to record over 2,000 all-purpose yards in their rookie season, will once again be the focal point of the offense.

Ensuring they feed him early and often, Saquon can take over any game, and he will need to do it again against Dallas. With their defense being a strong point, head coach Pat Shurmur must rely on his star player to crank out yards and get into the end zone.

Last season, Shurmur tended to feed Barkley a lot in the first half of games and then taper off in the second half to not overwork him. In his sophomore season, the Giants cannot be cautious with his workload, as he will be the reason they win most games.

Ensuring he gets a healthy balanced of touches in both the first and second half will allow the Giants to operate at a high-level and compete against better teams in the league. They enter Sunday’s matchup as 7.0 underdog’s, which means they will need to feed Barkley as much as possible, especially with Golden Tate serving a four-game suspension to start the season.

3.) The offensive line

General manager Dave Gettleman has made it a priority to bolster the offense of line the past two seasons. Signing Nate Solder, drafting Will Hernandez, and trading for Kevin Zeitler this off-season makes them a remarkably improved unit. Also, they brought in right tackle Mike Remmers, who is an upgrade over Chad wheeler. They will also return Jon Halapio, their starting center who broke his leg last year early on in the 2018 campaign. This grouping of players will allow Eli Manning to stand tall in the pocket and operate at a more efficient level.

Manning has lacked time to throw the ball in recent seasons, and some of that pressure will likely be alleviated this year.

Cowboys have a daunting defense of line, which will not only put pressure on Manning but Barkley as well. I anticipate Hernandez and Remmers being their focus, as those seem to be the two weak links at this point. Hernandez had an up-and-down preseason, which the Cowboys shortly noticed. They will need strong performance is across the board to dominate the trenches and allow the offense to be productive.

New York Giants could be without starting offensive lineman on Sunday

New York Giants, Eli Manning

The New York Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman made it a priority to bolster the offensive line the past two years. This off-season, they traded for right guard Kevin Zeitler and signed right tackle Mike Remmers.

This time last year, Ereck Flowers was still starting on the Giants’ offensive front, not to mention the Patrick Omameh experiment. Finding their way to the current unit required trial and error, but ultimately it took time.

The Giants didn’t have the cap space to go out and sign multiple top free agents, so they were forced to utilize the NFL draft, and the time it took to rebuild the offense.

During the process, they managed to secure second-round pick Will Hernandez as their starting left guard. He is expected to be an influential player this upcoming season and dominate in the trenches. However, he did struggle at times and cost protection this preseason. While I likely could be him shaking the rust off, he was concerned with his performance and will look to bounce back during the regular season. An enticing matchup against the Dallas Cowboys is the perfect opportunity for him to prove his worth once again.

Should the New York Giants be concerned over this new injury?

While the offensive line looks like it’s coming together, the Giants could be without their starting right tackle on Sunday. Remmers missed practice during the week with an illness and back-related issues. The veteran endured surgery on his back this off-season before signing with the Giants. It could be a cautionary resting before the game, or it could be something to be concerned over.

Behind Remmers on the depth chart, the Giants host Eric Smith, Chad Slade, and Nick Gates. Slade looked solid during the preseason and could be the player of choice to fill in if needed.

Releasing Chad Wheeler could cause issues for head coach Pat Shurmur if Remmers isn’t able to play a majority of the season. While the injury does not indicate he will miss any time at all, it is better to be cautious with players coming off major surgery and time lost in the past. This is certainly something to keep your eye on moving forward.

 

New York Giants: Three Observations From First Unofficial Depth Chart

New York Giants, Cody Latimer

We’re finally close enough to the preseason that we can get an idea of what the New York Giants will be running with for their starting lineup, and a couple of weeks into training camp, we have our first unofficial depth chart. You can find it on the team website, and of course, there’s some interesting things to note from what’s listed on it.

Developments in the battle at right tackle

Mike Remmers came out on top at right tackle, even if this is only the first depth chart and is still subject to change. That’s the expected outcome – second string right tackle Chad Wheeler was better than Ereck Flowers but still not good enough to be called impressive last season, after all. However, Remmers being the starter at the position wasn’t guaranteed.

The staff reiterated multiple times earlier in the offseason that the position has an open competition, even going as far as to say that it was Wheeler’s job to lose. In the end, however, it looks like Remmers is winning that competition despite coming off of injury.

Peculiarly, seventh round draft pick George Asafo-Adjei is in dead last behind Brian Mihalik despite some believing the Giants drafted him for below his worth earlier in the year. Is finishing last at the position behind a journeyman who joined the team last year the worst outcome in the world for a seventh round draft pick? No, but it does show that Asafo-Adjei has some more work to do before becoming a legitimate option for the rotation.

No surprises in receiver battle

Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard are both listed as top receivers – although Tate is likely going to face a four game suspension for violating the league’s substance policy – but the battle for the other receiver spots is about what was expected. Bennie Fowler, Russell Shepard, and Cody Latimer are shown to be in the mix and it looks like Shepard and Latimer are the frontrunners to become receivers two and three for this season’s lineup.

Don’t count Fowler out completely, however. As a former teammate of Cody Latimer, Fowler is already pretty familiar with competing with one of the players in the mix in this competition.

Markus Golden doesn’t enter first team immediately

Markus Golden should be a big addition to a pass rush that desperately needs it – if the Giants can get him back to his 2016 form. Golden had the third most sacks in the league that year but only had 2.5 in 2018 following an injury the year prior which ended his season.

Golden has big expectations this season but at this point the pass rusher is listed as the second SAM linebacker on the defense behind Kareem Martin, who took the top spot. Martin, of course, has a bit more experience with the Giants after joining them in 2018, which leaves one to wonder if Golden is behind Martin due to inexperience with the Giants or because of a failure to step up his play back to previous levels.

Another possible explanation, of course, is that the Giants are intending to use Golden mainly as a pass rusher who is more effective coming off the bench than playing in the starting lineup.

 

New York Giants: How has the offensive line changed?

New York Giants, Ereck Flowers

Just two years ago the New York Giants had one of the worst offense of lines in the NFL. Composed of Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, John Jerry at right guard, and Bobby Hart at right tackle.

Some may say general manager Dave Gettleman hasn’t done a great job piecing together the new-age Giants team that has won just eight games in the last two seasons. However, last year the team took a major step forward, finally building through the NFL draft and not relying on expensive free agents to supplement the deficiencies on the team.

A short one year later after Gettleman was brought on to overhaul the team, the offensive line now has three potential Pro Bowl Players. Nate solder At left tackle, Will Hernandez at left guard, and Kevin Zeitler at right guard. Eli Manning, veteran passer for the Giants going into his 15th season, will benefit from the overhaul Gettleman induced on the team, especially the offensive line.

Manning recorded record numbers, statistically, with Pat Shurmur in the first year of installing his offensive playbook. With an additional year of experience utilizing Shurmur’s scheme, Manning theoretically should have an improved season in 2019. The offense of line coming together with Zeitler, a top-five guard in the NFL, will allow him to operate at an efficient level.

Additionally, Solder, who played alongside Tom Brady before signing a record deal with the Giants, was forced to adapt to a different style of offense and quarterback with Eli last year. Nate was accustomed to a shorter drop back by Brady, and when he joined the Giants he needed to adjust his technique to Manning, who has a deeper drop back.

At the beginning of the season, he was pushing his assignments into Manning because he was familiar with Brady’s drop back and his ability to step up into the pocket. However, he adapted to the new style of play that was required and finished the season on a high note. After having his ankle cleaned up this off-season with a small surgery, he is 100% healthy and ready to take his game to the next level in 2019.

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At the right tackle position, Mike Remmers was signed to solidify a spot that has been weak in recent years. He has familiarity with Shermer’s offense which gives him a leg up over Chad wheeler who started in 2018. With the improvements to the offensive front, the trenches should be solidified and Manning should have more time in the pocket to operate.

Manning has developed bad habits over the past few years due to the lack of time in the pocket, but we should see some of those stresses alleviate with the additions to the line. This unit will likely be far improved and we should see the efficiency of the offense increase exponentially.

New York Giants News, 7/5 – Is Mike Remmers really that much better?

New York Giants, Mike Remmers, Minnesota Vikings

Good Morning, New York Giants Fans!

The topic of the day is new right tackle Mike Remmers for the Giants. The former Minnesota Viking has experience under Pat Shurmur and will likely be the starting option on Eli Manning’s vision side this upcoming season.

Remmers, a true veteran, will replace the formerly undrafted Chad Wheeler, a player who has struggled at times but showed resiliency throughout his 2018 campaign. Big Blue signing a one-year, $2.5 million deal with Remmers puts Wheeler’s spot in jeopardy, and to be quite frank, he will probably be replaced if he hasn’t been already.

On a positive note, Remmers is coming off back surgery but is expected to return to 100% this offseason and be ready for training camp. A small glimmer of hope remains for Wheeler if Remmers can’t regain his form from previous seasons.

Head coach Shurmur stated in regards to Remmers:

“He is a pro, a real pro, and he played winning football for us in Minnesota,” Shurmur said.

The narrative as of late has been that Remmers wasn’t a good player in his most recent season (2018), but he was playing out of position at right guard and will return to his natural tackle spot. An upgrade at the position for the Giants should not only help Eli Manning succeed but Saquon Barkley as well.

Nonetheless–

Your Giants top news of the day!

Ed Valentine (Big Blue View) – Giants’ 90-man roster: “Real pro” Mike Remmers upgrades Giants’ offensive line

Grant Gordon (NFL) – Giants’ Eli Manning: I’m not rushing into retirement

Paul Schwartz (New York Post) – Giants tight ends: Potential star followed by workmanlike group

Alexander Wilson (Empire Sports Media) – New York Giants: A Janoris Jenkins trade scenario

Dan Schneier (247 Sports) – Remembering the 10 greatest moments to be a New York Giants fan

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Check out the best news for yesterday!

New York Giants News, 7/4 – Rest in Peace Jared Lorenzen

 

New York Giants: Chad Wheeler Talks Battle With Mike Remmers

New York Giants, Mike Remmers, Minnesota Vikings

It looks like one of the bigger position battles this year for the New York Giants will quite predictably be on the offensive line, which is getting reshaped after poor performances during much of the last season – a factor which played a huge role in the Giants being nearly completely out of the playoff picture by the time the midway point of the season rolled around.

Chad Wheeler is the one who came into the offseason as the established starter at right tackle and that position hasn’t been removed from him just because the Giants signed Vikings tackle Mike Remmers – who immediately was projected by experts to take the job and to likely improve the play on that side. However, Wheeler intends to keep the position battle competitive, and the coaches themselves haven’t just named Remmers the starter yet.

“I’m going to bring my best, he’s going to bring his best. We’re gonna let the chips fall where they fall,” Wheeler told the New York Post.

“Obviously I’m still here. I showed flashes, I guess. I saw some plays where I shined and did well and then other plays were just, I don’t know if I was patient enough or didn’t get off the ball enough or just my set, hand placement, got to get lower in the run game, get my second step down. There’s all these little things I’m trying to become very consistent at so I help our O-line ascend,” Wheeler continued.

Those flashes from last season came when Wheeler replaced the much maligned Ereck Flowers, who the Giants ended their three year experiment with last October. Wheeler wasn’t the best right tackle in the league by any means, and was considered by many to be subpar, but still offered better performances than the player that he had come in to replace. With Remmers coming off of an injury that helped lead to his exit in Minnesota, Wheeler is being given a real chance to improve here and compete for the starting job.

“He just needs to get better with every rep he is presented with. I think he has done that. We like his focus and his attention to detail. He is doing everything he can to get better,” Giants head coach Pat Shurmur stated.

Remmers himself is welcoming the competition. “I mean, honestly, competition makes everyone better. They have some great players here and even though they need that spot, there’s a lot of competition out there still and that will help everyone develop and get everybody ready for the season.”

 

New York Giants: 3 biggest position battles of 2019

New York Giants, JJ Watt

As the New York Giants progress through the OTA period, position battles are starting to catch fire and some unexpected ones have taken shape. The defense will be one of the more prominent units full of competition and opportunity, as the amount of rookies and younger players has increased exponentially this offseason.

Adding players like DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, Jabrill Peppers, Corey Ballentine and more, have made the outcome of the starting team a bit more murky, which is a positive thing.

Nonetheless–

New York Giants top 3 position battles:

1.) No. 2 cornerback spot

The assumed No. 1 corner for the Giants is Janoris Jenkins, but the second spot opposite the veteran is the position up for grabs. Heading into pre-season it was expected the DeAndre Baker has the starting job all but locked up, however, 2019 Supplemental Draft pick Sam Beal has shown he can compete at a high level.

Beal has shown his range and ability in coverage thus far in OTAs, tipping a pass with his recently surgically repaired shoulder that resulted in an interception by Peppers. This will be one of the more exciting battles of the early summer, as the two are fierce competitors with solid attributes.

2.) Pass rusher

Some might have Lorenzo Carter and Markus Golden penciled on the defensive line, but I’m not so quick to give them the starting jobs. The Giants recently drafted pass-rusher Oshane Ximines out of Old Dominion. Coming from a small school certainly doesn’t present the best chances in terms of an immediate impact for Ximines, but he has proved to be quick and active so far in camp.

Oshane has advanced moves for a product of a smaller school – GM Dave Gettleman was especially impressed with his counter-punch. I expect Carter to earn a starting role, but Golden is three years removed from his best season, a 12.5 sack effort in 2016. He’s coming off a significant knee injury and shouldn’t be considered a starter just yet, Ximines could steal the job with a bit of development.

3.) Right tackle

Mike Remmers was recently signed to a one-year deal to solidify the right tackle position for the Giants. I do not consider him the legitimate starter until he has proven that his surgically repaired back isn’t a hindrance to his abilities. Chad Wheeler was the starter at RT last year and will fight for his right to stay put.

I expect both Wheeler and Remmers to battle it out over the course of the summer. “Big George” out of Kentucky could also be in the mix, but I believe he will need a bit more development before he can withstand premium NFL edge-rushers.

It’s fair to remember, though, that Remmers was forced to play out of position with the Minnesota Vikings, so returning to his natural spot at right tackle should help him find his normal self.

New York Giants: 5 important things to watch during OTAs

New York Giants receiver, Sterling Shepard.

The New York Giants will open OTAs on Monday as they look to shake out the roster and provide their rookies with essential experience ahead of the 2019 season.

This will be an opportunity for the younger players to leave their mark, proving they’re worthy of a starting position or a reserve one. There will be plenty of position battles during this period, which will provide answers and excitement.

5 things to watch for during New York Giants OTAs:

1.) Where will Daniel Jones land on the depth chart?

As expected, Daniel Jones is the anticipated QB3 heading into training camp behind Eli Manning and Alex Tanney. While the 6th overall pick starting as a third-string option doesn’t promote the immediate impact narrative some people prefer from top draft picks, it’s better off he starts in a reserve role where he can learn and develop.

The upcoming season will be Jones’ growth season, and he will benefit significantly from it. Learning Manning’s tendencies and preparation procedure will aid him when he eventually takes over. In addition, refining his already solid technique and arm strength will be a part of his progression.

2.) How will the New York Giants use Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate?

Diving into the Giants’ receiver corps presents a ton of questions. It was always rather simple at this time of the year — Odell Beckham Jr. was the main pass-catcher and everybody else was an afterthought.

This year, things are different, and it will be interesting to see how the Giants utilize Shepard and Tate. Both have the ability to line up in the interior and exterior, which should create mismatches and unpredictable routes. Tate is the best receiver in the league in terms of yards-after-catch.

Look for head coach Pat Shurmur to find ways to get him open in the middle of the field so he can use his elevated play-making ability to pick up extra yards.

3.) Chad Wheeler vs Mike Remmers

It’s expected that former Vikings right tackle Mike Remmers will emerge as the starting player for the Giants after signing a contract recently. However, he’s coming off back surgery and there are plenty of questions that need to be answered, physically. There’s a chance Wheeler rightfully earns the starting job after flashing decency at times last year.

He’s by no means a great option, but the Giants did go out and secure a top 6 right guard in Kevin Zeitler this past offseason in the Olivier Vernon trade. If Remmers shows he has healed fully from the surgery he will be the starter hands down, but that’s not the case until we see him in training camp.

This is one of the better position battles of the offseason.

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4.) The cornerbacks unit

The cornerbacks will present a great position war this training camp period. Featuring several new players in DeAndre Baker, Julian Love, and Corey Ballentine, there are plenty of positions open for the taking.

Most have Love penciled in as a slot-corner option alongside Grant Haley, but I imagine he will fight for a starting role on the outside. Baker, the top corner in the draft, theoretically has the second starting job opposite Janoris Jenkins locked up, but I wouldn’t rule out the feisty Love from earning reps. Nonetheless, it’s an uphill battle for him.

Ballentine has lengthy arms and NFL speed/agility — he’s an underrated talent that will compete hard but will likely be a reserve option. I anticipate 2019 being a developmental year for him. Don’t forget about Supplemental draft pick Sam Beal either – he missed all of 2018 with a shoulder injury. His talents have yet to be evaluated on the field, meaning he has as good a chance as anybody at securing starting reps.

5.) Eric Dungey could be a surprising sleeper

Syracuse quarterback, Eric Dungey, was signed as an undrafted free agent this offseason period. He’s an extremely athletic player that doesn’t have the most sound throwing abilities but could replicate Taysom Hill of New Orleans. He has a solid frame at 6’3″, 220-pounds.

Dungey threw for 2868 yards in 2018 with another 754 in rushing. He earned a total of 33 touchdowns over the course of the season, proving to be a capable playmaker. The Giants were intrigued by his athleticism and ability to get into the endzone. Look out for him to move around the field and play a bit of tight end and quarterback in a reserve role.

 

New York Giants: Chad Wheeler To Have Fair Shot At Keeping Spot

New York Giants, JJ Watt

With the New York Giants bringing in reinforcements in the form of veteran right tackle Mike Remmers, it might look like the offensive line battle is already decided. Right tackle has been a position of need ever since things failed to work out with former first round draft pick Ereck Flowers, who is now on the Jacksonville Jaguars, and last season it looked like Chad Wheeler would be a stopgap until a real solution can be found.

That solution could be Mike Remmers, who is only on a one year deal but still seems like the best option at this point for the Giants going froward. Remmers is more experienced, having played for the Vikings most recently and starting 64 games for multiple teams over a career that began as an undrafted free agent in 2012, and overall has a much better resume than the still very new and very raw Wheeler.

However, the starting job isn’t going to go to Remmers just by virtue of resume.

Last week when the Giants were still looking into signing Remmers, Wheeler was the one named the starter at right tackle. According to offensive line coach Hal Hunter, if someone wants to take the spot for themselves, they’ll have to dethrone Wheeler.

“If you’re the best player at that position at anytime, we owe it to the organization, the team, for you to be in that lineup. We all compete. They know, they understand they’re competing every single day. Chad, right now, is starting off as the first right tackle, and it’s up to him to hold the position. It’s up to everybody else to beat him out,” Hunter said.

‘Everybody else’ includes both Remmers and George Asafo-Adjei, the latter of which was drafted in the seventh round this year and was believed to be good competition for Wheeler before the Remmers signing shifted the balance on the offensive line a bit more.

Of course, it’s something of a long shot for Wheeler to win the job over the more experienced veteran, especially since Wheeler’s play during the 2018 season was only considered acceptable because it was better than worse alternatives. More options, however, is always a good thing – and so far, it looks like the Giants organization does consider Wheeler to be a legitimate option on the list of players competing for the right tackle position.

New York Giants: What Options Remain At Right Tackle?

The New York Giants have holes all over their roster. After a wild free agency period, the Giants managed to create more holes and fill barely any of them. One gaping hole on the roster is at the right tackle position.

After missing out on premier right tackle Daryl Williams in free agency, the Giants were not left with very many options. The Giants need to upgrade the right tackle position as soon as possible. However, their options are running thin.

Free Agency

If the Giants want to sign a right tackle in free agency, they will need to do it soon. The market has really dried up over the past two weeks. The Giants met with a free agent from Minnesota, Mike Remmers. According to his agent, the meeting went well and the team will likely sign Remmers, however, nothing was imminent.

Since then, we have not heard a peep. This leaves some fans wondering when this contract will get done or if it will get done at all. If the Giants are unable to sign Remmers, who would they turn to?

There are a few veteran right tackles sitting on the free agency market. One name the Giants could consider is Jared Veldheer. According to Pro Football Focus, Veldheer is an immediate-impact free agent who played well in 2018 before going down with an injury. He earned a 62.4 overall PFF grade which is much higher than Chad Wheeler’s overall grade of 47.4.

If the Giants end up missing out on Mike Remmers, it would be wise of them to turn their attention towards Jared Veldheer or a prospect in the draft.

NFL Draft

A lot of speculation has begun surrounding the Giants’ 17th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft. The pick was acquired via trade from the Cleveland Browns. Many fans and experts have been predicting that the Giants will draft a right tackle at 17 in their respective mock drafts.

A few great tackle options will be available at 17. Names to keep an eye on include Cody Ford, Jonah Williams, and Dalton Risner.

Cody Ford played right tackle for Oklahoma and did a phenomenal job protecting the Heisman Trophy Winner, Kyler Murray. Ford is an excellent pass blocker. He only allowed 8 pressures in 2018 as a full-time starter. Cody is an extremely athletic offensive tackle. He was impressive at the NFL Combine and consistently showed elite agility on tape. This athletic ability might cause a team to move Ford to guard, but if he were to be drafted by the Giants, he would play right tackle.

Jonah Williams is similar to Cody Ford in the sense that teams will consider moving him to guard. This is because Jonah is a bit undersized for the offensive tackle position. Despite this, Williams was a consistently great player during his time at Alabama. Jonah played left tackle in college, however, he could be moved to the right side since the Giants already have Nate Solder. Williams allowed only 10 pressures in 2018 and was also Pro Football Focus’s 3rd ranked run-blocker. Williams has been mocked all over the place from the top 10 to the top 25. If he slides to 17, the Giants will have to consider drafting him.

Dalton Risner is a technically sound offensive tackle prospect out of Kansas State. Risner allowed only 28 pressures on 1,489 pass-blocking snaps in his college career and could step in and start immediately at right tackle for the Giants. He did not face the same type of elite defensive talent that Cody Ford and Jonah Williams faced, however, he was still an elite collegiate offensive tackle. Risner could be an absolute steal for the Giants at 17, or if he falls all the way to the second round (which he might).