Report: Giants bringing in FA center Austin Reiter for a visit, what would he bring?

giants, austin reiter

With the New York Giants experiencing an injury scare with potential starting left guard Shane Lemieux this past week, it became clear they could use more depth in the trenches. Current starting center Nick Gates is expected to earn reps at guard during training camp, which could open the door for a potential move if the Giants find a solid supplement to snap the football.

According to Jeremy Fowler of ESPN, the Giants and several other teams are looking to bring in center Austin Reiter for a visit.

On Saturday, the Giants decided to bring in Reiter to gauge his fit as a potential free-agent signing. Having waited the entire off-season to sign with a new team, Reiter is finally drawing interest as a former starter for the Chiefs, having won a Super Bowl.

This past season with Kansas City, Reiter earned a 79.2 overall pass-blocking grade, allowing three sacks and 11 pressures on the season over 1250 offensive snaps, per PFF. In comparison, Gates earned a 71.5 overall pass-blocking grade, allowing one sack and nine pressures over just 291 snaps. There’s no question that Reiter is a more proven commodity in the interior, and if the Giants are able to scoop him up, it would allow gates to compete with Lemieux at left guard.

The Chiefs decided they would upgrade the position after seeing Reiter reach his pro ceiling, but he’s more than capable of starting for an alternative team. He is far more efficient as a pass blocker than run blocker, something the Giants will note. However, protecting Daniel Jones is the priority, and having a refined player to help in that category is essential.

With reserve center Jonotthan Harrison currently injured, Reiter would be a welcomed addition but could push for Harrison’s spot on the roster.

New York Giants offense struggling early in camp, why we shouldn’t jump to conclusions

new york giants

The New York Giants re-tooled their offense this off-season, acquiring Kenny Golladay in free agency and Kadarius Toney in the first round with the 20th overall pick. Golladay, a big 6’4″ possession receiver, offers Daniel Jones a great security blanket in the passing game and downfield threat. The offense last season stuck to a more West Coast-style scheme, dinking and dunking for short yardage rather than targeting receivers downfield seeking chunk plays.

Ultimately, the scheme must adapt, taking risks downfield and applying Jones’s arm strength. However, Jones and the offense have looked outmatched thus far during training camp compared to the defense, which is expected to be a top 10 unit this year once again.

The defense was one of the more surprising factors during the 2020 season, showcasing a unique blend of zone coverage and blitz packages. Coordinator Patrick Graham is set to return to his roots, a man-coverage-based game that relies heavily on the pass rush. That is a primary reason why the Giants allocated assets toward drafting Azeez Ojulari, Elerson Smith, and signing several options like Ifeadi Odengibo and Ryan Anderson.

The defense always had the upper hand for the New York Giants starting camp:

The offense was always going to be outmatched early in camp, as Jones missed several passes on Friday, including a short dump off to Devontae Booker and throwing an interception to Logan Ryan on a fade route to Evan Engram in the end zone.

The Giants’ secondary has been working all off-season together in Tampa Bay, simply transitioning over to the Quest Diagnostic Center for training camp. Their chemistry continues to grow, and it is showing off against Jones and the offense, who’ve had two consecutive tough practices, littered with drops and mistakes.

However, with so many new pieces on offense and new coaches, it will take time for the unit to gain their sea legs. Making assumptions and justifications just three days into camp is a bit overzealous, but if the unit continues to struggle a few weeks down the road, then concerns will have some legs.

Both Jones and Golladay have spent time after practice refining their chemistry and building their timing. After Friday’s practice, Golladay stated that it’s all about “getting the chemistry down like clockwork.” Nonetheless, he’s had a tough time facing off against top corner James Bradberry, but it is important to remember that Kenny missed the majority of the 2020 season and is still working his way back to football form.

New York Giants: Shane Lemieux “avoided worst-case scenario” injury, says HC Joe Judge

New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux

The New York Giants kicked off training camp this week and on the second day of practice already had a major injury scare. Projected starting left guard Shane Lemieux was carted off of the field on the second day of practice. It was later revealed that Lemieux suffered a knee injury, though the severity of that injury was not initially revealed.

As the Giants get back at it for the third day of practice today, head coach Joe Judge spoke to the media and provided an update on Shane Lemieux’s injury status. According to Judge, the “worst-case scenario looks to have been avoided.”

The worst-case scenario would have been a season-ending injury for Lemieux. Thankfully, that has been avoided, and Giants fans will get to see Shane Lemieux suit up at some point this season. However, there is currently no timetable for Shane Lemieux’s return. Giants fans can expect to see players such as Zach Fulton and Kenny Wiggins fill in during Lemieux’s absence.

Joe Judge on Shane Lemiuex’s injury status

Joe Judge could not provide the media with too many details regarding Shane Lemieux’s injury status. But he did promise that more updates will be given in the coming days. Judge said sometime in the next “24-48 hours” the team will have a better understanding of “where he’s at.” The team cannot yet make a diagnosis on Shane.

One thing I’ll tell you about Shane, he’s kind of like a wild animal, he’d chew his leg off through a bear trap if he had to, so him not being out here kind of drives him nuts. – Joe Judge on Shane Lemieux after suffering a knee injury this week

It seems that Shane Lemieux will make a return to the practice field sooner than later. The second-year guard from Oregon was on the practice field today. Lemieux was out there, watching the whole practice today, and was seen walking off the field with his helmet on alongside Will Hernandez (Pat Leonard NYDN).

Kenny Wiggins filled in for Shane Lemieux as the starting left guard during today’s practice (Zack Rosenblatt NJ.com). According to Rosenblatt, the Giants are keen on keeping Will Hernandez at right guard.

The New York Giants caught a huge break with Shane Lemieux. The Giants are already thin on the offensive line and could not afford to lose one of their starters this early in the season. Shane Lemieux is a young hog molly who struggled as a rookie but has worked hard to improve and prepare for the 2021 season. Thankfully, this injury should not prevent Lemieux from seeing the field in the regular season.

New York Giants: 2 free agent guards who could fit the bill if Shane Lemieux injury is serious

New York giants, Larry Warford

New York Giants expected starting left guard Shane Lemieux suffered a knee injury on Thursday, which required a cart to carry him off the field. The front office didn’t allocate any resources toward bolstering the line this off-season, electing to sign receivers and strengthen the pass rush instead.

With Lemieux going down on the second day of training camp, a clear disregard for the trenches is boiling to the surface. Nonetheless, it’s not too late to sign a free agent to help reinforce the unit.

Two free agent guards the New York Giants could contact:

1.) Larry Warford

Some might name David DeCastro, former Pittsburgh Steeler, as a potential option. However, most are considering his release from Pittsburgh as his retirement. Coming off a notable ankle injury, relying on him to be a regular starter is optimistic.

Former New Orleans Saints guard Larry Warford might be a better alternative. Warford logged a 71.4 overall pass blocking grade in 2019, in addition to a 76.6 run-blocking grade, per PFF. He allowed 3.0 sacks and 32 pressures over 1025 snaps. He primarily plays right guard, which would shift Will Hernandez back to the left side.

Traditionally, Warford has been a quality guard for the majority of his career, electing to sit out the 2020 season. In all three seasons with the Saints, Warford went to the Pro Bowl but saw a significant drop off his performance two years ago.

Depending on his price tag, Warford could be an adequate option to compete in the trenches on a one-year contract.

2.) James Carpenter

The free-agent guard market is extremely thin, and one of the better options available is James Carpenter. Carpenter played in 675 snaps with the Atlanta Falcons last season, but the former first-round pick struggled mightily. Last season, Carpenter allowed 3.0 sacks at left guard.

The Giants are comfortable with Zach Fulton competing at LG and even had Kenny Wiggins, formally on the Detroit Lions featuring with the starting team on Thursday. Carpenter is an experienced veteran, though, and would at least provide competition in the trenches if Shane’s injury is serious.

New York Giants: Kelvin Benjamin goes at Joe Judge, Giants players defend coach

New York Giants, Joe Judge

Kelvin Benjamin had a chance to revitalize his career as a free agent signing with the New York Giants this offseason, but that’s far from how things actually turned out. The 30 year old wide receiver ended up released, and not only missed out on a chance to play this season but also caused quite a bit of drama on the way out.

It all stems from Benjamin showing up for practice on Wednesday and apparently getting into a dispute with head coach Joe Judge over his weight. The Giants required Benjamin to cut his weight down to 251 pounds, but his weight instead increased slightly since the end of minicamp. But Benjamin claims that others in the team building had previously told him that his weight was fine, and that the weight cut was an impossible request.

“I’m like: ‘I’m trying everything I can to be here. You won’t even let me on the field to show what I can do. I played receiver at 268 [pounds] and I almost had 1,000 yards [in 2016]. So why do you want me to come back at 251 at tight end?’” Benjamin told NJ Advance Media on Wednesday.

He claims that Judge just personally doesn’t like him, and that it led to the confrontation at practice and his release.

“The day before practice, he didn’t bring all of this up. I just felt like the dude didn’t like me. Mr. Gettleman knew exactly what went down. It’s crazy how they twisting the narrative about everything like it’s a joke. They make it seem like we don’t even matter,” Benjamin said about Judge. He’d also say other things, claiming that Judge’s style won’t win a Super Bowl.

It’s not the first time Judge has been criticized for his style, but some players disagree.

New York Giants defend Joe Judge

Since the incident, several New York Giants players have been active in defending their head coach.

“He’s very intense, but I feel like he prepares us each and every day for the game. That’s his motto. That’s his mindset and it helps and it works. So for us, it gets us excited for practice,” said defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence.

His sentiment was echoed by cornerback James Bradberry, who has looked like one of the best corners in the league under Judge’s leadership. He spoke with the New York Daily News, and gave his take on the situation.

“It ain’t for everybody. You feel me? He’s entitled to his opinion. I definitely think Coach Judge is tough. But football is tough. There’s a lot of pressure being in our shoes, so I don’t expect him to give us our way all the time,” Bradberry stated. “A tough coach, that’s how you build structure. That’s how you build discipline.”

“It ain’t for everybody, man, ya know? It ain’t for everybody,” Bradberry would add.

It’s a sentiment that seems to follow in the footsteps of two very successful head coaches that Judge has worked under – Bill Belichick and Nick Saban. Both of them have had problems with players over the years due to their strict nature, but have found tremendous success despite their style being deemed ‘not for everyone’ by many former players.

The current Giants roster, at least, seems to be all for Judge’s current style. As do the free agents who joined this offseason, many of whom specifically cited Judge as part of their reason for picking the Giants.

His style may not be for Kelvin Benjamin, but at the very least, it’s working with the group of players the Giants have now.

The New York Giants’ lack of OL depth could prove to be costly this season

New York Giants, Shane Lemeiux

The New York Giants are only on their second day of practice in 2021’s training camp. Already, the Giants are dealing with some injury scares. Starting left guard Shane Lemieux was carted off of the practice field today. This injury scare once again sheds light on the Giants’ lack of depth on the offensive line and how it could cost them in a major way this season.

The New York Giants offensive line is one of the worst in the NFL

The Giants had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last season. In 2020, according to ESPN, the Giants’ pass-block win rate ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. Despite this, the team made no major moves to upgrade their offensive line in the 2021 offseason.

A peculiar offseason strategy

2021’s free agency period saw the New York Giants spend big on both sides of the ball. New York made multiple splash signings, like Kenny Golladay, Kyle Rudolph, and Adoree’ Jackson. The team filled some gaping holes on their roster, yet ignored the glaringly obvious weakness that is their offensive line. The only acquisitions the Giants made on the offensive line were iOL Zach Fulton (who many believe will play a backup role), and a couple of undrafted free agents. The Giants had numerous opportunities to sign or draft starting-caliber offensive line talent and passed up every single chance they were given.

This leaves the New York Giants in murky water during the first week of training camp. As we wait for an update on Shane Lemieux, the conversation about the Giants’ offensive line is sparked once again. Though Lemieux struggled incredibly in his rookie season (ranking 80/80 in PFF grades for guards in 2020), he was still a projected starter entering his second season with plenty of upsides. Shane Lemieux worked hard this offseason, even showing up to voluntary workouts before 6 a.m. to get some extra work before practice.

Hoping for the best and preparing for the worst

Hopefully, Shane Lemieux was dealing with a minor injury that looked worse from a distance than it truly is. However, if that is not the case, the Giants are in a scary situation. The Giants lost their best starting offensive lineman (Kevin Zeitler) this offseason and brought no one in to replace him. They are rolling into 2021 with basically the same unit that gave up 50 sacks (T-2nd most in the NFL) last season. Some fans might not view Shane Lemieux as a big potential loss to the lineup, but the Giants do not have much depth on their roster at that position, to begin with, so any injury on the offensive line could break their season to pieces.

New York Giants Top News: Devontae Booker’s big role, Kenny Golladay represents more than just a WR1

new york giants, kenny golladay

The New York Giants are planning to ease star running back Saquon Barkley into live-action. After suffering a torn ACL, MCL, and partially torn meniscus, prioritizing his health is essential.

With the Giants doing Saquon Barkley as a long-term solution, they made sure to bring in a secondary back to help take the load off early in the 2021 season. The front office signed former Las Vegas Raiders RB Devontae Booker to a two-year, $5.5 million deal. Booker has a dead cap of $2 million this season and a potential out in the 2022 off-season.

Booker is more than capable of handling starting reps if Barkley is forced to miss any time. Last season over 16 games, Booker tallied 423 yards, three touchdowns and caught 17 passes for 84 yards. After fumbling seven times in his first three seasons, he’s only allowed the ball to break loose just once in the past two years.

Most consider him a supplement to Barkley as he finds his way back from injury, but head coach Joe Judge still wants to see the veteran compete during training camp.

Judge stated that Devontae Booker only has himself to worry about, outside of Saquon Barkley’s situation:

“I think Devontae has to worry about himself and not worry about where anybody else is,” Judge said before today’s training camp practice, his first in-person news conference in about 17 months. “We’re going to look to get contributions from all of our players, no matter who is available on the roster. Again, whoever comes to a game for us is going to play, alright? We’re not traveling guys to sit there and watch the game.”

The importance of Kenny Golladay ranges beyond his utility on offense:

The Giants signed Golladay to a four-year, $72 million deal this off-season. He provides quarterback Daniel Jones with a WR1.

Golladay offers something new to quarterback Daniel Jones, a top wide receiver he can depend on regularly. Jones has operated with lackluster talent at times. His top receivers were sterling Shepard and Golden Tate in 2020. Golladay is only one year removed from a Pro Bowl performance, recording 1,190 yards and 11 scores. As a big possession receiver who fits Jason Garrett’s offensive scheme, Golladay will make a significant impact immediately.

Standing at 6’4″ and 214 pounds, Kenny is an elite red-zone threat, a category the Giants struggled in last season. His importance to the offense is directly connected to Daniel Jones, who will undoubtedly reap the rewards of Golladay’s presence.

New York Giants: Azeez Ojulari shortlisted as DROY candidate

new york giants, azeez ojulari

The rest of the NFL may have messed up by allowing New York Giants draft pick Azeez Ojulari to fall all the way to the 50th selection where the Giants took him. Ojulari was predicted originally to be a high first round pick, and was even mocked to the Giants with the 11th selection by some names in the draft analysis community.

However, due to late news that came out about a potential knee problem, Ojulari fell and the Giants were able to get the player for what looks like far less than his true value.

The Giants organization is confident that the knee story isn’t accurate, and that they’re getting a healthy player with Ojulari. Many media members around the league have been bullish so far in their predictions about Ojulari’s performance, estimating him to perform like the upper first round player that he was projected as.

The latest of those predictions is from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein and has Ojulari as one of the candidates for the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. While Ojulari only comes in at 9th on the list, it’s impressive to get that kind of acknowledgement at all after falling significantly and being drafted in the second round.

The Giants had way too much rush production come from their big men up front — defensive tackle Leonard Williams, who had 11.5 sacks, was the only player to post more than four last season — so they’re hoping Ojulari can give their attack more life off the edge. The tape can be a little uneven at times, but his flashes are really eye-catching. Georgia did so much rotating along their defensive front that I didn’t always feel like he was able to get into a groove. He’ll be on the field full-time for the Giants, and if the coaches can cultivate those flashes into a skilled rush, Ojulari will be a legitimate contender out of this group.

If Ojulari does perform like this, he’ll definitely go down as one of the better draft picks under Dave Gettleman. And the Giants are especially lucky that Ojulari fell to this spot, as the pick also addresses a major area of need.

Note that the article doesn’t mention the injury concerns that led to Ojulari falling in the first place. Those have, for the most part, fallen by the wayside more recently.

With the way those injury concerns have completely fallen out of discussion, and the Giants organization hasn’t found anything wrong with Ojulari yet, it’s safe to say his fall from first round prospect may very well happened because of misplaced and ill-informed rumors leading up to the draft rather than anything with merit.

New York Giants: Kelvin Benjamin rips Joe Judge in post-cut tirade

new york giants, kelvin benjamin

An odd situation occurred on Wednesday at the start of training camp for the New York Giants. With the team taking the field preparing to start the off-season, TE/WR Kelvin Benjamin was stopped short of joining his teammates by head coach Joe Judge and general manager Dave Gettleman.

Gettleman was seemingly doing Benjamin a favor, bringing him in for minicamp and letting him compete on the back end of the roster. However, Judge asked him a simple question two months ago, and it was regarding weight loss.

Essentially, Judge requested the veteran receiver cut 20 pounds off his frame, but Benjamin was unable to do so. Instead, he showed up to practice 17 pounds overweight, which incited a quick response from Judge, sending him on his way and cutting him that very moment.

After Benjamin walked off the field somberly, Zack Rosenblatt of nj.com managed to secure an interview with Benjamin later on in the day.

“It was just like they were trying to sabotage me to get me out of there,” Benjamin said.

“I just felt like from Day 1, once I stepped on the field, once I put on the colors, he never liked me,” Benjamin said. “He didn’t even want me there.”

It is entirely possible Judge with simply doing Gettleman a favor, bringing Benjamin in to practice with the team in an attempt to revive his NFL career. However, it seemed as if there was never any serious chance that Benjamin would make the roster, spurring his aggressive tirade after cleaning out his locker.
Kelvin went as far as the rip Judge, stating that he cusses and will never win a Super Bowl. Someone should probably tell Benjamin he’s one quite a few with the New England Patriots and a National Championship with Alabama. His success far supersedes Benjamin and his lack of discipline in the NFL.

“I have a perspective on Joe Judge,” Benjamin said. “He’s not a coach that can ever win a Super Bowl because he sits there and cusses all day. You can tell he’s one-sided about everything. He’s a know-it-all. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. We all can learn from each other. We’re all humans at the end of the day. The true colors will come out.”

New York Giants: Will Hernandez lost 20 pounds this offseason, ready to bounce back this year

New York Giants, Will Hernandez

The New York Giants have officially kicked off training camp for the 2021 NFL season. There are many intriguing storylines for the Giants entering this year. The team’s biggest question mark: the offensive line. We could see a camp battle for a starting offensive guard position this year. Entering his fourth season, guard Will Hernandez is looking to answer that question mark with an exclamation point and win this camp battle.

The Giants had one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL last season. In 2020, according to ESPN, the Giants’ pass-block win rate ranked dead-last in the NFL at 46%. Their run-block win rate ranked 18th at 70%, which is about average or slightly below. Left guard Will Hernandez really struggled in his third career season, starting the first eight games of the year at left guard before contracting COVID-19 and ultimately losing his starting job to rookie Shane Lemieux.

Will Hernandez was really struggling as the starting guard in the first half of the season. He posted a 50.9 pass-blocking grade in 2020 per Pro Football Focus. Hernandez allowed 25 total pressures and 1 sack on only 312 opportunities (allowing pressure on 8.01% of those opportunities).

Will Hernandez’s 2021 weight loss and training

As training camp kicks off for the Giants, Will Hernandez showed up looking noticeably different. When asked about his training this offseason, Hernandez proudly told the media that he had lost 20 pounds this offseason (yes, TWENTY POUNDS). Hernandez explained that this offseason’s training regimen featured “a lot more intensity, a lot more conditioning” as he prepares to bounce back from a disappointing 2020 season.

Hernandez explained that he did “a lot of things differently this year, ate different, worked out different.” But he is still just “training for football,” now preparing to compete on the other side of the offensive line.

Will Hernandez started the first three seasons of his career at left guard. This year, Shane Lemieux is expected to start at left guard, so Hernandez has been training to compete at right guard this season. Will Hernandez spent much of the 2021 offseason training with offensive line trainer Duke Manyweather. According to Manyweather on Twitter, Hernandez played much of the 2020 season injured while also dealing with COVID-related side effects. There are many reasons to believe that Will Hernandez will bounce back in a major way this season.

Will Hernandez, now a healthier, slimmer, and more physically fit player, is ready to make the switch to the right side of the line. He told reporters today that switching sides is not as difficult as some think, it is just a matter of comfort (Patricia Traina).

The New York Giants are expecting big things from Will Hernandez this season. He faced a lot of adversity in 2020, but seems primed for a bounce back 2021 season. Will Hernandez has trained tirelessly this offseason and looks ready to win the New York Giants’ starting right guard position.