New York Giants, Logan Ryan have mutual interest (Report)

New York Jets, Logan Ryan, Tennessee Titans

According to ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the New York Giants and free-agent cornerback Logan Ryan have mutual interest.

Ryan, 29, spent the last three seasons with the Tennessee Titans. Last season he compiled four interceptions, four and a half sacks, and 113 combined tackles. Across the Titans’ three 2019 AFC playoff games, Ryan compiled one interception and 25 combined tackles.

Across his seven seasons in the NFL, the cornerback has compiled 17 interceptions, 11 sacks, and 494 combined tackles. He was selected with the 83rd pick in the 2013 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, where he played from 2013-16.

The Rutgers product recently changed his agent, and his former representation pitched to teams that Ryan can play safety, too.

Ryan is one of several high-profile free agents still unsigned. Defensive ends Jadeveon Clowney, Clay Matthews, and Jabaal Sheard, safety Earl Thomas and defensive tackle Damon Harrison are free agents.

The Giants secondary has taken a hit in recent weeks. Would-be second-year corner DeAndre Baker has been prosecuted on four counts of robbery with a firearm; corner Sam Beal opted out of the 2020 season; rookie safety Xavier McKinney fractured his foot, likely sidelining him for the first half of the regular season. Linebacker David Mayo recently tore his meniscus, likely sidelining him for a month.

The team’s active defensive backfield includes free-agent signee James Bradberry, Jabrill Peppers, Grant Haley, second-year players Julian Love and Corey Ballentine, and rookies Darnay Holmes and Chris Williamson, among others.

Holmes left the Giants’ Friday night intrasquad scrimmage at MetLife Stadium with a “lower” injury, and Blake Martinez missed some time with an undisclosed injury. Both players have returned to practice.

The Giants are learning a new defense under new head coach Joe Judge, administered by defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.

The Giants open the 2020 NFL season on Monday, September 14 at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

New York Giants: Why James Bradberry Is Essential In The Giants’ New Defense

New York Giants, James Bradberry

The New York Giants made a splash signing in free agency this offseason. New York inked a deal with former Carolina Panther cornerback James Bradberry. Bradberry was one of the top cornerbacks on the market and the Giants paid him like it. Bradberry and the Giants came to terms on a three-year contract worth $43.5 million ($14.5 million on average annually).

Cornerback was certainly a weakness for the Giants entering this offseason. New York’s pass defense struggled throughout the 2019 season and the team cut long-time primary cornerback Janoris Jenkins. This left the Giants with a huge hole on the outside. Entering 2020, the Giants have filled that hole with the addition of James Bradberry. However, a new hole has opened up on the opposite side of the field.

The Giants signed Bradberry, hoping he would be the team’s primary cornerback with DeAndre Baker playing the second cornerback position. Baker is now facing serious legal charges and has been placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. Baker will not be ready for the start of the NFL season and his backup, Sam Beal, has opted out of this season. The Giants are going to have a position battle at cornerback two during training camp, but James Bradberry’s performance at the primary cornerback position will hold the team together.

What Makes James Bradberry So Essential?

Newly-signed cornerback James Bradberry is the only real veteran presence in the Giants’ secondary. Darnay Holmes, Julian Love, and Xavier McKinney are all second and first-year players that will play significant roles in the team’s pass defense. Having a reliable cover-man like Bradberry will help stabilize this group of young and growing players.

At twenty-seven years old, James Bradberry is still a relatively young player. But he is still older than the rest of the players in the secondary. Jabrill Peppers will turn twenty-five this season, making him one of the older players on the Giants’ youthful defense.

With age comes experience. James has spent four years in the NFL, more specifically with the Panthers in the NFC South. The NFC South has the hardest competition at the wide receiver position out of any division in the NFL. Twice a year, Bradberry had to line up against star receivers like Mike Evans, Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, Julio Jones, and Calvin Ridley. Here is how he fared in these tough matchups:

For the most part, Bradberry shut down all of these star wide receivers he faced off against in 2019. The Giants are implementing a brand new man-coverage-heavy defensive scheme under Patrick Graham in 2020. Bradberry thrives in press-man coverage and will be able to shadow opposing team’s top receivers with the Giants. As long as Bradberry does his job and eliminates the offenses’ top threats, the young bucks in the Giants’ secondary have the talent to put together a solid season.

New York Giants: Rookie DB Darnay Holmes Standing Out At Practice

New York Giants, Darnay Holmes

The New York Giants had their first intra-squad scrimmage today. This was the first opportunity for the Giants’ offense to matchup against the team’s defense. There were a few highlight plays as the New Jersey beat writers live-tweeted the practice game.

The reporters tweeted after the scrimmage had ended any stats or highlights they recorded during the game. One name that kept popping up: Darnay Holmes. In fact, this rookie’s name has popped up a number of times since training camp started.

Darnay Holmes Practice Highlights

Darnay Holmes turned heads today at practice. The fourth-round rookie out of UCLA put together an impressive performance during the Giants’ first scrimmage of training camp. And this was not the first impressive day that Holmes has had during training camp.

Holmes was seen making an impressive pass breakup just a few days ago:

In today’s scrimmage, Darnay Holmes made a spectacular interception down the sideline in coverage against Golden Tate. Holmes stuck with Tate step for step, then lunged to make a full-extension interception. Check it out:

This was also not Darnay’s first interception of training camp, according to reports. Holmes has been balling out in every practice. He was listed as a standout player in each of the first three practice reports on Giants.com.

The Giants’ secondary had some major question marks heading into training camp. The absence of DeAndre Baker and Sam Beal was worrying. The Giants did not appear to have a capable outside cornerback to play opposite of James Bradberry.

Many fans were too quick to pen Darnay Holmes down as a pure slot cornerback. Darnay has been cross-training with the Giants at both inside and outside cornerback. The interception he made today was from the outside position. Darnay played outside cornerback throughout his entire collegiate career. He played slot cornerback at the Senior Bowl this year and was very impressive, which is why many expected him to make the transition to slot in the NFL. So far, though, it seems like Darnay will be able to make an impact from either cornerback position. If he continues to play like this, Darnay Holmes could see himself starting on the outside opposite of James Bradberry in the regular season.

New York Giants: Why James Bradberry Will Thrive In The Giants’ New Defensive Scheme

New York Giants, James Bradberry

The New York Giants made a splash in free agency this offseason when the signed cornerback James Bradberry. Bradberry was one of the top cornerbacks on the market this year and the Giants paid him like it. New York signed James Bradberry to a three-year, $43.5 million deal ($14.5 on average annually).

James Bradberry has spent the entirety of his four-year NFL career with the Carolina Panthers after being drafted there in 2016. The New York Giants’ current general manager, Dave Gettleman, was the general manager of the Panthers at the time of Bradberry’s drafting. The connection was clear and the Giants were considered a top landing spot for Bradberry prior to the start of free agency.

The Giants gave James Bradberry a big payday. But does he deserve this contract and why did the Giants give him this contract?

James Bradberry Stats and Highlights

According to ESPN, 21% of James Bradberry’s career coverage snaps have been while aligned against Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, or Mike Evans. Bradberry has faced some of the NFL’s best wide receivers on a consistent basis playing in the NFC South. ESPN notes that Bradberry “ranks 12th in the NFL with 47 passes defended, as well as 14th among corners in interceptions (eighth) and second in tackles (279)” since 2016.

At 26-years-old, James Bradberry is the oldest cornerback on the Giants’ roster. But he is still a young player with a promising future ahead. One could argue that no cornerback in the NFL has had a more challenging start to their career, facing off against the best wide receivers in the NFL. Bradberry has handled this situation incredibly well. Here is a look at how he fared against the league’s best in 2019:

James Bradberry locked up nearly every receiver he faced off against in 2019. None of those elite receivers Bradberry faced were able to top 100 yards against Bradberry. A key trait that James Bradberry is bringing over from Carolina is the ability to shadow receivers. In 2019, former-Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins complained in the media for not being allowed to shadow receivers. Presumably, it did not fit James Bettcher’s game plan.

Why Bradberry Will Thrive In Patrick Graham’s Scheme

In 2020, the Giants’ game plan is bound to change under Patrick Graham. The acquisition of James Bradberry indicates that the Giants will have their top cornerback shadow opposing wide receivers since that is what Bradberry is best at. James Bradberry also thrives while playing press-man coverage, another staple in Patrick Graham’s defensive scheme.

The Giants have built a defensive scheme around their players’ skillsets, rather than plugging players into a scheme and trying to make it work, like the last regime. James Bradberry will thrive in the New York Giants’ new defensive scheme. Hopefully, the rest of the secondary can thrive with him.

New York Giants Secondary Improved Little In 2020 According To PFF

New York Giants, DeAndre Baker

Going into the 2020 season, one of the most important points for the New York Giants will be improving their play in the secondary.

There were too many times last season when opposing quarterbacks were able to turn bad situations into good ones through picking apart openings in the Giants’ passing defense on second and third downs.

And while play from DeAndre Baker started to improve later in the year, it remains to be seen when Baker will get off the commissioner’s exempt list and return to the team. Even if he does return, it’s debatable if his play will be up to standard.

There’s some decent reasons to not have an optimistic view of the Giants secondary this year. Even if the team did add a big player through the draft in Xavier McKinney.

The Pro Football Focus take on the secondary

Pro Football Focus had their own take on the secondary and in their rankings of each one in the league, the Giants were one of the worst. The team comes in at number 27 on the PFF list. While the list claims James Bradberry will likely see a step up in performance after the move in divisions, it’s not as confident in some of the other players in the secondary.

DeAndre Baker struggled badly as a rookie and was beaten for eight touchdowns in total, though his future is somewhat up in the air, given the reported off-field troubles. Beyond Baker, the Giants would be turning to Sam Beal, who played fewer than 300 snaps last year, or one of either Corey Ballentine, Darnay Holmes, Chris Williamson or Montre Hartage. So, for as much as Baker struggled last year, the prospects of a season without him would not be good.

The article goes on to speak about the team’s lack of depth further by pointing out how Grant Haley, one of the likely contenders for slot corner, didn’t do all that well when targeted last year. Furthermore, Julian Love’s development may end up wasted when Xavier McKinney likely takes over his spot at safety.

Is it really all that bad, though?

Well, a lot of that depends on the unknown. DeAndre Baker wasn’t great last year but the Giants don’t have many other credible options at this point at the number two spot. And we don’t know how Grant Haley will play after getting more experience. Xavier McKinney could make a huge impact as a rookie or could take longer to adjust.

And because of so many unknowns as well as younger players being involved in large roles, it’s hard to say one way or the other if the Giants really are one of the worst secondaries in the NFL.

New York Giants: What James Bradberry needs to do to help the secondary succeed

New York Giants, James Bradberry

The New York Giants’ secondary has been the team’s weakness spot for years. Finally, the Giants’ front office made it a priority this offseason to fix it. With the addition of James Bradberry, the Giants’ secondary is looking a lot better. For example, Bradberry can play multiple positions. He can play slot corner, outside corner, and nickel corner. Overall, the signing of Bradberry was a steal, and also was an old Dave Gettleman draft pick.

Bradberry is capable of covering a team’s number one receiver

Over the past few seasons, the Giants have relied on Janoris Jenkins to cover a team’s number one receiver. Now, they have a better option with Bradberry because he is capable of guarding a receiver wherever they line up. Last year, Bradberry covered some of the best receivers in football.

Also, James Bradberry only allowed one touchdown against the best receivers in football. Hopefully, he can do that again this year for the Giants. Last season, Bradberry was target 97 times and allowed 58 completions. His completion percentage allowed was 59.8. He allowed 644 yards which were an improvement from 2018 where he allowed 802 total yards.

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2019 stats 

In 2019, Bradberry played in 15 games and tallied three interceptions. Also, Bradberry has recorded one sack for the past three seasons. Patrick Graham could use Bradberry on a corner blitz and in the box. Alongside those numbers, Bradberry recorded 65 combined tackles and 51 solo tackles. Overall, he only had one tackle for a loss and one quarterback hit last year. If he could increase these two stat lines he’d be playing elite football.

To add on, Bradberry also played 1020 snaps last season which was 92% of defensive plays. The Giants will need him to stay healthy an average around 90% of snaps throughout the season.

A quote from Brabderry about challenging himself

“I see myself as a versatile corner. I can play zone, I can play man. I was down for whatever. Of course, playing a lot of man is a challenge for any cornerback and I am always willing to accept a challenge.”

 

New York Giants Heading Into 2020 With Versatile, Young Secondary

The New York Giants have built up their defensive secondary in the past few years. The Giants have invested numerous assets into their secondary, both through the NFL Draft and free agency. New York has added a lot of young, talented players to their defensive secondary. But the best part about all of these players is how extraordinarily versatile they are.

Maximum Versatility

The Giants’ secondary will be versatile in 2020. Head coach Joe Judge emphasized versatility in his introductory press conference and he has just the right group of guys in the secondary to fit that mold. James Bradberry, Xavier McKinney, Jabrill Peppers, Darnay Holmes, and Julian Love are all young, versatile talents that will help the defense succeed next season.

Xavier McKinney

According to Pro Football Focus, Xavier McKinney played everywhere for Alabama — 323 snaps in the box, 227 in the slot, and 271 deep. Many Giants fans had hoped the team would select Isaiah Simmons fourth overall. Simmons was the ultra-versatile linebacker prospect that ended up with the Cardinals. The Giants took Andrew Thomas, passing on Simmons and his versatility, but they were able to land the next best thing in Xavier McKinney in round two.

Darnay Holmes

The Giants’ other exciting draft pick in the secondary, Darnay Holmes, is also a versatile player. Holmes spent his entire collegiate career playing outside cornerback. Entering the NFL this season, Holmes will likely make the transition to the inside and be the team’s nickel cornerback. However, Darnay could compete for the second outside cornerback position. Do not rule him out as an outside cornerback just yet- Darnay has the talents to play both positions.

James Bradberry IV

James Bradberry was another new addition for the Giants’ defense in 2020. Bradberry was a splash signing for New York in free agency and he will serve as the team’s primary cornerback on the outside. But James is another player that has the versatility to play both inside and outside. He rarely played slot cornerback in Carolina, but he was sufficient when lined up there. Another aspect of James’s versatility is his ability to shadow any receiver. Bradberry followed the opposing team’s top receiver in each game with the Panthers. He will likely play a similar role in the Giants’ defense.

21% of James Bradberry’s career coverage snaps have been while aligned against Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, or Mike Evans. James Bradberry also recorded 9 pass-breakups last year, tied for 16th in the NFL. Also 20th in NFL passer rating against (78.9) min of 550 snaps (PFF). Bradberry is also the oldest player in the Giants’ secondary at only 26-years-old.

Jabrill Peppers

Jabrill Peppers displayed his versatility in his first season with the Giants in 2019. Entering the NFL Draft in 2017, Peppers was considered a “Swiss Army Knife.” He truly did it all in college, lining up all over Michigan’s defense and making a significant impact on special teams. Peppers was mainly a box safety with the Giants last season, but he did line up in the slot and at free safety on numerous occasions.

Julian Love

In 2019, rookie defensive back Julian Love was a pleasant surprise on the Giants’ defense. The fourth-round pick was projected as a slot cornerback upon being drafted. However, he ended up converting to the safety position in the NFL. But Love still has his coverage skills from college and could compete for the Giants’ second outside cornerback position in 2020.

Julian Love could potentially line up all over the defense in 2020. He could line up as an outside cornerback, move back into the slot, and continue to play both free and strong safety. Adding Xavier McKinney into the mix with an already strong tandem in Love and Peppers could give the Giants one of the best safety groups in the NFL.

New York Giants: The 3 most important defenders for 2020 and beyond

New York Giants, James Bradberry, Dexter Lawrence, Xavier McKinney

The New York Giants no longer have room for failure, as the past three years have been disappointing and resulted in a revolving door of head coaches. Since hiring Joe Judge, the team seems to be on a better path, but only the regular season will give us legitimate answers.

This off-season has already been different, as the NFL draft seemed influenced by Judge. He also utilized the rare free agent tender to retain Markus Golden potentially. These small but robust moves can be the difference between success and failure in specific units.

However, the defense still requires plenty of attention and refinement. Judge will be more of a walk around head coach monitoring every unit, leaving his coordinators to do their jobs. New defensive coordinator Patrick Graham will have a lot on his plate in year one. Installing a new defense with many different sets and tendencies can be problematic.

Nonetheless, the defense has several talented players that will hopefully develop an identity moving forward.

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Let’s take a look at the three most important New York Giants defenders:

1.) Dexter Lawrence

Lawrence earns the number one spot simply based on his youth and potential. During his rookie season, the former Clemson stand-out posted 38 combined tackles, nine quarterback hits, and 2.5 sacks over 16 games. His numbers were more efficient than Leonard Williams’, who is currently asking for $18-20 million per season.

Considering Dexter is still on his rookie contract, he represents additional value in the monetary category. His production and statistical efficiency should see an improvement with one year of experience under his belt. He is a building block and staple on defense and will be utilized as such for the foreseeable future.

Several weeks ago, an anonymous general manager and AFC scout told Matt Lombardo of NJ.com that Dexter ranks atop the players on the Giants’ defense.

“It has to be Dexter Lawrence or James Bradberry at this point. Lawrence is a legitimate run-stuffer up the middle, and Bradberry is a dominant cornerback with good size and ball-skills,” the GM said.

“I believe it will eventually be Andrew Thomas, but I can’t give him that title just yet. My choice is Dexter Lawrence. He’s just such a factor in the running game and now has been showing emerging pass-rush ability,” he said.

New York Giants: James Bradberry The Defense’s X-Factor

New York Giants, James Bradberry

Over the past two years, the New York Giants have made it a priority to strengthen their secondary. The Giants drafted three defensive backs in the 2019 NFL Draft and three more in the 2020 NFL Draft. On top of that, New York made a splash signing on a cornerback in the 2020 free agency period.

This offseason the New York Giants signed cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year, $43.5 million deal. Bradberry is a 26-year-old corner out of Samford who spent his first four seasons with the Carolina Panthers. Brabderry’s next three NFL seasons are slated to be played with the Giants. Over the course of his time with the Gmen, James Bradberry will be the X-factor of the team’s defense.

Why James Bradberry Is So Important

The New York Giants have a brand new coaching staff heading into the 2020 NFL season. New head coach Joe Judge hired Patrick Graham to be his defensive coordinator. The Giants will have a brand new defensive scheme to learn and implement this season:

Graham had a great defensive scheme in place. The two major play calls of the Miami defense were blitzing and man to man coverage. Graham was very clever with his blitzing packages, using a variety of linebacker and defensive back blitzes. In Miami, Graham would also send in delayed blitzes to really disturb an offense. This was not just done in between the gaps; the blitzes came from different spots on the field. The Dolphins Blitzed on 35% of their snaps, 41% on third down (which was the third-most in the league). The Dolphins ran man to man coverage 50% of the time in the 2019 season and would often show blitz and drop back into coverage. This was a great strategy in the Graham defense, keeping opposing offenses on their toes because of the constant blitzing formations. – Jack Quartararo of ESM

How successful the Giants are in executing this new man-coverage-heavy defensive scheme largely depends upon James Bradberry. As the team’s new number one cornerback, Bradberry’s performance in man-coverage will largely determine the success of the team’s secondary.

James Bradberry Stats and Highlights

In Carolina, Bradberry was used as a true number one cornerback. He followed the opposing team’s best wide receivers and shadowed them for the majority of games. In the NFC South, Brabderry went up against some of the best wide receiver competition in the entire league. Here’s how he fared:

James Brabderry consistently got the better of his opponents in 2019. In the Giants’ new man-coverage defensive scheme, he will shadow the likes of Amari Cooper and Terry McLaurin. Will he continue to be the top dog in 2020?

New York Giants’ James Bradberry a major upgrade over Janoris Jenkins?

New York Giants, James Bradberry

When the New York Giants reached out to James Bradberry to mull over the idea of a contract, he was most surprised his former general manager would look his way in free agency. With reports indicating the Giants’ interest in Byron Jones, star corner for the Dallas Cowboys, and now Miami Dolphins, Bradberry was left as second-pickings.

However, he was caught by surprise and earned a three-year, $43.5 million deal in the process.

“Honestly, he reached out to my agent. I really didn’t talk to (Dave) Gettleman. They came out of nowhere and made an offer, I didn’t even expect them to make an offer. He already knew the type of guy I was, and I already knew the type of guy he was. I already knew what type of organization he was trying to build over there in New York. I knew it was nothing but positive.”

The Giants replaced former corner Janoris Jenkins with Bradberry, which on paper seems to be an improvement. Comparing the two, Jenkins posted lofty missed tackle rates over the past two seasons, missing 17.6% of his tackles in 2018 and 14.3% in 2019 over 13 games with the Giants.

He also allowed three touchdowns last season while Bradberry allowed just one, but did post a slightly better completion percentage against at 53.8% with Big Blue compared to Bradberry with a 59.8% completion rate with Carolina.

An interesting fact

Interestingly, Jenkins was targeted just 88 times in coverage while Bradberry was targeted 97 times, allowing 58 completions. This would indicate that James is lining up against opposing number one wide-outs. This is true based on the elite status of the players he faces off against on a yearly basis. He will face far less quality in the NFC East, aside from the Cowboys who recently drafted CeeDee Lamb and already having Amari Cooper.

Twice per season, Bradberry was forced to face off against Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans. Bradberry often shadows top targets on opposing offenses, which would attest to the high target totals he experiences yearly. He also enjoyed three interceptions last season, which is higher than any previous year.

Overall, the former Panther showed an elevation in most categories last season, justifying his contract with the Giants. Gettleman and Co. have made it a priority to sign free agents to three-year deals, front-loading contracts to give them flexibility after the second year. Bradberry earned $32 million guaranteed, but will only count $3 million dead cap in 2022, giving the Giants a way out just in case.