Giants Injury Report: Thomas on IR, Ross out, receivers decimated

new york giants, kenny golladay

As if Week 6 against the Los Angeles Rams didn’t present a significant hurdle for the New York Giants, Week 7 will be even more tumultuous with the majority of the starting receiver core injured.

The Giants will once again be without the majority of Daniel Jones’s weapons, ranging from Saquon Barkley to Kadarius Toney, who aggravated an ankle injury he’s been dealing with since the beginning of the regular season. Toney was on pace for another stellar outing against the Rams, tallying three receptions on the first six snaps of the game for the Giants’ offense.

Nonetheless, Toney is expected to miss Week 7 against the Carolina Panthers due to the ankle, which takes yet another premium play-maker out of the equation.

In addition, to Toney, Golladay is still working his way back from a hyperextended knee, which he suffered against Dallas. I wouldn’t expect him to make an appearance in Week 7 either, aiming to return in Week 8 alongside Toney and potentially Barkley.

Barkley is still ailing from a low ankle sprain, which swelled to the size of an apple after he stepped on Dallas CB Jourdan Lewis’s foot. The star running back has now missed 18 games in his career, further questioning his long-term future with the team.

Otherwise, receiver John Ross picked up a hamstring injury, and Kaden Smith has been dealing with a knee injury the past few weeks. Azeez Ojulari, starting outside linebacker, missed practice due to a personal reason.

The Giants are in big trouble offensively as they prepare to take on the Panthers, who have a solid group of pass rushers, including Haason Reddick and Brian Burns. Do the Giants stand a chance? If their defense plays up to their potential, they can do enough to slow down Sam Darnold, who has struggled the past few weeks. However, the offense hasn’t proved capable of succeeding, let alone without Andrew Thomas and all of their primary weapons.

Broadway Thriller: Knicks survive Celtics in double OT season opener

evan fournier, knicks

When reporters asked Julius Randle what to expect in the New York Knicks season opener, there was something compellingly prescient about his answer.

“Chaos,” Randle said. “We’re expecting chaos.”

A chaotic final sequence in the regulation nearly cost them the game, but the Knicks regrouped and leaned on their preseason experience to pull off a 138-134 double-overtime win over old rival Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

It was the first season opener with multiple overtimes since the Knicks’ 118-117 triple-overtime win over the Grizzlies on Nov. 1, 2006.

“Every time before we go out [of the locker room], coach [Tom Thibodeau] always puts on the board, ‘find a way to win.’ They talk about us taking preseason seriously, but this is why we take it seriously so we can win games like this,” Randle said.

Their undefeated run in the preseason kept them sharp and mentally ready for a brutal opening game that needed 58 minutes of basketball to decide the winner.

Randle started the season proving that his All-NBA season was not a fluke. In a battle of All-Star forwards, Randle answered Jaylen Brown’s 46-point performance with a near triple-double (35 points, eight rebounds, nine assists, three blocks in 46 minutes) and clutch free throws in the second overtime. Randle became the first player in Knicks’ history to log in at least 25 points, five rebounds, and five assists in multiple season openers, per ESPN Stats and Info.

Newcomer Evan Fournier validated the hefty contract he signed last summer. The Frenchman gunner scored a career-high 32 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer with 56 seconds remaining.

Derrick Rose showed that he can still close games more than a decade removed from his MVP season. He kept fighting through his shooting woes to hit the dagger — a floating banked shot off Dennis Schroder with 22.2 seconds left for the final tally. He wound up with nine points on 3-of-11 shooting and five assists.

It was a massive win against a conference rival that is projected to finish ahead of them in the standings.

But the Knicks had to earn it the hard way after blowing an 11-point lead late in the fourth quarter. They failed to protect a three-point cushion with 4.8 seconds left in the regulation when they seemingly forgot to foul.

“There was a slip but we did want to foul,” Thibodeau later said. “We got to work on it. We’ll learn from it.”

A Jayson Tatum slip caused a chain of reactions, leading to a wide-open Marcus Smart three-pointer that beat the buzzer to force the first overtime. Fournier went to double team Tatum that left Schroder open for the pass. Schroder found Smart as Kemba Walker, who had two costly turnovers inside the final 30 seconds, scrambled for defense.

Fournier atoned for his blunder with four triples in the two extra periods. After an underwhelming preseason, Fournier found his rhythm in his official Knicks debut. He shot 13-of-25 overall and accounted for six of the team’s 17 three-pointers.

The Knicks attempted 45 three-pointers, 34 in the regulation.

“I’ve never worried about him making shots,” Thibodeau said referring to Fournier. “To me, he’s proven throughout his career that’s who he is. It’s nice to see him and Julius build some chemistry together.”

The same cannot be said of Walker, who has yet to make his signature Knicks moment through four games dating back to the preseason. In this game billed as his official homecoming debut, Walker hardly had an impact with 10 points on 3-of-8 shooting in 36 minutes. He had more turnovers (4) than assists (3) and watched on the bench in the second overtime.

“I think [with] Kemba, the more he plays with that group the more he gets into a rhythm,” Thibodeau said. “He’s got great instincts in the pick and roll. And I think we can take advantage of that even more than what we’re doing right now. So, we’ll continue to work on that.”

“Kemba and Evan are two terrific players. We’re excited about the possibilities.”

However, their performance in the first 28 minutes did not elicit excitement. The Knicks trailed by as many as 12 points. After a roaring 8-0 start buoyed by a couple of Randle’s three-pointers, New York fell into Boston’s trap.

They could not solve the Celtics’ switching defense that held them to only eight assists in the first half and forced them to rely on isolation plays. Jaylen Brown’s 25-point outburst in the first half, 20 in the opening quarter, compounded their problem.

Not until Thibodeau switched to his small-ball lineup again in the third quarter that they found an answer. Sans Nerlens Noel (sore left knee) and Taj Gibson, who just became a first-time father, Thibodeau leaned on the Toppin-Randle frontcourt to ignite their comeback.

After Toppin replaced Mitchell Robinson with 8:36 left in the third quarter, the Knicks outscored the Celtics, 28-15, to seize an 86-82 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

They pushed the pace, and the space they created gave Barrett enough room to operate. After a scoreless first half, Barrett uncorked 14 of his 19 points during that big run.

“It got us going. It got us into the open floor which was good. That group really played well together,” Thibodeau said.

Toppin then teamed up with Robinson at the start of the fourth quarter. Their back-to-back dunks opened up an eight-point lead for the Knicks, 90-82. Toppin and Robinson combined for 11 of the Knicks’ first 14 points in the fourth quarter.

A Schroder three-pointer cut Celtics’ deficit down to six. But Toppin’s alley-oop dunk over Payton Pritchard restored an eight-point Knicks’ lead, 100-92, with 8:58 left in the regulation.

The second-year pro looked every inch the lottery pick that he was hyped to be as he finally spread his wings. Toppin finished with a career-high 14 points in 28 minutes, the most he’s played since he entered the NBA. He added five rebounds and one block.

His breakthrough performance was a testament to Thibodeau’s player development acumen and his body of work with his trainer David Zenon in the summer.

Robinson delivered a monster double-double in just his second game back from a foot injury. The 23-year old center collected 11 points, 17 rebounds, three assists, and two blocks against only two fouls in 35 minutes.

“I think we’re seeing just the tip of the iceberg with Mitch. I think Mitch is gonna be really, really good for us,” Thibodeau said. “RJ, in the second half, he was a monster. The thing that I liked was he kept his composure. He wasn’t rattled and just kept playing. He kept working in the game and then the game got going his way. So, it was really good to see.”

More than his offensive contribution, Barrett held his end of the bargain on the defensive end. He played a major role in slowing down Tatum, who bled for 20 points on 7-of-30 shooting, including 2 for 15 from downtown.

After a chaotic first half, the Knicks’ offense flowed like the Hudson river in the last two quarters and two overtimes with 19 assists.

Amid the chaos that reigned in the Garden in their season opener, the Knicks found harmony in their continuity, stability, and flexibility.

It’s going to be a long season. But the Knicks are equipped to battle chaos.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Giants: Eli Manning to have number retired by Ole Miss

Eli Manning, New York Giants

Retired New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has had an eventful past year.

After spending some time outside of the public eye, Manning has become more of a celebrity presence recently through new ventures such as his gig as an ESPN broadcaster. He was also honored by the Giants this season, as the team retired his number 10 jersey at halftime against the Falcons.

It looks like the Ole Miss Rebels, Manning’s college team, are taking after the Giants in that regard. The school is set to use Saturday’s game as a chance to honor Manning in their own way and retire his jersey.

The festivities also include a peculiar change to the field design. Ole Miss has shown off pictures of the updated field, which reads ‘MANNING’ across both end zones.

During Manning’s time as a Rebel, he threw for 10,119 passing yards and 81 touchdowns. Impressively, basically all of those numbers came from three seasons, as Manning only had 33 passing attempts during his freshman year.

Interestingly enough, Eli may not be the last Manning to take the field for Ole Miss. His nephew Arch Manning is a five star recruit and arguably the top player in his recruiting class. Arch’s list of potential destinations includes multiple blue bloods such as Alabama and Clemson, but Ole Miss is also a contender.

Arch Manning is set to attend when Ole Miss takes on LSU. We’ll just have to wait and see if having his last name written in the end zone is enough to sway his decision in the direction that Ole Miss fans are hoping for.

New York Giants: Jabrill Peppers seems defeated as playing time decreases

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants are once again near the bottom of the NFL. At 1-5, things look dire for the Big Apple’s blue team. Not only are Giants fans feeling defeated, but seemingly the players are, too. Safety Jabrill Peppers seemed visibly and vocally defeated after practice today.

Jabrill Peppers: “I just want to win”

In 2019, the New York Giants traded away Odell Beckham Jr to the Cleveland Browns. One of the big pieces they got in return was safety Jabrill Peppers. Since then, Peppers has established himself as one of the team’s leaders, earning a captain’s patch two years in a row.

In 2020, Jabrill Peppers put together a career year for the Giants. He totaled 91 combined tackles, 2.5 sacks, 8 tackles for loss, and 1 interception. Jabrill was the focal point of New York’s defense. He played 88% of the team’s defensive snaps last season. So far this year, Jabrill Peppers’s playing time has been reduced significantly. Peppers has only been on the field for 61% of the Giants’ snaps in 2021.

Seeing his role reduced to that of a fringe starter/backup is puzzling for Jabrill Peppers, and also defeating. The New York Giants look like they cannot even buy a win some weeks, getting blown out each of their last two games. Peppers is a player that has been brought up in trade rumors in the past, and after his comments today, it seems like a strong possibility that the Giants ship Jabrill off to a new team.

When asked if he still wants to be on the Giants, Jabrill Peppers responded with: “I just want to win, baby.” Not exactly a confident answer from Jabrill. It seems like the safety’s future with the Giants is in question.

Jabrill Peppers’s answers in today’s media session were short. He seemed visibly and vocally upset. The New York Giants will need to turn things around and start winning some games if they want to keep their safety around for the long run. If not, then Jabrill Peppers could be making his way to a new team.

New York Giants: 3 stats that show Dave Gettleman has failed miserably

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants are staring another top-five draft pick in the face after a 1–5 start to the 2021 season. Aside from a surprising victory over the New Orleans Saints, the Giants have been relatively inefficient against teams that most would consider beatable. Ranging from the Atlanta Falcons to the Washington Football Team, Big Blue had their fair share of opportunities to start the season strong but instead imploded under head coach Joe Judge.

The loss of starting left tackle Andrew Thomas to injury will only dampen their probability of winning games. Thomas will sit on injured reserve with an ankle issue for the next three weeks, with the earliest return being week 11 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At that point in the season, the Giants will be well on their way to another missed postseason opportunity and a premium draft pick.

However, the Giants must consider alternatives at general manager, especially with Dave Gettleman further driving the franchise into the ground. Let’s take a look at a few numbers that tell a better story.

Keep this quote in mind as you scroll through these statistics.

“You got to run the ball. You got to stop the run. You got to pressure the passer.”

Three stats that tell a story for New York Giants’ GM Dave Gettleman:

1.) Running the football

Gettleman stated that running the football is one of the most critical factors in winning football games, but his team currently ranks 25th in rushing yards per game. After spending the second overall pick on Saquon Barkley, his inability to stay on the field and remain healthy has taken a toll on his production.

A quality running back isn’t the main factor in a successful running game, but rather the offensive line’s ability to open up gaps to run through. Many teams with lesser talent have succeeded simply by plugging in runners who fit their scheme and strategy. Just take a look at the Buffalo Bills, for example, who currently ranks fifth in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 130.7. They utilize a blend of Devin Singletary and Zack Moss. Both Moss and Singletary were drafted in the third round, which details Gettleman’s lack of understanding of draft value.

The Giants currently have the 26th ranked OL in pass-blocking, per PFF. Losing Thomas will only hurt that ranking even more.

2.) Stopping the run

Gettleman spent a pretty penny retaining interior defender Leonard Williams this off-season, presenting a three-year, $63 million deal. He also invested a first-round pick on Dexter Lawrence, but his outside linebackers have failed to seal the edge in the run game and rush the passer effectively. The Giants currently ranked 29th in rush yards allowed per game, and that is all while being dominated through the air as well, indicating a weak defense on multiple fronts.

Gettleman once again struck out on a main factor he presented as a necessity for being successful in the NFL.

3.) Getting to the quarterback

The cherry on top is the Giants’ inability to rush the passer in the first place, as they currently rank 30th in pass rush win right. Last week against the Los Angeles Rams, all three of their primary OLB‘s, Azeez Ojulari, Oshane Ximines, and Lorenzo Carter, failed to contribute a single pressure or quarterback hurry.

Spending third-round picks on outside linebackers is not a recipe for success, as the Giants should be investing far more on edge defenders if they want to be successful. Most agree that a great defense starts in the trenches, and the Giants have seemingly over-invested in the interior of the defensive line, which has proved to be a poor strategy.

New York Giants: Andrew Thomas and C.J. Board placed on IR list

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

Injuries have been a major factor for the New York Giants this season, and that trend is continuing as two more players are added to the injured reserve. That duo of players includes one of the pivotal starters on the offensive line, second year tackle Andrew Thomas.

Thomas has been placed on the injured reserve along with C.J. Board, and according to league rules will miss a minimum of three games before being eligible to return to the active roster.

C.J. Board, on the other hand, won’t have a chance to return this season. His injury, a broken arm, is longer term in scope and won’t be healed soon enough to make a comeback.

Thomas should come back this season, but that doesn’t mean the foot injury that he’s dealing with is a light one. The injury was sustained to the same foot that Thomas had surgery on in the offseason, and it’s possible that this season’s injury is connected to the previous one.

The second year left tackle, who has been much improved this season, was playing a key role for the offensive line before being taken out by injury.

His starting presence was a major factor during a season where the Giants have been notoriously thin along the offensive line.

The team was rushing to add depth to the position group during training camp, but that goal was hardly accomplished and more blows were dealt to the Giants after the season started. Injuries to Nick Gates and Shane Lemieux left the Giants banged up on the O-line even before Thomas’ injury, but the situation is now worse than before as another starter is out.

The Giants have had reasonable success this season improvising and coming up with on-the-fly solutions for this part of the roster. With a starting tackle out for at least three weeks, it seems like they’ll have to keep that trend up.

3 players the New York Giants should trade to recoup draft capital

New York Giants, Evan Engram

The New York Giants are in a state of peril after being embarrassed by the Los Angeles Rams in Week 6. Most would agree the team has hit rock bottom as they sit at 1–5 on the season and have a scary schedule ahead consisting of the Carolina Panthers, Kansas City Chiefs, Los Angeles Raiders, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That is not even to mention the Eagles, Chargers, and Cowboys later on in the season.

At this point, management might want to consider being sellers at the trade deadline this year, so let’s take a look at a few players who could be on their way out.

Three players the New York Giants should consider trading at the deadline:

1.) Evan Engram

Tight end Evan Engram has enjoyed just one game this year with over 30 receiving yards, posting just three receptions for 24 yards in the team’s most recent loss to the Rams. He has been a non-factor for the most part, so the former first-round pick could represent a trade opportunity for the Giants. Unfortunately, they missed out on a chance to sell him to the Arizona Cardinals, who traded for Zach Ertz from Philadelphia instead.

Some may point to Engram providing the team with a compensatory pick next year, but if the Giants are keen on bringing in a new general manager, they will want as much draft capital as possible for 2022. Engram might land them a fifth-round pick, given he’s in the final year of his rookie deal and has already played nearly half the season.

2.) Jabrill Peppers

The Giants have barely used safety Jabrill Peppers this year, playing in a career-low 49% of defensive snaps. Peppers has been unable to cover tight ends and has had trouble in the slot — they could utilize him as a trade piece as well. Losing Peppers might also land them a compensatory pick in 2023, but a team in need of a versatile safety might value his services.

At most, the Giants could land a 5th rounder for Peppers, who will likely be replaced by Aaron Robinson coming off IR.

3.) Sterling Shepard

The Giants have a ton of quality receivers. The problem is the majority of them are injured. Sterling Shepard was Daniel Jones’s best option against the Rams, tallying 10 receptions for 76 yards.

Shepard is a quality player with two years remaining on his contract. The Giants could take the out in his deal after this season concludes, which would count $7.99 million in dead salary space. If they choose to retain him, he will count $12.5 million in 2020 to add $13.5 million in 2023.

The Giants have once again pigeonholed themselves into a bad spot financially, overspending on injury-prone talent this off-season in hopes of turning the franchise around. Trading away Shepard would get some money off the books and return draft capital in the process. With the emergence of Kadarius Toney, Shepard’s targets will likely decrease.

New York Giants’ nonexistent pass-rushing killing the defense

New York Giants, Oshane Ximines

The New York Giants got embarrassed at home on Sunday afternoon. The Giants got blown out by the Los Angeles Rams 38-11. New York’s defense struggled tremendously, especially in the pass-rushing department. The New York Giants’ nonexistent pass-rush is killing their defense.

While the Giants came away from the game with 2 total sacks, Rams quarterback Matt Stafford stood in the pocket generally untouched. Defensive lineman Leonard Williams recorded both of the Giants’ sacks, but the team’s edge rushers failed to make an impact on Sunday.

New York Giants lack of edge pass-rush

The New York Giants’ edge rushers are failing on every level. Azeez Ojulari, Lorenzo Carter, and Oshane Ximines are not showing up on Sundays. Not a single one of them recorded a pressure versus the Rams. All three of the Giants’ top edge rushers recorded ZERO pressures on Sunday.

In the last two weeks, Ojulari, Carter, and Ximines have one pressure in 100 combined pass-rushing snaps. The New York Giants will not win games until they get a boost in the pass-rush department from their edge rushers.

Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines have both failed to record a single sack so far this season. Azeez Ojulari has three sacks on the year, but he has not recorded one in the past three weeks.

The New York Giants defense is struggling in 2021. The pass-coverage and run-defense both look far worse than they did last season, and it is likely related to the team’s lack of a pass-rush. The Giants’ failure to get after the quarterback is ruining their chance of winning games.

New York Giants haven’t lost locker room according to Logan Ryan

new york giants, logan ryan

To say the New York Giants are having a bad season would be an understatement. The team’s current 1-5 record contrasts sharply with the offseason talk from coaches and organization leaders about building something and improving from last year, and the most recent loss erased most of the optimism gained from the Giants’ sole win.

However, according to safety Logan Ryan, the Giants haven’t yet lost the locker room.

Ryan was the first player to take accountability for the loss on Sunday when he came out in full uniform after the game to address the media. During those comments, he remarked on the state of the locker room.

“So yeah, I don’t think morale is great, I think that’s natural. I think when you’re competitive and you lose, you get really mad and it’s not always the best, but at the same point I just don’t feel like we have that type of cancerous locker room where guys are starting to break away,” Ryan told reporters.

On paper, not losing the locker room is a good thing. Mathematically, based on the number of games left this season, the Giants still have a chance to turn things around and compete.

But thanks to their track record since 2017 and their performances this year, you’ll be hard pressed to find even diehard optimists who believe a miracle turnaround is in store for this team.

It may not matter in the long run whether the Giants throw in the towel early this season or not. The division race, after all, and even a .500 record, are getting further away from the team every week.

With that being said, it’s good to see Ryan stepping up as a leader and face of the team. So far this season, accountability has been a hard thing to come by.

Arguably, Ryan’s honest assessment about the locker room mood and his comments about the performance being unacceptable are more valuable than any of the remarks from Joe Judge about competing for 60 minutes or approaching every week as a new game.

Of course, fans would prefer to see accountability from the organization’s leaders, such as John Mara, rather than individual players. But if this season is anything like previous ones, we shouldn’t expect much.

The Giants have proven that if they are anything as an organization, it is slow to change. For any major changes, we’ll all likely have to wait for another offseason.

Until then, it appears performance will be measured in small milestones such as competing for 60 minutes or avoiding the loss of the locker room in the middle of a lost season.

Should the Giants fire GM Dave Gettleman mid-season to start the transition now?

New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants for embarrassed by the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon in a Week 6 matchup that heavily favored the opposition. Losing by a score of 38–11, the Giants experienced more injuries on the offensive side of the ball, with starting left tackle Andrew Thomas leaving with an ankle injury and Kadarius Toney experiencing the same.

With the majority of the Giants’ offensive weapons out, quarterback Daniel Jones was left to fend for himself, thrown three interceptions and fumbling twice. He threw for just 242 yards and was unable to find the end zone, multiplying his turnovers this season by a factor of three.

At this point in the season, the Giants are all but a lost cause, especially if their primary playmakers are unable to return from injury soon. An inability to score and spotty defense has significantly limited their potential, which raises the question, should the Giants be looking to fire someone at this point in time?

Considering the offensive ranks in the bottom half of the league in points scored per game and the defense has allowed 82 points over the last two contests, someone needs to take the blame. Ultimately, general manager Dave Gettleman might be at the top of the list after he survived the firing of head coach Pat Shurmer and has now watched his team start 1–5 for two consecutive seasons.

John Mara has a big deicsion to make with the New York Giants’ future:

Mara can’t make the same mistake twice after waiting too long to hire a general manager the last time around and settling on Gettleman, who has further driven this team into the dirt. Despite drafting Thomas, Toney, and Daniel Jones, the team’s foundation is flawed, and the lack of discipline is appalling.

After promising to fix the offensive line year-in and year-out, Gettleman has failed to do so. Some may point to the retiring‘s of Zach Fulton and Joe Looney and the injury to guard Shane Lemieux, but there’s no guarantee they would’ve held together the line either. The Giants had an opportunity to add more young talent this past draft class but instead focused on position players, drafting multiple defensive backs and even a running back in the 6th round.

The writing is on the wall for Gettleman, and Mara must begin to consider what the future transition will look like and begin targeting replacements, so he doesn’t end up scraping barnacles off the bottom of the barrel once again. However, Mara would prefer not to fire Gettleman mid-season, rather letting him retire peacefully at the end of the year. That shouldn’t stop him from beginning to search for his replacement and begin curating a potential relationship.

The Giants need a new voice in the front office with a modern approach to the game, as Gettleman has been living in the past for far too long.