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  • Giants receivers prepare for life without Odell Beckham Jr.
    by Patricia Traina on July 18, 2019 at 3:00 pm

    Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports Look for the ball to be spread around more in 2019 In case you’re still in denial, yes, the New York Giants really did trade Odell Beckham Jr., their most productive and consistent receiver in years, to the Cleveland Browns. Since entering the NFL as the No. 12 overall pick in 2014, Beckham has recorded 1,000-yard seasons in all but 2017, that year being his injury-shortened campaign. That’s consistent and productive. But this isn’t about Beckham. Instead, this is a look at how the Giants plan to replace Beckham in their lineup. The answer is they don’t. Players, coaches, and fans all believe that a player is replaceable, but what is being replaced is the production. Beckham’s on-field departure is both a blessing and a curse for the Giants. It’s a blessing because there is no longer the need to feed one guy the ball a dozen or so times per game. Moving forward, the Giants are going to spread the ball around, which is not necessarily a bad approach given their collection of different receiving targets. On the flip side, not having Beckham is a curse because he entertains the crowd with his play, with or without the other 10 guys on offense supporting him. The question is not necessarily who will be the “next Beckham,” but rather how they plan to generate Beckham’s production. Will the receivers, who in 2018 accounted for 42.1 percent of the team’s total receiving yards (a decline from the 55 percent yardage contribution rate they had in 2017), keep that pace? Or will the running backs (13.9 percent in 2018) and tight ends (15.1 percent in 2018) see their contributions increase? It’s undoubtedly going to be an interesting statistic to analyze at the end of 2019 because it will tell us a lot about the direction this offense is headed. The Projected Depth Chart Starters: Golden Tate, Sterling ShepardBackups: Corey Coleman, Russell Shepard, Darius Slayton, Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, Alonzo Russell, Brittan Golden, Alex Wesley, Reggie White Jr. Last year, the Giants didn’t have a designated third receiver, instead auditioning a different guy every week, that partially due to injury and partly to performance. That’s not likely to change this year either, as coach Pat Shurmur seems more concerned with matchups between receivers and defensive backs than he does pecking order at the position. Let’s look at some of the receivers not named Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate who have a good chance of landing on the 53-man roster. They have Corey Coleman, a former first-round pick of the Browns, and Darius Slayton, this year’s fifth-rounder, who are the guys capable of slicing the top off the defense. Both should make the team barring injury, but it will be interesting to see if the Giants keep both for the long term. There will probably be a competition between Russell Shepard and Cody Latimer for a spot at the bottom of the “depth chart,” with the winner likely to be decided by his special teams play. Shepard was a core special teams player last year while Latimer was primarily a return specialist who needs to hang onto that role if he wants a roster spot. At the very bottom of the depth chart, can Bennie Fowler, a late-season pickup last year, hold off youngsters Wesley, a premium undrafted free agent, and White? In short, the receiver position is going to be very competitive, especially once you get past projected starters Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate. The big question Will the Giants have a 1,000-yard receiver? This goes back to the question of how the Giants will replace Beckham, who seemed to rack up those 1,000-yard seasons with ease. A better question to contemplate is whether the Giants need to have a 1,000-yard receiver to be successful? According to Pro Football Focus, of the five Giants receivers who had at least 15 pass targets, the reception percentage ranged from 55.6 (Russell Shepard) to a team-best 68.8 (Latimer). Sterling Shepard and Beckham finished tied for second with a 64.7 percent catch rate. And there was a total of 13 dropped balls from the Giants receivers alone in 2018. The 1,000-yard receiving seasons for individuals are nice, but a team whose receivers are catching 65 percent or better of the catchable pass targets is a lot better. While some of that lies on the quarterback, it does take two to record a reception. Another reason why the Giants probably don’t need to have a 1,000-yard receiver to be successful has to do with predictability. How many times in the past was it evident that Beckham was going to be the intended target? Well if the fans watching from the stands or on television knew it, don’t you think the opposing defense knew it and adjusted the coverage accordingly? So just think how much less predictable the Giants offense stands to be if the coaches feature a different “receiver” in the weekly game plans. […]

  • Film study: In his 14th season, can Antoine Bethea really be a center fielder at safety?
    by Matt_Williamson on July 18, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Antoine Bethea | Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images Bethea brings leadership and knowledge, but can he still do the job physically? A sixth-round draft pick in 2006, Antoine Bethea has gone on to have a very successful career. He joined the New York Giants this past offseason, his fourth NFL team. Recently turned 35 years old, Bethea played his past two years with the Arizona Cardinals, but the rebuilding Cardinals released him for salary cap purposes. In Arizona, Bethea’s 2017 season was clearly superior to what he put on tape last year although he did log more than 1,100 snaps in his 13th NFL season. In New York, Bethea reunites with defensive coordinator James Bettcher from their time together with the Cardinals. Obviously, Bettcher has a great understanding of what Bethea brings to the table, but there is a wrinkle here that we must explore. Bethea has done the best work over his long career close to the line of scrimmage. For a defensive back, he uses his hands very well to disengage from bigger blockers and is a very reliable tackler. This isn’t to imply that Bethea has only been a box safety and brings little in the way of coverage skills. That isn’t the case. In fact, Arizona used him in the deep patrol plenty last year. There have been times over Bethea’s career where he was amongst the best players at his position in the entire league. With Jabrill Peppers now in the fold, Bethea is going to have to play much more of a traditional free safety role in Bettcher’s attacking scheme. The reality is, Bethea, considered a very high character guy and a strong leader, really has his most value as a mentor to Peppers as well as an on-the-field leader to this young secondary. From his new traditional free safety spot, Bethea should excel at aligning the rest of New York’s defense as well as communicating trends and keys to his teammates. Matt’s Film Clips vs. Rams on Dec. 23rd 1st Quarter: Second-and-10 with 6:04 Remaining: Bethea shows great recognition with a deep route and breaks up a TD vs. Falcons 2nd Quarter: Second-and-10 with :19 Remaining: It wasn’t a play that just about any safety would get to, but you do see Bethea’s limited range on this TD vs. Chiefs 1st Quarter: Third-and-10 with :42 remaining: What Giants might expect in 2019: Bethea allows the catch, but makes a solid tackle and doesn’t allow a big play But what should we expect from Bethea in coverage? Of course it was a long time ago, but as a college prospect coming out of Howard University, Bethea ran a sub 4.40 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. His jumps and change of direction testing were also impressive at just under 6-feet and 196 pounds. However, even early in Bethea’s career, he didn’t exactly play like a safety with truly elite speed. But considering how much time he spent in the box, Bethea was certainly a plus athlete for this role and closed on the football very well. As mentioned above, Bethea also has played far off the ball plenty in his career and his athletic prowess certainly helped him succeed in this regard. However, after studying him on film, Bethea doesn’t run all that well any more and isn’t going to be an overly rangy deep defender in his new role. What Bethea does have is smarts and experience. He rarely wastes steps, takes very good angles to the ball, isn’t easily fooled by quarterbacks and has an excellent recognition of scheme and what an offense is trying to do to attack his defense. He is historically a playmaker and we did see plenty of Bethea around the football once again in 2018. Maybe most importantly on the field, Bethea should use his guile to limit big plays and keep the action in front of him. If Bethea logs more than 1,000 snaps as a 16-game starter for New York this coming season while bringing an immense presence in the locker room and on the field from a mental standpoint, the Giants should be very happy with this acquisition. That being said, it is pretty obvious that Bethea is a short-term placeholder and he most likely will be exposed throughout the 2019 season because of his declining skillset. He’s a true professional, but is miscast if playing a lot of deep middle coverage or even in a Cover 2 shell. Bethea should provide more to the Giants from a cultural standpoint than as a productive football player during his time in New York and that has quite a bit of value for where this team is overall right now. […]

  • Giants’ 90-man roster: Chad Wheeler ready to compete for right tackle job
    by Ed Valentine on July 18, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Chad Wheeler vs. Dallas last season. | Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images Giants signed Mike Remmers as likely replacement for third-year tackle There is an assumption that Mike Remmers, signed as a free agent this offseason by the New York Giants, will supplant Chad Wheeler as the team’s starting right tackle. Wheeler, though, isn’t conceding. Here is what Wheeler told the New York Post during the spring: “Just a very competitive battle,’’ Wheeler predicted. “I’m going to bring my best, he’s going to bring his best. We’re gonna let the chips fall where they fall.’’ Let’s focus on Wheeler as we continue player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster that will soon report to training camp for the Giants. The basics Height: 6-foot-7Weight: 312Age: 25Position: Offensive tackleExperience: 2 How he got here Wheeler signed with the Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2017, playing in 11 games with five starts. He began 2018 as the team’s swing tackle, but became a starter in Week 3 when the Giants thankfully ended the Ereck Flowers era. Wheeler wasn’t Flowers, which was cool. He also wasn’t good, which was uncool. Wheeler ranked 58th among 61 qualifying tackles graded by Pro Football Focus. Only five tackles gave up more than the 43 pressures he allowed, and his PFF pass-blocking efficiency score was 53rd among 58 tackles with 364 or more pass-blocking snaps. Wheeler’s run-blocking grade was lowest in the league among 61 tackles. It’s no wonder, then, that the Giants — who concentrated heavily on defense after selecting quarterback Daniel Jones No. 6 overall in the 2019 NFL Draft — turned to free agency in an effort to upgrade the right tackle spot. 2019 outlook Remmers has played both guard and tackle during his seven-year career. He has acknowledged, though, that tackle is where he is best. “I have the absolute most experience there, from high school, to college, to pros. I have the most experience at tackle,” Remmers said in the spring. “Last year I played all guard, the year before that mainly tackle and a few games at guard. It was different playing guard, I feel like my experience there will help me though going back to tackle. I feel like I learned a lot there but I am looking forward to playing tackle again.” Back to that assumption that Remmers will be the starter at right tackle. He did have offseason back surgery that kept him out of spring practices. He is expected to be ready for training camp, but the question of his health will linger until he is on the field showing he is ready to play. Before the Giants signed Remmers, offensive line coach Hal Hunter was asked about right tackle. His answer then should still hold now: “The best players are going to play. Who are the best players? They are the players that play the best,” Hunter said. “What I’m saying, is that just because you’re a veteran player, a rookie, a second year player, if you are the best player at that position at any time, we owe it to the organization and the team for you to be in that line up. We all compete. We know and understand that. “Whoever the best player is should play.” Could Wheeler still end up being the Giants’ best option at right tackle? Odds are that won’t be the case, but that scenario can’t be viewed as impossible. Should Remmers, as expected, be the starter then Wheeler would likely return to the role of swing tackle, the primary backup to Remmers and Nate Solder. […]

  • Giants news, 7/18: Baker Mayfield’s shot at Giants fans, 18-game schedule, more
    by Ed Valentine on July 18, 2019 at 11:05 am

    Baker Mayfield Sorry, folks, it’s another Beckham-related headline Good morning, New York Giants fans! Baker Mayfield takes shot at Giants fans In supporting Odell Beckham Jr., Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield took a swipe at Giants fans in a piece published Wednesday on ESPN. “He’s here to work, and he wants to be surrounded by people who love him and support him and allow him to be himself,” he says. “He’s here to play in front of fans who actually care, who will actually show up to every game and pack the stadium and love him for who he is.” Sigh. I’m not even going to comment. More headlines Ex-Giants captain Jonathan Casillas on, Odell Beckham, Eli Manning, Landon Collins, injury prevention and possible ‘mistake that could haunt franchise’ | nj.com Casillas didn’t like the decision to let go of Landon Collins. Like many before him, he said that whether Eli Manning can still succeed or not comes down to the ability to protect him. Welcome to Eli Manning's last Giants stand No matter how Gettleman tries to spin it, the Giants are in rebuilding mode with a 38-year-old quarterback. You can’t always have your cake and eat it too. This isn’t about 2019 for the Giants as much as it is about 2020. You don’t need 20/20 vision to see that Daniel Jones will be the Mann. There will likely be little outrage this time whenever Manning is instructed to pass the torch to Chosen Jones and stand next to Shurmur on the sideline, more likely an acknowledgment that time waits for no man, or Manning. NFL 2019: Which teams are under the most pressure? All 32 ranked by who's feeling the most heat | CBSSports.com Considering the national narrative about the Giants’ offseason, it’s no surprise to find them No. 2 on this list. NFL schedule 2019: Predicting every NFL team’s record | SI.com Conor Orr calls the Giants “almost impossible to evaluate,” then predicts they will go 6-10. Why the NFL should flush the idea of an 18-game schedule down the toilet | SBNation.com Geoff Schwartz calls the idea of an 18-game season with players allowed to play in only 16 games “a garbage proposal.” Student leaders from around the country joined @Giants DL @DalvinTomlinson to get inspired, give back to the community and impact healthy eating and physical activity in their schools. #FuelGreatness @FUTP60 pic.twitter.com/TZ5IPS1xQx— NFL (@NFL) July 18, 2019 BBV Mailbag Have questions about the Giants? E-mail them to bigblueview@gmail.com, and the best ones will be answered in an upcoming mailbag. This will be the final mailbag before training camp begins, so let’s make it a good one. Thanks! BBV Podcast You can find and subscribe to Big Blue View radio from the show’s home page. You can find all the shows on our Big Blue View Radio Hub Page. You can also find the shows and subscribe on all your favorite podcast apps: Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Pocket Casts | Spotify | Stitcher | RSS […]

  • Giants’ 90-man roster: UDFA Alex Wesley competing for wide receiver spot
    by Ed Valentine on July 17, 2019 at 4:00 pm

    Alex Wesley | Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports Former 400-meter runner trying to go from track star to NFL player Corey Washington. Amba Etta-Tawo. Ben Edwards. Roger Lewis Jr. Anthony Dable. Darius Powe. Marcus Harris. Jawill Davis. What did all of these former New York Giants have in common? At one point or another they, or at least fans of the Giants, thought they were destined to be the next Victor Cruz. To be the next undrafted free agent to become a superstar wide receiver for the Giants. Well, none of them ever became that. In fact, none of them ever became much of anything in the NFL. That’s because doing what Cruz did isn’t easy, and it doesn’t happen very often. Heading into training camp, the Giants have two wide receivers — Alex Wesley of Northern Colorado and Reggie White Jr. of Monmouth — who hope to be the next Cruz. Today we focus on Wesley as we near the end of our player-by-player profiles of the 90-man roster the Giants will bring to training camp. The basics Height: 5-foot-11Weight: 190Age: 23Position: Wide receiverExperience: 0 How he got here During the beginning of his collegiate career at Northern Colorado, Wesley was known as a track guy who played football. In 22 games from 2014-2016 he caught only 44 passes, albeit seven of them for touchdowns. Meanwhile, in 2014 and 2015 Wesley was the Big Sky Conference outdoor champion in the 400-meter dash. That changed over Wesley’s final two seasons. In 2017, he caught 55 passes for 1,010 yards (18.4 yards per catch) and six touchdowns. He backed that up in 2018 with 57 catches for 1,050 yards (again 18.4 per catch) and four scores. That production and a 4.45 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine weren’t enough to get Wesley drafted. The Giants wanted him badly enough that they gave him a $15,000 signing bonus and $85,000 in guaranteed money. Only linebacker Josiah Tauaefa ($15K bonus, $95K guaranteed salary) got more among undrafted Giants. 2019 outlook The Giants obviously don’t have Odell Beckham Jr., but they do seem to have excellent depth at wide receiver entering training camp. Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, Darius Slayton and probably Corey Coleman should be considered roster locks. Solid cases can be made for veterans Bennie Fowler and Russell Shepard. Then, of course White and second-year man Alonzo Russell are around. Wesley seemed to have a quiet spring — White made more splash plays. He will have to step up his play in training camp and the preseason to earn a roster spot. […]

 

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