New York’s Salsa Sensation Gives Way to Lin-sanity

They say if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.

Nothing though, is usually mentioned about young, phenom athletes doing that unexpectedly and instantaneously.

Yet, such was the case for New York Giants’ wide receiver Victor Cruz this past season, and currently, for New York Knicks’ point guard Jeremy Lin so far.

Those last two words are the key in that comparison.

While there are some remarkable and legitimate parallels to be drawn between New York’s two overnight sports sensations, Lin still has – even if the most staunch defenders of Lin-sanity aren’t willing to accept it right now – a lot left to prove.

In fairness, by the very nature of each sport, having to silence doubters over a lot more games, Lin might have the more daunting challenge in that regard, in basketball, than Cruz did in football.

Still, one thing can’t be debated. While each player had a major role in saving their team’s respective seasons, Cruz has helped the Giants achieve his sport’s ultimate goal, while Lin has simply gotten off to a terrific start.

Of course, you’d never know it from the attention Lin’s exploits have received relative to that for Cruz’s accomplishments.

Cruz quickly became one of the best stories in the New York City area and across the National Football League.

Lin, on the other hand, was already receiving premature M!V!P!” chants by supposedly savvy Knick fans at Madison Square Garden, after scoring 25 points off the bench in what was only the first game of what immediately ignited an eventual Lin-ternational movement.

Just five games later, President Obama was referencing Lin’s game winning three-pointer in Toronto on Tuesday night, which brought the house down on ironically, Asian Heritage night at the Air Canada Centre.

Amazingly, a player who has been nothing short of extraord-Lin-ary during his first seven games in his team’s regular rotation, was actually cheered on the road, making a game in Canada sound like a Knick home game.

With 27 more points, 11 more assists, and a buzzer-beater in that contest, the Knicks’ new offensive sparkplug fueled the love affair worldwide, turning a normal mid-February holiday into one all his own, as fans globally celebrated Va-Lin-tine’s Day for the first time.

Conversely, Cruz, despite setting a Giants’ franchise record of 1,536 receiving yards, ranking second in his conference, inexplicably failed to make the Pro Bowl, let alone gain prominence as a star athlete outside of the United States (not even in Latin America, for his salsa dancing!).

But Lin, the first American-born Taiwanese player in the National Basketball Association, isn’t just huge in New York and across America the way Cruz became during the 2011 NFL season, but he has superseded his sport.

Within the span of less than a week, the letters in the name “Lin” rapidly took on the meaning “Legend In New York.” And, in the following week, Lin made those who never watch basketball suddenly tune in and become Lin-toxicated as far away as Asia and Europe.

Before we all get too Lin-spired too soon though, it’s worth noting that some of the hype surrounding both Cruz and Lin is due to each playing in the world’s biggest media market, and in the case of Lin’s ridiculously fast ascension to stardom, both Lin’s rare his rare background for an NBA star and the technology-driven age in which he’s competing have played a role in making Lin seem downright Lin-vincible.

America has always loved an underdog, especially ones like Cruz and Lin who through sheer hard work, perseverance, and determination (and yes, talent absolutely helps a lot as well), overcome great odds and an atypical pre-professional pedigree to make it big.

That’s especially true in New York, which can springboard players like Cruz and Lin into widespread celebrity better than any other city with a high-profile pro sports team.

Where Cruz and Lin part company is in Lin carrying the torch as the vastly uncommon Asian player to get noticed in the NBA, whereas Cruz is another in a long line of African American (albeit, also Puerto Rican) wide receivers to attain success in the NFL.

Another difference is in the seemingly limitless (or, if you prefer, the Lin-itless) reach social media and smartphones have, both of which has helped Lin’s story take on a life of its own faster than the Knick point guard can go coast-to-coast for a crowd-energizing layup.

Throughout today’s instant gratification society, the public, and sports fans in particular, crave immediate information, and they’re programmed with a constant need to process that data and come to a conclusion without letting things play out as they should (just look at the 2011 season of Denver Broncos’ quarterback Tim Tebow).

Could Cruz have a very average career from this point? Sure, although it’s not likely since he has thus far demonstrated more than Lin.

The season that was just completed by the 25-year-old Cruz will be remembered best for Cruz’s big plays in huge games. As well it should. But, Cruz’s best three-game stretch (22 catches, 404 receiving yards, each game well over 100 yards, three touchdowns) occurred during the tail-end of the Giants’ four-game losing streak, against some very tough competition in his own conference.

Even then, Cruz was producing.

We don’t know yet if Lin will do the same against the likes of the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia 76ers, or Atlanta Hawks.

All we know is that Lin has looked tremendous against six teams mired in last place or next-to-last place, and (despite outscoring Kobe Bryant) at home, against a Los Angeles Lakers squad which has lost twice as many road games as it has won this season.

It’s still a huge leap to go from that to what Cruz has – a world championship ring.

Not only did Cruz shine in regular season wins or in losses to good teams, he also led team his when it mattered most.

A record-setting 99-yard touchdown catch and 164 yards in Week 16 against the New York Jets carried the Giants from a 7-7 record and a season the brink of ruin, to serious playoff contention.

One week later, 178 more yards, a key 74-yard touchdown catch, and a huge 44-yard reception in the final minutes by Cruz dispelled the Dallas Cowboys, and were among the biggest factors in helping the Giants to a division title.

He then drew so much attention in a wild-card playoff win over the Atlanta Falcons, and the following week, during an upset victory over the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers, that receiving mate Hakeem Nicks was free enough to take over the lead in directing the Giants to a conference title game. And, Cruz still chipped in with five important catches for 74 yards in Green Bay.

After that, the Giants rode Cruz’s ten receptions for 142 yards in San Francisco to the Super Bowl, where Cruz continued to play a vital role in his team’s success.

Adding four more catches, including the game’s first touchdown, Cruz once again had the defense drawn to him enough to allow not just Nicks to have another big night (ten catches for 109 yards), but to force the New England Patriots’ defense to focus on he and Nicks so much, that third option Mario Manningham was able to make a crucial catch that set up a last-minute, Super-Bowl winning touchdown.

Given all of that, the 23-year-old Lin still has much to show to vindicate (or even, Lin-dicate) his wonderful, yet over-exposed, and to some degree, overhyped story.

For the moment however, the potential remains high for Lin, whose journey to the pros matches that of Cruz’s in several respects.

Both players starred at small-program, Massachusetts universities – Cruz, at the Football College Subdivision level at UMass, and Lin at the lower mid-major Harvard, which including Lin, has produced nearly three times as many U.S. presidents (eight) as NBA players (three).

Each was then overlooked and went undrafted. And, each had to persist to chase down a lifelong dream after sitting behind others who kept getting chances before them.

The first opportunity for Cruz came two years ago, when he opened eyes with some spectacular circus catches, including a trio of touchdown receptions in a preseason game against the Jets, before a hamstring injury ended his regular season early, without a catch.

Similarly, Lin raised some eyebrows by outplaying guard John Wall, the top overall draft pick in 2010, in a summer league game prior to Wall’s rookie season.

Although he was a fan favorite playing before a large Asian population near his native Palo Alto, California for the Golden State Warriors last year, Lin was used too sparingly to make much of an impact, and he was later cut by the Warriors when he was beaten out for the backup point guard spot by former Hofstra University star Charles Jenkins before this season began.

Golden State passing on Lin at that time was analogous to the Giants’ lack of confidence in Cruz early last season.

Unimpressed with Cruz’s ability to catch on in an abbreviated training camp caused by the NFL’s offseason lockout, the Giants resorted to signing washed-up 12-year veteran Brandon Stokley following a disappointing Week 1 loss in Washington during which Cruz was targeted only twice and made no catches.

Then, just weeks after possibly being cut did Cruz begin to show what he could do.

Just like Lin did, only after guards Toney Douglas, Iman Shumpert, and Mike Bibby all failed to give the Knicks what they needed at the point guard position, and after Baron Davis’ bad back couldn’t heal in time to prevent Lin from being cut from an NBA team for a third time.

Following Cruz’s lead though, after being cut by the Houston Rockets and making a couple of NBA Developmental League stops along the way, Lin finally made the most of his opportunity and etched his name into the record books once he reached New York.

There’s also the comparable approach shared by Cruz and Lin – one filled with the admirable traits of humility, a strong work ethic, believing in putting one’s team first, and recognizing that when the opportunity of a lifetime knocks, it must be answered with all the vigor and pursuit one can muster.

So now, as the schedule will get tougher for the Knicks, as star forward Carmelo Anthony returns to the fold, and as Anthony’s ex-teammate in Denver, fellow first-round draft pick, Guard J.R. Smith, could soon reunite with Anthony in New York via a potential FA move a few questions linger:

Can New York’s newest star from virtually out of nowhere keep Rol-Lin’ and can the Knicks keep Lin-ning?

Will Lin’s magical tale continue to have legs, at least as good as the pair that Cruz used to rewrite NFL history and win his first league championship?

Certainly, Knicks’ head coach Mike D’Antoni, who has labeled his latest point guard “Lin-derella,” is hoping to see more Lin-credible things being done with an orange basketball before Lin wakes up and turns into a pumpkin.

If D’Antoni might be worried that Lin’s historic ride could fizzle out like the rollercoaster season that ended on a sharp downturn for Tebow, he should be bolstered by the fact that unlike Tebow, Lin can actually pass.

That could be the one thing that keeps the Lin buzz alive. Perhaps, to Lin-finity and beyond.

Tags: Jeremy Lin, New York City, New York Giants, New York Knicks, Standard, Victor Cruz
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The Madden NFL franchise released all of their indiviual and team ratings on Monday, and though it was already known, Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones finished very low on the list. 

Jones had an abysmal grade of 63, which is the lowest grade among rookie quarterbacks. Even undrafted free agent QB Tyree Jackson has a 64 rating for the Bills to start the year. 

So does that make Jones the worst rookie quarterback in Madden history? 

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning
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Jun 12, 2018; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Kamrin Moore (39) and defensive back Marcus Williams (43) participate in drills during minicamp at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports (Derick E. Hingle)
Jun 12, 2018; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints cornerback Kamrin Moore (39) and defensive back Marcus Williams (43) participate in drills during minicamp at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports (Derick E. Hingle)

The Giants announced the suspension of S Kam Moore on Monday following his role in an alleged domestic violence-related incident last Thursday.  

According to NJ.com, Moore was arrested and charged with third-degree aggravated assault after allegedly punching a woman and knocking her out unconscious by stepping on her neck and applying pressure.

The woman, who is Moore's girlfriend, said that she was arguing with Moore and pushed him which caused his reaction, the report said. She walked into the police department on Saturday to file her complaint, as police weren't called to the scene on Thursday night. 

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Dec 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) reacts during the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Dec 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) reacts during the third quarter against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Football fans look forward to the release of each year's installment of the Madden NFL franchise, but Giants fans may want to play with a different team in this year's game.

The Madden NFL 20 player and team ratings were released on Monday, and the Giants have the lowest team rating in the NFC at 77. That's the second-lowest rating only in front of the Dolphins (74). Their NFC East rivals in the Eagles and Cowboys are rated much higher at 89 and 88 respectively.

The Giants' gem on their roster is RB Saquon Barkley, who led the Giants with a 91 overall (and was ranked the fifth-best running back in the game). Other than that, the ratings weren't too kind to the Giants.

Tags: Aldrick Rosas, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Kyle Lauletta, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Zak DeOssie
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Jun 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers answers questions from media during mini camp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers answers questions from media during mini camp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

It is no secret Giants GM Dave Gettleman thinks highly of safety Jabrill Peppers. It is part of the reason he followed through on the trade that sent Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns. 

At least one of Peppers' former teammates in Cleveland seems to share the same sentiment as Gettleman. 

Browns tight end David Njoku, who was conducting a football camp in Cedar Grove, NJ on Saturday, is excited for what Peppers can bring to the Giants. 

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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Sep 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) dances before a game against New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) dances before a game against New Orleans Saints at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

The Giants may have only gotten to the playoffs just once with Odell Beckham Jr. on the team, but Browns tight end David Njoku believes the former Big Blue receiver may be the missing piece to take the Browns to the next level. 

"Once we realized we had him locked in, we're excited," Njoku said at a football camp he runs in Cedar Grove, NJ, per NJ.com. "We have a great team. It's up to us to take advantage of this opportunity."

Njoku, who was a rookie during the winless 0-16 season in 2017, began seeing a shift in the Browns culture last season with Baker Mayfield at quarterback and other new offensive weapons, such as Jarvis Landry and Nick Chubb to help lead the team to a 7-8-1 season. 

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley
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Jan 26, 2019; Mobile, AL, United States; North defensive back Corey Ballentine of Washburn (1) before the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports (Chuck Cook)
Jan 26, 2019; Mobile, AL, United States; North defensive back Corey Ballentine of Washburn (1) before the Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports (Chuck Cook)

Police have charged an 18-year-old man in the April 28 shooting in Topeka, Kansas that wounded Giants cornerback Corey Ballentine and killed his friend, Dwane Simmons.

Francisco Alejandro Mendez was charged on Friday with seven felony counts, including first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and five accounts of aggravated robbery, according to Shawnee County District Attorney Mike Kagay and first reported by ESPN. 

Police connected the crimes to two related aggravated robberies that occurred on April 27 and April 30. Mendez is being held on $1 million bond and is scheduled to be in court Monday. 

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Dec 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ; General overall view of MetLife Stadium during an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the New YorK Jets. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Dec 24, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ; General overall view of MetLife Stadium during an NFL football game between the Los Angeles Chargers and the New YorK Jets. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

The NFL is starting to get creative in its continued pursuit for an 18-game schedule. 

According to Andrew Beaton of the Wall Street Journal, one idea being proposed among owners is to limit players to a maximum of 16 regular season games. That would mean, by rule, the Giants and Jets would have to pick at least two games for players like Saquon Barkley and Sam Darnold to sit out. 

The NFLPA has pushed back against an 18-game schedule, largely because the toll an extra two games would place on the players' bodies would be too much to handle on top of an already grueling 16-game schedule. Giants long snapper and NFLPA vice president Zak DeOssie voiced these concerns back in June. 

Tags: Sam Darnold, Saquon Barkley, Zak DeOssie
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Golden Tate on Jones and Giant 00:01:33
Golden Tate has early praise for Daniel Jones. Also, the wide out didn't think about being compared to Odell Beckham, but isn't worried.

Wide receiver Golden Tate has been a dynamic playmaker throughout his NFL career, and he's hoping to bring that part of his game with him to the Giants' offense.

With Training Camp just a few weeks away, Tate spoke recently about what he saw from rookie QB Daniel Jones during minicamp, and why he's not worried about his play being compared to that of Odell Beckham Jr.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks to pass against Dallas Cowboys defensive end Dorance Armstrong during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning looks to pass against Dallas Cowboys defensive end Dorance Armstrong during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports)

The Giants made some big changes heading into the 2019 season -- the obvious being the departure of stars like Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins, and Olivier Vernon. But despite those losses, the Giants are confident that their change will be for the better starting this year. 

Will it be enough to fight for an NFC East division title?

Many know how tough the NFC East can be, with no team winning the division in back-to-back seasons since the Eagles won four straight from 2001-2004. The Cowboys were the winners last season at 10-6, but can they repeat? 

Let's see where the Giants sit on the list heading into training camp in a couple weeks...

Tags: Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Lorenzo Carter, Nate Solder, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Will Hernandez, Scott Thompson
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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Both of New York's football teams have potential MVP candidates in their backfield, according to Bovada. Only one of the two have a player under center that was given odds, though.

Odds Shark released Bovada's latest odds for the NFL's 2019 MVP Award and both Jets' running back Le'Veon Bell and Giants' running back Saquon Barkley were listed by the odds makers. Both landed with +5000 odds to take home the top-individual silverware next season.

The only rusher with higher odds to land the honor was Alvin Kamara from the New Orleans Saints.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley
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Dec 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) points to his family on the sideline during warmups before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Dec 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) points to his family on the sideline during warmups before a game against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

Saquon Barkley can add another accolade to his already-illustrious young NFL career.

At Wednesday's ESPY Awards in Los Angeles, the Giants running back took home the award for Best Breakthrough Athlete, edging out Christian Yelich of the Milwaukee Brewers, Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks, and female tennis player Naomi Osaka

Tags: Saquon Barkley
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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Eli Manning during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates his touchdown with quarterback Eli Manning during the first half at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Giants GM Dave Gettleman believes his culture overhaul of the Giants' locker room will result in more wins. Coach Pat Shurmur believes Eli Manning has just enough left in his right arm to make his team a contender. Defensive coordinator James Bettcher believes he can piece together enough of a pass rush to help the Giants make a run, too.

They are, if nothing else, dreamers. They believe in the potential of their team. But are they realistic or are they delusional about the roster they've created?

Here's a way-too-early look at how the Giants' 2019 season just might go…

Tags: Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Landon Collins, Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 15, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A general view of MetLife Stadium prior to the game between the Houston Texans and the New York Jets. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports  (Kirby Lee)
Dec 15, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; A general view of MetLife Stadium prior to the game between the Houston Texans and the New York Jets. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

The Giants haven't played their home games in New York since the 1975 season, when they called Shea Stadium home. That came two years after their final game at Yankee Stadium, with one season playing home games in New Haven in-between. 

They've called New Jersey home since then, playing home games first at Giants Stadium and now at MetLife Stadium. Wouldn't that make them the New Jersey Giants?

Presidential candidate Cory Booker, who is a Senator representing New Jersey after serving as the Mayor of Newark, has some ideas...

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Apr 27, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Austin Droogsma of Florida State poses after winning the shot put during the 124th Penn Relays at Franklin Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Apr 27, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Austin Droogsma of Florida State poses after winning the shot put during the 124th Penn Relays at Franklin Field. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Each year at training camp, there always seems to be that one player you want to make the 53-man roster out of the 90 men that show up on Day 1. Well, for many, that players just might have to be offensive lineman Austin Droogsma. 

Droogsma certainly has the height and weight of an offensive lineman (6-foot-4, 345 pounds), but that isn't what he played at Florida State. Instead, Droogsma was focused on his track and field career as a shot-putter. He was one of the best in the NCAA, finishing fourth at the indoor championships in 2018. 

But he figured his sports days were over, as he looked for a real world job following graduation. That is until the Giants came calling. 

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Nov 25, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants middle linebacker B.J. Goodson (93) walks out of the tunnel before game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)
Nov 25, 2018; Philadelphia, PA, USA; New York Giants middle linebacker B.J. Goodson (93) walks out of the tunnel before game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports (Eric Hartline)

A few weeks ago during Giants minicamp, we profiled five dark horse players who turned heads. At the end of the day though, every football player knows that, while minicamp standouts are nice stories, the real competition starts in training camp.

Big Blue training camp starts in a little over two weeks. It's a 90-man competition for 53 spots, and more than a few veterans will be left behind if they don't put up a good showing.

Here are five guys who are on the hot seat for the Giants: 

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Cody Latimer, Corey Coleman, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Wayne Gallman
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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants let a lot of big-name, big-talent players go this offseason. In fact, Odell Beckham Jr., Landon Collins and Olivier Vernon were easily three of the most important players the Giants had.

How will they survive without them? The answer to that will be provided by the performances of several key players this season.

So here's a look at the Giants' 10 most important players for 2019:

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Landon Collins, Nate Solder, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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A general view of a New York Giants helmet on the turf before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)
A general view of a New York Giants helmet on the turf before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)

The late Jared Lorenzen had a much bigger impact on the Giants than one might have thought. 

Despite attempting just eight passes in his career, Lorenzen played a significant role in arguably the greatest play in Giants' history. 

In Super Bowl XLII against the undefeated Patriots, Eli Manning escaped the grasp of the Patriots' pass rush to find David Tyree down field for the famous Helmet Catch, but Manning may not have been able to make that escape if not for Lorenzen. 

 

Tags: Eli Manning
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A general view of a New York Giants helmet on the turf before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)
A general view of a New York Giants helmet on the turf before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)

Former Giants QB Jared Lorenzen has unfortunately lost his battle with health issues, as the family announced his passing on Wednesday at age 38. 

Lorenzen was admitted to the hospital last Friday with an infection as well as dealing with kidney and heart issues. He was battling them while in an intensive care unit, but he couldn't prevail. 

Kentucky Sports Radio's Matt Jones released a statement from Lorenzen's family...

Tags: Eli Manning, Scott Thompson
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May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning answers questions from media during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning answers questions from media during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

You don't have to remind Eli Manning how old he is. Entering his 16th year in the NFL this season, the veteran signal caller is well aware of how young his teammates are compared to his 38-year-old self. 

He's reminded of it when he enters the quarterbacks room at the team facility in East Rutherford, when sixth overall pick Daniel Jones is sitting right there awaiting his turn to take over the Giants (or so the team hopes). 

That transition isn't expected to happen this season. The Giants are entrusting Manning to lead the way on offense yet again, and he's fully prepared to do so. Because on and off the field around his teammates, Manning does feel young again...

Tags: Eli Manning, Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts after throwing a interception to Indianapolis Colts free safety Malik Hooker during the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar via USA TODAY NETWORK)
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning reacts after throwing a interception to Indianapolis Colts free safety Malik Hooker during the second half at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Mykal McEldowney/IndyStar via USA TODAY NETWORK)

No matter how much money ESPN offered Peyton Manning to do "Monday Night Football," nothing was going to outweigh the price of brotherly love. 

According to Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports, two sources close to Manning revealed that the future Hall of Fame quarterback declined a lucrative deal in April to join the "Monday Night Football" booth this season largely because he did not want to analyze Eli Manning

Peyton was offered the opportunity to join the booth in April, but the Giants are scheduled to appear on "Monday Night Football" twice this season and Eli's decline over the last few years has been a focal point of the team. That should be amplified even greater this season with sixth overall pick Daniel Jones waiting in the wings. 

Tags: Eli Manning
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Aug 14, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Detailed view of a New York Giants helmet on the sidelines in a preseason NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports (Andrew Weber)
Aug 14, 2015; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Detailed view of a New York Giants helmet on the sidelines in a preseason NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports (Andrew Weber)

Former New York Giants quarterback Jared Lorenzen has been hospitalized with an infection, as well as kidney and heart issues. Lorenzen, 38, has been in the hospital since Friday with his family by his side, they announced in a statement. 

According to the family's statement, Lorenzen had not been feeling well before being admitted to the intensive care unit.


Nov 12, 2018; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) prepares to take the snap against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Nov 12, 2018; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) prepares to take the snap against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Eli Manning is undoubtedly a glass half-full kind of guy. 

The Giants quarterback expressed optimism that the offense can be better in 2019 than it was last season, despite the team's decision to trade away Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns. 

"I think we can be productive and score more points and be a better offense," Manning told NFL Network this weekend. 

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr.
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New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones watches Eli Manning during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones watches Eli Manning during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports)

If Pat Shurmur is leaving the door open for a quarterback competition, Eli Manning isn't buying it. 

The Giants quarterback told NFL Network's Rhett Lewis in an interview that will air Friday night that he does not think there is a quarterback competition between himself and first-round pick Daniel Jones. 

"I mean no, I don't feel like it's a competition," he said at the Manning Passing Academy. "I feel like I've got to do my job and I've got to compete every day and try to get better every day. That's the way it's been my whole life and that's just the way I've always approached practice every day to improve, to earn my place on the team, to earn the respect of the teammates and do it each year."

Tags: Eli Manning
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New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Washington Redskins in the second quarter at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

After the Jets spent big money this summer, making splashes with the additions of Le'Veon Bell, C.J. Mosley, Jamison Crowder and Quinnen Williams, there has been a renewed buzz around Florham Park.

Meanwhile, their stadium-mates, the Giants, continued their roster revamp in controversial fashion - they said goodbye to stars Odell Beckham Jr. and Landon Collins, drafted a quarterback sixth overall and turned the keys over to an extremely young defense.

While the Giants are still rebuilding, the Jets are going all-in with a young quarterback, a budding defense and a new coach.

Tags: Eli Manning, Landon Collins, Le'Veon Bell, Marcus Maye, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard
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May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants corner back Sam Beal answers questions from media during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants corner back Sam Beal answers questions from media during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Of the many position battles at Giants training camp, the cornerbacks competition may be the most intriguing to watch this season. 

Giants GM Dave Gettleman brought in three rookies in the 2019 NFL Draft, all of which will be vying for a starting role opposite veteran incumbent Janoris Jenkins.

The biggest spotlight will shine on Georgia product Deandre Baker, who the Giants traded back into the first round to snag. There is also Notre Dame's Julian Love -- arguably one of the top steals in the Draft -- and Washburn's Corey Ballentine, who will certainly be a fan favorite to make the team after the unfortunate events that saw his best friend shot and killed, while he was left in the hospital as well. 

Tags: Janoris Jenkins, Michael Thomas, Scott Thompson
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Jun 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) makes a catch during mini camp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) makes a catch during mini camp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Say what you want about your opinion on the Giants trading away star WR Odell Beckham Jr. His former teammates miss him. 

"Just his presence," Sterling Shepard told The Post's Paul Schwartz, adding that there has been an adjustment period to get used to him not in the locker room. "He's a great guy, he's loved around this facility. Just his presence, I guess."

Beckham has always been one of a kind since entering the league, and it showed in his awe-inspiring play that was matched with an exuberant personality as well. Whether it was making his signature one-handed grabs like it was just another day on the gridiron, or dancing in around practice with players like Shepard and Saquon Barkley, Beckham was always keeping things light and fun. 

Tags: Cody Latimer, Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr., Russell Shepard, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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Sep 18, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) screams before a game against the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Sep 18, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) screams before a game against the Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

Odell Beckham Jr. is attempting to smooth over his comments about the Giants in a Complex Magazine interview earlier this week. 

After revealing that he was never going to live up to his potential "mentally, physically, spiritually," in New York, the Browns receiver tweeted multiple times on Saturday afternoon about his love for New York and the Giants organization, but also thanked the "haters" he dealt with, too. 

"I'm thankful GOD gave me and opportunity to play my first years where he did," Beckham tweeted. "I'm thankful for every memory and experience I had there. The good and the bad. I'm thankful for every hater and supporter, for every fan. I will always have luv 4 that place. But we ALL have moved on."

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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Offensive Rookie of the Year winner Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants during media availabilities for the NFL Honors show at the Fox Theatre. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)
Offensive Rookie of the Year winner Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants during media availabilities for the NFL Honors show at the Fox Theatre. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Baker Mayfield is true to his word. 

The Browns quarterback followed through on a friendly wager he had with Giants running back Saquon Barkley on who will win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

The two agreed that the loser would have to buy the winner a chain, but the loser gets to pick what the chain says. 

 

Tags: Saquon Barkley
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Oct 22, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) runs to the locker room during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports (Jason Getz)
Oct 22, 2018; Atlanta, GA, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) runs to the locker room during the fourth quarter against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports (Jason Getz)

The Giants traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns three months ago, but the star receiver is still not done talking about his former team. 

Beckham, who has expressed some bitterness with the Giants since being traded, vented some more about Big Blue in a Q&A with Complex Magazine this week where he sounded as if he was the one who wanted out of New York. 

"I just felt with the Giants I was just stuck at a place that wasn't working for me anymore," he said in a Q&A with Complex Magazine. "I felt like I wasn't going to be able to reach my full potential there; mentally, physically, spiritually, everything I felt capable of doing, I just couldn't see it happening there.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr.
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May 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) speaks to media during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports (Sarah Stier)
May 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) speaks to media during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports (Sarah Stier)

Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones has seemed unflappable since being selected No. 6 overall in the NFL Draft. And his demeanor hasn't changed now that he's heard boos at Yankee Stadium before taking a single snap for Big Blue.

"I certainly don't pay a whole lot of attention to it," Jones said Tuesday during an appearance on The Rich Eisen Show . "You're aware of it. I'm focused on what we're doing here and focused on trying to practice as well as I could these past six weeks and show some progress over these six weeks. So, at the end of the day, I'm grateful to be part of this franchise, get this opportunity and looking forward to keeping it going."

After getting booed on Monday night by what amounted a smattering of a subset of fans in the Bronx, two of Jones' teammates came to his defense.

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 (SNY)
(SNY)

Monday night at Yankee Stadium, Giants rookie QB Daniel Jones was enjoying the Yankees and Rays game when he was showed on the jumbrotron in between innings. But instead of cheers for the sixth overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft from the Giants fans in attendance, he heard a chorus of boos instead

Well, his teammates aren't too happy about that. 

Tight end Evan Engram quote tweeted our news story about the incident, and he wants an explanation from the fans...

Tags: Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley
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May 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback draft pick Daniel Jones (8) looks on during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports  (Sarah Stier)
May 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback draft pick Daniel Jones (8) looks on during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports (Sarah Stier)

It did not take long for Giants QB Daniel Jones to experience his first Bronx Cheer. 

Big Blue's rookie quarterback was at Monday's Yankees game against the Rays when he was showed on the Yankee Stadium jumbotron and was welcomed with a chorus of boos, according to those in attendance at the game. 

Jones, 22, has not even been a member of the Giants for two months despite the harsh greeting by New York. 

Tags: Eli Manning
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Jun 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones (8) and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) warm up during mini camp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Jun 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones (8) and New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) warm up during mini camp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants ended the offseason feeling pretty good about themselves, even though they arguably spent the last five months losing more talent than they gained. They are big believers in addition by subtraction, and they feel they've added some pretty good pieces, too.

It'll be a few more months until we know whether GM Dave Gettleman's plan was genius or ill-conceived, and whether his big makeover of the team's culture will result in any more wins. But during the spring organized team activities and mini-camp, there were a few hints about which direction the Giants were headed.

So here are 5 things we've learned about the Giants this spring:

Tags: Eli Manning, Landon Collins, Nate Solder, Odell Beckham Jr., Will Hernandez, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants offensive lineman Jon Halapio (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants offensive lineman Jon Halapio (Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports)

When Jon Halapio beat out Brett Jones for the starting center job on the Giants' offensive line last training camp, expectations were high for the 27-year-old. 

He didn't have much of a chance to live up to them, going down with a fractured ankle during in Week 2 against the Cowboys and missing the remainder of the season. Halapio watched from the sidelines as the team stumbled to a 5-11 record and the play of the offensive line initially drew criticism, before continuity led to more rushing success for Saquon Barkley later in the season. 

"He was really playing well for us before he got hurt a year ago," coach Pat Shurmur said earlier this offseason. "So we had high hopes for him last season. It appears he has come back 100 percent and is back in there just like he was when he left us."

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Jan 3, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) reacts after a first down catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports  (Brad Penner)
Jan 3, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) reacts after a first down catch against the Philadelphia Eagles during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. The Eagles won 35-30. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

It has been four years since Hakeem Nicks played football professionally, but the former Giants wide receiver hopes he still has something left in the tank. 

All it took was a little push from Eli Manning to find out. 

Nicks worked out at the XFL's "Summer Showcase" on Friday at Montclair State University in front of XFL New York/New Jersey coach Kevin Gilbride, Nicks' former offensive coordinator, hoping to make a return to professional football. 

Tags: Eli Manning
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Sep 2, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Western Michigan Broncos defensive back Sam Beal (1) intercepts a pass intended for Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jalen Greene (10) during a NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Western Michigan 49-31. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Sep 2, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Western Michigan Broncos defensive back Sam Beal (1) intercepts a pass intended for Southern California Trojans wide receiver Jalen Greene (10) during a NCAA football game at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. USC defeated Western Michigan 49-31. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

The 2019 New York Giants season is rapidly approaching, and there is still a lot to be sorted out along the depth chart. One of the best parts of minicamp and summer workouts is finding out which potential dark horses have a chance to make the 53-man roster and make an impact.

Here are five guys who have stood out so far:

Corey Coleman (WR/KR):

Tags: Alec Ogletree, B.J. Goodson, Saquon Barkley
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New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)
New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks reacts after scoring a touchdown against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Julio Cortez/AP)

Former Giants WR Hakeem Nicks isn't done with his football career just yet. 

The XFL is hosting Summer showcases all over the country to find the best players for their inaugural season in 2020. And the Super Bowl champion will be among the participants in the New York tryout on Friday, according to the official Twitter account. 

Nicks last played in the NFL on a contract with the Saints. However, he was waived on Aug. 8, 2016 and hasn't been in the league since. But the 31-year-old isn't about to hang up his cleats for good just yet. 

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Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Pat Shurmur might as well have fired a starter's pistol into the air on Tuesday to signal the beginning of a quarterback controversy that will last through Giants training camp and beyond.

His words had the same jolting effect. After he was asked if rookie quarterback Daniel Jones could beat out Eli Manning and be the opening day starter, he could have just said "No."

Instead, he said this: "I think we are going to play the very best player and I know we are dancing around the words there. Right now, Eli is getting ready to have a great year and Daniel is getting ready to play. You see what happens with it."

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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Evan Engram (88) carries the ball during training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Evan Engram (88) carries the ball during training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Giants TE Evan Engram just can't catch a break. 

The Ole Miss product didn't have the sophomore season he was hoping for after a solid debut back in 2017. Injuries that included a concussion as well as hamstring and knee ailments kept him out five games. And when he was in the game, Engram didn't seem like his normal self as he battled back to full strength. 

Unfortunately, his third year isn't getting off to the best start either. Engram has been dealing with another hamstring injury that has kept him out most of the OTAs as well as the three-day minicamp last week...

Tags: Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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Shurmur on Giants QB competition 00:00:54
New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur said rookie QB Daniel Jones could be ready to start Week 1 but Eli Manning is the current starter.

It's been great to see and hear that the Giants' sixth overall pick in Daniel Jones has been impressing during the team's voluntary practices as well as their three-day minicamp. 

Jones' new teammates and coaches have noticed by the day that he became more comfortable with the offense, and in turn, his confidence rose. 

"You can see him getting confident," Evan Engram said of Jones after minicamp. "Anytime you're coming in as a rookie, you're going to be a little shaky or a little nervous. You kind of see him starting to brush that off, get into his groove and take advantage of everything he's given."

Tags: Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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Aug 1, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins (21) and running back Saquon Barkley (26) react after an intercepted pass by Collins during training camp in East Rutherford. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
Aug 1, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins (21) and running back Saquon Barkley (26) react after an intercepted pass by Collins during training camp in East Rutherford. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/NorthJersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

There was a time when Landon Collins wouldn't want to hit Saquon Barkley during practice. Well, now he doesn't have a choice with the Redskins. 

Collins, who once praised Barkley's physical attributes that made him such a tough running back to bring down, will now be tasked to keep him in the backfield twice a year. And he says he's ready for that commitment. 

"I've been ready to tackle Saquon," Collins told NorthJersey.com's Art Stapleton at the Landon Collins Celebrity Softball Game over the weekend. "That's my guy, though. All love to him and he's been doing his thing as we all know. But when I get to meet him in the hole this time, it's going to be full-go."

Tags: Landon Collins, Saquon Barkley, Scott Thompson
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May 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) runs between drills during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports (Sarah Stier)
May 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) runs between drills during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Sarah Stier-USA TODAY Sports (Sarah Stier)

It may not be much, but minicamps give a quick glimpse into what the new pieces to a team can bring in the upcoming season. 

Daniel Jones, the Giants' No. 6 overall selection back in April, may be the exception as he is currently behind Eli Manning on the depth chart. But his development this season will be a major storyline, even if he isn't on the field getting NFL reps. 

During the three-day minicamp in East Rutherford, Jones surprised in many facets like his foot speed, arm strength that didn't appear average like the scouting reports said, and his overall performance during team drills. Working with the second team, Jones was very efficient while going through his progressions quickly and fire strikes across the gridiron.

Tags: Eli Manning, Scott Thompson
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New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins calls a play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins calls a play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

POMONA, N.Y. - Landon Collins spent the first four years of his NFL career in Giants blue, dreaming of staying in that uniform forever. 

Less than three months after joining the Redskins, though, all those warm, fuzzy feelings for the Giants are gone.

"Honestly, I feel more of a Redskin now after going through OTAs, being there for a while, hanging out with them and having a great time," Collins said. "I feel like I'm at home.

Tags: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Ereck Flowers, Landon Collins, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jan 30, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Shaun O'Hara at NFL Network press conference at Georgia World Congress Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)
Jan 30, 2019; Atlanta, GA, USA; Shaun O'Hara at NFL Network press conference at Georgia World Congress Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports (Kirby Lee)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

POMONA, N.Y. - The former Giants who won championships with Eli Manning have long been his biggest defenders. But even they understand that the end is coming for their quarterback.

They just don't think the end is here yet.

"I chuckle at the reports you hear weekly about how Eli can't play quarterback and he's washed up," said former Giants center Shaun O'Hara. "Nothing could be further from the truth. The Giants have lost a lot of games the last few years, but they're not all Eli's fault -- and none of them are because Eli can't throw the ball."

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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Lorenzo Carter (59) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Lorenzo Carter (59) Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Giants' pass rush has long been one of the franchise's trademarks. From Lawrence Taylor to Michael Strahan to Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora, the Giants' defense does its best work when it's rushing the passer.

It's no coincidence that the Giants' defense has declined recently as the pass rush disappeared.

The Giants have been a bottom-five team in sacks in three of the last four years. The one time they were better, they made the playoffs.

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Oct 15, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie (51) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Oct 15, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; New York Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie (51) before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

As preliminary negotiations for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement are underway in the NFL, the push for an 18-game schedule has once again entered the conversation. 

And once again, it is being met with resistance by the players' union. 

Zak DeOssie, the Giants long snapper and member of the NFLPA executive committee as vice president, vocalized his opposition to that idea on Thursday at Giants minicamp. 

Tags: Zak DeOssie
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Dec 28, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Darius Slayton (81) catches a pass and rushes for a touchdown against the Purdue Boilermakers during the first half of the 2018 Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)
Dec 28, 2018; Nashville, TN, USA; Auburn Tigers wide receiver Darius Slayton (81) catches a pass and rushes for a touchdown against the Purdue Boilermakers during the first half of the 2018 Music City Bowl at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports (Jim Brown)

Behind Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate, there is an opportunity for somebody to step up and grab the Giants' No. 3 wide receiver spot. If rookie Darius Slayton performs in training camp this summer like he did this week, he'll have a shot.

By all accounts, the fifth-round pick out of Auburn had a strong minicamp this week, rebounding from what was a rough showing during rookie camp. 

"The guy that's made huge improvements in my eyes has been Slayton, he's done a really good job," Giants coach Pat Shurmur said Thursday. "I think we were all here during rookie minicamp when he kind of had the yips, drops and what not. He's really smoothed it out and he's been making plays. He's the first guy that comes to mind. This time of year, it's more about throwing and catching and less about blocking and tackling. I think the young guys in the secondary have been competing, all of the new players. That's a good thing."

Tags: Corey Coleman, Sterling Shepard
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Saquon Barkley 1-on-1 00:03:45
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley believes QB Daniel Jones 'will be a threat' and comments on Odell Beckham's Eli Manning comment.

When Browns WR Odell Beckham Jr. talked on Wednesday about having to get used to new QB Baker Mayfield's arm strength, many took it as a dig at Eli Manning.

Saquon Barkley did not.

"I saw his comments. I don't think Odell was making a shot at Eli or anybody," Barkley told SNY's Jonas Schwartz on Thursday after shaking his head at the situation. "You have to get used to a new quarterback," Barkley explained, likening the situation to how he got used to the Giants' reshuffled offensive line during the second half of last season.

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Saquon Barkley
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Pat Shurmur Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)
Pat Shurmur Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Penner)

As the Giants finished up their three-day minicamp in East Rutherford on Thursday, head coach Pat Shurmur wasn't just fielding questions about his current 90-man roster. He was also asked about one of his former players. 

Odell Beckham Jr. has been taking part in his own minicamp with his new team, the Cleveland Browns. After the session on Wednesday, the star receiver looked to have taken a shot at his former quarterback Eli Manning with this comment. 

"I'm going to have to get adjusted to the speed because he has an arm,'' Beckham told reporters. "He's throwing that ball hard. Just catching him from the first day, it was like, 'Wow! This is completely different.' It just takes time."

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr.
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