We have officially reached the midway point of the NFL season and for a majority of it, the Seattle Seahawks have held the top spot in the NFC, and rightfully so. The NFC, probably more than its AFC counterpart, has a clear cut favorite to run the table in the playoffs on the way to Super Bowl XLVIII, especially if the Seahawks have home field advantage, as they look unstoppable inside of CenturyLink Stadium. However, some questions on offense were raised involving Seattle from their near loss to the St. Louis Rams on Monday night, but they were able to squeak out their seventh win in eight games to start the season and still remain at the top of my rankings. Here are my NFC Power Rankings for week 8...

 1. Seattle Seahawks (7-1):  A goal-line stand is all that stood between the Seahawks and their second loss of the season to the Rams on Monday night, but once again their defense came up big. WR Golden Tate was a key player, finding the endzone on both of Seattle's touchdowns and finished the night with 93 yards on five receptions. It's a testament on how important Seattle's defense has been over the first half of the season while their offense ranks 28th in the league in passing yards, averaging just under 200 yards per game. It's a good thing that QB Russell Wilson can utilize his legs to move the ball, along with RB Marshawn Lynch going "beast mode" on every team; the Seahawks are averaging 140 yards on the ground per game, fourth best in the NFL. More importantly, the Seahawks lost a big part of their receiver core as WR Sidney Rice is out for the season with a torn ACL.  Ranking last week: 1 2. New Orleans Saints (6-1):  What more can you say about the Saints offense? It is a powerhouse, a monster, a force to be reckoned with and just straight up scary. QB Drew Brees and the Saints are averaging 310 yards per game through the air, while their defense, behind the coaching of new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has transformed back into the defense that won them a Super Bowl in 2009. Each week, the Saints force me to consider if they are worthy enough to break the top spot in the NFC as they are slowly creeping to the pinnacle of the conference.  Rankings last week: 3

 

3. San Francisco 49ers (6-2): Nothing new here; mostly for the Jacksonville Jaguars, that got completely demolished by the Niners as they played overseas in London. RB Frank Gore continues to take the brunt of San Francisco's running game and it will be important to see if he can stay healthy for the entire season as a majority of the carries have been in his favor. This team has looked better and better each week after their shaky start and it will be an interesting matchup in week 14 as the Niners host the Seahawks at Candlestick Park; a game that could drastically affect home field advantage in the playoffs. Ranking last week: 2

 

  4. Green Bay Packers (5-2):  All is well in Packer land for now as Green Bay trounced the Vikings on Sunday night in an effort to keep pace with the Detroit Lions in the NFC North. No question that QB Aaron Rodgers is going to miss his top receivers in WR Randall Cobb and TE Jermichael Finley, but if the running game on the shoulders of RB Eddie Lacy can buy Rodgers some time, they should be fine. The Packers will be featured in the primetime slot again, as they host the Jay Cutler-less Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Ranking last week: 4

 

 5. Detroit Lions (5-3):  That was possibly the craziest minute of football I have ever seen. QB Matthew Stafford miraculously led the Lions down the field and scored on a last minute QB sneak that shocked even the Dallas Cowboys players on defense. It's amazing the transformation that this team has made over the years. From the fans who comfortably wore paper bags over their heads, to the highlight reel team that is exciting and fun to watch. WR Calvin Johnson had a monster day as well, racking up 329 yards receiving with one touchdown, while he should of had at least four as he was stopped multiple times inside of the five yard line, including the play that led to Stafford's sneak for the game-winning touchdown. Look out for the Lions, the gutsy team that is making a name for themselves. Ranking last week: 6

 

6. Dallas Cowboys (4-4):  Talk about a crushing loss. The Cowboys gave up two huge passing plays to the Lions and were caught off guard as Detroit QB Matthew Stafford snuck in the endzone for a game-winning touchdown that left fans everywhere shaking their heads. To make matters worse, WR Dez Bryant blew up on the sidelines and started yelling at everyone and got into the face of TE Jason Witten as well as DeMarcus Ware who was not even suited up. They couldn't find an answer for WR Calvin Johnson tore apart the Dallas secondary and the loss pushed their record to just .500 at the halfway point. At least the Cowboys will get a break this week as they play the Vikings, but look to see how they rebound from Detroit loss, as well as the Dez Bryant fallout. Ranking last week: 5

 

 7. Chicago Bears (4-3):  After losing QB Jay Cutler for a couple of weeks, it is a good thing that the Bears were off this week. Bad news though; they travel to Lambeau Field on Monday night to take on the surging Green Bay Packers who smell blood in the water when it comes to their NFC North Rival. The Bears need Cutler back as soon as they can or else their chance of competing in the division, or even for a wildcard, will be lost. Ranking last week: 7

 

8. Carolina Panthers (4-3):  The Carolina offense has finally come alive on the back of QB Cam Newton as this team has scored 30+ points the past three weeks, all in victories. For the first time in 70 games, the Panthers have an above .500 winning percentage, a gruesome statistic that dates back to 2009. Carolina is going to need everything they can get from their star quarterback, as well as their defense, if they want to compete for a wildcard spot in the NFC and after they face the Atlanta Falcons this week, they have two tough tests ahead of them in the New England Patriots and San Francisco 49ers. Ranking last week: 10

 

9. Washington Redskins (2-5):  Another strong effort from the Redskins against the AFC powerhouse Denver Broncos, but they gave the second half away, allowing 38 points to an unstoppable offense led by QB Peyton Manning. Redskins QB RGIII was under some serious pressure in the pocket and continued to get drilled to the ground all game; forcing him out with another knee injury in the fourth quarter, but he claimed he was fine after. The Redskins, like the Giants, sit just two games back in the NFC East and if RGIII's health can withstand multiple beatings and they find momentum like they did last year, this team could compete. For now, the terrible play of their defense isn't doing them any favors. Ranking last week: 9

 

10. Arizona Cardinals (4-4): At the start of the season I would've said it be shocking if the Cardinals were able to knock off the Falcons, but judging the way Atlanta's season is going, you kind of had to see this one coming. Arizona's defense was able to pick apart Falcon's QB Matt Ryan, forcing four interceptions from "Matty Ice" and completely dominating the struggling Atlanta team. RB Andre Ellington finally had a breakout game, rushing for 154 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown, while QB Carson Palmer was steady for at least one week. The Cardinals could play spoiler in the later weeks to teams such as the Seahawks and Niners. Ranking last week: 13

 

11. St. Louis Rams (3-5):  The Rams ran 31 more plays than the Seahawks, had 23 first down's compared to Seattle's seven, tallied just under 350 yards on offense, and had the ball on offense for close to 40 minutes...but somehow the Rams still lost on Monday night. Their defense looked solid against the quick Seattle offense and they were able to sack QB Russell Wilson seven times, but their offense led by new starting QB Kellen Clemons fell flat. This season could be all downhill from here with QB Sam Bradford out for the season. Ranking last week: 12

 

12. Philadelphia Eagles (3-5): Another week, another injury for QB Michael Vick who left the game with a re-aggravated hamstring injury. Backup QB Matt Barkley couldn't get anything going on offense as they team mustered up just 200 yards of total offense. The defense was able to hold the Giants to just five field goals all game, but besides their late fourth quarter touchdown after a Giants special teams mishap, nothing was there on offense. All evidence of head coach Chip Kelly's offense is gone and this team is struggling without it. Ranking last week: 11

 

13. Atlanta Falcons (2-5): It's tough to win a game when your quarterback throws four interceptions and Matt Ryan and the Falcons are evidence of this. Ryan was picked off four times in the teams loss to the Cardinals as their season continues to spiral out of control. The team that I picked to win the Super Bowl is in a complete free fall and the only thing they will be competing for in the end, is a good draft pick. Ranking last week: 8

 

  14. New York Giants (2-6): The Giants took a cue from one of my favorite sports films Major League on Sunday and the famous quote from their coach, " We won a game yesterday, if we win one today that's two in a row. If we win one tomorrow that's called a winning streak. It has happened before."  The Giants were able to crank out their second straight win of the season against the Eagles and head into the bye week on a positive note, something that was unthinkable after starting the season with six straight loses. QB Eli Manning was flawless again, and even though they didn't find the endzone, their defense came up big, while five field goals on offense were enough for the victory. Ranking last week: 14

 

 15. Minnesota Vikings (1-6):  After a kickoff return for a touchdown, maybe we though the Vikings could shock the world and take down their NFC North rival and the Packers on Sunday night....wrong. Their defense gave up 44 points and couldn't stop Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers. More importantly, it didn't matter that QB Christian Ponder started over Josh Freeman who was out with an injury, this team still can't throw the ball. Giving the ball to RB Adrian Peterson 13 times isn't go to work, and I have said that multiple times this season, but the Vikings haven't figured that out yet. Ranking last week: 16

 

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-7): Yikes, this team is falling apart quickly. Another loss for the Buccaneers as they were routed by the Panthers last Thursday in what seems like a lifetime ago. So when does their first win come? Their best bet is against the Miami Dolphins in week 10 or the Rams in week 14, but I wouldn't bet on them. Without some offensive power from RB Doug Martin; this team is just bad. Ranking last week: 15

 

Where do you think these teams rank?

Tags: New York Giants, nfc power rankings, tom uddo
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Giants quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Eli Manning (Vincent Carchietta)
Giants quarterbacks Daniel Jones and Eli Manning (Vincent Carchietta)

Giants head coach Pat Shurmur spent the offseason suggesting that Eli Manning would start Week 1 over Daniel Jones, but not shutting the door on Jones completely. He had operated the same way during the preseason, using language that kept the door slightly ajar even though everyone knew the likely outcome.

On Friday afternoon, that changed.

During a conference call with reporters in the wake of the Giants' win over the Bengals (a win that featured another strong performance from Jones), Shurmur removed any doubt about the Manning vs. Jones situation.

Tags: Eli Manning, Danny Abriano
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) and quarterback Daniel Jones (8) look on during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley (26) and quarterback Daniel Jones (8) look on during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Amidst all of the Baker Mayfield - Daniel Jones drama, it looks like Saquon Barkley is here to help clear up Mayfield's comments from the GQ Magazine interview.

"Baker reached out to me," Barkley said. "Through a mutual friend he got Daniel's number and sent Daniel a text and basically, just in case he didn't have the right number, or switched his number, he had said, 'Can you make sure Daniel gets this?' That was really it." 

Barkley was selected by the Giants with the No. 2 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, one pick after the Browns took Mayfield. So it makes sense for Mayfield to reach out to Barkley and get reassurance that Jones received his message.

Tags: Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley
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 (David Kohl)
(David Kohl)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

It's gotten lost in Daniel Jones Mania, but Eli Manning is having a pretty good summer, too.

The veteran starter - who is still the Giants starter - has been solid during the preseason so far in the three series that he's played. This time, in a 25-23 win in Cincinnati, Manning had a deceptive performance, going 4-for-8 for 41 yards. But two of those incompletions were drops by receiver Cody Latimer, including one in the end zone that forced the Giants to settle for a field goal on Manning's lone drive.

Manning is now 9-of-13 for 86 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions. It's a small sample size, obviously, but good for a passer rating of 113.0.

Tags: Cody Latimer, Eli Manning, Janoris Jenkins, Sterling Shepard, Wayne Gallman, Will Hernandez, Ralph Vacchiano
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Gettleman covers Counting Crows? 00:02:12
New York Giants GM Dave Gettleman sings about how much he wants to see quarterback Daniel Jones succeed in this Counting Crows cover.

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman covers Counting Crows to show how much he wants to see quarterback Daniel Jones succeed. 

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 (David Kohl)
(David Kohl)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Maybe Baker Mayfield really was surprised when the Giants drafted Daniel Jones sixth overall. But nobody should be shocked anymore.

The 22-year-old rookie quarterback continued his stellar preseason by putting on another show in the Giants' third preseason game in Cincinnati on Thursday night. He completed 9-of-11 passes for 141 yards, playing the final 20 minutes of the first half.

Through three games, he's 25-of-30 (83.3 percent) for 369 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. That's a passer rating of 140.1.

Tags: Cody Latimer, Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 16, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws the ball during the first half against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 16, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws the ball during the first half against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The third preseason game used to be the big test for the starters. But that's just not the way it is anymore. Even Pat Shurmur, who believes the preseason still has value, doesn't expect to play his starters very long in Cincinnati tonight.

He said he expects things to go much like they did the first two games. That means no Saquon Barkley. No Sterling Shepard. Eli Manning will get a series, maybe two, and the starting offensive line will get that, plus maybe another series with rookie quarterback Daniel Jones. Then Jones will go until halftime.

In the second half … well, make sure to have your roster handy. You'll need it.

Tags: Eli Manning, Evan Engram, Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

One of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones' biggest supporters just so happens to play for the other New York football team.

Jets wide receiver Jamison Crowder attended Duke University, the same school that Jones attended. The two never played together at Duke, but Crowder has become friendly with his fellow Blue Devil since Jones entered the league.

"I've built a relationship with him, I text him from time to time and we worked out a little bit in the offseason," Crowder said. "So that's why I know... he has the potential to be a great quarterback in this league."

Tags: Daniel Jones, Jamison Crowder
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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)

He played in 15 games last season, starting in 13 while posting his best career numbers. He even had a two-interception performance. But B.J. Goodson's time with the Giants could be up very soon. 

That's just the feeling one gets when looking at the Giants' linebackers situation heading into Week 3 of the preseason against the Bengals Thursday night. Goodson hasn't been working with the first team next to Alec Ogletree, as many may have expected to start training camp. 

Instead, it has been Tae Davis who has taken over that role with the Giants. He was a longshot out of Tennessee-Cattanooga to make the 53-man roster in 2018, but he accomplished that feat. Now the Giants' coaching staff seems to be very high on him, and him sitting out along with Ogletree in Week 2 against the Bears this past Friday proves that. 

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Scott Thompson
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Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns QB (Ken Blaze)
Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns QB (Ken Blaze)

A day after quotes came out in GQ where Baker Mayfield took a shot at Giants rookie Daniel Jones (with Mayfield later attempting to walk back those comments), the Browns QB expanded on those comments while also saying he reached out to Jones to clear the air.  

During the GQ interview, Mayfield was quoted saying "I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones. Blows my mind." Mayfield also said "Some people overthink it. That's where people go wrong. They forget you've gotta win."

It was unclear whether the second quote alluded to Jones.

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Sep 1, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; XFL chief executive officer Oliver Luck stands in a tunnel and watches the game during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports (Ben Queen)
Sep 1, 2018; Charlotte, NC, USA; XFL chief executive officer Oliver Luck stands in a tunnel and watches the game during the first quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports (Ben Queen)

The XFL has announced the eight new team names and logos for its inaugural season. 

It will be the New York Guardians that will represent the tri-state area with what looks to be a charcoal grey and red as their team colors. Here are the rest of the teams...

CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE TEAMS 

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Aug 17, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) walks to the tunnel before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports (Trevor Ruszkowski)
Aug 17, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) walks to the tunnel before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports (Trevor Ruszkowski)

Odell Beckham Jr. had more criticism for his former team when he let loose in an interview published Tuesday by Sports Illustrated.

The in-depth piece by Ben Baskin shared more of Beckham's frustrations with the trade that sent him from the Giants to the Browns.

Beckham told SI that New York had better trade offers but shipped the star wide receiver "to die" in Cleveland.

Tags: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns, Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Wayne Gallman, Zak DeOssie
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Daniel Jones on Baker's comments 00:00:56
Giants QB Daniel Jones reacts to critical comments by Browns QB Baker Mayfield, saying "everyone has a different way of doing things."

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Welcome to your new world, Daniel Jones. Get used to it.

Baker Mayfield may have been wildly out of line when he ripped the Giants for making Jones the sixth overall pick in the draft, but the truth is he's just the latest in a very long line of Daniel Jones critics. Giants fans seemed horrified by the pick. Many in the media crushed it.

Tags: Baker Mayfield, Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 17, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) on the sideline in the first quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports (Trevor Ruszkowski)
Aug 17, 2019; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) on the sideline in the first quarter of the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports (Trevor Ruszkowski)

The Baker Mayfield-Daniel Jones comments saga continued on Tuesday with Mayfield walking back his statement that it "blows my mind" the Giants drafted Jones sixth overall back in April. 

"I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones," Mayfield said in a lengthy interview with GQ's Clay Skipper.

Now, with media outlets aggreagating the story everywhere, Mayfield decided to comment under Barstool Sports post to defend himself. Here's the full quote...

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr.
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Daniel Jones on Baker's comments 00:00:56
Giants QB Daniel Jones reacts to critical comments by Browns QB Baker Mayfield, saying "everyone has a different way of doing things."

Daniel Jones was diplomatic on Tuesday when asked to respond to the swipe taken at him by Browns QB Baker Mayfield.

"I try not to listen to much that's said," Jones explained. "I think I've done a pretty good job of that. ...I'm focused on what I'm doing here.'

On the method Mayfield took while bashing him, Jones said "I'm not sure I'd do it that way."

Jones added that he doesn't view the swipe as "a main motivator" for him to prove people wrong, that he doesn't know Mayfield, and that the comments from him came "a little bit" out of left field. 

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Jun 4, 2019; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) runs a drill during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
		
		 (Ken Blaze)
Jun 4, 2019; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) runs a drill during minicamp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports (Ken Blaze)

If you thought Odell Beckham Jr. was done going off about the Giants, you were wrong.

The same day comments emerged from Beckham's teammate Baker Mayfield where he took a shot at Giants QB Daniel Jones, Beckham was quoted in a wide-ranging piece on the Browns for Sports Illustrated where he claimed the Giants had better trade offers but sent him to the Browns "to die."

"This wasn't no business move," Beckham said. "This was personal. They thought they'd send me here to die."

Tags: Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Danny Abriano
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Dec 23, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) signals to his running backs against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)
Dec 23, 2018; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) signals to his running backs against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)

Despite never playing the Giants during the regular season and not even occupying the same conference (let alone division), Browns QB Baker Mayfield seemingly has Big Blue on the brain. And his latest shot came at the expense of Daniel Jones.

During an interview with GQ's Clay Skipper, Mayfield's eyes were drawn to a SportsCenter segment about the Giants. And he unloaded. 

"I cannot believe the Giants took Daniel Jones," Mayfield said. "Blows my mind."

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Danny Abriano
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Shurmur on third preseason game 00:00:59
Pat Shurmur spoke about the importance of seeing backups play in the third preseason game where starters usually get the majority of time.

The third preseason game for NFL teams has traditionally been the one in which teams will give the majority of snaps to their starters. But for Giants head coach Pat Shurmur, he may be choosing to take a different approach.

"Generally speaking I see us playing the game a lot like the first two, Shurmur said. "I still think we've got some guys that are in the second and third group that we've got to see play."

After their game against Cincinnati, Big Blue will wrap up their preseason schedule with a game against the Patriots on Aug. 29.  

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Nov 18, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants outside linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) celebrates after his interception with defensive end Josh Mauro (97) during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Nov 18, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants outside linebacker Alec Ogletree (52) celebrates after his interception with defensive end Josh Mauro (97) during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Following the departures of some key defensive players, Giants linebacker Alec Ogletree is expected to be a presence both on and off the field this season. It's one thing to go out and play well, but being a leader in the locker room requires the ability to mentor the younger players on the roster. 

There's no shortage of those in Giants camp this season. After taking Daniel Jones sixth overall, Big Blue spent the next five picks on players on the defensive side of the ball, including DT Dexter Lawrence

Ogletree's had a keen eye on the rookies, and likes what he's seen through the first two games of the preseason.

Tags: Alec Ogletree, Dexter Lawrence, Oshane Ximines
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaching against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports  (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur coaching against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Chicago Bears didn't play a single starter against the Giants on Friday night and Mitch Trubisky and Khalil Mack probably won't play this preseason at all. It's the same in L.A., with Jared Goff and Todd Gurley. Saquon Barkley probably won't play this summer either, and Le'Veon Bell has already been ruled out.

A decade ago - less, even - such a mass sit-out would have been unthinkable in the preseason. Players played in increasing amounts in at least the first three games. Coaches felt they had to, in order to get ready for the regular season.

So what happened?

Tags: Avery Williamson, Eli Manning, Le'Veon Bell, Neville Hewitt, Saquon Barkley, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) participates in drills in front of tight end Scott Simonson (82) and tight end Garrett Dickerson (89) during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants tight end Evan Engram (88) participates in drills in front of tight end Scott Simonson (82) and tight end Garrett Dickerson (89) during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

When Evan Engram was drafted by the Giants two years ago, he was viewed as an enigma at the tight end position. It was unheard of to see a tight end post a 4.42 40-yard dash and a 36-inch vertical. In the receiving game, he was already being viewed as a linebacker's nightmare to cover. 

But there's more to being a tight end then being a big body up the middle for your quarterback to throw to. 

Engram has been working on being a better blocker since joining the Giants, and he believes he's going to bring a much improved game in that aspect this season.

Tags: Evan Engram, Scott Thompson
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Jun 4, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate 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 Golden Tate makes a catch during mini camp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

In addition to missing the first four games of the regular season due to a suspension for taking a banned substance he said was for fertility, Giants WR Golden Tate is now in concussion protocol.

Tate was targeted twice and reeled in one catch during Friday night's game against the Bears, with head coach Pat Shurmur saying on Sunday that Tate suffered the injury at some point during the game. 

The Giants' fifth game of the regular season -- the one Tate is eligible to return for -- is Oct. 6 against the Vikings.

Tags: Cody Latimer, Odell Beckham Jr., Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard, Danny Abriano
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Giants talking practice 00:01:26
Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur and WR Sterling Shepard on today's practice, Shepard returning to action and Daniel Jones' development

Shortly after he fractured his left thumb July 25, Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard was steadfast in his belief that he would return for the Sept. 8 opener against the Dallas Cowboys.

More than three weeks later, Shepard's outlook remains optimistic.

Seen without his non-contact yellow jersey Sunday afternoon at Giants practice -- the first time since the injury -- Shepard showed further signs of progression as he works back for the 2019 season.

Tags: Cody Latimer, Corey Coleman, Golden Tate, Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard
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Nov 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (11) runs after the catch in the second quarter against Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)
Nov 4, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Laquon Treadwell (11) runs after the catch in the second quarter against Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports (Brad Rempel)

With the Giants' receivers depleted entering the season, many have wondered if GM Dave Gettleman would find a way to bolster the group before the start of the season. So far, that hasn't been the case, but there are options out there. 

One of them is Vikings WR Laquon Treadwell, who SI's Albert Breer reported as on the market. Treadwell, a former first-round pick back in 2016, hasn't really panned out in Minnesota. However, he does have a Giants connection in Pat Shurmur, which is why NJ.com's Matt Lombardo brought up the idea that Gettleman may want to call the Vikings on the Ole Miss product. 

Treadwell shouldn't cost too much for the Giants, which is a pro in this case. Being that he hasn't lived up to his first-round choice, the Giants could probably get him for a late-round draft pick. Also, maybe a change of scenery is what Treadwell needs with the Giants, as he's currently stuck behind elite receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen.

Tags: Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Daniel Jones was impressive again, for the second time in two preseason games, so of course Pat Shurmur got the question again: With the way Jones is playing, is there any way he could compete to take Eli Manning's job by Opening Day?

Then came Shurmur's familiar dance, where he says "No" without actually saying "No," and closes the door while making it look like it's still open. This time he even made it seem like it wasn't his decision, as he deferred to John Mara. He even added, for good measure "I just get a sense once in a while that when I answer those questions nobody believes me."

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 16, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws the ball during the first half against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 16, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) throws the ball during the first half against the Chicago Bears at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When the Giants scouted Daniel Jones they were convinced he had a little Eli Manning in him. They saw that same calm, even-keeled personality that Manning has - the ability to appear unflappable when things start to go wrong.

On Friday, Jones showed them they were right.

Tags: Cody Latimer, Eli Manning, Janoris Jenkins, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jones on his second game 00:01:20
New York Giants rookie quarterback Daniel Jones discusses his miscues and how he'll learn from them after playing the Chicago Bears.

Both Giants quarterbacks had strong first-half performances on Friday night against the Bears.

Eli Manning got things started, systematically moving the first-team offense down the field on a touchdown drive. Manning was 4-4 for 42 yards on the drive, capping it with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Bennie Fowler to put the Giants up 7-0.

That would be Manning's only drive of the night.

Tags: Eli Manning
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May 3, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (97) during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
May 3, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (97) during rookie minicamp at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

Rookie Dexter Lawrence came to the Giants with a nearly unblemished football record.

The defensive lineman has no notions of changing his status with the Giants.

Big Blue is viewed more in the short term as a rebuilding franchise, but Lawrence set the bar high for his career with the team. He wants a plethora of titles. 

Tags: Dexter Lawrence
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver TJ Jones (2) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver TJ Jones (2) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Checking the box score after the Giants' first preseason bout against the Jets last Thursday, it wasn't Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, or Russell Shepard that led the receivers columns. 

It was TJ Jones. 

The five-year veteran, who spent all his NFL seasons with the Lions after being drafted in the sixth round back in 2014, finished the night with six receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. His score came on a back-shoulder pass from Alex Tanney that Jones tracked down perfectly and fell into the end zone to tally six points on the board. 

Tags: Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur looks on during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Pat Shurmur looks on during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

The news surrounding Giants camp this week is WR Golden Tate having to serve his full four-game suspension for violating the league's PED policy. 

Tate was confident that the details in his case would have the suspension exonerated, but that wasn't the case given the league's no tolerance mindset when it comes to PEDs. The veteran wideout explained that he let the NFL know immediately when he found out there was a banned substance in the prescription, yet that wasn't enough to change his verdict. 

"I just thought, after we looked at the facts in the situation, that the NFL would be understanding," Tate said. "But because it's a no-tolerance policy, they, I guess, upheld the suspension."

Tags: Cody Latimer, Corey Coleman, Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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Sep 16, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders punter Johnny Townsend (5) punts the ball in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)
Sep 16, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Oakland Raiders punter Johnny Townsend (5) punts the ball in the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports (Isaiah J. Downing)

Two nights before the Giants' second preseason game against the Chicago Bears, the team has made a change at punter.

The Giants claimed Johnny Townsend off waivers from the Raiders.

To make room for Townsend, the team waived rookie punter Ryan Anderson, an undrafted rookie out of Rutgers. 

Tags: Riley Dixon
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) talks with the media before the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) talks with the media before the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Giants co-owner John Mara got straight to the point Tuesday after practice when asked about the quarterback situation between veteran Eli Manning and rookie Daniel Jones, saying he hopes "Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field."

His sentiments trickled into Wednesday's post-practice availability, where Jones faced the inevitable question.

What did he think about Mara's comments?

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning
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Golden Tate reacts to NFL ruling 00:01:35
Golden Tate reacts to the NFL upholding its 4-game suspension of the WR. Tate explains his trust in his doctor that led to taking the drug.

One day after Golden Tate received his appeal fate from the NFL, which upheld the Giants wide receiver's four-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, he opened up on the decision following Wednesday's practice.

Among his comments, Tate said he is considering taking legal action against the doctor who prescribed him the drug.

"We are definitely looking into it, we are kind of examining all of our options," Tate said.

Tags: Cody Latimer, Golden Tate, Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard
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May 20, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch 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 wide receiver Golden Tate makes a catch during organized team activities at Quest Diagnostic Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Giants won't be able to see veteran WR Golden Tate until Week 5 of the regular season after his suspension appeal for his violation of the NFL's PED policy failed. 

But there are more implications to Tate's verdict other than him simply sitting out the first four weeks. 

It was reported yesterday that Tate will be losing $464,706 of his $1.975 million base salary for missing time. However, former agent and CBS Sports' Joel Corry says he'll also be missing out on $558,235 of his signing bonus and $176,471 of his roster bonus. 

Tags: Golden Tate
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (15) throws a ball to fans after the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (15) throws a ball to fans after the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Golden Tate will officially be serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's PED policy, as he has lost his appeal.

Back in April, Tate failed a drug test, which came about a month after he signed his four-year, $37.5 million deal with the Giants. The reason for failing the test came from a fertility drug that he said "contained an ingredient that is on the league's banned substance list," and noted not knowing about that when he was prescribed it by a fertility planning specialist. 

Tate said that he "immediately discontinued" the use of the drug, and reported his actions to the league's independent administrator. In fact, he did that before failing the drug test in the first place. 

Tags: Cody Latimer, Russell Shepard, Sterling Shepard, Scott Thompson
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Giants CEO hopes Eli hangs on 00:01:00
New York Giants President and CEO John Mara was asked about his QBS and said, "I hope Eli has a great year and Daniel never sees the field."

After Daniel Jones impressed many with his perfect touchdown drive in his first NFL series last Thursday, the hype surrounding the No. 6 overall pick reached an all-time high. The critics and naysayers took a backseat to those jumping on the bandwagon of Jones being Eli Manning's successor.

Now fans really want to see what Jones can do in a real game after seeing a glimpse of what he can do. But, for Giants co-owner John Mara, that day hopefully won't come this season. 

He wants to see Eli Manning on the field at all times. And Jones on the bench.

Tags: Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Scott Thompson
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Saquon understands Giants' plan 00:00:48
It's always a delicate balance between playing or not in the preseason for star players. Shurmur and Saquon discuss the running back's plan.

Giants running back Saquon Barkley did not appear in the team's preseason opener last week, a 31-22 victory over the Jets. 

As far as the rest of the preseason goes, head coach Pat Shurmur is playing his cards close to the vest.

Tags: Saquon Barkley
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Following the first week of the exhibition season in the NFL, the optimism surrounding both of New York's football teams is through the roof. 

The Jets' Sam Darnold led a single drive that was near perfect, as the second-year pro was 4-for-5 passing with a touchdown. The Giants' once looked down upon rookie QB in Daniel Jones was one pass better, as he was 5-for-5 passing with a touchdown.

So... Giants vs. Jets Super Bowl?

Tags: Daniel Jones
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers (21) during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers (21) during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Giants safety Jabrill Peppers is one of three Giants players that played on an NFL team that will live in infamy.

Peppers was the Browns' first-round pick at the 2017 NFL draft. His first win as a professional football player wouldn't come in his rookie year as the Browns became only the second team in league history to go 0-16 that year.

But Peppers, who was traded to the Giants this offseason in a deal that sent wideout Odell Beckham Jr. the other way, recently revealed that he has fond learning experiences from that brutal season. He's happy it happened and takes positives from it.

Tags: Cleveland Browns, Jabril Peppers, Kevin Zeitler
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Aug 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (6) after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
Aug 30, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Amba Etta-Tawo (6) after scoring a touchdown against the New England Patriots during first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)

The Giants' wide receiver corps just can't catch a break.

Midway through practice, WR Amba Etta-Tawo fell awkwardly on a catch and he looked to have a leg injury as he got carted off the field. Well, the Giants announced Monday that Etta-Tawo actually tore his Achilles on the play, and is now out for the rest of the season. 

Etta-Tawo was signed to the Giants yet again this offseason due to the injuries to the group. He was with the Giants back in 2017 when he was signed to their practice squad. He landed on the Texans as well as the Birmingham Iron in the AAF last season as well. 

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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Eli Manning still has the support of Phil Simms

Regardless of what Giants brass and head coach Pat Shurmur says about there not being a quarterback competition between Manning and rookie Daniel Jones this summer, it'll still be a topic of discussion leading up to the regular season. 

Observers of the G-men are picking their sides between the two QBs and among those doing so is one of the team's former quarterbacks in Simms.

Tags: Daniel Jones, Eli Manning
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers (21) reacts during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants free safety Jabrill Peppers (21) reacts during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

When the Giants traded star receiver Odell Beckham to the Cleveland Browns on March 12, the haul brought versatile safety Jabrill Peppers back home.

Peppers, who rose up the football ranks in New Jersey via Paramus Catholic High School before heading to Michigan for three years and embarking on his NFL career in 2017, debuted Sunday with the Giants in a 31-22 win over the Jets.

The first look for Peppers in the starting defense yielded mixed results with Jets quarterback Sam Darnold going 4-of-5 passing for 68 yards and a touchdown, but the third-year defensive back keeps his head up as he and the Giants move further into the preseason.

Tags: Corey Ballentine, DeAndre Baker, Jabril Peppers, Janoris Jenkins, Sam Beal
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Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive back Corey Ballentine (25) participates in drills during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Jul 25, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive back Corey Ballentine (25) participates in drills during the first day of training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

As the Giants returned to the practice field on Sunday, it was without first-rounder Deandre Baker

Head coach Pat Shurmur noted after the session that Baker had actually gone for an MRI on his knee after feeling something during warm-ups.

"In his individual warm-up type stuff, (he felt) something with his knee," Shurmur told NJ.com's Matt Dunleavy. "We are just checking it out with a MRI. No information on that right now. He's getting it checked out."

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Daniel Jones makes statement 00:01:04
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano makes it clear that the impressive debut of Daniel Jones could start a QB controversy for the Giants.

Daniel Jones may have dazzled in his Giants preseason debut, but head coach Pat Shurmur is not ready to give any credence to an open quarterback competition. 

"We're not going to play the what-ifs," Shurmur said Friday on a conference call. I would say this: Nothing has changed. This is the first game and I expect Daniel to play well, go out and improve and for the people that don't know him, impress them. 

"We expect that from him, we expect that from Eli [Manning], we expect that from everybody. Expectations have not changed."

Tags: Eli Manning
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Daniel Jones makes statement 00:01:04
SNY NFL Insider Ralph Vacchiano makes it clear that the impressive debut of Daniel Jones could start a QB controversy for the Giants.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - New York has fallen out of love with Eli Manning over the last few years, through all the losing and the pounding he's taken from his critics. The only thing that's saved him from a full-blown Quarterback Controversy is the lack of a viable alternative on the Giants' roster.

But that's all changed now.

Tags: Eli Manning, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive back Parry Nickerson (43) attempts to tackle New York Giants defensive back Corey Ballentine (25) on a kickoff during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports  (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets defensive back Parry Nickerson (43) attempts to tackle New York Giants defensive back Corey Ballentine (25) on a kickoff during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

The past few months have not been easy for Giants rookie cornerback Corey Ballentine

The sixth-round pick out of Division II Washburn was shot the night he was drafted, taking a bullet to his glute, while his best friend was killed in the incident. The shooting forced Ballentine to miss rookie minicamp while simultaneously coping with the loss of his friend. 

Despite the unfortunate circumstances and late start, Ballentine has impressed throughout training camp and that continued Thursday night against the Jets in the preseason opener. 

 

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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) celebrates after throwing a touchdowns pass with defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (97) and offensive guard Will Hernandez (71) during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) celebrates after throwing a touchdowns pass with defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (97) and offensive guard Will Hernandez (71) during the first half against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Daniel Jones entered his first NFL game on Thursday night to a smattering of cheers - a welcomed change from the reception he's gotten since the Giants announced him as the sixth overall pick in the NFL Draft.

And after the way he played in his debut, he might not have to worry about being booed anymore.

Tags: Eli Manning, Russell Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Evaluating Jones' performance 00:00:45
Daniel Jones had a good showing in his first preseason game. Pat Shurmur was content with the rookie QB.

The spotlight was set on Daniel Jones as he stepped on the MetLife Stadium turf for the first time in his Giants uniform. Everyone wanted to see how the No. 6 overall pick, one that was criticized by the lots, would react to the big stage in his inaugural snaps in the NFL.

He was perfect -- literally. 

Thanks to a weather delay, Jones only lasted one drive for the Giants, but he didn't disappoint. He was a perfect 5-for-5 for 67 yards, and it was capped off by an absolute strike to Bennie Fowler in the right side of the end zone for his first career touchdown. 

Tags: Eli Manning, Saquon Barkley, Scott Thompson
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Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 8, 2019; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones (8) warms up before the preseason game between The New York Giants and The New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

With all eyes on Daniel Jones, the Giants' rookie quarterback shined during his first preseason drive as a member of Big Blue.

Jones' night began on the Giants' second offensive possession. After Eli Manning led an uninspiring three-and-out drive, Jones took the field with the rest of the first-team offense, or least the way the first-team offense was comprised on Thursday.

Tags: Eli Manning
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May 29, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterbacks Alex Tanney (3) and Kyle Lauletta (17) throw the ball back and forth during Organized Team Activities. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)
May 29, 2018; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterbacks Alex Tanney (3) and Kyle Lauletta (17) throw the ball back and forth during Organized Team Activities. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran/Northjersey.com via USA TODAY NETWORK (Danielle Parhizkaran)

Everyone's talking about the New York Giants' quarterback controversy. Featuring a trusty veteran and an upstart draft pick, preseason reps may be the best way to figure out who makes the team, and who is let go.

Oh, you thought we were talking about Eli Manning and Daniel Jones? Nope.

The real quarterback competition on the Giants is the one that nobody is talking about -- Alex Tanney vs. Kyle Lauletta. The two quarterbacks are dueling for one spot on the roster as the third-string QB, but that doesn't mean the battle doesn't have high stakes.

Losing either quarterback would involve reneging on a team investment. Of course, most fans know that Lauletta was a fourth-round draft pick just last year, and at one point, the heir apparent to Manning. He even saw a small sample of game action last year, a rarity for a rookie QB on the Giants.

Tags: Alex Tanney, Daniel Jones, Eli Manning, Kyle Lauletta
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