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Five Things: The New York Giants Preseason 2023

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With the draft, preseason and cutdowns taking place since my last article, I think it’s time we take stock of the Giants prior to the beginning of the season later this week. Here are five things that have happened since then:

Saquon’s Contract

With Daniel Jones signing his mega contract back on March 10th, the focus then turned to Saquon Barkley, who had just been tagged. Not a problem; they’ll figure out something long-term and it’ll all be fine, except it wasn’t.

As the offseason progressed, it was clear that the Giants and Barkley were still quite far apart in their negotiations, leading to Barkley’s decision to skip OTAs until a deal was reached. Unfortunately, as the deadline approached, there were murmurs that negotiations hadn’t progressed to an acceptable level, and despite the two parties only being “a couple of million apart” a long-term deal was not reached.

With no longer-term deal now achievable until next offseason, the risk of Barkley sitting out games became a real possibility before Joe Schoen and Barkley’s representatives were able to agree on a new one-year, $11 million deal. With the deal done, Saquon reported to training camp and was a full participant in all camp activities, apart from the preseason games.

Rookie Classes Preseason

Joe Schoen had a stellar second draft as Giants general manager, as all seven of his 2023 picks have made the 53-man roster. Here is how they each fared:

Round 1: Deonte Banks, Cornerback

Banks may have had a rough start in training camp, but he’s become more comfortable with the schemes and system. He’s also been impressive in his two preseason outings, not allowing a single reception on four targets, solidifying himself as a starting corner this season.

Round 2: John Michael Schmitz Jr., Center

After quickly building rapport with Giants quarterback Jones, Schmitz has been one of the better players on the interior of the offensive line. Like Banks, he only played in two games, but unfortunately, there were mixed results. Again, he will be the starter at his position.

Round 3: Jalin Hyatt, Wide Receiver

After flashing some highlight plays in training camp, the preseason games have been a bit different. Game one saw him finish with -4 yards on one reception, whereas in game two, he had four receptions on five targets for 35 yards and a touchdown.

Round 5: Eric Gray, Running Back

Gray has pushed hard to carve out a spot on the Giants roster. He briefly appeared at his natural position, finishing the preseason with seven rushes for 11 yards and a touchdown while adding four receptions for 48 yards. He’s predominantly been on returning duties, which is where his role will likely be this season.

Round 6: Tre Hawkins III, Cornerback

One of the surprise standouts in camp, Hawkins, may have surpassed even his own lofty ambitions. He’s even been given first-team reps, pushing veteran Adoree Jackson out to the slot corner position. Other than one missed tackle, he’s been very impressive throughout the preseason games.

Round 7: Jordon Riley, Defensive Tackle

Another rookie who grasped his opportunity with both hands Riley has taken starter reps during the preseason and has been a monster, disrupting the opponent’s offensive line and earning four stops.

Round 7: Gervarrius Owens, Safety

In a crowded room, Owens was able to outplay veteran Bobby McCain and earn his spot. He’s appeared in all three preseason games, recording nine tackles, three pressures, and only one reception on four targets.

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Another Couple of Trades

Another couple of areas that needed some depth, or, in the context of linebacker, potentially starter help, were also addressed. On the 24th of August, the Giants acquired linebacker Isaiah Simmons from the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for a 7th round draft selection in 2024, and then on the 29th, the Giants sent a 2025 6th round selection to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for defensive end Carlos ‘Boogie’ Basham and a 2025 7th rounder.

Simmons, who was a 2020 first-round pick, started his career in outstanding form, resulting in his selection to the All-Rookie team. Since then, he has struggled to nail down a position, and in 2022 alone, he split snaps between slot corner and inside linebacker but also had snaps at outside linebacker, wide cornerback, and both safety positions. With the Cardinals covering $5.4 million of his $6.5 million cap hit this year, this is another one of those low-risk, high-reward moves that Joe Schoen is becoming known for.

Basham was a sixth-round selection by the Bills in 2021, a move that Basham attributes to current Giants GM Schoen. In his introductory presser, Boogie said, “Schoen was one of the first scouts that contacted me, talked to me in the process, and he was like, ‘I really want you in Buffalo.’ I knew it was going to happen eventually; I just had that bond with him before he left Buffalo”. In 23 career games, he has recorded 37 tackles (20 solo, five for a loss), one fumble recovery, eight QB hits, 4.5 sacks, and one interception.

O-Line Worries

Another year and another offseason where we are talking about the offensive line. This year, the worries stem from the rotating guard position, where it seems that no one wants to take control of the starting spots, and the horrific depth behind tackles Andrew Thomas and Evan Neal.

During the preseason, the Giants give opportunities to Mark Glowinski (2 games), Ben Bredeson (3), Josh Ezudu (3), Shane Lemieux (3), Sean Harlow (3), and Marcus McKethan (1), with all but Bredeson scoring below a 62 PFF grade. While some have performed well in pass blocking, interior run blocking is almost nonexistent, stifling the efforts of the running backs.

Right, onto the backup tackles… With the Giants needing a solid swing tackle option, Wyatt Davis, Matt Peart, Korey Cunningham, and Julién Davenport all saw ample time to show their credentials, but none of them were even acceptable. Seven of the nine sacks and 25 of the 44 pressures the Giants gave up came from these four players, meaning we’ll likely have to pray that neither Thomas nor Neal have issues unless we can pick up a cut player on waivers since Peart and McKethan stuck around.


With the rules on cutdowns changing this season, many players have had longer to make an impression; however, the Giants still had to trim the roster down to the final 53 players. Here are the unfortunate players that are no longer with the Giants:


LB Darrian Beavers, DE Ryder Anderson, DE Kobe Smith, S Alex Cook, CB Gemon Green, TE Ryan Jones, OLB Tomon Fox, LB Ray Wilborn, LB Dyonte Johnson, OL Tyre Phillips, QB Tommy DeVito, LS Cam Lyons, WR Kalil Pimpleton, OLB Habakkuk Baldonado, RB Jasaun Corbin, WR Collin Johnson, RB James Robinson, DL Kevin Atkins, DL Donovan Jeter and CB Darren Evans.

Terminated (Vested Veteran)

CB Amani Oruwariye, WR Cole Beasley, WR David Sills, OC Sean Harlow, OLB Oshane Ximines, WR Jamison Crowder, WR Jaydon Mickens, DL Brandin Bryant, OL Julien Davenport, OT Korey Cunningham and OLB Tashawn Bower

Practice Squad

The Giants have however re-signed the following to their practice squad: Ryder Anderson, Alex Cook, Tomon Fox, Oshane Ximines, Cole Beasley, Dyontae Johnson, Amani Oruwariye, Ryan Jones, Darrian Beavers, and Tommy DeVito.

They’ve also added running back Taiwan Jones, cornerback Kaleb Hayes, wide receiver Dennis Houston, tight end Tyree Jackson, guard Jalen Mayfield, and tackle Jaylon Thomas.

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Five Things: Preseason Game 2 – Cincinnati Bengals at New York Giants

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Preseason game two is in the books and another win for Big Blue this time over the Cincinnati Bengals. Here are five things to mull over:

Decisive Daniel

Brian Daboll kept his cards close to his chest this past Friday, refusing to say whether Daniel Jones would play in the preseason game against the reigning AFC champions, but he will be pleased with the performance of his much-maligned quarterback after deciding to start him.

After multiple weeks of inconsistent practises and an up and down showing last week against the New England Patriots, Jones produced an assured performance, albeit against the Bengals’ 2nd string team as the starters were held out.

Jones was under centre for most of the first two quarters before Tyrod Taylor replaced him on the Giants’ fourth possession. During those three possessions, Jones played 24 snaps, completing 14-of-16 passes for 116 yards. The only mark on his stat sheet will be the interception. Nevertheless, Daboll was keen to express though that he thought rookie Tight End Daniel Bellinger should have caught the ball that ricocheted into the hands of Bengals rookie Safety Daxon Hill.

Fourth-Quarter Comeback

As the fourth quarter got underway last night, the Giants were 16-7 down and heading towards defeat. However, a quick field goal after a stalled drive that started in the 3rd quarter was converted, and the game was suddenly closer at 16-10.

The Bengals’ next drive ended around midfield when Evan McPherson missed a 58-yard field goal. This meant Davis Webb found himself with great field position, knowing that the team needed a touchdown. Nine plays later, Webb would connect with Alex Bachman for a 22-yard touchdown. He then followed it up with a run of his own to convert the two-point conversion, and suddenly it was 16-18.

The Bengals would answer that with a touchdown of their own, but a failed two-point conversion would give the Giants an opportunity to seal the game. In a drive that took just over two minutes, Webb would find Bachman again for the go-ahead touchdown, and Jamie Gillan converted the extra point. The final play of the game would come after undrafted rookie free agent Tomon Fox smashed into Trenton Irwin to cause a fumble that was recovered by newly signed Olaijah Griffin.

Injury Ravaged

The Giants entered Sunday’s game with EIGHTEEN players unavailable due to injury. For the stats people out there, that’s 21% of the roster and it doesn’t include the five players either on injured reserve or the physically unable to perform list.

It was due to these issues that the Giants had to start their sixth player at Centre Max Garcia, which subsequently put Daboll in two minds on whether to play his starters.

Most of the players did play, and unfortunately, things only got worse. In the first half alone Wide Receiver C.J. Board injured his ribs, Kicker Graham Gano suffered a concussion as a result of having to make a tackle on a returned kick, and rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux was almost carted off with a knee injury but luckily only strained his MCL. Nothing changed in the second half as last week’s standout, Darrian Beavers, left with a knee injury, which has now been confirmed as an ACL tear, ending his season.

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Take a Punt

As alluded to in my previous point, Graham Gano left the game in the first half with a concussion, leaving the Giants in the precarious position of not having their standout kicker available for the rest of the game. Normally, in a situation like this, you would start going for two-point conversions, but preseason allows opportunities for experimentation. 

Punter Jamie ‘The Scottish Hammer’ Gillan took over kick-off duty and, on the whole, performed well, but the real experiment started early in the 4th quarter with the Giants facing a 4th and 9 on the Bengals’ 12 yard line. Gillan and versatile Safety Jullian Love trotted out to become Place Kicker and Holder respectively, and they connected with a 31-yard field goal. The pair returned late in the 4th to secure the XP that gave the Giants a 3-point lead.

Bach to Bach(man)

Wide Receiver Alex Bachman has been on the roster bubble the last two preseasons for the Giants, and he’s been a mainstay on the practise squad. He has seen game time with the Giants, but opportunities have been scarce, with a combined 56 snaps on Offense and Special Teams in four games. Last night, however, may have just shown exactly what Bachman can do.

In a breakout performance, he finished yesterday’s preseason game with 11 catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns, both from Quarterback Davis Webb. When asked prior to the game, Brian Daboll was complimentary about his attitude: “He showed up in the spring and worked as hard as he possibly could and got better each day. He’s one of the first guys in the weight room each day. He was down, down on the depth chart, rep chart if you will, and all he does is compete and play hard. And I appreciate guys like that. I think his teammates do, too. It was good to see him have some success out there. He’ll get more chances.”

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Five Things: Preseason Game 1 – New York Giants at New England Patriots

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Our first game against the New England Patriots has now been and gone. It wasn’t a convincing performance by any means, but there were plenty of talking points. Here are five things that stood out:

Jones vs. Tyrod

Whilst it is unlikely that this will turn into a starting job competition, there is already some intrigue regarding how bad the Giants’ record would have to be before the coaching staff pull Daniel Jones and move forward with Tyrod Taylor. Thursday’s preseason game was a good opportunity for them both to show what they can achieve this season if needed.

Jones took the first two series and had a good but not brilliant showing, completing 6 of 10 passes for 69 yards as well as a 7-yard scramble. He would have likely had a much-needed touchdown too if Kenny Golladay hadn’t dropped a pass that hit him right between the numbers.

On the other hand, Taylor showed exactly what the Giants had been missing the last few years from a backup, which is competency. He completed 13 of 29 passes for 129 yards and a touchdown. Again, like Jones, there were good moments, but against a stronger calibre of player, a few overthrows may have ended up being interceptions.

First Rounders

There was a noticeable buzz from the Giants fanbase before the game, and the majority of that was aimed at the chance to see both Evan Neal and Kayvon Thibodeaux in their first semi-competitive game.

Neal was in from the start and ended up playing 19 offensive snaps and it was an up and down showing from the rookie. In the passing game, he looked unsure but showed much more promise in the running game. It’s no secret that his offensive line teammate Andrew Thomas struggled in his first season but has blossomed into a key piece, so I think we can allow Neal some time to learn.

Thibodeaux also started on the defensive side and played 14 snaps before being removed. Although he wasn’t on the field for long and the stat line doesn’t show much, he had a dominant showing. Kayvon finished the game with an assisted tackle and was responsible for a Patriots offensive false start but is raring to go for the next game. “I thought I was gonna be a little more nervous or a little more uptight,” Thibodeaux said, “but it was really natural, and it was good … this was definitely just a warm-up.”

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The Thin Offensive Line

With an offensive line group that is mostly made up of new additions from either the draft or free agency, the Giants needed the line to stay healthy and gel. Unfortunately, on the injury front, that hasn’t been the case. Center Nick Gates and Tackle Matt Peart both remain on the PUP list after starting the preseason there. Matt Gono’s reoccurrence of a career-threatening neck injury has led to his contract being terminated and rookie Marcus McKethan saw his season finish before it started due to an ACL injury.

This trend continued during the game as Guard Shane Lemieux began limping during the opening moments of the first offensive series and, after the drive finished, he headed to the locker room. He was later ruled out with a toe injury and was seen on the sidelines in a walking boot. Backup Jamil Douglas then deepened the crisis as he suffered an ankle injury and didn’t return.

Fighting like Beavers

In a game where most fans will have been keeping a close eye on how the rookies took to NFL action, there was a surprising name that stood out. Enter sixth-round pick from the Cincinnati Bearcats Darrian Beavers.

The Linebacker started in place of Blake Martinez, whose game time is being managed as he returns from his torn ACL and was seen all over the field finishing with three tackles and one tackle for a loss. He was even communicating the plays from Defensive Coordinator Wink Martindale as he was given the headset for the second-team defense. High praise indeed from Wink, who coached the position for the Baltimore Ravens from 2012 to 2017.

The Third Running Back

Barring any issues, come game week 1, Saquon Barkley will be the Giants’ starting Running Back and will be backed up by Matt Breida. This means there is likely one more spot behind these two, and by the end of the Patriots game, four of the five Running Backs below them on the depth chart had a chance to show what they could do.

Antonio Williams led the way with nine carries for 61 yards (more than the entire Patriots team), one reception that lost a yard, and a touchdown. Gary Brightwell had seven carries for 40 yards as well as two receptions for 19 yards. Undrafted rookie free agent Jashaun Corbin showed a good burst with six carries for 23 yards as well as five receptions for 28 yards. Finally, the Giants’ international pathway player Sandro Platzgummer, who has been with the team since 2020, had three carries for 21 yards at the end of the game, which contributed to the game-winning field goal.

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Five Things: New York Giants Camp Week 1

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Shedding the Minicamp Red Jersey

During OTA’s and minicamp, the Giants had key wide receivers Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, and Kenny Golladay in non-contact red jerseys and were later joined by rookie superstar Kayvon Thibodeaux. Luckily, most of them have shed the issues that were ailing them, as well as the dreaded shirt, and were able to practice with the rest of the team. Unfortunately, camp has come too quickly for Shepard, Nick Gates, and Matt Peart, who are all coming off serious injuries that required surgery, and second-year edge rusher Azeez Ojulari, who was added to the non-football injury list, also hasn’t been able to take the field.

Offseason Offense

Last season’s offence was a nightmare to watch, but based on what we’ve seen thus far, it’s been dragged into the twenty-first century with pre-snap movement and a smorgasbord of plays. That doesn’t mean it has been plain sailing. Wink Martindale’s defence has been as aggressive as advertised and Jones’s supporting cast hasn’t helped as several of his playmakers have made costly drops. This is hardly going to dispel the pressure on them, but before we fear the worst, Jones has shown some positives. His throws seem to have some extra zip on them, and one touchdown to Kadarius Toney on day one was picture perfect.

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Front and Center

There has been much talk regarding the centre position for the Giants since neither of the uninjured players on the depth chart have extensive experience at the position. Jon Feliciano started camp as the starting center, but after experiencing heat and hydration issues, he has sat out the last two sessions. Unfortunately, this has raised some depth concerns, especially with the unknown state of potential back-up Nick Gates. Thursday was riddled with mistakes as Jamil Douglas and Ben Bredeson struggled with snaps, which led to Shane Lemieux moving to centre and Joshua Ezeudu taking the left guard snaps.

The Lesser Targeted Tight End

The unofficial depth charts for the tight end position might show Ricky Seals-Jones as the starter, but so far he isn’t the sole tight end taking reps with the 1’s. Jordan Akins, Daniel Bellinger (fresh off the PUP list after his addition last week), and Chris Myarick all took snaps, but during the sessions on day 2, none of them were targeted at all during 11-on-11 drills. I think it’s safe to say whoever is in the lineup on gamedays will be a blocker first and a receiver second.

Who Will Wear the Headset?

It’s a question that has carried through from the hiring of Mike Kafka all the way through to training camp, and by the sounds of things, we are unlikely to get an answer until the season starts. Kafka has been calling plays during training camp so far, which some view as an audition. Head Coach Brian Daboll, who called plays at Buffalo, has been asked multiple times and so far has remained coy. “We talk on a day-to-day basis on plays and things to install, but he’s been on the headset with Daniel. And he’ll be doing that through camp. And as we get closer to it, we’ll sit down and discuss it.”

Our 2022 NFL Season Guide is now available to pre-order. With over 160 pages packed with previews, reviews and opinions from fans across the league and the UK, this is the comprehensive NFL UK fan guide written by NFL UK fans. Log on to and enter code FULL10 for 10% off your copy today.