Nate Solder's return to Giants did not go well

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New York Post 13 September, 2021 - 12:50am 11 views

What channel is the Broncos and Giants game?

The Denver Broncos (0-0) will go on the road to face the New York Giants (0-0) in Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season on Sunday, Sept. 12 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:25 p.m. MT and the game will air regionally on select Fox channels. Broncos WireHow to watch and stream the Broncos' game vs. Giants

Sunday’s loss looked all-too familiar, and the Giants need to do something about that quickly

Yours truly wrote Sunday morning that the first five days of the season were the most critical ones for this Giants team. Heading into the game, the Giants had gone 0-2 or worse in seven of the last eight seasons. If they can’t win on Thursday night in Landover, Md. against the Washington Football Team — and they are early 4.5-point underdogs — it will be eight of nine years.

The Giants had an opportunity on Sunday. With fans in MetLife Stadium for a regular-season game for the first time since the end of the 2019 season, the Giants had an opportunity to show the 74,119 fans who showed up, not to mention the millions watching at home, that 2021 was going to be different. That co-owner John Mara’s vow that it is “time for us to start winning some games” would be more than just hollow words.

Instead, it was the same old sad, tired song and dance.

Not nearly enough offense. A back-breaking turnover by Daniel Jones. An inability to get key defensive stops on third and fourth down. Missed tackles. No running game. A rash of foolish unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and even a penalty on the head coach for throwing an illegal challenge flag.

By early in the fourth quarter, the game wasn’t really competitive.

With 6:35 remaining, the Giants trailed 20-7 and faced a third-and-goal at the Denver 6-yard line. Jones sailed a pass a couple of zip codes over the head of tight end Kyle Rudolph toward the corner of the end zone, and the boos began to rain down. On fourth-and-6, Jones’ pass for Kenny Golladay was broken up by Broncos cornerback Kyle Fuller.

Fans booed lustily. Then, many of them headed for the parking lot.

That is an exodus that has become far too commonplace as the Giants have gone 9-24 at MetLife Stadium since the beginning of the 2017 season.

“We’ve gotta earn the fans’ respect. These people come out here, they spend their hard-earned money to sit in the seats. They cheer for us. They give us energy from the seats. We have to give them something to cheer about,” said head coach Joe Judge. “It’s not their job to show up and cheer just to cheer. That’s not their job. Their job is to be entertained. They buy a ticket that means they buy the right to cheer, boo, stay, leave, whatever they want to do. We have to give them something to stay for, we have to give them something to cheer for. That’s on us as a team.”

Veteran wide receiver Sterling Shepard has been with the Giants since 2016, and his rookie year was the only time he has been part of a winning team.

“I mean, it’s tough. Like Coach Judge said, these people pay their hard earned money to come see winning football. I mean that’s what this franchise is all about, is winning. That’s what the history has been all about,” Shepard said. “So it’s been frustrating the past few years and I understand the frustration. I mean, we’re not happy about it as well. So, we got to dig our cleats in the ground and we’ve got to give the fans what they want. And yeah, it’s frustrating. I hate seeing them have to leave the game early. That’s something that I honestly really noticed. I’m locked into the game, but you can’t help but see people lined up in the tunnels and it’s no fun seeing that.

No, it’s not. Giants fans have seen and heard this act for most of the last decade. It needs to get better, and quickly.

It was nice to see Saquon Barkley play. Barkley, though, had little impact on Sunday’s game with 10 carries for 26 yards and one carry for another measly yard.

Barkley barely spoke above a whisper when talking to media after the game.

Saqoun Barkley on the struggle to score points. pic.twitter.com/R2ihtpStL7

Barkley earned a huge ovation from the MetLife Stadium crowd when he took the first play of the game up the middle for a 5-yard gain. Unfortunately, that was his longest play of the night and the closest he came to any sort of highlight.

Barkley said “nothing alarmed” him in terms of how he felt taking hits. He added that it was a “milestone” to play in the opener and that “I feel pretty good” coming out of the game.

Now, the Giants just need Barkley to resemble Barkley. Hopefully sooner rather than later.

Yes, it’s time for a Yogi-ism. Either that or it’s just late at night, I have a long drive home coming up, and I’m getting punch drunk.

Well, honestly, it is getting late. Both for this old man who has a 145-mile drive to get home starting somewhere around 10:30 p.m. More importantly, though, for the Giants.

We know an 0-2 start basically means you probably aren’t going to the playoffs. Roughly 90 percent of teams who have started 0-2 since the playoffs were expanded in 1990 hve missed the playoffs.

Considering the yearly miserable starts for the Giants — 0-2 or worse in seven of eight seasons before this one — the importance of Thursday night is magnified.

It’s not just about the playoffs. It’s about giving a disheartened fan base something to feel good about, and a ready to pounce media horde at bay for at least a while.

The Giants know they have no time to wallow in disappointment. They have a division game coming up in what is really just a few short hours at that point, and it is another chance to try and change the negative narrative.

“We just had to talk about it in the locker room; told everybody has to keep their heads up. We have a short week this week, so you’ve got to in this league, you have to be able to throw things away really quick and move on,” Shepard said. If you let it dwell and you keep thinking about it and then you’re not able to move on, move past it. So, guys have got to be able to throw it away and we got to move on and I’m sure everybody will do that.

Wide receiver Kenny Golladay said during the week that the Giants offense, considering how little key players like himself, Barkley, Kyle Rudolph and Kadarius Toney had practiced, would be likely to start slow.

Well, in a year that is so critical, with the Giants having invested so heavily in upgrading the team’s play makers, that is not something anyone wanted to here.

Sadly, the Giants made Golladay look prescient on Sunday.

Jones had a nice connection with Shepard, and some nice throws to Darius Slayton. Golladay padded his stats with a couple of garbage-time catches. Toney, two catches for -2 yards, was a non-factor. Rudolph had just two catches in five targets for 8 yards. Evan Engram looked nice running and cutting in pre-game warmups, but couldn’t help while watching the game in street clothes.

The Giants looked rusty on offense. Maybe more accurately, they looked like the same team that finished 31st in the league a year ago. The offensive line, aside from right tackles Nate solder and Matt Peart being abused by Von Miller, did OK in pass protection. But 13 points, which included a meaningless final play of the game rushing score by Jones, is not going to cut it.

“We got to figure out a way to be able to put the ball in the end zone and that’s the end of the story. Like you said, that’s something that’s been a problem in the past, but we got to move on from it,” Shepard said. “We’ve got a short week this week. We’ve got to be able to put that in the past and learn from it and we’ve got to figure it out. We’ve got a big divisional opponent coming up on Thursday.

“We’ve just got to do it. I feel like we have it in us and we’re capable of it. We’ve just got to practice every week and we’ve got to push and keep getting better. I know we’re capable of it, everybody knows we’re capable of it. We’ve just got to put it together and do it.”

The running game (Barkley 10 carries, 26 yards and Devontae Booker, 4 carries, 7 yards) was non-existent. The Giants rotated Shane Lemieux and Ben Bredeson at left guard and Nate Solder and Matt Peart at right tackle.

The only real issue, for me, was the right tackle play. Solder got whipped by Von Miller for a sack in the first quarter and Peart wasn’t even out of stance before Miller was in the backfield for a sack of Jones late in the game.

I will wait for the Pro Football Focus grades, but the eyeball test had Andrew Thomas playing fine. Right tackle, though, looks like it is going to be an ongoing issue.

The Cowboys, Giants and Washington Football Team are 0-1. The Philadelphia Eagles, expected to be the division’s worst team, not only won but they routed the Atlanta Falcons, 32-6.

So, the NFC East is off to a typically zany start.

My biggest question is are the Eagles better than we thought, or are the Falcons really that bad?

Read full article at New York Post

Giants gave fans every reason to flee this catastrophe

New York Post 13 September, 2021 - 07:10am

No teams in your favorites yet.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The wait is over for Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants.

Barkley was medically cleared and will be ready for the season opener Sunday against the Denver Broncos, a source told ESPN on Saturday.

Barkley, who tore the ACL in his right knee in Week 2 last season, is officially listed as questionable.

Tight end Evan Engram (calf) is out Sunday.

The only way Barkley wouldn't be ready come game time would be if something unexpected happened between now and 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday.

"I wouldn't go out there if I didn't feel confident that I could protect myself and be helpful for the team," Barkley said Friday.

With the Giants proceeding with extra caution throughout Barkley's rehab while taking a long-range approach, the Pro Bowl running back was up against the calendar in recent weeks. Everything needed to go perfectly.

But the summer went smoothly and Barkley passed all the requisite tests, including practices with contact this week and last, to be deemed ready for the opener. Friday was the final obstacle, and he said afterward there were no setbacks.

"I mean, practice and the game [are] totally different, but I've been having a really good week of practice just getting back out there trusting the knee, getting my football conditioning back in the flow of things, getting a feel for the run game, for the pass game, for pass-pickup and all that," Barkley said.

Barkley is still expected to be eased into action, with the Giants having two games in five days to start the season. Barkley will likely split time with offseason acquisition Devontae Booker in the backfield early on.

After Sunday's opener, the Giants play again Thursday night on the road against the Washington Football Team.

Barkley underwent surgery Oct. 30, 2020, to repair the ACL and damage to his meniscus. He did not practice in the spring and began the summer on the physically unable to perform list before being activated Aug. 9. Barkley did not appear in a preseason game or participate in live drills until less than two weeks ago, wearing a red, no-contact jersey in New England.

Still, he has been moving well and without any restrictions.

"I think he looks great," quarterback Daniel Jones said after Wednesday's practice in full pads. "I think he's done a great job following what the trainers and the doctors have told him to do. He looks good practicing."

Barkley's first taste of contact came in a padded practice Sept. 2 at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. The Giants had another practice with pads Wednesday. He came through without any problems.

He had to endure three straight practices this week to receive final clearance Friday.

"His work on the field is very promising," Giants coach Joe Judge said before Friday's workout. "He's done a lot of things we needed to see."

The Giants offense will now be close to whole in time for their opener. It's a far cry from the summer, when Barkley, wide receivers Kenny Golladay (hamstring) and Kadarius Toney (COVID-19/hamstring) and tight ends Kyle Rudolph (foot) and Engram (calf) were all sidelined.

The New York defense is also expected to be whole. Cornerback Adoree' Jackson will be available Sunday after being listed as questionable with an ankle injury.

The Broncos have been preparing as if Barkley would play.

"Yeah, he's obviously eligible to play," coach Vic Fangio said earlier in the week. "He's on the roster. We're under the assumption that he will play, and until we know otherwise, that's the assumption we'll take. He's a hell of a player obviously, and I'm sure they'll play him if he's ready to go."

The Giants vowed to help Daniel Jones. In Week 1, that was another empty promise

NJ.com 12 September, 2021 - 06:19pm

Daniel Jones is an easy target, and as always, the quarterback will absorb plenty of criticism after the Giants stumbled in their season opener.

He had a killer fumble — again. He misfired on a couple of easy throws — again. He started his make-or-break third season with a performance in a 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos that, at best, could be described as mediocre. And that’s being generous.

He completed 22 of 37 passes for 267 yards and one touchdown, with much of that yardage coming on a garbage time scoring drive in the final minutes. He certainly wasn’t good enough.

Still: The Giants promised that this was the season that they’d would get Jones the support he needed to take that next step as an NFL passer. In almost every way, those supposed improvements were of little or no help at all to a quarterback.

The talk of giving him more help was just that — talk.

The RB: Saquon Barkley was back, lower case b, but not BACK in that all-caps way that Giants fans probably had hoped. In his first game in almost a year after tearing his ACL, the Giants limited his carries and plays — and, as a result, his impact. The Giants are going to eventually have to take him out of bubble wrap or leave him on the sideline entirely. And he has to lower his shoulder and drive toward the end zone instead of dancing out of bounds on a fourth-quarter drive that ended with no points. Help rating: 2/10.

The play caller: It was Jason Garrett who called the drive-killing reverse for Toney on the first drive, and whose conservative play calling wasted a possession after the defense forced a Broncos fumble. The offense had just five first downs in the first half on an anemic 20 plays, a sign that the Giants didn’t have the ball often couldn’t keep it when they did. The Giants talked up how Jones would benefit from being in the same system for a second season, but in the opener, that system — and the man running it — weren’t doing him any favors. Help rating: 2/10.

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