Special teams injuries. Joe Judge’s consistency. Quincy Roche’s progress. All of that and more are topics in this week’s New York Giants notebook.
“A collision sport”
The Giants have seen three players — Jabrill Peppers, C.J. Board and Dante Pettis — suffer injuries returning kickoffs or punts this season. They have had to use cornerback Darnay Holmes to return kickoffs, and signed veteran return man Pharoh Cooper to their practice squad this week.
Has special team coordinator Thomas McGaughey ever been through a similar rash of injuries?
“Actually, my first year here, we went through a few of them. That’s football. It happens sometimes. You get guys that get nicks and soft tissues and broken bones. It’s football,” McGaughey said. “It’s unfortunate, but we’re going through our run here of guys, so we’ve just got to make sure that we can keep them upright and we don’t have any bones broken or soft tissue injuries. It’s just the luck of the draw sometimes. This is football, it’s not tennis or golf. It’s a collision sport and sometimes those collisions are going to cause injuries.”
Enjoying the home cooking (or booing)?
Tight end Evan Engram was asked this week if Giants players still enjoy playing at MetLife Stadium, where fans have been booing the home team quite a bit. Engram was also booed in Week 3 for the simple act of entering the game after he lost a fumble.
“Yeah, we enjoy playing at home. It’s our home field and I think the fans were pretty electric last home game against Carolina. We got things going, defense played well, and we dug out a win,” Engram siad. “Yeah, we enjoy playing at home. We just got to be consistent with our play and giving them good product on the field. They’ll be the good fans that they are.”
A second-half run?
Defensive lineman Leonard Williams was asked this week what he was looking for from the Giants over the remainder of the season.
“The same thing kind of Coach Judge told us, I think it was against the Rams when we were down pretty bad at halftime, he wanted to see guys keep fighting, no quit,” Williams said. “Obviously, I don’t want to compare, but similar to last year, I think we had that same type of mindset of not quitting and keep fighting. We ended up being one game away from going to the playoffs. I think if we continue to fight knowing that this is a long season and our best football is ahead of us, this is the time to try to make a run.”
Shep comes up short
On Monday night against Kansas City, the Giants kicked a field goal from the Kansas City 5-yard line on fourth-and-2 while trailing, 14-7. On the previous play, Daniel Jones had completed a 2-yard pass to Sterling Shepard on a third-and-4.
Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett said Thursday that the Giants expected a completion on that play to yield a first down.
“Sterling Shepard will be the first one to tell you that he probably needs to push the depth a little bit more,” Garrett said. “We felt like we had a good look there that that route was going to give us first down depth. Unfortunately, it came up a little short on that one. But again, Sterling has been such a good player for us in those critical situations. Unfortunately, we came up short on that one.”
‘Q’ earns praise, and playing time
The Giants picked up rookie edge defender Quincy Roche when the Pittsburgh Steelers waived him at the end of the preseason. Roche has worked his way into the rotation. With Lorenzo Carter sidelined Monday, Roche started and played a season-high 50 snaps. He came up with three tackles and three quarterback hurries.
“Q’s gotten better every week and he’s doing what we ask him to do. Again, not coach speak, I can take you through the progression of what (linebackers coach) Kevin (Sherrer) and (assistant linebackers/special teams assistant Anthony) Blev (Blevins) do in terms of just the sled work – I’m talking about the sled and what we call ‘Big Bertha,’ the pad,” defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. “You just look at the progression over the last seven weeks of how he’s been able to improve there with his hands in front of his eyes, playing with better pad level. He’s worked really hard to get better and he’s listened to the coaching, so that’s one thing. We anticipated this guy being able to make plays and we shared that, expressed that with everybody and he went out there and did it, so it’s a credit to him working hard.”
Staying tuned in
Veteran defensive back Logan Ryan says Joe Judge’s consistency is why players are still tuned in despite the team’s losing record.
“His approach is he’s going to do everything he can to prepare us for the game. The Carolina game had nothing to do with the Kansas City game. We prepared really hard. Obviously, did not finish that game and he’s going to come back and be consistent, and we’re going to be as prepared as possible to play the game,” Ryan said. “I think people have got to respect Joe’s consistency and his ability to go over every detail and leave no stone unturned and stay here late at night and put a lot of work in. Like I said, it’s not a lack of effort. I think Joe’s consistency and his approach earns the guys’ respect because he’s not changing with the times week in and week out.
“I think guys need a constant message, guys need a consistent message, guys need to be pushed, guys need to work hard because the wins and losses and the margin for error is really small in this league, as we’ve experienced sometimes in these games. You’ve got to do the little things right in order to be on the other side of it.”