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Giants notebook: Oshane Ximines on last play vs. Green Bay, more

Let’s empty the notebook before the Giants face the Ravens

New York Giants v Green Bay Packers Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Let’s empty the New York Giants notebook, hitting a few interesting topics that deserve a bit of attention.

Ximines clears up final play

Earlier in the week, I questioned the wisdom of Kayvon Thibodeaux crashing inside on Sunday’s final play against the Green Bay Packers, allowing Aaron Rodgers to move to his left trying to find space for a ‘Hail Mary’ pass attempt. Oshane Ximines denied Rodgers, with a game-ending strip-sack.

Thursday, Ximines told me that Thibodeaux was doing as instructed, following a play call that had him rushing inside and Ximines looping all the way from the other side to replace Thibodeaux as contain.

“Coaching staff did a helluva job. They drew that play up, we executed it and it was the right call,” Ximines said.

Ximines did say he is familiar with Rodgers’ history of ‘Hail Mary’ heroics.

“A-Rod, he’s one of the greatest. You never know when the ball leaves his hand,” Ximines said. “I was just trying to get there as quick as I could. He was winding that thing up, so I knew he was about to launch it.”

Standing on a table for Daniel Bellinger

Earlier this week, head coach Brian Daboll said Assistant General Manager Brandon Brown and Director of Player Personnel Tim McDonnell “stood on a table” to get the Giants to select tight end Daniel Bellinger in the fourth round of the draft.

“Brandon Brown, Tim McDonnell did a great job of scouting him coming out. They were huge proponents of him during the draft process, and as we got to know him, what he stood for, some of the intangibles that we look for, he’s done a good job. And we’ve asked him to do a variety of things. He just gets a little bit better each day,” Daboll said. “But again, it’s a tough position. They all are, but it’s a tough position to go from college right away to the NFL. And give Brandon and Tim some credit, too. They really stood on a table for him when they did their evaluations.”

Bellinger leads all rookie tight ends with 198 snaps played on offense.

“Them doing that gives me confidence to take that opportunity to keep growing,” Bellinger said.

Saquon Barkley just wants to win

Giants’ running back Saquon Barkley is No. 1 in the NFL in yards from scrimmage with 676. He said “not really” on Thursday when asked if that meant anything to him.

“As a competitor, I’m not going to sit and lie, you want to do this, you want to accomplish this, you want to accomplish that, but at the end of the day the ultimate goal is to go out there and win games,” Barkley said. “Me being up in that category, I feel like helps the team. That’s more of the motivation. Whatever I can do to help the team be successful to help us win games, put ourselves in positions to win games is what I’m willing to do. I’m all about finding ways to win games. I really don’t care about the individual stats.”

Mike Kafka on goal line creativity

Last Sunday’s reverse to Bellinger was the latest creative play call for the Giants in the red zone. Offensive coordinator Mike Kafka this week explained the thinking behind going into the bag of tricks at times near the goal line.

“I think when we evaluate the red zone we look at – obviously the closer you get down to the goal line, the more condensed everything becomes so you got to find a way to displace a defender or create an extra gap. Do certain things that can give the offense an advantage because the defense gets a little bit more, the space condenses on the offense a little bit, so you can’t really go as vertical if you want to, so you got to think in different ways,” Kafka said. “I think our staff has done a good job of putting together plans like that which are creative and use the strengths of our players whether it’s on the perimeter or in the core.”

Who is Marcus Johnson, anyway?

Johnson, elevated from the practice squad for Sunday’s game against Green Bay, led Giants wide receivers with 47 snaps played. He caught three passes for 35 yards.

Who is Johnson?

He is a 6-foot-1, 207-pound 28-year-old who has played for the Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans and now the Giants in an NFL career that began in 2017. He has now played in 43 NFL games, averaging 16.2 yards on 54 catches. He’s not a novice.

“He didn’t have a whole lot of time in the spring and in training camp, so he had to catch up pretty quick. He’s done a great job,” Kafka said. “Each week, he’s just continued to kind of absorb a little more of the offense. I felt like he was in a good spot to come up and he did a great job, he did a really good job.”