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Giants news, 12/21: Daniel Jones, Tae Crowder, more headlines

New York Giants headlines for Wednesday

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Good morning, New York Giants fans!

Hey, the New York Giants have a real honest to goodness pass rush

Since second-year edge defender Azeez Ojulari returned to the lineup three games ago, the Giants are second in the league in sacks with 12, an average of 4.0 per game. They are also second in the NFL in sack percentage at 10.62.

Ojulari had a team rookie record (I know, I know Lawrence Taylor) 8.0 sacks last season, but he never had a stretch in 2021 like the three quarterback-terrorizing games he has had since returning from his latest quad injury.

Over three games, Ojulari has 3.5 sacks, six quarterback hits, 15 total pressures, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Over that same stretch, Thibodeaux has two sacks, three quarterback hits, 10 pressures and Sunday’s strip-sack/forced fumble/fumble recovery for a touchdown. Go back four games and the rookie from Oregon has 19 pressures in that span.

Dexter Lawrence has had 1.5 of his career-high 6.5 sacks over the past three games, along with six quarterback hits, 14 pressures and a forced fumble.

From Big Blue View

Other Giant observations

Saquon shook them

Kayvon Thibodeaux’s Week 15 performance puts him on verge of stardom | PFF

The good news is that Thibodeaux’s performance in Week 15 wasn’t an anomaly. He’s been making a ton of plays over the past month. Since Week 12, Thibodeaux has recorded 19 pressures, the eighth most in the NFL. More importantly, seven of those are quarterback hits, the second most in the league. He’s starting to become one of the most dominant and consistent rushers in the league despite missing plenty of time over the past few seasons.

One thing we learned about each NFL team in Week 15: Tua, Dolphins erase narrative; Chiefs’ run game clicking |

Kayvon Thibodeaux was made for prime time: The Giants’ edge rusher — and top-five pick in this year’s draft — said he was “made for prime time.” Thibodeaux backed up that statement in a huge way, totaling 12 tackles (three for loss) with a sack, forced fumble and defensive touchdown in the Giants’ crucial victory over the Commanders.

Not only did the Giants win by eight points, Thibodeaux is the first rookie since at least 1991 to have 10-plus tackles, a sack and a touchdown in the same game. Thibodeaux was the driving force behind the Giants’ excellent defensive effort against the Commanders.

Why Adoree’ Jackson thinks Giants are capable of deep playoff run, like 2019 Titans |

The Titans — the sixth and final seed in the AFC that year — won at third-seeded New England and then at top-seeded Baltimore to open the playoffs, before falling at second-seeded Kansas City in the AFC title game. Jackson, the Giants’ No. 1 cornerback, sees a lot of similarities between those Titans and his current team.

“I just feel like we’ve got a lot of fight,” said Jackson. “I think that’s what I see in this team – a bunch of fight and not worrying about the bad things that may happen, but understanding that there’s another snap, so go out there and play ball.”

A healthy defensive front buoys Giants’ playoff push | ESPN

At some point, though it is unlikely to be this week, Martindale could also get back cornerback Adoree’ Jackson and safety Xavier McKinney. Then maybe the Giants really have something brewing. It’s what they envisioned when the season started.

“Every time you get a good or great player back, it helps you scheme a lot easier,” Martindale said. “Then you can either do more things with them or less things with them because they can just win their one-on-one matchups. So, it does help. You can give them different looks, too, the opponent.”

Finally healthy, Giants’ terrorizing quartet of pass rushers makes them scary matchup | The Athletic

Just as he did when the teams tied in Week 15, Martindale dialed back on blitzes against the Commanders. The Giants blitzed on 35.3 percent of Washington’s drop backs, which was their second-lowest rate of the season. The Giants had a 38.3 percent blitz rate in the first meeting.

The scaled back blitzes tied in with Martindale deploying far more zone coverage than usual. For the season, the Giants play man coverage on 45.7 percent of opponents’ drop backs. But against the Commanders, the Giants played zone on a season-high 67.2 percent of the drop backs. They were in zone on 58.5 percent of the drop backs in the first meeting.

Giants don’t want clutch Graham Gano forgotten: ‘One of the best players’ | New York Post

“I even talked to my wife about this: When number nine is out there, you just have confidence,” safety and special teams captain Julian Love said. “And that’s a special thing that teams can’t take for granted, to have a kicker as sure as him. He’s one of the best players on this team, honestly. He’s been a key for us this entire year.”

Head coach Brian Daboll sings the praises of his starting quarterback

Giants’ Daniel Jones attributes improvement to learning ‘what wins in the NFL’ |

“I think I have gotten a better idea of what wins in the NFL,” Jones said Tuesday, just 48 hours removed from the biggest victory of his career. “A lot of times it’s not what you would think. I think it has a lot to do with taking care of the ball and staying in good situations for the offense and executing on critical downs and scoring in the red zone.

“I think I’ve improved a lot since my rookie year.”

Daniel Jones Has Earned Giants’ 2023 Starting Quarterback Job | The 33rd Team

Rich Gannon thinks Daniel Jones deserves the New York Giants’ starting quarterback job in 2023 and cites a significant decrease in turnovers as one of the reasons why.

NFL Insider explains how excellent Giants coaching staff is helping depleted roster win ‘ugly’ |

Connor Hughes says the excellent Giants coaching staff led by Brian Daboll is the difference that has a marginally talented roster “winning ugly.”

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This week’s opponent

Vikings Turn Attention to Next Goals After Winning Division |

“We’ve got to get back to emphasizing details. And then, some of the things we, quite honestly, did last week, but we’ve got to now look at kind of an accountability — both as players and coaches — to making sure that we hold ourselves to that standard from the jump and not need to have a record-setting-type comeback to find a way to get a win,” O’Connell said. “Although it’s great and we know we’ve done that, and maybe not at the pace of needing 39 points in a half, but we’ve done that this year, where we’ve been able to find ways to win games collectively as a team that I think helped us understand that it was possible, regardless of the number the other day.

One Big Question Facing Each Super Bowl Contender | The Ringer

Minnesota Vikings: Are they actually good? The 39-36 overtime win was the 10th one-possession victory of Minnesota’s season. Performance in close games is notoriously flukey and not very predictive, suggesting that, in an alternate reality, this same Vikings team could be headed for a top-10 pick in the draft rather than a home playoff game. Minnesota ranks outside of the top 20 in overall DVOA, according to Football Outsiders. The offense ranks 14th in EPA; the defense ranks 17th. The Vikings have outscored their opponents by a measly two points, giving them the NFL’s 12th-best point differential. All of the numbers suggest this team is little more than a fringe wild-card group, and the film backs up that theory.

One thing we learned about each NFL team in Week 15: Who are the Vikings |

Who is this team?: Hard to believe a team that’s 11-3 and won its division title is as inconsistent as they are. The Vikings have the lowest point differential for any 10-win team after 14 games in league history (+2), thanks to winning all 10 of its one-score games and getting blown out in two of their three losses. We saw the worst of the Vikings in the first half and the best in the second half and overtime. Can this team be trusted to win the NFC and go to the Super Bowl? We just don’t know yet.

Vikings sign Josh Rosen to practice squad | ProFootballTalk

Around the league

Eagles coach not ruling Jalen Hurts (shoulder) out vs. Cowboys |

Head coach Nick Sirianni called Hurts one of the “toughest” players he knows and someone who “heals fast,” so he isn’t going to put a timetable on the injury to his throwing shoulder.

“I do not put it past Jalen Hurts, I don’t put anything past Jalen Hurts as far as his physical and mental toughness,’’ coach Nick Sirianni said Tuesday. “There’s a chance he can play this week.’’

Hurts on Tuesday said there is “definitely a chance” he will be able to play Saturday and he’s taking things day by day. He nodded when asked if he’s able to throw.

Jerry Jones expresses pessimism on signing Odell Beckham Jr. | ProFootballTalk

“That time is moving on down the road relative to playing in the playoffs, so every day diminishes our chances of going forward,” Jones said.

Steelers QB Kenny Pickett (concussion) in line to start Saturday vs. Raiders |

Jets QB Zach Wilson to start vs. Jaguars with Mike White (ribs) not cleared for contact |

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