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Giants news, 8/15: Injuries mount, Shane Lemieux’s status for Week 1 in question

New York Giants headlines for Saturday

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Good morning, New York Giants fans!

Giants training camp 8/14 - Injuries strike on the last day of open practices | Big Blue View

The practice got off on a high note with sophomore edge defender Azeez Ojulari returning from the hamstring injury that landed him on the non-football injury list. However, the good feelings didn’t last long as the Giants were beset with injuries and poor play over the course of practice. Unfortunately, the injury news — both the positive of Ojulari’s return, and the negative of players leaving the field — is the story of the day.

Before practice, head coach Brian Daboll said that Shane Lemieux’s injured toe appears to be a long-term concern and was unsure if the starting left guard will be ready for Week 1. On WR Kadarius Toney status, Daboll said he “might” get back by the end of the week but did not offer any insurances he would be in uniform against Cincinnati this week. Additionally, the Giants announced they waived CB Michael Jacquet, G Josh Rivas and S Jarrod Wilson.

CB Adoree Jackson makes the defensive play of the day:

Here’s what Giants’ Brian Daboll thought of OC Mike Kafka’s play-calling debut |

Daboll liked what he saw from his staff during Thursday’s dress rehearsal. The Giants head coach was “pleased” with the operation on the sidelines of his team’s preseason debut against the New England Patriots on Thursday, noting after the contest that his team “didn’t have any wasted timeouts on substitution errors or getting calls in late.”

Wink Martindale's empowering Giants' defensive players | New York Post

Wink Martindale has made a deep impression as the new defensive coordinator. The outward appearance and persona of the 59-year-old is gruff and gritty — head coach Brian Daboll often jokes about Martindale’s decidedly casual attire — but there is growing evidence that the mastermind of what will be one of the NFL’s most aggressive defenses is capable of instilling uncommon confidence in his players.

“Absolutely,’’ said Jerome Henderson, the Giants’ defensive backs coach, said. “They’re excited. Wink has that special ability to make everybody feel in the room that they’re empowered, go play.’’

New York Giants likely to buck norm, make safety Xavier McKinney defensive playcaller | ESPN

McKinney's situation is a little different. He's a safety, and on defense the green dot is traditionally reserved for a linebacker. McKinney going head-to-head against Jones in the playcalling challenge confirmed that the Giants, in all likelihood, have a different plan this season.

"So, I had a discussion with [defensive coordinator Don] "Wink" [Martindale]. And I have a lot of confidence in Wink," Daboll said. "He's done it that way for the past few years. So, that's who we chose to wear it right now."

A Baldy Breakdown on RT Evan Neal from last week:

Brian Daboll impressed with rookie class |

“I’d say really with all the rookies, and this has usually been the case in my history coaching, is it takes them a little time to get warmed up,” Daboll said. “And I thought that that was the case with really all of our rookies. But I thought we saw a lot of good things from those guys as you went on. A lot of the things that I showed the team today, whether it be Ezeudu doing a good job with getting movement at the line of scrimmage or McFadden making some good instinctive plays, Beavers, Bellinger on some back-side blocks, (wide receiver) Wan’Dale (Robinson), really all the guys I thought as the game went on, they improved. Which you like to see that and they’re going to need to take another step this week of having a good week of practice and going out there and playing again.”

Interesting observation by The Record’s Art Stapleton:

Receiver Richie James Making Most of Opportunities with New York Giants | Sports Illustrated

New York Giants receiver Richie James is modest enough to know that he’s like most NFL players where nothing other than an opportunity is promised to show their worthiness for a roster spot. While James hasn’t had a chance to show off his return skills in a game—but if he continues to make plays on offense, he might not have to, as he’s been busy trying to show the Giants that the game hasn’t passed him by despite his year away due to his injury.

“I haven’t played football in a year. It’s one of those things where they want to see if I can still do what I’ve done before,” James said. “But it’s also one of those things where we’re in the league where it’s, ‘What can you do for me now?’”

Giants training camp, Week 3: 3 risers and 3 fallers | Big Blue View

BBV’s Ed Valentine gives his weekly report on whose stock is rising and falling in the last week that included the Giant’s preseason game against New England. Those that stood out include OL Ben Bredeson and LBs Austin Calitro and Darrian Beavers. Players who have some work to do this week include WR Kenny Golladay and CB Aaron Robinson.

Josh Jacobs, Daniel Jones and other 2019 first-rounders at career crossroads | The Athletic

The more experienced Jones has become, the less trouble he’s created for himself. Since being drafted in 2019, Jones’ dropbacks lasting three or more seconds have fallen each season, from 28 percent as a rookie to 21 percent in 2021. He also finished 13th in sack rate last season (5.7 percent). Jones being able to limit his time spent extending plays means he’s taking less contact from pass rushers. And that, in turn, helps minimize the catastrophic strip sacks that plagued him early in his career.

At the risk of coming across as some sort of Daniel Jones believer, there is some cautious optimism to be found in having new coach Brian Daboll at the helm — he’s one of the more flexible offensive minds in the NFL. His best ideas will be required in New York, however, because Jones couldn’t be more different stylistically from Josh Allen (the quarterback Daboll had as Buffalo’s offensive coordinator).

This week’s opponent

Bengals QB Joe Burrow returns to practice field for first time since appendectomy |

Burrow was on the practice field for the first time since having his appendix removed 19 days ago, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday. The Bengals' star quarterback was seen coming back from a walkthrough with a jersey on and a helmet in hand.

Though it is unclear how much Burrow did during Sunday morning's practice, participating at any capacity is good news for Cincinnati. That's not to indicate Burrow wasn't at Bengals practice all along, as he was seen driving around the field on a cart less than one week removed from surgery. Another good sign for Burrow's recovery was seen ahead of the Bengals' preseason opener on Friday night when he ran sprints during pre-game warmups.

4 things we learned from the Bengals’ (mostly) ugly preseason loss to the Cardinals | Cincy Jungle

The offensive line doesn’t have great depth. Yes, it was backups against backups or even the backups of backups against backups of backups and sometimes even... you get the point. But you would still like to see some holes open up, right? Instead, guys like Hakeem Adeneji and Isaiah Prince (who the team relied on last year) contributed to a run game that had just 62 yards on 28 carries, good for 2.2 yards per carry.

Bengals vs Cardinals: 6 winners and 4 losers from NFL Preseason Week 1 | Cincy Jungle

Some good and some bad from the first preseason tilt. Second-year running back Chris Evans had himself a night, even though the box score won’t tell you that. The official stats don’t look good, but Evans made strides as he tries to take the second running back spot from Samaje Perine. Two of three of Evans’ best plays were called back.

For the bad, the starting offensive line Friday all looked rough. Penalties, missed assignments and collapsing pockets were the theme of the first half. Granted, none of them (aside from Carman) are expected to start, but we all know offensive line depth can be very important down the stretch. There is no real cause for panic after one preseason game, but Frank Pollack clearly has some work to do with the second unit.

Around the league

NFLPA calls for league 'to re-evaluate what is an acceptable surface' | ESPN

Filled with noticeable divots and patches of missing grass, the field conditions became so noticeable that JC Tretter, the president of the NFL Players Association, took to Twitter to question why the league allowed Bears and Chiefs players to perform on a surface in such a poor visible state.

"The NFL said that this field met minimum testing standards," Tretter tweeted. "We clearly need to re-evaluate what is an acceptable surface for players to compete on. We need new testing metrics looking at the performance and safety of every field. The NFL can and should do better."

Zach Wilson on his way to L.A. for knee procedure | ProFootballTalk

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson will have knee surgery in Los Angeles on Tuesday. The status of Wilson’s knee injury is not yet known, but head coach Robert Saleh said the team is optimistic that it will not be a season-ending injury.

“He’s on his way to L.A. to have his procedure and then we wait,” Saleh said. “They’ll know more when they get in there. We’re optimistic but he’s not out of the woods until they get in there and make the decision.”

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson sets Week 1 deadline on contract talks

Lamar Jackson wants his contract situation settled before the Baltimore Ravens open the regular season on Sept. 11 against the New York Jets.

The former AP NFL Most Valuable Player was asked Saturday if negotiations had a hard deadline. "Yeah, we coming up to it. It's coming up. Season's coming up," Jackson said. "We're going to be good for the season." The QB added that he had "no updates" on the status of contract talks.

Falcons first round receiver Drake London leaves preseason opener with knee injury |

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Drake London suffered a knee injury on the opening drive of the team’s preseason opener against the Detroit Lions and will not return to the game, the team announced. London seemed to have suffered the injury on his lone target of the day, which he hauled in for 24 yards. Quarterback Marcus Mariota rolled out right and found London on a crosser and the rookie wideout was tackled while going out of bounds. The severity of this knee injury is unclear, but London was able to jog off the field before the team’s medical staff looked at that knee on the sideline.

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