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Giants news, 9/8: Ojulari, Thibodeaux limited in practice

New York Giants headlines for Thursday

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Good morning, New York Giants fans!

Giants-Titans injury report: Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari remain limited | Big Blue View

The New York Giants issued their first official injury report of the 2022 NFL season on Wednesday as they prepared for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans.

Four players — safety Dane Belton (clavicle), edge defender Azeez Ojulari (calf), edge defender Kayvon Thibodeaux (MCL) and wide receiver Sterling Shepard (Achilles) were listed as limited practice participants.

Ojulari and Thibodeaux once again did very little at practice. Head coach Brian Daboll said Wednesday that the two players are “day to day still.”

Before the report came out, The Record’s Art Stapleton was not optimistic that the two d-ends will see the field against the Titans

Kayvon Thibodeaux: ‘I’ve just been working to get better’ | Big Blue View

Thibodeaux said that he isn’t dwelling on the play that got him injured. He noted that he needs to play with better technique and injuries are to be expected in this sport.

“It’s football,” he said. “It’s a 100 percent injury rate. You’ve got to just be ready to recover when your time comes and be ready to be smart in different situations....My knee was hurting, don’t get me wrong, so it wasn’t really a sigh. It was just, this is what the results are, and I’ve got to go make a play, I’ve got to go make things happen, bounce back.”

Darius Slayton pay cut: WR takes decrease to stay with Giants | Big Blue View

The pay cut will reduce Slayton’s salary from (approximately) $2.6 million down to the league-minimum of $956,000. That would result in a salary cap sap savings of roughly $1.6 million for the cash-strapped Giants. Slayton was on the practice field Wednesday after an excused absence on Tuesday.

Giants coach Brian Daboll admitted Wednesday morning that Slayton’s absence from Tuesday’s practice, said to be for personal reasons, was because Slayton and his representatives were discussing his future with GM Joe Schoen.

“Business,” Daboll said. “He’s out here today. Good to have him back.”

Giants’ Adoree’ Jackson looking like true No. 1 corner | New York Post

Sunday marks a fresh start for all NFL teams as well as CB Adoree’ Jackson’s first game against the Titans since they surprisingly cut him in March 2021 and he landed with the Giants. Will he carry any hard feelings into the matchup, or is that just more wasted energy?

“Not at all,” Jackson said. “That’s the organization that drafted me, so I’m forever thankful and grateful for the opportunity that they gave me. It just didn’t pan out the way they wanted, and I wanted. That’s how life goes. God gives you second chances to open another door when one closes.”

Survey: Josh Allen dethrones Aaron Rodgers for MVP; | The Athletic

NFL executives and coaches try to predict the future, casting votes for MVP, DPOY and which teams they think will surprise this year. Giants RT Evan Neal and DE Kayvon Thibodeaux each received one vote for being the best rookie at the end of the season. The Giants received a vote for the team that will surprise the league in a good way (the Jets, Dolphins and Vikings top the list with five votes each).

Giants’ DC Wink Martindale: Titans’ RB Derrick Henry a ‘modern-day Jim Brown’ - Big Blue View

New York Giants defensive coordinator Wink Martindale on Wednesday compared Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry to one of the greatest football players in league history.

“He’s a physical guy that can be one cut and go. He can be whatever he wants to be at certain times. He’s a very talented back. He’s like our modern-day Jim Brown," said Martindale. "He’s just that much different when he has the ball. He’s a challenge every time he touches it.”

Henry has been the game’s busiest (1,115 rushing attempts) and most productive back (5,563 yards) since 2018. He is a 6-foot-3, 247-pound tank who has also led the NFL in yards per carry (5.01) and yards rushing per game (101.1) during that span.

The inaugural Wink Quip of the Week during coordinator press day

Giants’ Jon Feliciano might know opening-day opponent Titans as well as his own offensive line teammates |

Feliciano believes he knows what the Titans might be thinking ahead of the season opener.

“I think they’re going to challenge the whole O line,” he said. “We’ll potentially have two rookies playing on the O line and as a defense you kind of start licking your chops when that happens. Our guys know that and I know (Evan Neal) and (Joshua Ezeudu) are up for the challenge and they’re excited to get going. I think (Andrew Thomas) is quietly one of the best tackles in the league. He’s so athletic and so sound with his techniques and Evan is just a mountain of a man. We call him the X Box because he’s easily 360. Alabama definitely gets those guys ready to be pros.”

New offensive coordinator Mike Kafka gets set to call plays for the first time in a NFL game

Giants WR Sterling Shepard ‘ready to go’ in Week 1 after Achilles injury late in 2021 season | ESPN

Shepard has played in 16 games just once in the past five seasons. His personal goal this year is to remain on the field.

“I just want to be reliable for my teammates. I want to stay on the field. I want to play a full 17 [games]. That’s my personal goal,” Shepard said. “I know if I’m on the field I’m going to do my thing. That has never been my problem. It’s a physical game we play. Stuff happens from time to time. Just taking care of my body the best I can and play my game. Whatever happens, happens. I don’t think about anything. I just play.”

WR Kadarius Toney looks ready to go Sunday

Inside the Russell Wilson-Seattle Seahawks drama that led to the Denver Broncos trade | ESPN

The Seahawks received calls from the Broncos and several other teams, including the Saints, New York Giants and Washington Commanders. They knew Wilson wanted Denver, according to a front-office source, but kept New Orleans involved in the bidding so the Broncos would have to compete against another offer.

Schneider later apologized to the Saints and other teams who had called, having told them they weren’t trading Wilson. Denver was Wilson’s only option and Schneider’s preferred choice, because Drew Lock was the quarterback Schneider wanted in return.

This week’s opponent

Agent's Take: 11 quarterbacks with something to prove in 2022 |

A dismal three-interception game in a divisional playoff loss to the Bengals as the AFC's No. 1 seed overshadows a solid 2021 season. Tannehill was the NFL's 45th best-performing player in 2021, according to Pro Football Focus. Seven quarterbacks (Josh Allen, Tom Brady, Joe Burrow, Kirk Cousins, Justin Herbert, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford) ranked ahead of him. The AFC South should be a two-team race between the Colts and Titans. Tannehill and/or the Titans faltering could result in 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis becoming quarterback next season. The 2023 season is the final year of the four-year, $118 million contract Tannehill signed in 2020. His $36.6 million cap number is the NFL's sixth largest for 2023.

New Titans Punter Ryan Stonehouse Thankful for the Opportunity |

Stonehouse was encouraged by the consistent contact from the Titans throughout the draft process, mainly from special teams coaches Craig Aukerman and former Giant Chase Blackburn.

When Stonehouse went undrafted, he knew where he wanted to sign.

"It wasn't necessarily that I had anywhere I was really looking at," Stonehouse said. "Obviously with the draft, it is so unpredictable. But I picked here for a couple of reasons: One, I loved the coaching staff here, and Chase and Craig were with me the whole time … in terms of communication and stuff. So, I really valued that in the whole process."

Stonehouse also felt like he had a chance to compete – and win the starting job – in Tennessee. Ultimately, he ended up doing just that.

Why Giants defense will struggle to contain Derrick Henry, Titans rushing attack | Music City Miracles

The Titans will be debuting a new-look offense after undergoing several personnel, and some scheme-related changes in the offseason. All eyes will be on the effectiveness of starting running back Derrick Henry.

Henry and offensive coordinator Todd Downing enter Sunday’s debut contest with a clear advantage. The Giants have a sizable hole at middle linebacker I expect Henry and the Titans to expose. They also have injury concerns on the edges of their youth-infused defense.

Around the league

2022 NFL season kickoff: Four things to watch for in Bills-Rams prime-time game |

The 2022 NFL season kicks off with a doozy: the Super Bowl-champion Rams hosting — in the stadium they won the big game back in February — the Bills, a rare road favorite against a reigning champ in a season opener. These are two championship-caliber squads going head to head in one of the more highly anticipated NFL Kickoff games in recent memory.

WHERE: SoFi Stadium (Inglewood, Calif.) WHEN: 8:20 p.m. ET | NBC

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson sets Friday deadline for extension |

Jackson told reporters on Wednesday he and the Ravens are still discussing extension terms, and he set a deal-making deadline for Friday. Jackson also pleaded ignorance when it came to how close he was to coming to an agreement.

"I have no clue," he said. "You have to ask the guy who I'm talking to. As of right now, we're still talking. The week's not over yet."

Za’Darius Smith says he signed with Vikings so he could play Packers twice a year |

In an interview with Tyler Dunne of Go Long, Smith said he’s very upset with how his tenure with Green Bay ended, and that he specifically signed with the Vikings so he can enact revenge on the Packers.

“Walking past me not saying nothing. ‘Z, how’s your back doing?’ — there was none of that,” Smith said. “As you can see, that adds on to why I’m on the other side. So, I can go back. I get to go back two times a year. ... I put my back on the f---ing line. I put everything. And that year three, I was treated bad. That’s why I’m here now. So, I can play them twice a year.”

New York Jets QB Zach Wilson likely out until Week 4 | ESPN

New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson will miss at least three games as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery, the team announced Wednesday. Initially, he was expected to miss one or two games. Explaining the decision, head coach Robert Saleh said Wilson won't play until Week 4 "at the earliest." Wilson hasn’t suffered a setback, according to Saleh.

"We're going to make sure mind and body are 100% and make sure we do right by him," Saleh said, who added that playing Wilson now is "not worth the risk. There's the knee element. There's the mind element. There's the practice element. There are a whole lot of things other than the knee."

Dawson Knox, Bills agree to terms on four-year, $53.6 million extension |

Dawson Knox's breakout season has earned him some job security. The rising tight end agreed to a four-year, $53.6 million extension with the Buffalo Bills on Wednesday, NFL Network Insider Mike Garafolo reported. Garafolo added that the deal includes more than $31 million in guarantees. The team later announced the extension.

Knox's extension runs through the 2026 season, providing the Bills with a go-to option at tight end for years to come.

Mike McCarthy: Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard are "definitely a tandem" | ProFootballTalk

Head coach Mike McCarthy said he sees both RB Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard as capable of handling a full workload.

“Oh I think they both hold their own,” McCarthy said. “I look at both of those guys as No. 1 runners, or however you want to categorize it. Tony can play. I think when you look at running backs — I know how I define them — [it’s about] their ability to play on all three downs, and Zeke and Tony both have that ability. Zeke’s done it his whole career. So I think they’re definitely a tandem and that’s obviously a focal point for us.”

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