Good morning, New York Giants fans!
NFL officials will reportedly be on the lookout for the use of illegal foreign objects (yes, this is football and not wrestling) by the Philadelphia Eagles during this weekend’s NFC Divisional Round playoff game against the New York Giants.
From Football Zebras:
Game officials will have a heightened sense of awareness regarding field goal holders attempting to use a small object upon which to place the ball when holding for a field goal, after such a practice was observed in a Week 14 game.
In the NFC East clash between the Eagles and Giants, Philadelphia emergency holder Britain Covey, who pressed into service when punter Arryn Siposs was injured earlier in the game, was seen picking up a small white object from the field after a field goal attempt by kicker Jake Elliott. When the tape is rolled back, the object was seen directly under the ball when the snap was received, and was subsequently kicked forward naturally during the field goal attempt. This was not detected by the crew on the field. However, by rule, this is unsportsmanlike conduct.
Asked about the incident, Giants special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey said “You leave a visual spot down there, it helps.”
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Other Giant observations
Giants’ Dexter Lawrence vs. Eagles’ Jason Kelce: In ‘greatness against greatness,’ who will win epic battle? - NJ.com
“That matchup right there might determine the game,” said the Giants’ Justin Ellis, a nine-year NFL veteran at defensive tackle who has a real understanding and appreciation for the power and quickness of interior linemen. “It’s definitely going to affect the game.”
DL Dexter Lawrence’s mic’d up video went viral yesterday
The Giants were outmatched dramatically in the back seven, but Lawrence was even more overwhelming versus the Vikings interior. He was a one-man wrecking crew against both the run and the pass. Lawrence’s work on the ground made it difficult for the Vikings to manufacture comfortable down-and-distances, and they sort of abandoned the ground game after a certain point because of him. And it was Lawrence’s unique pass-rushing ability from the middle that allowed the Giants to sit in two-high shells and put an umbrella over Justin Jefferson for most of the game. It cannot be overstated how effective Lawrence was every time he took the field.
The running game has finally come full circle to resemble something like what the Giants’ old leadership dreamed up nearly five years ago. And it’s all happened because Barkley and Jones have made such strides, and fit each other so well.
Conversely, the threat of a Barkley run often gives Jones free rein to carry the ball off-tackle for chunk gains. Option runs of this variety are a college football staple, but most NFL teams do not like using their quarterbacks as ball carriers to the same extent as college programs. Jones is an exception, and the Giants now have him running the ball roughly as often as he did at Duke. And when Jones does take off, rather than handing the ball to Barkley or another back, he gives defenses a good reminder of why they need to account for him in the first place.
It may indeed turn out that the Giants’ refusal to pick up Jones’ $22.3 million fifth-year option before this season becomes a financial positive for him. If that is on his mind at all before the Giants’ divisional-round game against the Eagles on Saturday, though, Jones did not show it one bit.
“I certainly appreciate the support,” Jones said Tuesday. “Like I said, we’re focused on what we gotta do this week. What’s ahead of us now. That’s all that matters for any of us is what you do next week and the next opportunity, so that’s what I’m focused on.”
Wink Martindale addressing his pursuit of head coaching opportunities
Wink Martindale is "honored" to receive head coaching requests, but he never viewed his job as Giants DC as a stepping stone. It was a destination.— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) January 18, 2023
"I love it here in New York...greatest city in the world, greatest fans in the world." pic.twitter.com/qibeUcBo4y
"What a great time to be a Giant, to be a fan of the Giants," Wink Martindale said to open his press conference. "I'm so happy and proud of the defense and the way we played in Minnesota. The two fourth-quarter stops at the end of the game, it was just great to see. And I tell you guys all the time about how much I care about these guys and how close they are and selfless they are. And you saw that Sunday in that game with all those players; whatever they had to do to win the game, and that's what they did."
Another advantage that Kafka has found to be true in working from the booth is that he is removed from some of the emotions that could prompt a rash decision and can think with a clearer head and minimal distractions.
“You can think a little bit,” he said. “You have more time to think and kind of spread out. You have an area there to write some notes down. You don’t have that on the field, a desk, and all that. It’s definitely quieter, so you don’t have to worry about the crowd noise in between drives and stuff. That’s probably the two major differences.”
The New York Giants have the benefit of playing a familiar foe in the NFL postseason for the second week in a row. In order to defeat them, B/R's Joe Tansey writes that Big Blue must do three things: exploit Jalen Hurts' aggressiveness; force Eagles to pass at a high rate; and use Saquon Barkley to open up Eagles front seven.
“I just see a humble, hardworking group that tries to get ready to play each week to do the things that we need to try to do,” Daboll said. “Each team, at this time of year, is really, really good. And I think they do a good job of maintaining their focus on keeping the main thing as the main thing, which is our preparation here the next few days and then ultimately how we play.”
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers offers his insight on the Giants
Aaron Rodgers giving his thoughts on Coach Daboll and the Giants. Specifically mentions Dexter Lawrence and Aaron Donald in the same sentence. All positive words from a Hall of Fame quarterback. #Giants #Togetherblue pic.twitter.com/M3mTANOMnV— The Sports Influencer (@nygtsi) January 17, 2023
Paul Schwartz writes that “In my 29 years of covering the Giants, they have never have won their first playoff game and failed to go a lot farther.”
This week’s opponent
The Jones from Week 14, however, was vastly different from the one who led the Giants to the postseason win on Sunday, and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon certainly took notice of that performance.
"He played extremely well," Gannon said on Wednesday. "Their offense was clicking on all cylinders. He made a lot of plays, a lot of throws. He used his legs at the right times to extend drives and get some first downs. We know it's just like anybody we go against that the skill set of everybody that we're playing against, how they use those guys and what we've got to be aware of and what we've got to have a plan for. He played extremely well that game and it's one of the major reasons they're playing us on Saturday night."
Hurts was the third most valuable player behind Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. Seth Walder wrote:
“Hurts was in a good situation and maximized the opportunity. He dominated the most on the ground, generating almost double the team EPA on designed runs of any other quarterback. But he was an efficient passer, too. Hurts ranked eighth in EPA per dropback (ninth if we remove scrambles) and was accurate. His plus-3% completion percentage over expectation ranked second, per NFL Next Gen Stats. And Hurts was superb at turnover avoidance, giving the ball away on 1.2% of his action plays.”
When Jalen Hurts was fully healthy, the Philadelphia Eagles were a juggernaut. That all changed on Dec. 18 in Chicago, when Hurts was driven into the ground by Bears defensive tackle Trevis Gipson at the end of a late-third-quarter run. The Eagles quarterback suffered a sprained SC joint in his right shoulder — an injury that would have forced him out of the final three games of the regular season if the Eagles didn't need to rush him back for the finale to help clinch the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
They haven't resembled that old juggernaut since, because the 24-year-old Hurts is everything to the Eagles offense. Without him at full strength, being the two-way threat and MVP candidate he was for 14 games, they just haven't been the same, dangerous, versatile, attacking team.
Around the league
Jets interviewing former Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett for offensive coordinator job | NFL.com
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