Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 06-02-22

Dave Klein was the Giants' beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.


By Dave Klein
The Giants went through OTA Day Nine in the sweltering heat Thursday, meaning there is only one more OTA Day remaining before the mandatory minicamp June 7.

Head coach Brian Daboll, after the demanding workout, commented on the problem of getting close to players who must eventually be released as teams slowly chip away from the camp roster number of 90 to the season opening number of 53. And it is neither easy nor emotionally pleasant.

"Well, it's just the nature of the league," he said. "You have to release players and get down; those are the rules. That's part of the job.

"It's not fun. I've had relationships with players when I was a position coach and a coordinator who you have conversations with. But there are only so many guys you can keep. You certainly have empathy for those players who give everything they got, and at the end of the day you just have to move on from them for whatever reason. Numbers, maybe, or not as good as the other person in front of them."

One of the players who Daboll has apparently taken a liking to is guard Shane Lemieux, who missed almost all of the 2021 season, his second in the NFL. He was injured in the season opener against Denver and a few weeks later diagnosed with a torn patellar tendon in his kneecap. He underwent surgery and missed the final 16 games.

Daboll said he had liked Lemieux in 2020, when he was still in Buffalo and Lemieux was coming out of college football through the draft. Incidentally, he played at the University of Oregon, where one of his teammates was Kayvon Thibodeaux, one of the teamís two first-round picks this year.

"I had an official meeting at the combine with the Buffalo staff with Dabs and [offensive line coach] Bobby Johnson, Lemieux said. "I got the normal talk and everything like that, but it was after that I had constant communication with Bobby through the draft process and even leading up to the draft. I thought they [the Bills] were going to take me, but I got the best of both worlds. I'm here at the best organization ever, and I'm with this new coaching staff."

Lemieux was the Giantsí fifth round selection in 2020, and now, at 6-4 and 310, he is penciled in as the starter at left guard. Last season, during his interminable healing process, he said he would "chew off his foot" if it would get him back on the field.

No chewing was necessary, just intense work with the teamís medical and training staff, but heís ready now. "I canít wait," he said. "I really canít. I built a home gym, and you know, thatís all I really like to do. I work out all the time, and Iím ready."

Daboll is pleased with that progress, as well as with the prospect of having Lemieux start. "We liked him when I was with the Bills," he said. Had good conversations with [Mario Cristobal], the head coach at Oregon.

"Shane is a tough, smart, dependable guy who plays with a nasty edge, which you need up front. Did a really good job in the meetings that we had with him leading up to the draft when I was in Buffalo. He's done a really nice job here. He's smart. He's what I thought he was when we evaluated him. When the pads get on, he'll have an opportunity to show that."

EXTRA POINTS Ė According to onlookers at recent practices, it might be wise to assume that rookie Daniel Bellinger could actually start as the tight end when the season opens. ... The 6-5, 255 pounder from San Diego State has exhibited sure hands, strong blocking skills and acceptable speed.

RB Saquon Barkley, evidently fully recovered from his ankle and knee surgeries, seems to be getting additional work as a receiver coming out the backfield or from the slot.

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