Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 06-04-21

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
In their last four seasons, the Giants are 18-46, which impossibly breaks down to 9-23 at home and 9-23 on the road, and it doesn't get much worse than that.

They played to records of 3-5, 2-6, 2-6 and 2-6 in MetLife Stadium and they were 3-5, 2-6, 3-5 and 1-7 away from home.

So now Joe Judge, in his second year as the head coach, having taken over from Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur (with almost no help from Steve Spagnuolo, who was 1-3 after he took over from the fired McAdoo), has to be focused on finding a way to achieve some sort of improvement.

He has gotten tons of help from general manager Dave Gettleman, who has provided smart draft choices and key veteran free agents, but the bulk of the burden still lies with Judge and his staff.

Yesterday, the team conducted yet another OTA practice session, and prior to the festivities, Judge was remotely interviewed, and at least for now, he is pleased and satisfied with the on-going progress.

"I'm pleased with the way they worked [veterans and rookies]," he said. "It slows down for them every week, you know, the scheme and the systems and the terminology. So as a coach, you start plugging it all together and moving fast forward.

"When you get these guys from the draft in the minicamps, they have been so far removed from football training. You have to get back to team football when you are moving at high intensity and volume and moving more easily into team drills."

One of the questions for this upcoming season is the future of offensive tackle Nate Solder, who took off last year with COVID concerns as well as family health reasons. He is a 10-year veteran but watching film clips from 2019 indicate he might have lost some of the sharpness in his abilities and now, a full year later, those concerns are accentuated.

"He's been working hard for us," Judge said. "He took time to get his body back in playing shape. He's been doing a good job, working hard on the field. He's been great with the guys. He's obviously an older guy, brings a lot of experience and he's been a good voice in the room as the entire offensive line has had great communication with (line coach) Rob (Sale), and (assistants) Pat (Flaherty), Freddie (Kitchens, Ben (Wilkerson). I've been pleased with how that entire unit of players and coaches have been working and the progress they're building towards right now."

It has been a subject harped on almost daily. The offensive line was not much good last year and must demonstrate genuine improvement to make all the new pieces of the offense come together. For now, the starters are tackles Andrew Thomas and Matt Peart, guards Will Hernandez and Shane Lemieux and center Nick Gates, and they have all taken to impromptu coaching from Solder.

"He's a veteran, been in the league 10 years now, and he just brings that experience," Gates said. "I think it helps the group, especially as a young offensive line. I think it helps us tremendously."

This in no way discounts the possible addition of other veteran linemen (Trai Turner, for instance) nor the sudden emergence of those now on the roster, such as tackle Jackson Barton, center Brett Heggie and guards Zack Fulton and Chad Slade.

EXTRA POINTS - Almost the entire secondary stayed away from yesterday's OTA, including Adoree Jackson, James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers, Darnay Holmes, Sam Beal, Xavier McKinney, Aaron Robinson, Isaac Yiadom and Julian Love. Also on the no-show list were wide receiver John Ross, kicker Graham Gano and the No. 1 draft pick, wide receiver Kadarius Toney, who signed his contract just a day ago.

There are only five OTAs remaining, with a three-day mandatory minicamp scheduled for next week. ... The top veteran free agent signee, wide receiver Kenny Golladay, was in attendance, as were defensive linemen Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence and linebacker Reggie Ragland.

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