Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 10-15-19

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


By Dave Klein
The Giants got a little help from their friends Sunday when the New York Jets, with whom they share a stadium, beat the Dallas Cowboys.

What that did was leave the Giants, at 2-4, just one game behind the Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, who are 3-3.

And by no stretch are the Cowboys and Giants friends, but the Dallas failure to beat one of the worst teams in the NFL did provide a welcome boost to Pat Shurmur's team.

"Yeah, I watched a lot of football Sunday," said Shurmur, whose team, of course, played (and lost badly, but didn't play badly) to the New England Patriots last Thursday night. "But mostly, I watched Arizona. We play them Sunday (at MetLife Stadium). But I did get to see some of the other games, too."

If the Giants are actually going to be part of some race in the NFC East to decide the best among a handful of mediocre teams, at least they figure to come into Sunday's game with more of their offensive weapons than previously thought.

There is every reason to expect to see running back Saquon Barkley, tight end-wide receiver Evan Engram and wide receiver Sterling Shepard in uniform and on the field, although Shurmur wouldn't say that positively.

"They practiced today [Monday] and did a lot of good things," is what he would say. "Getting back to work, for all the players, is the most important thing for us now." Well, Barkley was taking handoffs from Daniel Jones, and Engram was running routes, as was Shepard, and if they can all play the Giants will be suddenly vastly improved.

And what about Barkley, perhaps the most effective running back in the NFL? How will Shurmur know he's ready, recovered from that high ankle sprain?

"He has to show he can handle practice well and be ready to play. He practiced today, so we'll see when he comes in tomorrow, how he feels. Then the next day and so on and so forth. Hopes? We'll just have to see. I'm going to let the week kind of determine that."

Clearly, Shurmur has mastered the art of answering questions without really answering them.

Shepard is still in the concussion protocol, but Shurmur wouldn't say how far along he is.

"I can't talk about that," he said softly. "I know where he is, but that's not for public consumption. He's in the protocol, and when he's able to play, our doctors will let us know that and he'll be playing. It is out of my hands.

"So that's where we're at. I really don't have anything to add. I understand the interest in all of this, but there's really nothing that I can add."

EXTRA POINTS The Giants re-signed wide receiver Bennie Fowler, who was released three weeks ago, and to make room for him released linebacker Nate Stupar, who made a grievous error against New England Thursday night by allowing a punt to ricochet off his helmet and be recovered by the Patriots, leading to a touchdown.

They also signed running back Buck Allen, who spent four years (2015-18) with the Baltimore Ravens. ... Even if Barkley returns, there is more doubt that the same will happen for his backup, Wayne Gallman (he, too, is in the concussion protocol), and at least Allen has some NFL experience. ... The rookie who was suddenly the starter, Jon Hilliman, fumbled against N.E. and was released. But he has been re-signed and placed on the practice squad, from which he was activated two weeks ago.

The Giants are in the unique position of being favored in their next game. ... They are 3-point favorites over the Cardinals, a team that features another first-round rookie quarterback in the starting lineup, Oklahoma's Kyler Murray. ... Murray was the first overall selection, Jones the sixth.

Shurmur's record as the Giants' head coach is now 7-15. ... It is likely that next season, assuming the team misses the playoffs once again, that he'll be under some sort of pressure to start winning. ... Speaking of former head coaches, somebody said to his friend: "Hey, I saw Ben McAdoo yesterday," to which his friend said, "Where?" ... The answer: "At the car wash, I tipped him three bucks."

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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