NFL Week 16 GameDay: Giants at St. Louis

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The Giants (5-9), winners of two straight, travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams (6-8) and their smothering defense.

Kickoff: 4:05pm Eastern
Site: Edward Jones Dome
Surface: AstroTurf GameDay Grass 3D
TV: FOX Thom Brennaman, David Diehl, Laura Okmin (Field Reporter)
Radio: WFAN 660AM and 101.9FM Bob Papa, Carl Banks and Howard Cross; SIRIUS: 133 (NYG), 93 (StL) XM: 225 (StL)
Referee: Pete Morelli
The Line: Rams by 6 1/2; OU 43 1/2
Give/Take: Giants -5; Rams +2

Series: Rams lead, 25-14. Giants have won last 5.

Last Game: 9/19/11: Rams 16 at Giants 28. New York RB Ahmad Bradshaw records 104 scrimmage yards (59 rushing, 45 receiving). Giants RB Brandon Jacobs rushes for 50 yards & TD.
Last Game at Site: 9/14/08: Giants 41, Rams 13. New York QB Eli Manning passes for 260 yards & 3 TDs. Giants WR Plaxico Burress has 5 receptions for 81 yards & TD. Defense records 6 sacks. To read more of this story, click here

McAdoo still hoping to put it all together

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The Giants’ hiring of Ben McAdoo to be their new OC last offseason was met with mixed results. Many fans and pundits are still on the fence as to whether McAdoo is the right guy to carry the Giants’ offense into the future.

Head coach Tom Coughlin is not one of those guys

“He has done good job. He’s a solid football coach and knows exactly what he is doing,” Coughlin told reporters Friday. “He does a good job helping to coach the quarterbacks and the offense, his work ethic is very good.”

Many questioned his playcalling early on in the season, which reeled in QB Eli Manning by shortening the receiver route tree, a strategy that has recently changed with the emergence of WR Odell Beckham, Jr. Some suggested to Coughlin that McAdoo has changed, or rather found, his playcalling rhythm.

“He has been, I think, pretty consistent with that,” said Coughlin. “I think the fact that when you get in games sometimes and you are not successful with the balance that you are looking for, it is not easy. When you are not running as well as you would like to do that, to provide the kind of the balance. That falls just as much on my shoulders as anybody else.”

McAdoo said this week that the offensive squad was making progress. He has not had full complement of personnel to work with, but he is not using injuries or inexperience as an excuse for any shortcomings. The group he sends out every Sunday is expected to get the job done.

“We are always chasing consistency,” said McAdoo. “The more time you spend together, the more time you can grow and see consistent improvement. We are looking for that over the final two games, especially this week. It is about consistency. Each play, each quarter, each half and each game, we are looking to put it all together.”

McAdoo himself still seems to be a bit of a mystery. When he arrived here from Green Bay last spring, Giants fans knew very little about him. They are still trying to put their finger on where his strengths and weaknesses lie. He was asked this week how he feels he has evolved as a first year coordinator and playcaller.

“That is a good question. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about that,” McAdoo said. “You learn what you learn along the way. You apply. You go back to conversations that you may have had along the way and in tough times, you think about players, not plays. Maybe that is something that you can apply going forward, especially in a long season. Other than that, that is the first thing that comes to mind.”

The arrival of Beckham, who missed all of the offseason, preseason and first quadrant of the season, has been a godsend for McAdoo. He has had to make do without WR Victor Cruz, who was out early on, and with only sporadic appearances from RB Rashad Jennings. In addition, WR Rueben Randle has been slow to step up his game who has been outdone by Ffree agent pickup Preston Parker in the past month. It has been difficult for McAdoo to run his offense successfully while mixing and matching personnel on a weekly basis.

“We believe in the next man up mentality,” McAdoo said. “We have a lot of guys who have stepped up and played some good football for us when Victor went down. Preston Parker is a guy who comes in and fights hard and he works hard and it is important to him. We respect that. There are a bunch of different guys who have stepped up and filled Victor’s shoes and done a nice job for us.”

Beckham has solved a lot of the Giants’ problems on offense this season. He is as welcome as a three-run homer is in baseball. He’s made big plays, and lots of them. The focus now is to find out exactly how much Beckham can do.

“We need to continue to work with him in expanding his role and seeing what he can handle and really going through an offseason and seeing what he does well,” said MacAdoo. “Where we are right now is we are putting game plans in and we have a good feel for what his strengths are and detailing his strengths and making sure we bring his weaknesses up and make those better. The offseason is the time where we will be able to help mold his game and see where we can go with him and his position.”

As McAdoo tries to get the ball into Beckham’s hands as much as possible, he is realizing the rookie’s strengths as well as his weaknesses – though McAdoo wasn’t quick to point those out.

“That wouldn’t be very smart for me to answer, now would it?” the OC said.

Perhaps Beckham doesn’t have any. That would be a huge plus for McAdoo, the coach we are still trying to pin down.

Giants-Rams: Defenses will control outcome

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The Giants (5-9) will travel to St. Louis to face the Rams (6-8) on Sunday. Not a marquee game by any stretch, and can only be seen in those markets on FOX at 4:05 p.m. Thom Brennaman, David Diehl and Laura Omkin will provide the call on FOX. It will be the third time in the last four weeks that Diehl will covering the Giants.

The matchup features two clubs finishing disappointing seasons. The Rams have struggled offensively at times against contending teams. They are 20th in rushing offense and 26th in passing. They are 20th in points scored.

Like the Giants, the Rams are still playing hard for their respective coaches as the playoffs drift further out of their reach.

They began the season with the hopes that Sam Bradford could finally stay on the field and that Zac Stacy would lead the rushing attack. It did not happen. To read more of this story, click here

Antrel deserves to finish career with Giants

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Safety Antrel Rolle said Wednesday, on his weekly spot on WFAN, that he wants to finish his career as a Giant (CBSNewYork Dec 18).

“This is a great fit,” he said. “I would love to finish my career here. I want to be with JPP and (Odell) Beckham, and I can’t wait to see (Victor) Cruz come back. These are my brothers. This is where I want to be.”

RolleThe 32 year-old Pro Bowler is in the final season of a  five-year, $37 million deal he signed back in March 2010, which, at the time, was the richest deal ever given to an NFL safety.

To his credit, Rolle has not missed a game since signing that deal — 77 games in all. In fact, he has missed only one game since 2005, when he was with the Arizona Cardinals.

Rolle wants to return to the Giants, but the team may not want to pay him what he believes he’s worth. All of those games, all of those snaps may be catching up to him. As per sportingcharts.com, Rolle has played 913 of the Giants’ 918 defensive snaps (99.5%) this season. Only six players in the league have played more. At 32, that’s saying something. To read more of this story, click here

Preseason hero Washington not finding regular season success

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

This past summer, a rookie WR was creating a buzz at Giants’ training camp. No, it wasn’t first round pick Odell Beckham, Jr., who is now a legitimate ROY candidate, but rather Corey Washington, an unknown UDFA out of small Newberry College.

Corey WashingtonWhile Beckham’s tricky hamstring relegated him to watching the entire preseason (and first quarter of the regular season) from the sidelines, Washington was electrifying Giant fans with his late-game heroics.

During the preseason, Washington caught 10 passes for 155 yards and four touchdowns en route to being named NFL.com’s “Preseason MVP”. The Giants got caught up in the frenzy and the 6’4″, 215lb, 23 year-old out of nowhere was placed on the team’s final roster.

The Giants had struck gold with UDFA receivers in the past, most notably Victor Cruz, and Giant fans were expecting Cruz-like results from Washington right out of the gate. It hasn’t happened.

Head coach Tom Coughlin is reluctant to thrust green rookies into the lineup, and no rookie is greener than Washington. He has been used sporadically on offense during the season late in games, but he’s been basically assigned to the special teams thus far.

Washington is buried behind Beckham, Rueben Randle and Preston Parker on the depth chart. There really isn’t any room for him in the offense right now. Coughlin was asked what Washington has to do to get more snaps during games. To read more of this story, click here

Giants Week 15 defensive report card, presented by Long Island University

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Overall Grade: B

It’s hard to bash a defense after a game in which they only allowed 13 points, and only three in the second half. So, we’ll go easy on them, even though the Redskins met them halfway with poor execution and lack of composure.

Long Island UniversityThe Redskins actually led this game, 10-7, at the half and it could have been 17-7 had the RGIII TD run not been reversed. The reversal of the call was the correct one, negating the TD as Griffin did not possess the ball all the way to the ground in the end zone after lacking possession over the goal line, and the Giants dodged a huge bullet. Unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after the play by Washington moved the second half kickoff to the Washington 35. The Giants cashed in on an onside kick to open the half and never looked back.

The Giants had seven sacks and 12 QB hits. It was the third week in a row the defense had at least seven sacks and, believe it or not, it’s the first time that’s happened in Giants history. The Giants have 41 sacks on the season, far exceeding their 2013 total of 34 – with two games remaining. They have climbed up the stats tree and are currently fourth in the NFL in team sacks.

The game was about clutch plays. The Giants made them, the Redskins did not. Washington was 4-13 on third down and 0-1 on fourth down. They went 1-4 in the red zone and 0-2 in goal-to-go efficiency. End of story.


To read more of this story, click here

Giants Week 15 offensive report card, presented by Long Island University

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Overall Grade: B

If you look at the stat sheet, the Giants were outplayed by the Redskins on Sunday except when it came to making plays that counted. The Redskins gained more yards, had more first downs and held the ball longer than the Giants, but New York took advantage of their opportunities.

Long Island UniversityThe Giants gained 287 yards, their third-lowest total of the season; they totaled 197 at Detroit in Week 1 and 253 in their shutout loss at Philadelphia on Oct. 27. The Giants rushed for 49 yards, their lowest total since they ran for 41 yards at Detroit on Dec. 22, 2013.

The Giants played a clean game, the only turnover was a fumbled punt by Odell Beckham Jr. with nine seconds left in the game. They have won their last five games in which they did not commit an offensive turnover.

But the Giants have a weapon like no other in Beckham, Jr. in the game’s premier matchup. Beckham dragged the Giants kicking and screaming to victory as Washington rookie CB Bashaud Breeland, a physical, active defender, proved no match for OBJ, committing five penalties attempting to slow the Giants’ wunderkind down.

With RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) limited again, the Giants could only muster 2.2 YPC on 22 attempts on the ground. If not for Beckham’s 12 receptions, the Giants would have struggled through the air as well. The rest of the team had only 11 receptions for 107 yards. To read more of this story, click here