Tagged in: Giants

New York Giants fire coach Joe Judge after just two seasons

The New York Giants fired coach Joe Judge on Tuesday after his two losing seasons with the crew.

The move comes a day after general manager Dave Gettleman retired after four seasons on the job.

Judge, a first-time head coach, went 10-23 in his two years. He is the third consecutive Giants coach to be fired after two seasons or less, following Ben McAdoo (13-15) and Pat Shurmur (9-23), as the once-proud franchise stumbles through one of the worst 10-year stretches in its history.

The move comes after Judge was left dangling for most of the past two days. He operated Monday as if he would stay, holding a team meeting before speaking with ownership in the afternoon. But the Giants did not mention that Judge would return when they sent out a news release revealing Gettleman’s retirement.

Judge had more meetings scheduled with ownership on the direction of the team Tuesday. It was during one of those meetings that Judge was informed he would not return for a third season.

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Judge, 40, appeared safe until late in the season, when the Giants started spiraling out of control after losing quarterback Daniel Jones to injury. They couldn’t move the ball and scored more than 10 points once in those six games with Mike Glennon and then Jake Fromm, claimed off the Buffalo Bills’ practice squad, starting.

The Giants used three starting quarterbacks in a single season for the first time since 1992. That was in Ray Handley’s second season as head coach, and he too was fired after the season.

Giants ownership had wanted to keep Judge. Mara even gave Judge a vote of confidence earlier this campaign despite a slow start.

But an animated 11-minute ramble after a loss to the Chicago Bears two weeks ago rankled the organization, and running back-to-back quarterback sneaks from inside their own 5-yard line on second and third downs during Sunday’s 22-7 defeat to the Washington Football Team made Judge an easy target and the Giants a running joke.

The Giants were big spenders last offseason, and the expectation from ownership was that they would at least be playoff contenders.

But a slow start, 1-5 this season, doomed Judge. New York started 0-5 under him in 2020 and has missed the playoffs nine of the past 10 seasons.

Judge’s .303 winning percentage is third worst in Giants franchise history, just above Shurmur, the man he replaced.

The Giants were among the league leaders in games missed due to injury this season. All their key offensive players — Jones, running back Saquon Barkley, left tackle Andrew Thomas, and wide receivers Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Kadarius Toney — missed at least two games.

Judge came to the Giants after eight seasons with the New England Patriots, mostly as the special-teams coordinator, and was highly recommended by Bill Belichick. Judge had previously worked under Nick Saban at Alabama.

New York lured Judge with a five-year contract. He was set to become the head coach at Mississippi State, his alma mater, before this opportunity arose. Two years and four days later, he’s out.

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New York Giants fire offensive coordinator Jason Garrett

The New York Giants have fired offensive coordinator Jason Garrett after he had less than two years on the job, the team revealed Tuesday.

The move comes as a result of continuing offensive struggles for the Giants (3-7) and follows their 30-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football.

“We made a decision to move on from Jason Garrett as the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants,” coach Joe Judge said.

“Look, I have a lot of respect for Jason as a person, as a coach. He’s been a tremendous asset for me as a young head coach. He’s helped our development here. He’s built very strong relationships in the building with the players, along with other support staff members. He’s done a good job putting the team first. I have a lot of respect and appreciation for everything he’s done for us.”

Judge stated this “is not a snap decision” after Monday night, acknowledging, “I don’t think there’s ever an ideal time to make a change like this in a season.” The Giants are on a short week after playing on Monday night. They were coming off a bye.

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Judge said the Giants will use a collaborative in-house effort to fill Garrett’s role.

A source told ESPN that Freddie Kitchens is expected to be involved in the playcalling. Judge declined to name a playcaller publicly and implied that he could perhaps be involved.

“Everything is on the table,” he said.

Garrett’s offense scored the fewest touchdowns of any team since the begining of last season. The Giants hired him in January 2020 after he had a long stint as the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

It had been seven years since Garrett had called plays before returning to New York. He never hit his stride with the Giants, despite a strong relationship with quarterback Daniel Jones.

The sudden midseason ending was “certainly disappointing,” Garrett said in a statement in which he also expressed his gratitude to the Mara and Tisch families.

“One of the things that motivated me to accept this position was the opportunity to help rebuild the Giants into a contending team,” he added. “We knew there would be many challenges. My expectations for our offense were much greater than what our results have been, and I accept full responsibility for that.”

The Giants have averaged 18.9 points per game this campaign, ranking 25th in the NFL on offense. In 2020, Garrett’s first season, the Giants were 31st in the NFL at 17.5 points per game.

The Giants on Monday finished with 215 total yards — the second-lowest total of the 26-game Judge era — and just 66 rushing yards. The 15 first downs was a season low, and only one of the Giants’ 54 offensive plays vs. the Bucs gained more than 16 yards.

The Giants have scored 30 points only once in the 26 games since Garrett joined the team. Even that came with the help of a defensive touchdown.

Garrett, 55, joined the Giants in 2020 after nine-plus seasons as the Cowboys’ head coach. He didn’t call plays from 2012 to 2019, but he did lead Dallas to an 85-67 record.

The former Giants quarterback (2000-03) was always a curious hire, as he didn’t have any previous experience working with Judge. The lack of aggressiveness and offensive innovation had been obvious from the start of Garrett’s tenure.

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Odell Beckham Jr. may return punts in Los Angeles Rams debut on MNF

The Los Angeles Rams have discussed using Odell Beckham Jr. as an occasional punt returner Monday night as part of a package of plays designed for the star wide receiver, sources told ESPN.

Beckham, who joined Los Angeles on an incentive-laden deal this past Thursday, is expected to make his Rams debut Monday night versus the division-rival 49ers.

Beckham was used as a punt returner early in his career with the Giants, but he has returned only one punt since 2019 in his two-plus seasons with the Browns. Star receiver Cooper Kupp sometimes has been the Rams’ “safe” punt returner, fielding punts deep in their own territory.

Beckham could be used there, as well as in other spots, and Monday night will be the first glimpse of whether the Rams decide to deploy the idea.

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The chances of returning punts is one of the ideas the Rams have pondered since signing Beckham to a one-year, $4.5 million deal that is heavy on team-driven postseason incentives.

The Rams joined the free-agent bidding for Beckham this past Tuesday once he cleared waivers after being released by the Browns.

The Rams felt they had a strong chance to land Beckham after head coach Sean McVay had a long and direct conversation with the receiver about how he would be used in Los Angeles.

Beckham made it clear that he was looking for three things: a good coach, a good quarterback and a team that would win this season.

The Packers, Chiefs, Saints and Seahawks showed varying levels of interest, but the Rams fit all the criteria and also could offer Beckham something no other franchise could — Los Angeles as a location.

The conversation between McVay and Beckham was the first of several that the three-time Pro Bowler had with members of the Rams organization over the next two days. He also spoke with his friends Von Miller and Jalen Ramsey, with each player pitching to Beckham the merits of playing in Los Angeles.

The Rams plan to attempt to re-sign both Beckham and Miller, who is in the final year of his contract, in the offseason, sources told ESPN. Although they added Beckham and Miller to make a Super Bowl run this season, the Rams see their relationships with both players potentially lasting beyond 2021.

Los Angeles also would receive compensatory draft picks if either player leaves in free agency.

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Odell Beckham Jr. is free agent after clearing waivers for Cleveland Browns

Former Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has cleared waivers Tuesday and is eligible to sign with any team as a free agent.

Beckham wants to spend the rest of this season with a playoff contender and in a winning environment, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter earlier in the week.

Multiple teams with winning records and established offenses are expected to be interested in Beckham, sources told ESPN.

Certain players already have reached out to Beckham, pitching the merits of their organization, according to sources.

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The Browns excused Beckham from practice last week while the sides negotiated his exit, which was finalized Friday.

After he was officially released Monday, Beckham was suitable to be grabbed by the other 31 teams, but none wanted to put in a waiver claim and pick up his renegotiated contract of $7.25 million by Tuesday’s 4 p.m. deadline.

Cleveland must pay Beckham $4.25 million but will save $3 million.

Beckham, 29, had 17 catches for 232 yards and zero touchdowns in six matches this season. He had only two 100-yard games in 29 games after joining Cleveland in the 2019 blockbuster trade with the New York Giants.

He asked to be traded and never developed an on-field connection with Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Beckham essentially forced his release last week when his father shared an 11-minute video on social media — hours before the trade deadline — of plays in which Mayfield didn’t pass him the ball.

The three-time Pro Bowler had 1,035 receiving yards in his first season with Cleveland but suffered a season-ending knee injury in 2020 and was out when the Browns ended a long playoff drought and won their first playoff game in 26 years.

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New York Giants lose safety Jabrill Peppers for rest of season to ruptured ACL, high ankle sprain

New York Giants safety Jabrill Peppers’ season is over after he suffered ankle and knee injuries Sunday in a triumph over the Carolina Panthers.

Peppers ruptured the ACL in his right knee in the third quarter of the 25-3 victory. He also suffered a high ankle sprain and was placed on injured reserve.

He’s now the third Giants captain to land on season-ending injured reserve this season, joining offensive lineman Nick Gates and middle linebacker Blake Martinez.

Another captain, running back Saquon Barkley, has also missed a pair of games as the team has been ravaged by injuries in recent weeks. It’s a tough way for Peppers’ career with the Giants to perhaps end.

Peppers was playing this campaign on the fifth-year option to his rookie contract. He is a free agent at the end of the season.

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“I know the game means a lot to Pep,” coach Joe Judge said on Monday. “He’s a tremendous leader on this team and brings a lot to us in terms of production and just leadership on the field.”

Peppers, 26, had 30 tackles and a sack this year.

He missed a pair of matches because of a hamstring injury and had seen his playing time and role decrease this season. He had fallen behind veteran Logan Ryan and second-year player Xavier McKinney in the safety rotation.

The Giants got Peppers along with first- and third-round picks back in 2019 in the trade that sent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cleveland Browns. But his time with the Giants has been marred by a variety of injuries, tallying 17 missed games in three years.

Peppers, a New Jersey native, was a first-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft out of the University of Michigan.

In a flurry of other roster moves, the Giants are signing defensive back J.R. Reed off the Los Angeles Rams’ practice squad and waiving wide receiver David Sills and cornerback Josh Jackson from the active roster. Defensive tackle Woodrow Hamilton was also released off the practice squad.

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Veteran WR Chris Hogan opts to retire from NFL, ending 10-year career

After a brief return to the NFL this season with the New Orleans Saints, wide receiver Chris Hogan decided to retire.

The 10-year veteran, who collected two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, was placed on the reserve/retired list Saturday.

Hogan had flirted with retirement earlier this year, when he switched careers and joined the Premier Lacrosse League. But the Saints lured him back in late July, and he earned a roster spot with the team — catching four passes for 41 yards and a touchdown in five matches.

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It’s unclear exactly why Hogan decided to retire.

He was not dealing with any known injuries. But the Saints have added depth to their wide receiver corps in recent weeks.

They signed veteran Kenny Stills last month and designated veteran Tre’Quan Smith to return from injured reserve this week. All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas could also return soon, though he has not started practicing after having ankle surgery in June.

Hogan began his career as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and bounced around from San Francisco to the New York Giants to the Buffalo Bills before finally making his NFL debut in December 2012 and catching his first pass in 2013.

He then played for the Bills until 2015 before spending three seasons in New England from 2016 to 2018 and winning two championships. He also spent one year each with the Carolina Panthers and New York Jets in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

He caught a total of 220 passes for 2,836 yards and 19 touchdowns in the regular season, plus another 34 catches for 542 yards and four touchdowns in the playoffs.

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New York Giants WR Kadarius Toney has ankle injury, apologizes for throwing punch Sunday

Add Kadarius Toney to the New York Giants’ list of injuries to monitor.

The rookie wide receiver is dealing with an ankle problem that has his status in doubt for Sunday when the Giants host the Los Angeles Rams at MetLife Stadium.

“He was at the doctor when we went through our squad meeting [Monday] but we’ll see where that comes out right there,” coach Joe Judge said. “I don’t think it’s anything significant, in regards to season-ending. We’ll see how it affects us immediately in the future for this week.”

The Giants also have to monitor starting quarterback Daniel Jones, who is in the concussion protocol. The Giants won’t know much officially on him until later in the week, according to Judge. Mike Glennon would start if Jones is unable to play.

New York did receive fairly encouraging news on running back Saquon Barkley (ankle) and wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hyperextended knee). X-rays on Barkley’s left ankle were negative, although the Giants wouldn’t put a timetable on his return. His injury was described by a source on Sunday evening as a “sprain.”

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Golladay and Barkley were undergoing further testing Monday afternoon but Judge was “hopeful they dodged a couple bullets right there.” Neither injury is anticipated to be long-term.

A source told ESPN on Monday afternoon that most of the injured Giants were probably out a “couple weeks.” In the grand scheme of a 17-game season, this was fairly encouraging news.

The Giants (1-4) did lose rookie cornerback Rodarius Williams for the season with a torn ACL in his right knee.

Toney had an X-ray immediately after Sunday’s 44-20 loss to the Dallas Cowboys when he had a career-best 189 yards receiving. They came back negative.

He didn’t seem to think it was anything that would affect his status for this week.

“Yeah, I’m good,” Toney said Monday when asked about his ankle and if he would practice and play this week.

The 20th-overall pick in this year’s draft also apologized Monday on Twitter for throwing a punch that got him an ejection late in the fourth quarter.

Judge stated the incident would be handled in-house and a league source told ESPN on Monday that Toney would not be suspended. He would go through the standard discipline process with the league that will likely result in a fine

Toney didn’t think this incident would be anything more than a one-off.

“Me and (Head Coach Joe) Judge talked, and you know, stuff like that. Really, it was just a one-time thing,” he said. “I’m a rookie making early mistakes. I’ve just got to learn from them and build from it.

“I felt like I needed to apologize to mainly everyone, because as far as little kids looking up to me and stuff like that, it’s not the example I want to set for them, you know what I’m saying? I feel like, everybody makes mistakes and stuff like that, but at the end of the day we always have to be accountable for our emotions and our actions also.”

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Giants beat Brewers 5-1, move into 1st-place tie

Thairo Estrada hit a three-run homer during San Francisco’s four-run eighth inning, and the Giants defeated the Brewers 5-1 on Thursday to avoid a four-game sweep.

A day after falling out of first place for the first time since May 30, the Giants (85-49) moved into a tie atop the NL West with the idle Los Angeles Dodgers. The archrivals face off in a three-game series starting Friday night.

Austin Slater also connected, and Logan Webb pitched seven sparkling innings. San Francisco had dropped four in a row.

“I think it was a much-needed victory for us,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It’s a good boost of confidence going into the next series, but obviously, all of our attention and focus was on today’s game.”

Milwaukee (82-53) wasted a terrific performance by Eric Lauer, who tossed seven innings of three-hit ball. The NL Central leaders had won four in a row.

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Darin Ruf put the Giants ahead to stay with a two-out RBI double off Devin Williams in the eighth. Estrada followed with a drive to left for his fourth homer.

“My approach was just to relax, look for a pitch up, something that I was able to drive,” Estrada stated through a translator.

Williams (7-2) got two outs and was charged with four runs.

The 2020 NL Rookie of the Year allowed one unearned run over his previous 22 appearances, striking out 31 in 21 innings.

Slater put San Francisco in front when he drove Lauer’s first pitch over the wall in left-center for for his second career leadoff drive. Slater also became the 10th Giant to reach 10 homers this season, the most in franchise history.

The Brewers tied the game in the fourth on an RBI double by Jace Peterson, scoring Luis Urías.

Tyler Rogers (5-1) got the win, striking out the side in the top of the eighth to lower his ERA to 1.80.

Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell was ejected with two outs in the ninth for arguing a foul ball that was initially ruled a two-run homer for Willy Adames.

“In the end, I think they got that call right,” Counsell said. “When a guy that’s 75 feet away from the call gets the call reversed, it’s just a little suspicious. So that was my argument, but they got it right.”

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New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley ‘doing well’ in ACL rehab, unsure of status for start of season

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley says he is “doing well” in his rehab from a torn ACL, but won’t put a timetable on his return or provide any public assurance that he will be back for the beginning of the new season.

The Giants open the regular season versus the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12, some 11 months after the major surgery on Barkley’s right knee. He also had MCL and meniscus damage.

“You know me. I’m going to take it one day at a time. Just come in with my head down and ready to work,” Barkley said Wednesday after spending the second day of mandatory minicamp inside the team facility while most of his Giants teammates practiced.

“It’s going to be whenever my body tells me I’m ready or I’m able to show everyone I’m ready again. That’s when I’m going to be able to go out there and hopefully be elite, what I was before but even better.”

This is the approach Barkley and the Giants are taking. They aren’t going to set any potentially unrealistic expectations for his return, thus putting any unnecessary pressure on him to get back on the field.

The tight-lipped Barkley wouldn’t even go into detail about where he is in the rehab process, although sources have told ESPN recently that there have been no significant setbacks and that he has progressed to jump-cutting. “Looks good,” one of the sources said.

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Barkley was also positive about the progress he’s making, even if he was unwilling to publicly provide the full details.

“I just expect to come in every single day and work hard, work my butt off, listen to the coaches, listen to the trainers, listen to the doctors,” he said. “I’m going to take it one day at a time. Whenever I’m able to, I guess you can say, go out there and participate with the team again, I’ll be ready.

“I’m doing well. I’m doing pretty well. Just taking one day at a time. Just listening to the trainers from [senior vice president of medical services] Ronnie [Barnes] to [director of rehabilitation] Leigh [Weiss] to all the way down and still being in conversations with [surgeon] Dr. [Neal] ElAttrache and [head team physician] Dr. [Scott] Rodeo. Just listening to them and taking it one day at a time.”

It has become clear in recent weeks that the Giants are going to take it slowly with the Pro Bowl running back. They are looking at this situation with a long-range view that prioritizes his well-being and future over the short-term gain of being ready for training camp or the start of the campaign.

Barkley is not expected to be full-go for the start of training camp, a source told ESPN last month. They aren’t going to put him on the field in live situations until he’s 100%. It’s entirely possible that might not be until October.

Barkley seems to be on board with the plan, although he admitted it’s difficult to be patient.

So for now and likely most of this summer, he will just have to envision how he fits into the offense alongside newcomers Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, Kyle Rudolph and several others.

Free-agent acquisition Devontae Booker is filling Barkley’s role in the meantime.

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San Francisco 49ers center Weston Richburg retires from NFL, cites injuries

Almost three years ago, the San Francisco 49ers made Weston Richburg the highest-paid center in NFL history. On Wednesday, Richburg’s time with the Niners came to an end, as he declared his retirement from the NFL.

Richburg had an injury-plagued stint with the 49ers that culminated in his missing the entire 2020 season because of a lingering shoulder injury and his continued efforts to recover from a torn right patellar tendon suffered in Week 14 of the 2019 season.

“I consider myself extremely blessed to have played in this league and am so grateful for the experiences over the last seven years,” Richburg said in a statement released by the 49ers.

“Injuries are an unfortunate part of this game and I’ve reached a point where my body won’t allow me to continue playing and competing at a high level. I was able to play some good football all over the country and was fortunate enough to finish my career with the greatest franchise in sports. From top to bottom, the 49ers organization is comprised of some of the best men, women and athletes I’ve ever been around. To be just a small part of an NFC Championship and Super Bowl run is something I will never forget.”

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As it turned out, that Week 14 contest versus the New Orleans Saints was the final game of Richburg’s 49ers tenure.

Richburg, who turns 30 on July 9, also recently had hip surgery. In three seasons in San Francisco, Richburg started 28 games.

After four years with the New York Giants, who selected him in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft, Richburg signed a five-year, $47.5 million contract with the 49ers in the opening days of 2018 free agency. The Niners reworked that deal during the 2019 season to save some cap space, leaving Richburg with a scheduled cap charge of almost $11.5 million in 2021.

Since Richburg retired after June 1, the Niners can spread out the $7 million in remaining dead money evenly over the cap in 2021 and 2022. They will save $1.075 million in cap space for 2021 upon Richburg’s retirement.

“Weston was someone who made not only our offense, but our entire team better,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said in the statement. “He led by example through his detailed approach and the toughness in which he played the game. He was a tremendous player for our organization and will be missed both on the field and in the locker room.”

The 49ers signed Alex Mack in free agency to take over the starting center duties.

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