Tagged in: Giants

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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New York Giants sign former first-rounder Kelvin Benjamin

The New York Giants have signed former Carolina Panthers first-round pick Kelvin Benjamin, the team revealed Sunday.

Benjamin and former Philadelphia Eagles running back and Super Bowl hero Corey Clement impressed over the weekend during tryouts at rookie minicamp and received one-year deals.

A wide receiver who had more than 1,000 yards as a rookie for the Panthers in 2013, Benjamin has not played in the NFL since 2018. He worked primarily as a tight end at the tryout.

“In terms of Benjamin working a different position [Friday], we’re going to work different guys at a variety of things right now,” Giants coach Joe Judge said.

“He’s a big guy. He’s always been a big receiver. He’ll work receiver. He’s working a little bit flex tight end as well. “I wouldn’t really kind of, you know, pin him down to any one position at this point. We’re going to use the weekend to move him around to different spots and see how it works out.”

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Benjamin would join a crowded tight end room along with Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Kaden Smith and Levine Toilolo. The Giants also are deep at wide receiver after adding Kenny Golladay and John Ross in free agency and drafting Kadarius Toney in the first round.

This will make it tough for Benjamin to eventually land a spot on the final roster, regardless of position.

It was just three years ago during a Monday Night Football broadcast that ESPN analyst Booger McFarland famously declared Benjamin was “probably a Popeyes biscuit away from being a tight end.”

Benjamin, 30, has spent time with the Panthers, Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. He has 209 career receptions for 3,021 yards and 20 touchdowns. The 28th overall pick in 2014 was drafted in Carolina by current Giants general manager Dave Gettleman.

Clement, 26, spent the first four campaigns of his professional career with the Eagles. He has been slowed in recent years by injury but is best known for his performance in Super Bowl LII, when he had 100 receiving yards and a touchdown in the Eagles’ upset win over the New England Patriots.

Clement also helped execute the Philly Special, a trick play that resulted in a touchdown reception by quarterback Nick Foles.

The Giants needed veteran depth at running back. With Saquon Barkley coming back from a serious knee injury, the Giants signed Devontae Booker as a free agent and drafted Gary Brightwell in the sixth round.

New York also announced that it had waived running back Jordan Chunn and tight end Nate Wieting.

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New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley on track to be ready for start of season

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley is on track to be ready for the beginning of the season, sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Barkley tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a Week 2 loss at Chicago. He had surgery in late October, giving him almost 11 months to rehab and be ready for the start of the 2021 season.

The procedure included ACL reconstruction and meniscus repair. It was deemed a success at the time.

The Giants also picked up the fifth-year option on Barkley’s rookie contract Wednesday, the team revealed. With the move, Barkley’s 2022 salary, worth about $7.2 million according to OverTheCap.com, becomes fully guaranteed.

Barkley told the AP Pro Football Podcast in February that his surgically repaired knee was doing well, but he would not set a possible return date at that time.

Barkley and the Giants have been optimistic from the start that the team’s top offensive player would return at full strength for this season. Coach Joe Judge told him it’s “gonna be a hell of a story.”

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Barkley has been training primarily in Los Angeles and Arizona this offseason. He has spent time rehabbing alongside former teammate and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who also is rehabbing an ACL tear.

The Giants have been working under the assumption that Barkley would get back to 100 percent. Still, they allowed backup Wayne Gallman to walk in free agency and replaced him with Devontae Booker because of his three-down capabilities.

Barkley, 24, was hurt on Sept. 20. He was running toward the sideline when Chicago Bears safety Eddie Jackson tackled him. Barkley grabbed the knee as he was headed to the ground.

Barkley was helped off the field and later carted to the locker room. He had four rushes for 28 yards before exiting. His season ended with 19 rushes for 34 yards and no touchdowns. It was the second consecutive injury-shortened season for the No. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

Barkley played 13 games and just barely topped 1,000 yards rushing in 2019 as he dealt with a pesky high ankle sprain. He won Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2018, when he led the NFL with 2,028 yards from scrimmage and scored 15 total touchdowns.

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Jason Garrett expected to return as New York Giants’ offensive coordinator

New York Giants offensive coordinator Jason Garrett is expected to return after a shaky campaign in which the team concluded 31st in total offense and points scored, a source told ESPN.

Although Garrett will stay, there will be some variations to the Giants’ offensive staff, among them the possibility of internal alterations when it comes to the responsibilities of those currently on staff. Increased responsibility for quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert and tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens is possible.

In addition, the Giants are searching for a new offensive line coach, with assistant line coach Ben Wilkerson and former Houston Texans line coach Mike Devlin among those being interviewed. Tolbert is also reportedly in the running to be the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator.

This was the anticipated outcome with Garrett despite the Giants’ offensive struggles, especially after the coaching carousel had spun for weeks and there was no word on his future. The belief is that some stability for quarterback Daniel Jones and the offense could be valuable. Jones has already had two offensive coordinators and systems in his first two NFL seasons.

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“As far as the potential of Jason leaving, of course it makes you a little antsy,” general manager Dave Gettleman said after the season. “Just imagine, anybody, any of you guys, having your fourth editor in four years. It’s the same thing. It’s no different. We’ll adjust and adapt and do what we have to do, and obviously anything we do moving forward, Daniel is a big part of it. We’re certainly conscious of that piece, to answer your question.”

Garrett, 54, came to New York after nine seasons as the Dallas Cowboys’ head coach.

But it was at the request of ownership that first-year coach Joe Judge looked at the former Giants backup quarterback to be his coordinator.

Despite Judge signing off on it, the marriage seemed arranged and wasn’t perfect in Year 1. It became obvious that Garrett might not be the perfect match with Judge when offensive line coach Marc Colombo was fired midseason. Colombo and Garrett had spent years together in Dallas. Colombo wasn’t happy that Judge was bringing in veteran offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo as a consultant, and the situation deteriorated from there.

DeGuglielmo’s contract has since expired, and he is not expected to return, according to multiple sources.

Garrett sidestepped a question late in the season about whether he would return for a second year with the Giants.

“I’m just excited about the opportunity we have this week,” he said before the season finale against the Cowboys. “Really, I’ve just tried to stay in the moment in any position I’ve had as a player or coach in the NFL. That’s typically when you play your best and coach your best. That’s really what I’m focused on.”

Before his nine-season stint as the Cowboys’ head coach, Garrett was Dallas’ offensive coordinator. But he hadn’t called plays since 2012. The Giants’ offense also took a serious hit when star running back Saquon Barkley tore his knee in Week 2. Barkley, along with Garrett now, also is expected back for next season.

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Giants expected to retain GM Dave Gettleman

The New York Giants have decided to keep Dave Gettleman in place as their general manager for a fourth season.

The Post reports substantiated several other reports that have suggested the same.

After another losing season, which dropped the Giants’ record to an abysmal 15-33 during Gettleman’s tenure, there were rumors that Giants brass was thinking of letting him go or re-assigning him to an advisory role within the organization.

However, ownership thinks the team showed enough progress in Gettleman’s third-year and are headed in the right direction.

While Gettleman received well-deserved heat for hiring previous failed head coach in Pat Shurmur, he also played a large role in the hiring of head coach Joe Judge, who showed promise as a leader in his rookie year.

Personnel wise, the Giants’ roster still has a lot of holes to fill, but the signings of James Bradberry, Blake Martinez, Logan Ryan and Graham Gano were home run additions.

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Gettleman’s investment in Leonard Williams also paid dividends as Williams had a career season with 11.5 sacks, 57 tackles, 14 tackles for a loss, and 30 quarterback hits.

Despite continuous displeasure from their fan base regarding Gettleman’s time as GM, Giants ownership felt they had seen enough in 2020 to keep the current regime in place.

Although the team went 6-10, they were in contention for the NFC East until the final evening of the regular season due to poor competition within the division.

And while ownership said they wanted to be playing meaningful games in December, being a product of a poor divisional race likely did not play a factor in bringing Gettleman back. This decision came from the improvement of the team as the season progressed and the culture that the coaching staff built on the field and in the locker room.

Judge also publicly thumped for Gettleman, telling reporters recently that he’s thoroughly enjoyed working with the GM.

“I’ve enjoyed working with Dave the entire year,” said Judge. “We’ve done a lot of good things together. I really enjoyed the process of free agency and the draft. Obviously, we went through training camp, and there was a lot of logistical work we had to do in this particular spring and summer in terms of getting the setups ready for when the team came back.

“I think everyone is doing a good job right now in terms of understanding where we want to go and pushing in the right direction. There’s been some great coordination and communication with Dave [Gettleman] and everyone in personnel in terms of the kinds of players that fit into our systems.”

Co-owner John Mara and Gettleman will speak to the media on either Tuesday or Wednesday to discuss the decision. Gettleman will turn 70-years-old in February.

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New York Giants fire offensive line coach Marc Colombo

The New York Giants fired offensive line coach Marc Colombo following a nasty verbal confrontation with head coach Joe Judge, sources told ESPN, and have substituted him with longtime NFL assistant Dave DeGuglielmo.

“We appreciate what Marc has done, but I felt like this move is in the best interest of the team,” Judge said in a statement released by the team Wednesday.

When Colombo was told of a plan by Judge to hire DeGuglielmo as a consultant on Tuesday night, it did not go down well.

Colombo did not agree with the move and felt that he was being undermined, a source told ESPN, due to DeGuglielmo’s background as an offensive line coach. Another source added that the hands-on Judge wanted to bring in “one of his guys” to capture more control at a position that is not his expertise. Although there was plenty of name-calling, Colombo and Judge did not get into a fistfight, as one report indicated. A Giants spokesperson stated the report of a physical altercation is “absolutely false in every way.”

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The move to fire Colombo was a surprise considering that the Giants’ offensive line has shown improvement in recent weeks. The Giants have rushed for more than 150 yards in each of their past three matches.

Colombo was hired by Judge this offseason to work under Colombo’s former boss Jason Garrett, the offensive coordinator. Colombo was previously line coach for the Dallas Cowboys.

But Judge has been more involved in recent weeks in working with the Giants’ offensive line.

DeGuglielmo was an assistant offensive line coach/quality control with the Giants from 2004 to ’08. He also worked with Judge in New England when he coached the Patriots’ offensive line in 2014 and ’15.

Judge interviewed DeGuglielmo for the offensive line coach job earlier this year.

Colombo, 42, played 10 years in the NFL for the Chicago Bears, Cowboys and Miami Dolphins.

He worked as an assistant with the Cowboys for each of the previous four campaigns.

Among Colombo’s top jobs has been to work with the Giants’ young offensive linemen. Three of their first five picks in this year’s draft were offensive linemen, including No. 4 overall pick Andrew Thomas. Fifth-round pick Shane Lemieux was recently inserted into the starting lineup, and third-round selection Matt Peart has been rotated in.

But Thomas struggled early, and his sloppy technique became a topic of conversation. “We sat down, had conversations with Andrew, talked about taking [his technique] from the practice field to the game. That is what he’s done lately,” Colombo said last week.

“He has a new air of confidence. The past couple weeks he has played really well. His timing has been better. His pass sets have been better. His run blocking has been better. We just have to keep growing. I’ve noticed a more confident Andrew the past few weeks.”

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New York Giants adding Devonta Freeman on 1-year deal

The New York Giants are signing former Pro Bowl running back Devonta Freeman after losing Saquon Barkley for the campaign.

Freeman and the Giants agreed to a one-year deal worth up to $3 million, Freeman’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday.

Freeman is projected to sign the contract Wednesday morning, practice with the Giants later Wednesday and could play as soon as Sunday.

“Devonta turned down more money from other teams because he likes the opportunity with the Giants best,” Rosenhaus told Schefter.

Barkley tore the ACL in his right knee in Sunday’s 17-13 loss to the Chicago Bears. Dion Lewis played every snap in his absence.

Freeman, 28, spent the first six years of his career with the Atlanta Falcons. He has two 1,000-yard rushing seasons (2015-16) and has averaged 4.2 yards per carry throughout his career. But Freeman had 656 yards rushing and two touchdowns on 184 carries (3.6 average) last season. The Falcons let him walk as a free agent this offseason and instead signed Todd Gurley.

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Freeman had other chances this offseason.

He turned down a deal that could have been worth $3 million with the Seattle Seahawks and recently visited with the Philadelphia Eagles.

But the Giants offer Freeman the best opportunity for touches with Barkley lost for the campaign. They have Lewis and Wayne Gallman on the active roster. Veteran Rod Smith is on the practice squad.

“Wayne and Dion are definitely guys that will factor in,” coach Joe Judge stated Monday. “We’ll work to their strengths — they are two different types of backs. Both of them have a degree of toughness. Wayne’s got that long speed, get him ranging out and get him really moving.

Dion’s got that real good short-area quickness and burst to get going. He does a great job of finding small seams and getting through the hole. They are both different guys; we’re going to have to work with what they do well to give them an opportunity to be successful.”

Now add Freeman, who visited the Giants on Tuesday, to the mix.

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McCullers throws 7 scoreless, Astros beat Giants 6-4

Lance McCullers Jr. pitched no-hit ball into the seventh inning, Michael Brantley and Carlos Correa drove in two runs each and the Houston Astros snapped a five-game skid with a 6-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Monday night.

McCullers (2-1) bounced back from one of the worst performances of his career with a gem where he permitted one hit and struck out five in seven scoreless innings. The 26-year-old tied a career high by allowing eight runs in just 3 2/3 innings of a 14-7 loss at Arizona his last time out.

His only hit Monday came to 15 games with a grounder down the third base line that rolled just out of reach of Alex Bregman for a double with one out in the seventh.

The Astros got back in the win column a day after an ugly 7-2 loss to the Athletics that was marred by a benches-clearing fight that could lead to the suspension of hitting coach Alex Cintrón.

Cintrón was yelling at Oakland’s Ramón Laureano before the A’s outfielder charged Houston’s dugout, leading to the team’s second such incident this season after the Astros also got into with the Dodgers. San Francisco rookie starter Logan Webb (1-1) permitted four hits and five runs — only two earned because of two errors — in 3 1/3 innings.

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The Giants got things going on offense after McCullers left the game. Austin Slater had a solo shot off Josh James that made it 6-1 in the eighth inning.

Solano chased James on an RBI double with no outs in the ninth.

Ryan Pressly retired the next two batters before the Giants cut it to 6-3 on a run-scoring single by Brandon Crawford. Slater hit an RBI single before Pressly retired pinch-hitter Evan Longoria to get his first save.

Bregman was by Solano’s throw home while trying to score on Yuli Gurriel’s grounder in the third. The ball bounced off Bregman, glanced off catcher Chadwick Tromp’s mask and rolled away, allowing Bregman to score.

McCullers, who missed last season after Tommy John surgery, retired his first six batters before plunking Slater on the leg to start the third inning. He helped himself out with a nifty defensive play to end that inning when he ran to cover first base on a grounder hit by Mike Yastrzemski, made an off-balance catch and tagged Yastrzemski before falling to the dirt.

Martín Maldonado snapped a 0-for-13 slump when he connected off Conner Menez for a solo homer to the seats in right field to start Houston’s sixth and make it 6-0.

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