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Manning, In Possibly His Last Start for Giants, Beats Dolphins, 36-20

by Scott Mandel

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning threw two touchdowns in what might have been his final home start for the Giants and New York snapped a franchise record-tying nine-game losing streak with a 36-20 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Saquon Barkley ran for 112 yards and scored two walk-in touchdowns and New York’s much-maligned defense added a safety as the Giants (3-11) handed the Dolphins (3-11) their second loss in as many weeks at MetLife Stadium.

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The 38-year old Manning with game ball in post-game locker room

Watch Eli Manning run off the field to tremendous ovation from Giants fans: https://www.giants.com/video/eli-manning-receives-standing-ovation-as-he-celebrates-win-with-teammates-and-fa

Manning, who lost his starting job to Daniel Jones in Week 3 and got it back last week when the rookie sprained an ankle, threw a 51-yard scoring pass to Golden Tate in the second quarter and a go-ahead 5-yarder to Darius Slayton on the opening series of the second half. The 38-year-old also threw three interceptions, two of which set up by field goals by Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders.

With 1:50 left in the game, Manning (20 of 28 for 283 yards) was taken out by coach Pat Shurmur and replaced by Alex Tanney, drawing his second standing ovation from those left in the crowd. He walked to the sideline and was congratulated by teammates while the crowd chanted “Eli Manning.” He even smiled.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, whose game slipped after taking a big hit on a third-quarter scramble, threw two touchdowns to DaVante Parker, the second one with the game out of reach.

Buck Allen added a late 1-yard TD run in the Giants’ biggest offensive output of the season.

This was a game between teams with among the worst records in the league and Manning’s start gave it some meaning, especially for the locals who had seen him run the team since the middle of the 2004 season.

With his contract set to expire after this season, the Giants made sure his name was announced when the offense took the field for the second series of the game and he got a standing ovation. Some fans in the stands held up signs: “Thank You, Eli” one read.

Photos: Giants vs. Dolphins from the sidelines
Manning trots off the field with a minute remaining in the game to huge ovation

Manning stole the show in the second half, leading the Giants to three touchdowns on their first five possessions. His pass to Slayton wiped out a 10-7 deficit and Barkley, who had not run for 100 yards in the previous seven games, added TD runs of 1 and 10 yards.

The Dolphins took a 10-7 halftime lead on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Fitzpatrick to Parker and a 24-yard field goal by Sanders.

Manning and Tate combined on a 51-yard catch and run to tie the game 7-all just 62 seconds after the Parker catch.

Giants Fans Hope Eli Manning’s Swan Song This Monday Night Isn’t a Disastrous Game for Immobile QB

by Scott Mandel

For those of you old enough to recall a former NFL great named Y.A. Tittle, you may remember the iconic photograph (shown above) of a bloodied and beaten Tittle at the end of his career as the quarterback of the New York Giants.

Then, there was the story of Joe Namath, the Super Bowl III championship quarterback of the New York Jets and cultural icon of the hippie-dippy 60s, whose quick release from the pocket, zipping the football 40 yards downfield on a straight line coupled with his football moxie and predictive powers (“We will beat the Colts in the Super Bowl”) changed the sport, forever.

You also probably remember Namath’s bad knees, particularly later in his career, that made him a veritable statue in the pocket who couldn’t avoid the rush of oncoming defensive linemen.

Namath, at age 34, was a washed up quarterback who gave it one last try with the Los Angeles Rams in 1977. It was a miserable and sad happenstance to observe. He had never been mobile enough to avoid being sacked with some regularity when his Jets’ offensive line broke down but, in 1977, the Rams were terrible and their offensive line, much worse than terrible.

Like watching Willie Mays playing centerfield for the New York Mets at age 42, Namath and his arthritically-wracked knees was an easy target for pass rushers. He would get sacked before he even got set in the pocket to throw a pass. Watching Mays and Namath, and Tittle in the twilight’s of their careers were among one young man’s saddest boyhood memories.

We are hoping Eli Manning, at age 37, can put on a better show than Namath did 42 years ago when he starts for the Giants this Monday against the Philadelphia Eagles in front of a huge national television audience that will be tuning in to see the two-time Super Bowl champion’s potentially final performance in the NFL.

Eli Manning walks off the field after the Giants’ loss to the Redskins on Thanksgiving. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Manning started first two games of this season. Since then, zero snaps.

How ironic is it that Manning, in his 16-year NFL career, started 210 consecutive regular-season games from Nov. 21, 2004 to Nov. 23, 2017, the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history, until temporary Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, replaced him for one start with the great Geno Smith. Yet, here we are, in season one of newly-crowned Giants quarterback, Daniel Jones getting injured with a high ankle sprain that may keep him sidelined for the remainder of his rookie campaign.

So Manning, holding a clipboard for the past 11 weeks, is back. No doubt, rusty and no doubt fearful this game could get very ugly for him and the Giants.

 

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What kind of performance will Manning have on Monday night?

The questions most fans are asking today are: Does Eli have anything left in the tank? Is he playing for a contract with the Giants or anther team for next season? Will he get sacked a dozen times as the Eagles rush punctures the porous Giants offensive line?

NFL fans, and Giants fans, in particular will be tuning in on Monday night to get their answers. The little guy, who saw Namath and Mays at the end of their careers, shedding a tear or two, hopes history does not repeat itself in the same way. But, there will be a box of tissues nearby, just in case.

Politics, Too:

New York Times Writes About the Democratic Party Not Having a Leading Minority Voice as the Primary Races Take Shape

by Scott Mandel

The New York Times, this morning, questioning how the Democratic party can present itself as a party of inclusion if they do not have any minority candidates running for the top office.

I don’t know, in this system we live under, or should I say, live within, voters choose. Unfortunately, polling also chooses and money follows the polling. Until money gets taken out of the electoral system, minority super pacs and very wealthy scions of industry and entertainment will need to give their billions to minority candidates of their choice to keep the Democratic Party from failing, in the Times’ eyes, from being an equal opportunity political party.

There is nothing egalitarian about politics in this country, right now. It is not about who has the clearest messaging or what color a candidate’s skin is. It IS about, especially this year, who the most electable person is, no matter gender or race..

And, while the New York Times is at it, I’d like to see a piece about the Republican party’s equal opportunity system for diversity among their national candidates.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) poses for photos after a roundtable with black male voters on Dec. 2 in South Carolina. (Meg Kinnard/AP)
Cory Booker hopes to capitalize on Kamala Harris; departure from the race for president

The other point, as the Times correctly points out, is that candidates like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Julian Castro, and Tulsi Gabbard have not succeeded in garnering support from minority voters. That may be a more important piece of this equation to look at than Democratic party diversity issues.

Willis Reed, Walt Frazier, Bill Bradley, Patrick Ewing and now, Marcus Morris

By Scott Mandel

The Knicks are advertising their next game with, “come see Marcus Morris and the Knicks at MSG.”
Wow.

If this is not quite a sign that the apocalypse is on its way, it may be a sign that basketball, once known as the city game (when the city referred to was New York) has become a secondary event in this city and at Madison Square Garden, which used to house the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus every year until that entity also went out of business.

Is Jim Dolan, the Knicks owner, doing the same thing to the Knicks that happened to the circus or, have the Knicks, with a record of 4-14, become the new circus in town with Dolan as the ringleader?

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The Knicks are advertising on social media to “come out to MSG to watch Marcus Morris and the Knicks in 2019. Their record is 4-14.

Penn State Did Not Lose to a Better Ohio State Team, Their Coach, James Franklin Lost to Better Coach

By Scott Mandel

James Franklin, the head coach of Penn State, is terrible.

Letting Ohio State’s #2, defensive end Chase Young, the best football player in the country, rush his quarterback without a double team, or even a strong-side chip from a tight end or running back, is pathetic coaching at any level.

Leaving his helpless offensive lineman, #71, out there on an island by himself to block Mr. Young in obvious passing situations was truly the stupidest coaching I have ever seen in my life.

Chase Young , Ohio State’s pass-rushing machine, today set the all-time record for the storied university’s football program for most sacks in a season today with 16.5 sacks. There are still more games to be played to the 2019 season yet James Franklin could not figure out how to help his overmatched right offensive tackle.

Hell, most of the offensive tackles in the NFL will be overmatched against Young, who is profiling as the next Lawrence Taylor in the league where they play for pay.

There are rumors James Franklin is going to interviewed for the head coaching job with the University of Southern California. My strong advice for Penn State backers is to help Franklin pack his bags and send him on his way.

Today, in Columbus, Ohio, Penn State was not beaten by a better team. They were beaten by a better coach.

Jets’ Owner, Christopher Johnson: “Adam Gase Is Our Coach. Period”

by Scott Mandel

So the Jets owner, Christopher Johnson, publicly pronounced that his choice of Adam Gase to be the head coach of the New York Jets on January 3rd of this year has been rewarded with the kind of progress all of us sane football fans can easily perceive.

I mean, who wouldn’t think a 2-7 football team wasn’t showing progress, right? Perhaps, the Jets “big win” over the 2-8 New York Giants changed everyone’s thinking around Jets land. But, is their thinking rational?

Here’s the thing. The Jets stink. Their offense, which is Gase’s baby, stinks. Their defense stinks. Their special teams stink.

So why is Christopher Johnson sticking with Adam Gase, then? One reason and one reason only.

Sam Darnold, the young quarterback drafted last year who has seemingly regressed in this, his second season as an NFL starting quarterback. Johnson and the Jets’ hierarchy are protecting Darnold from the awful prospect of having a winning head coach come in next season, with a winning track record and mucking up Darnold’s development.

We agree, with Johnson, but only to the extent the young quarterback should have the benefit of continuity within the offensive system Gase installed this year. But, It would not ruin Darnold’s career to go into yet, another system next season if Gase was relieved of his duties. Darnold, still only 22-years old, is talented and mobile, a prototypical modern quarterback in today’s NFL. His weaknesses of ball security and decision-making with many of his throws are fixable by any coaching staff, and are separate issues that have been a part of his history, going back to his college days at USC.

I am convinced this head coach is not going to be successful. He does not appear to have the personality or leadership skills to coach 53 players and the three platoons of a football team. he focuses on offense the way Rex Ryan focused on defense.

The reality is, his offensive systems have not proven successful in the past nor hase his play-calling been viewed as groundbreaking in any way.

If I’m running the Jets, should a better option than Adam Gase present itself, if a coach with a long career of winning and getting his teams into the postseason become available, I would get rid of Gase in a second. The still young Darnold can adjust to a third system. Especially when the current system sputters, anyway. And. before we start talking about offensive lines and injuries, always know that every NFL team has the same issues with offensive lines and injuries. 


Mike McCarthy would have had this team in a better place than 2-8, or whatever their record is.

Mets’ Pete Alonso Named National League Rookie of the Year

by Scott Mandel

New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso tonight was named the 2019 National League Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA).

Alonso received 29 of 30 first-place votes and garnered 148 of a possible 150 voting points. He is the second Mets position player (also, Darryl Strawberry in 1983) and sixth player in club history overall to win the award. Four Mets pitchers have also been named Rookie of the Year: Tom Seaver (1967), Jon Matlack (1972), Dwight Gooden (1984) and Jacob deGrom (2014).

The 24-year-old put together one of the greatest offensive seasons ever by a rookie, setting numerous Mets and major league records. Most notably, he became the first Met and first rookie to lead the majors outright in home runs, swatting a major league rookie-record 53 blasts.

“I am so grateful to the Baseball Writers’ Association for their recognition,” Alonso said. “I’m truly blessed and humbled to be part of a group of some of the best to ever play the game. This season was the most special time I’ve ever had on a baseball field. I’m extremely thankful to the Mets for allowing me the opportunity to prove myself at the major league level this year. I can’t wait to get back to work in the spring and make a push for the postseason in 2020.”

Alonso was a three-time NL Rookie of the Month honoree, taking home the award in April, June and September. The only other players to win three NL Rookie of the Month awards are Jason Bay (2004) and Juan Soto (2018).

In addition to setting Mets club marks for home runs, extra-base hits (85) and total bases (348) in his first major league season, Alonso also established club rookie records for hits (155), RBI (120), runs scored (103), at-bats (597), plate appearances (693), games played (161), slugging percentage (.583), OBP (.358) and OPS (.941). He tied the club rookie record with 72 walks.

“Pete’s historic rookie season created great memories and thrilled Mets fans all year,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said. “We are very proud of how he represents our fans, teammates and the organization on and off the field with his energy, enthusiasm and passion.”

Alonso became the first rookie position player in Mets history to be named to the NL All-Star team. He was the first rookie to win the Home Run Derby outright as well, defeating fellow rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the final round. In the Midsummer Classic, he went 1-2 with a two-run single and a stolen base, making him the first rookie with multiple RBI in an All-Star Game.

“Pete was a joy to watch all season long for our passionate fans as well as all of us in the organization,” Mets Executive Vice President and General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said. “We’re so proud to see his on-field results match his tireless work ethic.”

Alonso led the NL in extra-base hits, was second in total bases, third in RBI, sixth in slugging and seventh in OPS. He led all qualified rookies in games played, hits, home runs, RBI, OPS, extra-base hits, runs scored, walks, total bases and slugging percentage.

Alonso will receive the award during the 97th Annual New York Baseball Writers’ Dinner on January 25, 2020 at the New York Hilton Midtown Hotel.

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NBA preview: LeBron and AD are Lakers’ perfect power couple

by Scott Mandel

It is indisputable that some of the elite duos in NBA history ruled while playing for the Lakers. And, how many sports franchises’ can say their best players all became icons known by their first names like Magic, Kareem, Shaq, Elgin, Kobe (or Mamba), Wilt, and, The Logo (aka Jerry West)?

Jerry West and Elgin Baylor reigned during the 1960s and into the early 1970s, the two of them the force that propelled the Lakers to seven appearances in the NBA Finals. Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar were a supreme pair that won five championships together beginning in 1979. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant wreaked havoc from 1996 to 2004, dominating along the way to three consecutive championships from 2000-2002.

Now the Lakers have another electric combination in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, performers many see as having the potential to go down in Lakers and NBA lore as another special twosome.

“The Lakers have had these incredible duos and the Lakers have been successful because of that,” Johnson said. “You can’t have one. You always got to have two. Any time we’ve had two, it has spelled championships, you know?

“The thing about it is it’s always a guard and big man. It’s always a guy that handles the ball and always a dominant player inside. I think that these two, LeBron and AD, have their opportunity of making Lakers history along with the other three pair of us that won.”

West was an all-encompassing guard and Baylor a smooth-gliding forward. Abdul-Jabbar had the most unstoppable shot in history with his sky hook and Johnson was a magician as the point guard. Bryant was unyielding as a shooting guard and O’Neal was a power down low.

Now, James remains a do-everything forward who may be the starting point guard this season and Davis is a 6-foot-10 forward who is able to play inside and out.

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Golden State coach Steve Kerr grew up in Los Angeles as a Lakers fan and knows “the glitz and glamor” the Lakers brought to the game.

“You could see a big part of what the Lakers were trying to do was putting the stars together. Not that that was a novel concept, but most teams and most cities just couldn’t do that. It was just hard to do,” Kerr said. “But [Lakers owner] Jerry Buss was good at it and he found a way to keep doing it. So this makes sense, right? It’s a continuation of the blueprint and it’s such fondness to look at it from a historical standpoint but not so much fun to look at from a coaching standpoint of having to play against them.”

James, 34, is coming off his first season with the Lakers in which he played only 55 games because of a left groin injury and then stopped playing after they were eliminated from the playoffs.

But he still played at a high level, averaging 27.2 points, 7.4 rebounds and 7.2 assists. He has become an iconic figure in the NBA by being a 15-time All-Star, three-time NBA champion, four-time MVP, 15-time All-NBA and three-time Finals MVP. James is 100 points (32,543) behind Bryant (32,643) for third place on the league’s all-time scoring list and 304 assists (8,662) behind Gary Payton (8,966) for ninth place on the all-time assists list.

Davis, 26, played in only 56 games last season with the New Orleans Pelicans because of injuries and eventually stopped playing toward the end of the season following a trade request.

Kyle Kuzma prepares to take a shot against the Nuggets during a game last season.

He was still a tower of strength, averaging 25.9 points, 12.0 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He is a six-time All-Star, with three selections to the All-NBA team.

Davis sprained his right thumb during a preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday in Shenzhen, China.

“I think it will work seamlessly with LeBron and AD because it’s a true inside-out or true perimeter guy and a big man that has perimeter skills and versatility,” said Mark Jackson, a former NBA star and coach who is now an analyst for ESPN.

“They are two incredible basketball players and I think they will work seamlessly. I think the thing will be who plays around them. But I don’t think it’ll be an issue because they are two great basketball players who have been great from Day 1.”

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Giants Head Coach Pat Shurmur Press Conference Transcript October 14, 2019

by Scott Mandel

Head Coach Pat Shurmur — October 14, 2019


Q: How did Saquon (Barkley) look today?
A: He was practicing.

Q: We saw Sterling Shepard out here a little bit during individual drills. Where does he stand after the concussion and how did he look?
A: He was out here practicing, doing what he can do. That’s it.

Q: Is he still in the (concussion) protocol?
A: He’s in the protocol, yeah.

Q: A lot of that is out of your hands…
A: It is out of my hands. We have our doctors… Anytime there’s an individual in the protocol or coming back from a concussion, the doctors will let us know when they’re allowed to be playing. 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.

Q: A player being out here, if he’s very symptomatic, he’s not going to be out here, I would think, right?
A: Yeah. That’s fair.

Q: Do you know where he is in the protocol?
A: I can’t talk about that. I know where it’s at, but that’s not really something 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.

Q: What does Saquon have to show you to play on Sunday?
A: He has to 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.

Q: Right now, what are your hopes for him playing on Sunday?
A: We’ll just have to see. I’m going to let the week kind of determine that.

Q: Did you watch any football this weekend?
A: I watched a lot of football. Most of it was Arizona, getting ready to play them, but I did see some of the games, portions of the games, especially the later ones.

Q: Your division is very bunched up between one, two and three.
A: That’s what they say. Our focus is on Arizona. You control all of that by winning games, and that’s our focus.

Q: What made now the right time to add a guy like (Javorius) Buck Allen, and in hindsight, do you wish you had a veteran the last two games?
A: No. We made the decision to do it now, and we’re glad he’s here. He was available, we worked him out and we’ll get him going as quickly as possible.

Q: How much was Evan (Engram) able to do today?
A: He practiced. He did a lot.

Q: We noticed he did not participate in the walkthrough you had last Wednesday. Was that a situation because you had already decided that he would not play Thursday, or he wasn’t ready to participate?
A: Each week is the same. You go through the week, and guys that are coming back from injuries, you try to determine whether they can play. It just so happened we had to kind of determine that through walkthrough settings. This week, we’ll be able to see more because they’ll be out running around.

Q: Last week, it didn’t seem like he was moving like his normal self. What did you see from him today in that regard?
A: I would say he’s better.

Q: It didn’t look like (Sam) Beal was dressed for practice. What’s the plan with him?
A: You can expect to see him on Wednesday.

Q: Why not today then?
A: Because we felt like starting him on Wednesday was better.

Q: So you’ll activate him off the IR for this week?
A: No. He has to go through… There’s a certain protocol that he has to… There are 21 days here. There’s some practice involved. We’ll just see where he’s at.

Q: What was sort of your Monday message, since the guys haven’t been here for a few days?
A: We’ll get back to work. I think that’s the important thing. Get back to work, put all of our efforts into winning our next game. I think that’s what every coach’s message always is. You just do everything that you can to win the next game. All of that other stuff outside, standings, where you’re at, all that, none of that matters. You have to put all of your efforts into winning the game, and then the rest of it will take care of itself.

Q: Did Wayne (Gallman) practice today?
A: He was out here. I can’t tell you exactly how much he did.

Q: One of the things that Saquon said when he was hurt and has said since is that he wanted to come back fast and then also come back and be better. He said 10 times better. It seems like he’s going to accomplish the first part. Can he be better than he was?
A: Yeah. He’s a young player still, so every time he comes out here, he has an opportunity to get better. I’m glad to hear those are his comments. I didn’t read them or I didn’t hear about those. But when you hear a player talking about trying to get better, and better by a large margin, I think that’s great.

Q: So Wayne Gallman is still in the protocol?
A: Wayne, yeah, he’s working his way through it. I really don’t want to talk about all of this, guys. When the guys that have concussions are ready to play, I’ll be made aware of it and so will you guys.


Q: As of last week, you guys had the fourth-youngest defense in the league. Obviously with roster shuffling, that could change a little bit. But it’s a young defense and a young team in so many ways. What have you noticed from them in terms of their personality or the group they’re kind of learning to be and becoming as the season moves along? I ask that knowing you had a long weekend to kind of catch everyone’s breath.
A: That’s a good question. We are young. Sometimes when you say young in this league, or you say injured in this league, it’s people making excuses for you. What’s important about our young defense is that I think they’re improving each week. Our young players have made significant contributions. Some of your young players can be your best leaders. The message to them is to continue to improve. I think we know from experience also that sometimes your youngest players make the most improvement as they go through it for the fifth, the sixth, the seventh and the eighth time. I think that’s where we’re at.

Q: You said you watched the Cardinals. What did you make of (Kyler) Murray? Is he just different than any other quarterback really coming through the league?
A: He keeps every play alive with his feet, certainly. They’re doing a lot of good stuff on offense. You see the reason why he was a dynamic player in college. He can make great throws from the pocket, but when the field gets spread out, he can take off and run with it. Especially in situational football where it’s third and short, or some of the third downs, or you get down in the red zone, they take advantage of his legs and his ability to move around. Not to minimize the fact that he’s an outstanding pocket passer. I think that’s what makes him dangerous.

Q: It was widely assumed that he would be the first overall pick, and obviously, you guys weren’t there, but how much work did you guys do on him leading up to the draft? What was your read on him entering the draft?
A: We did a lot of work on him. We weren’t surprised that he was the number one pick.

Q: Why not?
A: Because he’s an outstanding player. That’s why.

Q: What was your read on him scouting him as a college prospect. You kind of mentioned some of the things that he’s done in the NFL. What did you like about him coming out of college?
A: I think you’re seeing in our league all of the things that he did in college. That’s what makes him dynamic. He’s an outstanding athlete, can throw the ball extremely well and when things break down or he has a chance to move around, he does that probably as well as anybody.

VIDEO OF PAT SHURMUR

https://www.giants.com/news/saquon-barkley-evan-engram-among-key-players-back-at-giants-practice

Transcript of Champion Super Bowl Coach Bill Belichick’s Conference Call Today As Patriots Prepare for Giants on Thursday Night

by Scott Mandel

Q: What are the ingredients to creating and sustaining a winning culture?
A: That’s a tough question, probably a long answer, might need a book on that one. Honestly right now, my apologies, I’m just trying to prepare our team on a short week for a really good Giants team. A team that’s gotten a little bit of a spark. They are a dangerous, explosive team, they have to try turn it around on a short week. The question you asked is more than I can handle right now.

Q: Did you have a reaction a few weeks ago when you heard Eli Manning was benched? Obviously, Eli Manning has been around a long time, he has history with the Giants, certainly has history with your team. What are your thoughts on Eli, his situation and what he’s done in his career?
A: I have a ton of respect for Eli, he’s a great person, very professional, team oriented. I spent over a decade with the Giants, I have an appreciation for playing quarterback for that franchise in that environment. He’s done a tremendous job, and certainly had a lot of success against us. I have a great deal of respect for him. I’m really focused on trying to coach our team and I need to do a better job of my job and not really looking to evaluate what anybody else is doing. I have my own full plate here, I’m trying to coach the Patriots.

Q: What is your impression of how your defense is playing this early and seemingly this well?
A: We’ve had our moments. Right now, it’s about focusing on the challenge ahead with the Giants. The Giants have so many weapons on offense, a great tight end, two great quarterbacks, probably the best running back in the league, very good receiving group. They are very experienced on the offensive line, they added a lot of players there in the last couple of years. Solder, Zeitler, Remmers and, of course, Hernandez, Halapio has done a good job for them. Those guys have played together, they are in there every week, they haven’t really had any changes all year. They have (Golden) Tate back now, they have a ton of weapons offensively. Well coached, they have a great scheme, they are a well-balanced offense. That’s a lot for me, a lot for us to handle, to try to prepare for and for our players to get ready for all the things that they do and do well. They can run it; they can throw it, throw it deep, throw it to the backs, throw it to the tight end, catch and run plays, play action drop back, misdirection, you name it. It’s a lot to get ready for.

Q: What is different about the Giants offense with Daniel Jones at quarterback?
A: Offensively, it’s probably the same plays. Eli is very good at the line of scrimmage of making adjustments and protections and occasionally signaling routes against pressure and things like that. He may have done a little more of that on the line than Jones has. Jones is fast, and he’s made plays with his legs outside the pocket. The Tampa game comes to mind right off the bat. He’s got the ability to extend plays and also run for yardage to score or pick up critical first downs. He has kind of the sixth receiver element. Both guys are very accurate passers, see the field well, make good decisions. They are at different stages of their career, but both guys are outstanding players. Any team would like to have either one of them and they are fortunate they have both.

Q: I know you guys had Jones up there for a visit pre-draft and I’m just curious what your impressions were of him before the draft, and has he looked like the player you thought he could be?
A: Yeah, we had a great visit. He spent most of the day here, actually spent a lot of time with our offensive coaches, with Josh (McDaniels) and Mick Lombardi, guys that work with that position on the offensive side of the ball. We had a great conversation, talked about a lot of things. He’s very mature, certainly a good understanding of the Duke offense and Coach Cutcliffe and the things that they were doing there. Again, a good grasp of the offensive system—protections, routes, route concepts and why they’re used in different combinations and in certain situations. Actually, I think it was kind of a change of plans, but at the end of his visit, I think he said he had to go somewhere, but then he ended up going to the Giants from here, so even I could figure out there was something going on there. He’s an impressive player and a very impressive person. We had a great visit, and again, playing quarterback in New York is not the easiest thing in the world, but he’s got a lot of maturity and a good head on his shoulders and has good perspective on football and the overall leadership position that comes with that role on and off the field. So, I’m sure he’s done well and will continue to do well.

Q: You’ve never faced Saquon Barkley, but you’ve seen him on film, and I guess his availability is in question for Thursday—what kind of dynamic does he bring to the Giants to change their offense?
A: He’s an outstanding player. You’re right, we haven’t faced him, and I hope we don’t, but we need to be ready for him. He’s a very competitive guy, I’m sure he’s doing all he can to get ready to go. He was close last week, so we’ll probably get him. He can do it all. He’s got great power, speed, they use him well in the passing game. He’s very hard, obviously, to tackle in the open field, he’s hard to tackle anywhere. He’s got good vision, good quickness, he can play in space, he’s elusive, he’s got power, he had 2,000 yards from scrimmage last year. That pretty much says it all right there. Plus, we know he can return kickoffs and everything else, so he’s got a ton of skill, as good as any back we’ve seen on film. We watched a lot of him last year, we didn’t expect him to play in preseason, but just kind of getting ready for the Giants in the preseason we saw a lot of last year’s film and what a player he was for them. And he was an explosive player and a dynamic player this year. I’m sure he’s either going to be back or is close to being back, so we have to be ready for him.

Brady is missing Gronkowski and others but has been solid, if not spectacular

Q: What made Nate Solder such a valuable member of your organization when he was there?
A: Nate did a great job for us. His first year, he played behind (Matt) Light, played right tackle, played tight end, and so forth, he played about half the time, but it was in a variety of positions. Then, after that, he took over at left tackle and gave us really solid play there for a number of years.

Q: I know you focus on your team exclusively, but are you mindful at least that two of your quarterbacks (Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo) with the Colts and 49ers are having a lot of success this year, and you had them and did a lot to develop them?
A: Well, that’s kind of the way it is in the National Football League. Every team has players that were on their team that are playing somewhere else and some of them are doing well, and maybe some of them aren’t playing anymore, but that’s the league. There’s plenty of movement throughout the league at all positions with every team. If you follow the NFL, that’s pretty much the same for every team.