Rounding Up Latest New York Giants Pre-Training Camp Buzz
We’re getting oh-so close to July 27, the official start of New York Giants training camp.
With the days dropping off the calendar, that means the news cycle—which barely made a peep after the team concluded its mandatory minicamp last week—is slowly starting to pick up pace.
So let's get you caught up on some of the recent stuff—from the hardcore to the offbeat—about Big Blue to get us ready for the long-awaited start of some real football.
Is Eli Manning's Plight Like That of LeBron James'?
No matter what Giants quarterback Eli Manning does, it never seems to be enough to quiet his critics, or so thinks defensive tackle Damon Harrison, who compared the plight of his quarterback to that of NBA superstar LeBron James.
"When you look at Eli, it's kind of like when you look at LeBron [James]," Harrison said during an appearance on Good Morning Football this week (h/t NFL.com).
"I'm not saying they're the same, but look at Eli's numbers. If any other quarterback would have those numbers it would be an amazing year. But it being Eli, no one is respecting it much like we do LeBron. LeBron could average 30 [points], 15 rebounds and 12 assists and it's like, 'He didn't do enough.'"
Harrison has a point. Manning finished 13th in total yards (4,027) last year, ahead of other playoff bound quarterbacks such as New England's Tom Brady, Dallas' Dak Prescott, Kansas City's Alex Smith, all while doing so with just one receiver, Odell Beckham Jr., as his primary target for most of the year.
Yet, no matter what kind of numbers Manning posted, it still wasn't good enough to quiet his critics, such as Skip Bayless, who on a recent episode of Undisputed, pointed out Manning's 16 interceptions, which tied him for fourth-most picks thrown in the league with Jacksonville's Blake Bortles and Houston's Brock Osweiler.
Hey, you can't please everyone.
NFL Analyst Predicts Giants to Return to the Super Bowl vs. Familiar Foe
Add former NFL tight end-turned-analyst Shannon Sharpe to the growing list of people who think the Giants have a potential Super Bowl run right in front of them.
So said the Hall of Famer on a recent appearance on Undisputed, where Sharpe even went so far as to predict their opponent for Super Bowl LII—an opponent Giants fans will probably recognize.
No, not that opponent. Rather Sharpe has envisioned a rematch of Super Bowl XXXV between the Giants and Baltimore Ravens.
Why the Ravens?
"I love what they've done," Sharpe said during the round-table discussion. "Adding Jeremy Maclin, Breshad Perriman got healthy last year. I love Mike Wallace and I love the addition of Danny Woodhead. A year after the surgery, Joe Flacco will be even better. … Defensively, this is the one team that, no matter where they play them, they never bow down to the Patriots."
Sharpe also praised the Giants for the moves they made in the offseason to improve a club that last year went 11-5 and made a return to the playoffs to end a four-year drought under head coach Ben McAdoo.
"I love Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham Jr. and Evan Engram," Sharpe said, interjecting sounds of delight as he rattled off the names of the players. "And that defense, in the second year under Steve Spagnuolo—(Janoris Jenkins), a healthy JPP, Olivier Vernon and Landon Collins..."
The Giants lost their only Super Bowl appearance in a game against Baltimore in Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa, Florida, to the tune of 34-7.
The Ravens defense, led by Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis, clamped down on the Giants offense, holding Tiki Barber to 49 yards on 11 carries and harassing quarterback Kerry Collins to the tune of four sacks and four interceptions, including one returned by cornerback Duane Starks for a 49-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
The Giants' only scoring came in the third quarter when Ron Dixon returned a kickoff 97 yards.
There's a long way to go before this year's Super Bowl teams are determined, but with big expectations on the table for the men of East Rutherford, it should be an interesting season to watch unfold.
Brandon Marshall Is Putting in Extra Work with Eli Manning
Receiver Brandon Marshall is about to enter his 12th NFL season in a Hall of Fame career that has seen him record eight 1,000-yard receiving seasons and six Pro Bowl berths.
Despite his accomplishments, Marshall is sparing no effort in his quest to win a championship in what he has determined will be his last stop as an active NFL player.
The 33-year-old has spent part of the downtime before training camp FaceTiming with quarterback Eli Manning to go over the offense and passing route concepts.
"I would like to maybe get on another call maybe one more, maybe two more times," Marshall told Manning on his Instagram video during their FaceTime meeting. "But this was good. I think I can get it down. There's a few other questions I have about the offense. That was big for me understanding the timing."
It remains to be seen just how much chemistry Manning and Marshall develop by the time the team hits the practice field again, but kudos to the receiver for doing whatever he can to make sure he's able to hit the ground running when things start to heat up.
Joe Montana Says Odell Beckham Can Be as Great as Jerry Rice
These days it seems almost impossible not to have a regular news item on Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants' talented receiver who has become a lightning rod for attention.
The latest person to weigh in with an opinion regarding Beckham is NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana.
The NFL legend, appearing at a FanDuel promotional event, told Charles Cotton of the New York Post that he didn't agree with Beckham’s now-famous boat trip to Miami taken with some teammates on a day off prior to the start of the Giants' first postseason work week since 2011.
"Well, I think that might have been a little excessive for that time of year," Montana said. "You want to try and relax, but the problem is you have too many [cell phones] around, and everybody has a camera these days, even your friends. So, it's sort of hard to do something like that and think you're going to get away with it."
Although no one on the Giants came right out and blamed the boat trip for the Giants' flop in the Wild Card game against Green Bay, the ill-advised decision did create a distraction for a team that had enough on its plate in getting the majority of the roster who had never before been to the playoffs ready to go.
After the Giants were eliminated from the postseason, general manager Jerry Reese—while not blaming the boat incident per se—didn't hold back the next day, saying Beckham needed to "grow up."
Montana opined that one day Beckham might be able to join former 49ers star Jerry Rice in the conversation for the greatest NFL receivers of all time.
"Oh, yeah, I think so," he said. "Hopefully he makes it that far down the line."
Brad Wing Gets Immortalized in a New Musical Single
Moving to the lighter side of the news, Giants punter Brad Wing received a musical shoutout from rap star Micki Minaj, who found a way to work his name into her new single, "Skrt On Me," performed with Calvin Harris.
Wing's shoutout by Minaj is as follows: "Ima land the jump. Yoa Ming da dunk. And I'm playing the field. Brad Wing the punt."
The simple artistic act seems to have made Wing Minaj's fan for life.
Justin Pugh Throws Shade at the Jets
What's the annual Jets-Giants "MetLife Bowl" (aka "Snoopy Bowl,” named after the the trophy that honors the beloved Peanuts cartoon character) without some friendly trash talk?
This year, the Giants drew first blood when offensive lineman Justin Pugh threw some lighthearted shade at the Jets via an observation he made during his travels: "At the airport and I forgot a hat. They only have @nyjets hats. All of them untouched. Literally not one @Giants hat left...Wonder why? 😏🤔😉"
Pugh's jab, which grossly pales by comparison to anything we might see from the Josh Norman-Odell Beckham Jr. feud, drew this response from Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson: "Lol bro now u got the red dot see you 8/26 [at] MetLife."
Never one to back down, Pugh shot back the following via Twitter: "Lol so no more rangers games? Messed up."
Training camp can't start fast enough.
Patricia Traina covers the New York Giants for Inside Football, the Journal Inquirer and Sports Xchange. All quotes and information were obtained firsthand unless otherwise sourced.