Tom Rock Newsday: Of some note with Giants roster designations yesterday: LB Ryan Connelly, who reported last week, was NOT placed on PUP and is cleared to participate in... whatever the Giants are participating in these days. Connelly tore ACL last season to interrupt a promising rookie season.
Art Stapleton The Record: Another key one: Evan Engram is cleared as well from foot surgery.
Lombardo NJ.com: Giants salary cap update as training camp opens: What impact would signing Markus Golden make? How much rolls over for Saquon Barkley extension?
Rock Newsday: Giants rookies continue their unusual path to NFL at training camp
Schwartz NYP: Joe Judge’s past experiences prepare him for Giants challenge
Dunleavy NYP: Giants place David Sills on newly created coronavirus list
Leonard NYDN: Giants WR David Sills V placed on reserve/COVID-19 list, is asymptomatic
Traina SI.com: Giants' 2020 Roster Report Card: Grading the Inside Linebackers
RV SNY: Source: DeAndre Baker could return to Giants following commissioner's exempt list appeal
Baker was placed on the list as he continues his legal battle
Rosenblatt NJ.com: Giants’ DeAndre Baker trying to return to team through NFLPA appeal and he ‘should’ win, attorney says
Eisen Giants.com: Giants claim CB Shakial Taylor off waivers
Heifetz The Ringer: How Will the NFL’s COVID-19 Testing and Contact Tracing Work?
Jones The Ringer: NFL Opt-Outs Show How the Coronavirus Is Already Upending the League
Graziano ESPN: Don't expect NFL training camp holdouts in 2020: Why it has nothing to do with the coronavirus
Farrar/Schofield Touchdownwire USA Today: The top 101 players in the NFL today
Palazzolo PFF: NFL backfield rankings: All 32 running back units entering the 2020 NFL season
“10. NEW YORK GIANTS
Few running backs have the big-play potential of Saquon Barkley, as he can seemingly take it to the house at any time. Last season, he was unable to sustain the breakaway runs that defined his rookie season — he had seven 40-plus-yard carries that season — but such is the volatile nature of running back production. Barkley still must improve when it comes to just taking what is there, but one of these years the Giants’ run blocking will improve, and he could go off for a monster statistical season. Most importantly, though, Barkley is a weapon in the passing game, and he’s forced 42 missed tackles on only 143 career receptions so far.
The Giants also add Dion Lewis into the mix. Lewis is another elusive back who is coming off a 59.8 overall grade with the Titans, a career-low mark. He is capable of taking some of the pressure off Barkley when it comes to catching passes out of the backfield, however, as the former Patriot has two seasons in which he forced at least 15 missed tackles after the catch. Wayne Gallman then rounds out the group as the No. 3 option who is set to enter the last year of his rookie contract.
Barkley is one of the league’s best all-around running backs, so if Lewis can return to past form, this duo could give the Giants one of the most dynamic units in the league.”
Palazzolo PFF: NFL secondary rankings: All 32 units entering the 2020 NFL season
“27. NEW YORK GIANTS
James Bradberry is the big offseason addition to the Giants secondary, and while it’s true that few cornerbacks have had a tougher job over the past few seasons, given the division in which he has had to ply his trade, he’s also never quite lived up to the potential we saw as a rookie. Bradberry has consistently generated PFF grades in the 60s but has a rare skill set and should immediately look significantly better without needing to try and cover the likes of Julio Jones and Mike Evans twice a season.
DeAndre Baker struggled badly as a rookie and was beaten for eight touchdowns in total, though his future is somewhat up in the air, given the reported off-field troubles. Beyond Baker, the Giants would be turning to Sam Beal, who played fewer than 300 snaps last year, or one of either Corey Ballentine, Darnay Holmes, Chris Williamson or Montre Hartage. So, for as much as Baker struggled last year, the prospects of a season without him would not be good.
On the inside, Grant Haley was the team’s slot corner in 2019, but he earned a PFF coverage grade of 48.3 and was beaten for a passer rating of 114.2 when targeted. And at safety, Antoine Bethea has now gone, leaving Julian Love to try and fight off rookie Xavier McKinney for playing time alongside Jabril Peppers. McKinney has elite versatility and was used much the same way as Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons, though McKinney does come without the absurd size and measurables. Love played well last season, so it would be unfortunate if he were to lose time this year.”
Glauber Newsday: With no preseason games, the next Victor Cruz has an even tougher trek to stardom
Ian Rapoport NFL.com: Plot twist: Offensive lineman Alex Boone, who last played for the #AZCardinals in 2017 before retiring, is planning a comeback, sources say. He’s been training, is finally healthy, and is back near his playing weight. Boone, by the way, is just 33
McClure ESPN Atlanta: What kind of impact can Falcons rookie corner A.J. Terrell have?
Kasinitz Penn Live: Which Baltimore Ravens undrafted rookies could make the roster? Here are some names to know
Shaffer Baltimore Sun: Andre Smith opts out of 2020 season, leaving Ravens thin at OT; RB Gus Edwards signs tender
Jacques ESPN: Bills starting DT Star Lotulelei opts out of season
Maiorana Rochester Democrat: Buffalo Bills DT Star Lotulelei has voluntarily opted out of playing the 2020 season
Joe Person The Athletic Charlotte: One thing that was overlooked yesterday: Graham Gano did not show up on Panthers’ PuP list, meaning presumably he passed his physical. Big first step in trying to win his job back.
Kane Chicago Tribune: Contact tracing in the NFL: How a German company with U.S. headquarters in Chicago is tracking players’ daily interactions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in team facilities
Biggs Chicago Tribune: Roy Robertson-Harris is preparing for a contract year. But with so much uncertainty ahead, the Bears defensive lineman is confident he and his young family will be safe.
Wiederer Chicago Tribune: Bears waive former CFL star Tre Roberson, thinning out the team’s cornerback competition
Baby ESPN Cincinnati: Source: Bengals QB Joe Burrow agrees to $36.1M rookie contract
Cabot Cleveland Plain Dealer: Cleveland Browns still want to have fans at FirstEnergy Stadium this season, ‘but it’s fluid’
Cabot Cleveland Plain Dealer: Browns will live-stream training camp practices and interviews on new two-hour show with fans not permitted at practice
Cabot Cleveland Plain Dealer: Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry among the full complement of Browns veterans who reported for training camp on Tuesday
Moore Dallas Morning News: With less celebration and more COVID-19 tests, Cowboys begin camp at own facility for first time in team history
Owning Dallas Morning News: Film room: How Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys’ run game stacks up vs. other NFC East rushing attacks
“2. New York Giants
The Giants are one of only a couple of franchises that could legitimately claim to have a better starting running back than the Cowboys.
Saquon Barkley may be the NFL’s most physically gifted player regardless of position.
Barkley was hampered by injuries last year but still managed to accumulate more than 1,000 rushing yards while avoiding 42 tackles. He’s one of the toughest players to tackle one-on-one and one of the most creative backs who can generate big gains without the best blocking up front. Whereas Elliott can grind on defenses with consistent positive gains, Barkley is more of a home-run hitter -- 54% of his rushing yards in 2018 and 33.1% in 2019 came on explosive runs (15-plus yards), ranking first and 13th in the league each season, respectively, according to PFF.
Even if we say Barkley is better than Elliott, the Giants’ ground game falls short of the Cowboys’ because it lacks talent at the surrounding positions.
First, New York’s offensive line doesn’t run block as well as Dallas’ line. Guards Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler are very effective blockers in their own right, but offensive tackle Nate Solder and center Spencer Pulley struggle mightily in the run-blocking department. The drafting of offensive tackle Andrew Thomas fourth overall in April is no coincidence, as New York’s offensive line finished 25th in adjusted line yards (3.96) in 2019.
Additionally, quarterback Daniel Jones’ legs aren’t nearly as effective as Prescott’s. Any success Jones has on the ground is him catching the defense by surprise more than anything else.
The Giants edge the Eagles here due to the latter’s lack of talent at running back. Although Philly’s offensive line is superior, Barkley’s ability to perform in spite of his line gives New York the slight advantage on the ground. In 2019, the Giants finished slightly ahead of the Eagles in EPA (NYG, -0.08; PHI, -0.1) but slightly behind in success rate (NYG, 37%; PHI, 42%).”
DiLalla Broncos.com: “It's going to be a slow build': Broncos to rely on veteran defense as young offense matures
Mike Klis 9News Denver: FYI: Elijah Wilkinson, on PUP, hopefully ready when pads go on Aug 17. That's when LT competition begins. But Bolles is the favorite.
Fangio: “I think the arrow is up as far as it goes for Garett. That’s easy to say here as we sit late-July. We’ll see how it unfolds.
Nick Korte OTC: The Broncos are set to have both Drew Lock and Bradley Chubb hit free agency at the same time in 2023 if all goes well with both of them.
And Von Miller's contract will expire in the 2022 offseason. He'll be 33, but he has yet to lose a step yet. I always thought it would be daunting to keep both him and Chubb on veteran contracts if all goes well with both.
Chris Burke The Athletic Detroit: Bob Quinn explaining the obstacles of adding a player to the roster: No workouts for free agents but they can be sent for off-site physicals. Beyond that, there's not even a protocol yet for how the on-boarding process happens or how quickly it might move.
This also helps explain the decision behind staying at 90 players, for now. If they're not even really sure how to bring in guys from outside the organization, makes sense to keep the numbers up for a bit.
Tom Pelissero NFL.com: Veteran DT Damon “Snacks” Harrison has options as a free agent, but with a newborn at home and other family concerns, he’s still gathering info to make an educated decision on whether he’ll play in 2020, per source. One of the top defenders still available.
Silverstein Mil JS: Packers lose a receiver as Devin Funchess opts out of 2020 season
Newton/DiRocco ESPN: 25 years after debut, Panthers and Jaguars are back to rebuilding
Reid Florida Times Union: Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette faces another pivotal season to produce
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Miller LA Times: Joey Bosa agrees to five-year, $135-million contract extension with Chargers
LOS ANGELES RAMS
Thiry ESPN LA: Future NFL financial situation could affect Rams players looking for extensions
Kelly Sun Sentinel: Dolphins Q& A: What made Dolphins target new tight end Adam Shaheen?
Schad Palm Beach Post: Miami Dolphins say Xavien Howard physically unable to to perform
Tom Pelissero NFL.com: Vikings NT Michael Pierce is opting out of the 2020 season, sources tell me and MikeGarafolo. Minnesota’s only big-ticket free agent this year leaves a hole up front on defense.
Tomasson Twincities.com: Vikings’ Michael Pierce to opt out of 2020 season due to respiratory issues
Guregian Boston Herald: Patriots have interesting salary cap options after opt-outs, including Jadeveon Clowney
Guregian Boston Herald: Patriots training camp countdown — No. 1: Which version of Cam Newton are the Patriots getting?
Callahan Boston Herald: How the Patriots can move on without Dont’a Hightower, Patrick Chung and Marcus Cannon
Reiss ESPN Boston: How six players opting out has altered Patriots' outlook for 2020
Johnson Nola.com: Day 1 of the weird season has arrived for the Saints. 'We're grinding through it'
Just Nola.com: Saints TE Jason Vander Laan opts out of 2020 season
Adam Schefter ESPN: Three-time Pro-Bowl guard, Larry Warford, who has received multiple offers, is opting out of the 2020 season, per source. Warford is looking to start a family and will continue to train and revisit playing in 2021
NEW YORK JETS
Serby NYP: Joe Douglas’ handling of Jamal Adams drama tells us everything
Mehta NYDN: Adam Gase can become better coach if he learns from Jamal Adams mess
RV SNY: Jets' Sam Darnold heading into crucial Year 3: 'I definitely have a lot more confidence'
Kempski Phillyvoice: Doug Pederson says it has to be 'extremely tough' on new coaching staffs during COVID-shortened offseason
Bowen Phil Inquirer: The Eagles’ top two rookies, Jalen Reagor and Jalen Hurts, working to make up for lost practice reps
McLane Phil Inquirer: Eagles place Alshon Jeffery on active/physically unable to perform list
Ian Rapoport NFL.com: Eagles speedy WR Marquise Goodwin plans to opt-out for the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns. He has informed the team, who traded for him during the draft. Goodwin has a 5-month daughter after his wife previously had three miscarriages. Family is the most important.
Batko Pittsburgh Post Gazette: Steelers rookie Alex Highsmith serves as test case for quarantine camp in more ways than one
Branch SF Chronicle: 49ers GM John Lynch indicates his extension is imminent
Hayden Winks Rotoworld: Kyle Shanahan says he learned which offensive plays work best by first studying defense with Tampa Bay back in the day. Definitely a weekly matchups coach.
Dude is seriously so impressive. No way all NFL coaches are as smart or grind like him.
Branch SF Chronicle: John Lynch on 49ers’ contract talks with George Kittle: ‘I knew it might be tricky’
David Lombardi The Athletic: 49ers focus on pass rush. Lynch:
“I think it really is the great equalizer in today’s football. All the rules set up for offense. How do you counteract that? You hit the quarterback. It’s something Kyle and I agreed on from the start. I think it’s been reflected in our actions.”
We already knew this, of course. Combine that with obvious salary-cap realities, which Lynch mentioned repeatedly today, and it’s been easy to see the writing on the wall for weeks: Jamal Adams to the 49ers was never a realistic possibility, even if Adams wanted that
Condotta Seattle Times: An unusually uneventful first day as the Seahawks officially open their COVID-careful training camp
Brady Henderson ESPN Seattle: Thought on Clowney: NFL people I've talked to assume part of his thinking has been that his market would improve during camp with injuries, and there may be more than usual after no spring practices. As gbellseattle noted, an edge rusher opting out could also change his market.
Henderson ESPN Seattle: Sources: Seahawks to wait on signing Jamal Adams to extension
Stroud TB Times: Tom Brady greets rookies, comes face-to-face with biggest challenge
Bacharach The Tennessean: Titans first-round pick Isaiah Wilson placed on reserve/COVID-19 list, Jayon Brown on PUP
Ledbetter AJC: Falcons DE Vic Beasley placed on Titans’ did not report list. AFC Executive at trading deadline on why he had no trade value: "There are questions about if he loves football,” Exec told AJCSports. Move could cost Falcons a 5th round comp pick
Fortier Washington Post: Washington opened training camp Tuesday amid difficult circumstances
Keim ESPN Washington: Ron Rivera: If Alex Smith is physically OK, he's in QB mix
Ian Rapoport NFL.com: The Washington Football Team has signed former Titans guard Kevin Pamphile to add depth on their offensive line, source said. He has passed a physical and will be in the building.
RIP Willie Young NYG starting LT from 1966 to 1975. A Street free agent out of Grambling who became a starter in year one and remained at LT until 1975. He was the father of a future Giants player Rodney Young...
From 1953 to 1975 the Giants had essentially only two starting LT’s Roosevelt Brown and Willie Young...
Add this to the Mel Hein (1931-1945), Ray Weitecha (1953-1962) and Greg Larson 1963-1973) triumvirate At Center and the Giants had a couple of places with unusual stability...
KTVE: Former Grambling and NFL offensive lineman, Willie Young passes away
“Ruston native, and former Grambling offensive tackle, Willie Young has passed away at the age of 77.
Young extended his football career, once he signed with the New York Giants as a free agent, in 1965. He played in New York from 1966-75.
While with the Giants, Young played in 135 contests, starting in 119 of those games.
He is the father of former Ruston, and LSU defensive back, Rodney Young. Young, a Grambling native also played for the Giants, from 1995-98. He was named a USA Today “All-American” in 1990. Rodney paid tribute to his father on social media.
Rodney remembered his father to NBC 10 Sports,
“Well, his nickname was ‘Sugar Bear’, ” says Young, “And, he was probably one of the toughest offensive linemen that played in that era. My dad was tough as nails. He played four years in Grambling. I just remember him being a pillar of the community, here in Grambling and in Ruston. And, also in the church and with our family.”
Willie Young through the years...
Willie Young started the opener vs the Steelers at DT, the next week swapped places with Don Davis and became the LT and remained there for a decade...
With LT Rosey Brown having retired before the 1966 season, and Frank Lasky the RT from 1965 lost to Atlanta in the expansion draft the Giants needed to revamp their OL.
The original plan in 1966 was to start two rookie tackles, first round pick Francis Peay at RT and second round pick Don Davis at LT. After showing up massively overweight, Davis slimmed down enough to get in the lineup and he and Peay played most of preseason as the starters.
1966 Willie Young UDFA Grambling
NEW YORK UP: "One of the surprise free agents in the National Football League is rookie Willie Young of the New York Giants. Young, a product of the Grambling College football factory, came to training came listed as a 247 pound guard. Right now he is a 272 pound offensive tackle and in the interim he also worked at offensive guard and defensive tackle. Willie first drew wide attention in the Giant's 24 19 nearmiss with St. Louis, then came through in the clutch in New York's win, 13 10, over Washington. Veteran defensive end Carl Kammerer headed up a strong Redskin pass rush and personally threw the New York passer three times for 30 yards in addition to stopping a draw play for a five yard loss. Then the Giants put Willie at left tackle in front of Kammerer. Kammerer did not get to the passer in the fourth quarter as New York rallied or 10 points. He said later: "Young is surprisingly strong. I hadn't seen much film on him, but he really rams up into you. He may lack mobility, but he's tough and not only on passes. Look at the films, and you'll see how he blew me out of there on a running play, too." Rosey Brown, who coaches the Giants' offensive tackles, says, "Willie really keeps after his man. He's an excellent pass blocker for a young player. When he learns to pull out on running plays, I think he'll have a real future in the NFL."
NEW YORK (UPI) -"Coach Allie Sherman of the New York Giants announced Tuesday that rookie offensive tackle Don Davis would move to defensive tackle and defensive tackle Willie Young would shift to Davis' offensive spot for Sunday's encounter with the Philadelphia Eagles."
Willie was signed as a free agent in 1966 after being recommended to the Giants by Grambling coach Eddie Robinson. He started his rookie season as an offensive guard and was later tried at defensive tackle before the job found the man and Willie settled at offensive tackle. He's been become known around the league for his exceptional strength, quickness and competitive spirit.
A three-year starter at guard at Grambling, Willie is the latest of the outstanding players provided to pro football by Coach Robinson.
Starting all 14 games last year, Willie provided quarterback Fran Tarkenton with playbook-perfect pass protection. On running plays, he can deliver bell-ringing blocks to send New York backs down the field with the ball.
Overlooked in the draft, he was signed as a free agent on the recommendation of Grambling coach Eddie Robinson.
Willie's quickness and exceptional physical strength make him one of the best in pro football at pass blocking against big defensive ends. Quarterback Tarkenton has certainly been happy to have him starting every game the past two seasons; Willie was tried at guard and defensive tackle as a rookie before the job found the man at offensive tackle.
Signed by the Giants as a free agent after three years as a starter at Grambling, Willie was highly regarded by legendary coach Eddie Robinson.
"Nobody gets less attention than an offensive tackle - until some defensive end plows by him and plows under the quarterback. For four pro seasons, Willie Young, the Giants' unsung left tackle, has defended his quarterback with muscular tenacity.
Young had it tough when he became a pro. He had played offensive guard at Grambling but was placed at defensive tackle by the Giants. When he proved too short for that position- he's only six feet tall and most defensive linemen are much taller- the Giants turned him into an offensive tackle (and a good one). Young weights 265 pounds which gives him the appearance of a fire hydrant, but he is far from immobile. The coaches like to talk about his quick feet.
Young was signed as a free agent in '66 on the recommendation of assistant coach Em Tunnell."
-Brenda and Jack Zanger, Pro Football 1970
The starting tackles are Willie Young on the left side and Dick Buzin on the right. Webster would like to try Young at guard, but that would leave him with only Charlie Harper, who plays both guard and tackle, and rookies Walton, George Barron and Tom Bailey to compete for the tackle job
Brenda Zanger, Pro Football 1971
"The Giant quarterback was dumped only 10 times, the third lowest total in NFL history. Add to that the fact that the Giants were the seventh-best rushing team in the conference and you know the Giants have a strong forward wall. The tackles are Joe Tafoni and Willie Young, the guards Dick Enderele and Doug Van Horn, and the center Greg Larson. Guard Mark Ellison and tackle John Hill, two rookies last season, are in reserve."
-John Devaney, The Complete Handbook of Pro Football, 1973 Edition
For a group without a super standout, this line has excelled as a unit. Their pass protection was so strong that the Giants led the NFL in fewest quarterback sackings, 10 in 1972. The line is molded around Larson, a fine blocker and a leader. There's good maturity here and good depth. Young and Taffoni supply able pass protection and open sizable holes. Van Horn developed into an excellent guard and Enderle blended in as a newcomer in '72. Bob Hyland has experience and can help at several positions. John Hill and Mark Ellison are good prospects.
Dave Klein, Pro Football 1973
974 Profile: Willie Young
"Young, the Giants' starting left tackle for the past six seasons, was signed as a free agent in 1966 on the advice of Grambling coach Eddie Robinson, who told Giant scouts he was certain Willie would eventually measure up to NFL standards.
Young started as a guard his rookie season, was later tried at defensive tackle, and finally found his proper niche at offensive tackle. Not particularly tall as pro tackles go, Willie is nevertheless very quick and exceptionally strong. Like the rest of his mates on the offensive line, Willie had a solid year in 1972 as the Giant offense was ranked No. 1 in the NFC and led the NFL in fewest quarterback sacks allowed. He's tough, and a solid competitor who gives 100% all the time.
Another of the fine gridders turned out by Coach Robinson at Grambling, Young was a three-year regular at guard, was named MVP lineman as a senior and earned All-NAIA honors that year as well. He played in the Pecan Bowl and, when he wasn't occupied with football, Willie sang in the Grambling choir.
Willie was born in Ruston, Louisiana into a family that numbered eight children. His father, Reverend James Young, is a minister in Ruston."
-1974 New York Giants Media Guide
1975 Profile: Willie Young
"Signed as a free agent in 1966 by the Giants, Willie has been the starting left tackle for the Giants for the past seven seasons. Called 'Sugar Bear' by his teammates, Young was originally a defensive tackle in his rookie year, then made the move to offense the following year as a reserve and won a starting job in 1968.
Not tall for an offensive tackle, Young makes up for that with quickness and great strength and 100% desire. He has also racked up some stats as a tackle, including two kickoff returns for six yards ... three rushing attempts on laterals for two yards ... and has caught two passes, one for eight yards and one for minus-five!
Young earned three letters at Grambling as an offensive guard, winning MVP honors in his senior year and All-American NAIA mention as well. He also played in the Pecan Bowl and when he wasn't playing football, he sang as a bass in the Grambling choir.
Willie was born in Ruston, Louisiana into a family of eight children. His father, Reverend James Young, is a minister in Ruston. Willie spends the off-seasons as a guidance counselor at Grambling."
-1975 New York Giants Media Guide
Mike Freeman NYT: PRO FOOTBALL; Young Wants to Dress Like His Dad
“Rodney Young was 2 years old when his father retired from pro football. So it took a few years before Young began to realize just how special his father was, how unique a job it was to be a professional football player.
"I grew up hearing stories about my father," his son said at a Giants mini-camp this past weekend. "I knew about what he did, but it's only now that I really appreciate what he did."
Young will soon appreciate it even more. He was the Giants' third-round choice in the college draft on April 22, and he got his first taste of pro ball at the mini-camp.
During the mini-camp, Young's excitement showed. He looked like a kid in a video arcade with a handful of quarters. After all, he would be playing for the team his father, Willie Young, played for from 1966-75.
Rodney Young followed almost exactly in his father's footsteps -- except for several things. First, Rodney is a defensive back, a hard-hitting safety from L.S.U. That is different from his father, who was a tackle. Much different.
Then there is this: In Willie Young's last year of football, he earned about $42,000. In the current age of fat paychecks, the drivers of the team buses earn more than that.
In fact, Rodney Young will earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. He will quickly make what his father earned over his entire career.
And how proud is his dad? "I am really proud of him, and glad that it worked out this way," said Willie Young. "I don't know how many men can say that they and their son played for the same team. I was very excited after it happened."
Frye Football Perspective: The Grand List, part 11
697. Sam Madison (1997-2008)
Miami Dolphins, New York Giants
Madison was the rare talent who could lock down receivers with tight man coverage and also make plays on the ball to force turnovers. From 1998 to 2000, he had 20 interceptions; in the first two years in that span, he ranked second and first in the category. From then on, quarterbacks learned not to test him, and his numbers tailed off. However, Madison remained a standout cover man for the next three seasons, earning all pro selections in two of them. In fact, from 1998 through 2002, it is fair to call him the top man coverage specialist in the NFL. At a position where it is difficult to maintain a consistent level of play from year to year, Madison’s ability to stay at or near the top for six years is noteworthy.
690. Homer Jones (1964-1970)
New York Giants, Cleveland Browns
With a big body and sprinter speed, Jones is one of the top big play threats ever to play. He retired with 22.3 yards per catch for his career – no one else with at least 200 receptions even reaches the 21 mark. Jones only scored 36 receiving touchdowns in his career, but he scored them in spectacular fashion. With his average score coming from 49 yards out (and his median coming from 51 yards out), he is arguably the top homerun hitter in the league’s history. His most remarkable season came in 1967, when he caught 49 passes for 1209 yards (24.7 average) and 13 touchdowns, good for 1717 TRY
663. Chris Snee (2004-2013)
New York Giants
Snee was an absolute mauler. A tough guy type player who imposed his will upon defensive linemen in the rushing attack. He held a little too much early in his career, but he developed self control as he matured. In the old-school type offenses the Giants preferred during his tenure, execution in the run game was critical because their pre-snap formations often left little room for error. Snee and his linemates worked as a cohesive unit, helping Tiki Barber post his three best seasons and getting guys like Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw over the thousand yard mark. His pass pro wasn’t nearly as good as his run blocking, but it was still good (it’s just that he run blocked like a madman). He rarely allowed sacks or hits on either of his Hall of Fame quarterbacks. His 2007 campaign was among the best in recent memory, culminating in an excellent performance in New York’s upset title win. While he slumped in 2011, he managed to save one of his best performances of the season for the biggest game – another upset of the Patriots. Like many linemen, Snee started making Pro Bowls two years after he deserved it and made one Pro Bowl a year after he stopped deserving it.
661. Damon Harrison (2012-present)
New York Jets, New York Giants, Detroit Lions
Snacks would be higher on the list if the thing he was best at was not the least important thing a defensive tackle can do. Defending the run simply isn’t nearly as valuable as rushing the passer. With that said, when a guy is as good at run defense as Harrison is, it deserves praise. When it comes to the traditional nose/shade tackle role, there has been no one in his class since he became a starter in his second season. Among interior defenders, he lapped the field twice over in run stops. Pro Football Focus is often criticized by fans for reasons, but they are spot on in their assessment of Harrison. Their run defense (out of 100, with 85+ usually being great) grades for him from 2013-2018: 93.0, 87.1, 92.2, 91.6, 92.0, 93.7.24 So great was his work against the run that he actually earned first team all pro honors in 2016, despite having just 2.5 sacks. The thing that makes him special is that, unlike many nose tackles who gobble up blockers to allow others to make plays, Harrison can eat those blockers but also finishes plays himself at an inordinate rate. He has the mass and lower body strength to anchor against blockers, and he has the upper body power to control them and toss them aside at will.
654. Jack Stroud (1953-1964)
New York Giants
Jack Stroud anchored the offensive line during what was, meaning no disrespect to Eli Manning, the glory years of the New York Giants. Stroud stepped in at right guard for the Giants in 1953 and helped them reach six NFL title games in the next decade, winning it all in 1956. He was named to three Pro Bowls – the first in 1955, when the Giants were just 6-5-1 – and was second-team All-Pro in six different seasons. Known for his mean streak and his boundless energy, Stroud was one of the first players to take weightlifting seriously, and was considered one of the strongest men in the NFL. The Giants would often add him to a stacked defensive line for their goal-line defense.
Stuart Football Perspective: Trading 2 First Round Picks For A Player
Brad Oremland: Every team that was great in '98 dissolved in '99 for reasons unrelated to the Rams' ascent. There was a huge void, and no truly great teams in the NFL from 1999-2002.
The Broncos fell apart when Elway retired and Terrell Davis got hurt. Brett Favre injured his thumb and Reggie White retired. Steve Young retired and Jerry Rice went to Oakland. The Steelers rebuilt without Rod Woodson, Greg Lloyd, and Carnell Lake. Aikman and Irvin retired.
Who was the best team the Rams beat in '99? Probably the Titans — a fine team, but hardly a dynasty. Who was the 2nd-best team in the NFC? The 11-5 Bucs? That's pretty underwhelming competition.
The 1990 Giants went 13-3 in a division that produced 3 playoff teams. They swept a Joe Gibbs Washington team and a Buddy Ryan Eagles team with Cunningham at the height of his powers (plus the Jimmy Johnson Cowboys, but they weren't great yet).
In the playoffs, New York crushed the Ditka-coached Bears 31-3, then beat the 14-2 Montana 49ers and the best team in Buffalo Bills history. They had an HOF HC (Parcells) and DC (Belichick), 1 of 5 future NFL head coaches as assts — not even counting Ron Erhardt or Charlie Weis.
Both the 99 Rams and 90 Giants went 13-3, but NYG had much more competition to win the Super Bowl. They beat every great dynasty of their era, other than they didn't play DEN if you're super generous about what constitutes a dynasty. The Rams were fun, but not historically great.
Dan Daly: Name an NFL QB who was traded for a HOF QB twice. (Not the same one. Different ones.)
Answer: Must have made this one too easy. People are getting it right! It's Norm Snead, who was traded for Sonny Jurgensen in 1964 and for Fran Tarkenton in '72
Dan Daly: Who am I? I'm the 1st #NFL receiver to have 3 straight 1,000-yard seasons. There were only 2 of us before the 1978 rule changes that opened up the passing game. Bonus points if you can name the other receiver who accomplished this feat pre-'78.
Answer: The underappreciated Del Shofner with the 1961-63 Giants was the 1st #NFL receiver with 3 straight 1,000-yard seasons. Another Giants WR, Homer Jones, was next. Cowboys Hall of Famer (Bob Hayes) would have been 2nd, but he missed by 6 feet.
Giants Birthdays 7-29
Greg Comella FB UDFA-Stanford 1998 NYG 1998-2001 7-29-1975
Hartford Courant COMELLA GETS OVER THE HILL (9-29-2000)
It looks like a mason put Giants fullback Greg Comella together, cinderblock by cinderblock. His cement torso is supported by legs of cast iron. But he is no genetic accident. The sturdy frame is a byproduct of a workout schedule designed to strengthen the mind as efficiently as the body. The idea was to eventually pump out a productive NFL player.
"Greg is a good athlete playing fullback," Giants coach Jim Fassel said. "He can adjust to a ball and he's really good at searching out a linebacker and taking him out of a play. He can make plays in space."
In his third season with the Giants, Comella has become the starting fullback. It is a position he inherited under unfortunate circumstances. Charles Way, the veteran incumbent, retired before training camp because of a degenerative knee injury.
To recover from his own knee injury, Comella began running hills in northern California.
"The idea of working out is get to the point where no game, no opponent can put you through something that's more grueling than what you've already experienced," Comella said.
When he joined the Giants, Comella found similar big hills in New Jersey's Ramapo State Park. He convinced Tiki Barber to join him. And look where Barber is now -- second in the NFL in rushing.
"Greg is obsessed with working out hard," Barber said. "He'd say to me, 'Tiki, no one else is doing this. The reason we're going to be successful is because we're out here. No one else is putting their minds and bodies through this."'
The Giants new offense is based on putting players into positions that defenses might not expect, and expecting them to produce once they get there. Comella may be the poster boy of this philosophy.
"It's been nice, but when you play a team sport the first thing you learn is that it's not always about you," Comella said. "My focus has always been, as long as my team is winning, things are going well."
Comella was almost exclusively a special teams player in his first two seasons, with only nine receptions and two carries. But after three games, he is fourth on the team with 13 receptions for 96 yards, including one for 25, and has 23 yards on three carries, including one for 16.
"[Receiving is] something that I've always loved to do," said Comella.
Fassel said his plans for Comella would have been the same this season even if Sean Bennett, who the Giants expected to swing back and forth between halfback and fullback, didn't suffer a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.
"Greg's role would have been the same as Sean's," Fassel said. "At some point, Sean would have had to fit into the mix. We had high hopes for him. It might have taken a little away from what we've given Greg, but it wouldn't have changed the role we had in mind for him.
"All I can say is that he's an athlete and we knew we'd be able to use him catching the football. We also knew he could block."
Fullback is an appropriate position for Comella. Some families spawn doctors. Comella's father, Gene, played fullback at Boston College. His brother, Matt, currently plays fullback for Northwestern. His youngest brother, John Paul, also plays fullback at BC. "It's a position where you expect to see a blue-collar guy play," Comella said.
But this blue collar guy went to Stanford, where he played for Bill Walsh.
The Giants invited him to camp as a free agent in 1998 and he impressed Fassel with his tenacity on special teams. But now his role is something much more.
"The focus I've had to this point has to stay the same," Comella said. "That can't ever change with me."
Pepper Johnson LILB/RILB D2-Ohio State 1986 NYG 1986-1992 7-29-1964
11 Warriors: FLASHBUCK: PEPPER JOHNSON HELPED SET THE STANDARD FOR OHIO STATE LINEBACKERS (3-08-2016)
“Thomas Johnson was born in Detroit on July 29, 1964. The legacy he would start in the game of football resonates at all levels from high school to the NFL coaching ranks.
The kid who would grow up to be known as “Pepper” — nicknamed by his aunt after a penchant for putting pepper on his breakfast cereal — turned heads at MacKenzie High School in Detroit, where he was all-state as a senior. He was such a force in high school that he was later named to the state's all-decade team for the 1980s. A multi-sport star at MacKenzie, Johnson was also a captain on the school's baseball and basketball teams.
Years before Kerry Coombs would become King in the North, Earle Bruce reached into the Mitten State and snagged Johnson for the Buckeyes in 1982.
That was a rarity back in the day. By 11W records, he was just the fourth Detroit player to commit since 1970.
Johnson was a fearsome hitter, who leveled ball carriers and receivers like a runaway truck. He arrived in Columbus in 1982 and lettered all four years of his collegiate career. He achieved this despite enrolling somewhat undersized at 6-foot-3 and 218 pounds. He filled out his frame in the weight room, topping out at 248 pounds — quite large for a linebacker then — without sacrificing his movement or speed.
Young Pepper didn’t see much time as a freshman. He was buried on a depth chart that included luminaries like Marcus Marek, Glen Cobb and Rowland Tatum, who combined for 397 tackles during the 1982 season. Those three linebackers finished first, second, and fourth, respectively, among Buckeye tacklers.
Johnson did get on the field sparingly and finished the year with six tackles. He compensated for the lack of playing time by soaking up knowledge from the players ahead of him on the depth chart.
Like the majority of Bruce’s teams, the 1982 Buckeyes finished 9-3 on the season and 7-1 in Big Ten play. A crippling three-game losing streak early in the season proved costly, and the 6-0 home loss to a mediocre Wisconsin team was especially costly (Stanford and Florida State were the other losses).
A scheduling quirk cost Pepper Johnson a chance at the Rose Bowl his freshman year. Ohio State played just eight conference games while Michigan played all nine teams in the league that year. Michigan clinched the Rose Bowl berth ahead of Ohio State before the Wolverines traveled to Columbus to play the Buckeyes. Michigan lost at Ohio State, 24-14, and then lost by the same score to UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Ohio State crushed BYU in the Holiday Bowl, 47-17.
It may have taken him a year to get a notable amount of playing time, but Johnson saw the field plenty as a sophomore. He did this despite a linebacker rotation that featured Clark Backus and Byron Lee. Pepper finished third on the team in tackles, with 92 (38 solos). Johnson also tallied two tackles for loss, two sacks, three pass breakups, a fumble recovery, and intercepted a pass.
The Buckeyes again went 9-3, but all three losses came in conference play. Ohio State fell at No. 7 Iowa (20-14), at No. 19 Illinois (17-13), and at No. 8 Michigan (24-21). Just 16 more points could have provided a special season, but instead Ohio State finished fourth in the Big Ten, before beating No. 15 Pittsburgh, 28-23, in the Fiesta Bowl.
Johnson finally became a full-time starter in 1984, leading the Buckeyes in tackles, with 140, including 77 solo stops. He made plays all over the field, registering five tackles for loss, a sack, three interceptions, five pass breakups, three fumble recoveries, including a touchdown.
He also took on a leadership role as a junior. Johnson was a team captain and his teammates voted him Ohio State’s defensive MVP. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection, as well.
Once again, an Earle Bruce team finished 9-3. The team went 7-2 in conference play but still won the Big Ten outright, a full game ahead of Illinois and Purdue. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 2 in the country when they lost at Purdue, 28-23, and later fell at Wisconsin — Bruce’s personal bugaboo — 16-14. Johnson and Co. beat Michigan at home, 21-7, and went to California to play No. 18 USC in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans nipped the Buckeyes, 20-17. It was Johnson’s first bowl game loss.
Johnson saved his best for last as a senior. He had a career-high 141 tackles, 74 of which were solos. He led the Buckeyes in tackles for a second straight year. He also added five tackles for loss, two sacks, a pass breakup and a fumble recovery to his stat sheet as a senior.
He served as captain again for the 1985 Buckeyes and earned team defensive MVP honors for the second straight season. He picked up broader conference and national accolades too. Johnson ended his collegiate career as a first-team all-Big Ten selection and a first-team All-American.
Pepper’s Buckeyes finished 9-3 again. Then-No. 5 Ohio State fell 31-28 at Illinois after opening the season with a three-game winning streak. Five consecutive wins later, the Buckeyes had risen back to No. 3. However, they lost 12-7 at home against Wisconsin on Pepper Johnson's senior day. The Buckeyes lost the next week at No. 6 Michigan. A 5-3 conference record meant a tie for a fourth-place finish in Big Ten play. At season’s end, the Bucks went to Orlando, where they beat BYU 10-7 in the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Pepper left Ohio State as the school’s fourth all-time leading tackler, with 379. He is still in the school’s top 10 in that category, at No. 6. His 190 solo tackles are also 10th on Ohio State’s all-time list. Johnson’s Buckeye teams went 36-12 (.750) in his four seasons in Columbus. He split the four games against his home state school, Michigan, going 2-2 in The Game, and he finished 3-1 in bowl games.
Over his final two seasons in 1984 and 1985, he and Chris Spielman combined to give Ohio State one of the country’s best linebacker tandems, and perhaps the best in OSU history. He made Ohio State's all-century team in 1999. Johnson was elected to the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2001.
Johnson’s son, Dionte, played four seasons as a fullback for Ohio State from 2004-07. Dionte was a team captain in 2007, making Pepper and son the school's third father-son combination to serve as captain (Jim and Kirk Herbstreit and James and Jeff Davidson).
Pepper Johnson thrived as a college football player, but his legacy in Ohio State football lore was forged with his transition the professional ranks. He has left quite the mark in professional football as both player and assistant coach.
Johnson was a second-round pick (51st overall) of the New York Giants in the 1986 NFL Draft. He experienced professional success immediately. Johnson did not start as a rookie, but contributed 23 tackles and two sacks for a defense that featured Lawrence Taylor and Leonard Marshall.
The 1986 New York Giants posted a 14-2 record and cruised through the playoffs en route to Super Bowl XXI. The Giants beat the Broncos, 39-20. Pepper Johnson was already a Super Bowl champion as a rookie.
He was a full-time starter for the Giants defense the next year.
The Giants struggled to repeat the success the team had during Pepper Johnson's rookie season. It failed to make the playoffs the next two years and lost in the divisional round to the Rams in 1989.
Pepper Johnson had a special season in 1990. He was already a fixture on Parcells' defense. He started all 16 regular season games in 1990 and finished second on the team with 115 tackles. He also added 3.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. His individual efforts led to the first of two Pro Bowl selections in his pro career.
The Giants also experienced team success in 1990. The Giants routed the Bears in the divisional round, earned a hard-fought victory against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, and beat the Bills 20-19 in Super Bowl XXV.
The Giants failed to make the playoffs the next two years and Johnson left the Giants after that 1992 season. He joined his former defensive coordinator, Bill Belichick, in Cleveland where he played with the Browns for three seasons. He proved a durable and reliable contributor to the Browns for his three seasons. He missed just five games over three seasons (all in 1993). He even made the Pro Bowl in 1994 after a season in which he had 95 tackles. Neither he nor Bill Belichick followed the franchise to Baltimore when the Browns relocated.
Johnson finished his playing career over the next three seasons with the Lions and the Jets. He retired after the 1998 season after a 13-year career in which he missed just 15 games total...”
Goldberg Cape Cod Times: The Patriot way a Giant descendant (2-02-2008)
“GLENDALE, Ariz — When Pepper Johnson joined the New York Giants as a rookie in 1986, the locker room was ruled by two of his defensive teammates, Harry Carson and George Martin. They were given free rein to run things by Bill Parcells, coach of that Super Bowl-winning team.
GLENDALE, Ariz. — When Pepper Johnson joined the New York Giants as a rookie in 1986, the locker room was ruled by two of his defensive teammates, Harry Carson and George Martin. They were given free rein to run things by Bill Parcells, coach of that Super Bowl-winning team.
"We've got 40 of those guys in our locker room now," said Johnson, now the defensive line coach of the New England Patriots.
That is an exaggeration. It's more like a dozen or so veterans, led by linebackers Mike Vrabel and Tedy Bruschi, who set the tone with the Patriots, a direct descendant of Parcells' Giants teams, which won two Super Bowls with Bill Belichick as their defensive coordinator. Fittingly, Belichick's Patriots will try to become the first 19-0 team in NFL history tomorrow against the current edition of the Giants.
The symmetry is interesting.
Only recently has Belichick, back on relatively good terms with his one-time mentor, begun to acknowledge his roots with Parcells' Giants. He spent 12 seasons as an assistant coach in New York, and his references to those years have been a recurring theme since his team's 38-35 win in the Meadowlands to finish an unbeaten regular season. Those references intensified since the teams qualified to meet again for the NFL championship.
For all of Belichick's genius, one of the lesser-known secrets to New England's success is the verbal self-control of its players.
Thirty-one other teams may have "look at me" players providing bulletin board material for opponents. The Patriots have none, not even Randy Moss. That's because he walked into a locker room full of veterans with two or three Super Bowl rings who had a code of their own that Moss wasn't about to break.
It's an even more stringent atmosphere for rookies, who learn quickly that they are at the bottom of the pecking order — seen but not heard...
Whatever Belichick says at the beginning of a week about the upcoming opponent (always complimentary, of course) is likely to be parroted almost word-for-word by the players who make themselves available that week. Assistant coaches hardly talk at all, although under new rules set down by the league, coordinators are expected to be made available every two weeks.
But on media day at the Super Bowl, everyone is required to be there, which allowed Johnson to provide valuable insight into the system and its link to Parcells' Giants.
"When I walked in there as a rookie," Johnson said, "the first thing I understood was that the locker room belonged to Harry and George. They even decided the music that would be played. We don't go quite that far here."
Brett Jones C FA-Calgary CFL 2015 NYG IR 2015, NYG 2016-2017 7-29-1991
George Cheverko B UDFA-Fordham 1947 NYG 1947-1948 Born 7-29-1920 Died 11-14-1977
Fordham HOF - “George attended Fordham on a football scholarship where he played in the Sugar Bowl game in which Fordham defeated Missouri, 2-0. Besides that he contributed to many other key Fordham football triumphs, including 26-0 over NYU before 35,000 at Yankee Stadium in 1940 and 30-9 over NYU before 35,000 at Yankee Stadium in 1941.The Rams lost only one regular season game in 1941, to Pittsburgh.
Cheverko played in nine games for the New York Giants in 1947, on defense and as a punt and kickoff reuturner. In 1948, he played eight games with the Giants and two with the Washington Redskins. His career totals in the NFL are 19 games played, 73 yards rushing, 18 passes caught for 341 yards (18.9 average) and three touchdowns. On defense, Cheverko intercepted nine passes and returned them for 222 yards, an average of 24.7 yards per interception. As kickoff returner, he had 10 returns for 215 yards, an average of 21.5 yards per return. He also returned six punts for 93 yards, an average of 15.5 yards per return.
He also went on to play baseball with the Jersey City Giants of the International League.”