New York Giants Notebook | Quarterbacks, Cornerbacks and More
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones has taken the brunt of the blame for the Giants' latest defeat, and the other three as well for that matter.
But despite Jones' major blunder--a poor pass and a good defensive play by Rams cornerback Darious Williams on the interception--head coach Joe Judge hasn't lost faith in his quarterback.
"Daniel is still our quarterback. That’s who we’re playing with," Judge said. "We support him, we have a lot of confidence in him, we have faith in him. Again, he’s a young guy who’s developing. We’ve seen a lot of progress from him day to day.
"Are there things he needs to correct and clean up, and can we do a better job as coaches and staff to put him in the right situations? Absolutely. ... But Daniel is our quarterback."
Jones has struggled with a receiving corps that has been unable to consistently separate from defenders. So Judge was asked how the coaches can help make things easier for the second-year signal-caller.
"As coaches, we have to do things to put people in the right position and call at the right time. You’re going to play against good defenses that are going to have tight coverage," he said.
"Individually, we have to play better within our techniques and make sure we work to get open. Then spreading the ball around the field a little bit. That will kind of help alleviate some of those defenses we’ll see.
"But look, we’re expecting tight coverage and tight throws. It’s the NFL. You’re not going to have a magical scheme that’s going to create guys wide open all the time. We have to do a good job with contested catches and making plays."
Cornering the Market?
Ryan Lewis became the Giants' latest experiment at the second boundary cornerback spot opposite James Bradberry.
Lewis was inserted after that week's starter Isaac Yiadom was benched. Lewis put up the best performance of any of the previous corners the Giants had tried out at that spot.
Lewis allowed just four passes on six targets for 41 yards and recorded three tackles. While it is anything but perfect, it's by all accounts a much better showing than what Yiadom or Corey Ballentine could manage for the Giants this year.
However, Judge insisted that Lewis, nor any other of the Giants' corners outside of Bradberry, is a starter in the traditional sense of the word.
Instead, Lewis filled the role that was required out of him, depending on the personnel the Giants had on the field.
"In terms of the starters, a lot of things just branch into what package we're playing with certain guys," Judge said. "Based on what the offense puts out there, we may play a specific package that may highlight a different guy.
"To me, the whole label on starter isn't really the most critical thing. It's more about who's finishing the game for us, and a lot of that ties into how we have to play that game due to the flow of it or how we have to adjust."
Still, Lewis' success can't be discounted, and he could prove to become a key player for the Giants defense this year.
Lewis, an undrafted free agent out of Pittsburgh in 2017, has played for eight different NFL teams before suiting up for the Giants this year.
After starting the season on the practice squad, Lewis has emerged as the team's latest favorite to hold down the second corner spot until he proves to be a liability worth replacing. Considering the team's current depth at cornerback, it would take a pretty bad stretch to get there.
"I'm pleased with Ryan with how he played yesterday. He showed a lot of positive things in terms of how he played on outside routes," Judge said. "He did some good things on special teams for us as well. We have to keep putting him in positions where he can use his speed and some of his instincts to make plays for us.
"Look, there are other situations where Ike is going to have a predominant role based on how we're trying to match certain things up and really get him worked in."
Gates of Heck
Center Nick Gates had arguably his best game as the Giants' starting center on Sunday against one of the most formidable opponents for his position in Rams All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
There were questions about whether Gates would struggle to transition to center from his natural position of offensive tackle this season. While it's been a shaky start, the progress is visible, considering where Gates is coming from.
"A lot of what Nick does inside is based on the interior calls, where we're sliding him, or if we're trying to create some kind of double team or something game plan wise inside," Judge said.
"That center position is very unique in terms of how they have to operate inside, as far as helping the guards and setting it and creating slides. But he's progressing week by week, and I'm pleased with how he's come along."
One issue that did persist with Gates a little bit on Sunday was snapping accuracy. Gates made a handful of high snaps, and while none of them resulted in a disastrous passed snap, eliminating that risk is a top priority for the Giants' coaching staff.
"We just have to get that more consistently fixed," Judge said. "We need to make sure we eliminate the one-offs that he has. That always ties into technique within a different situation. Whatever the reason for it is, we just have to make sure we get it off the mat."