Winless Giants, Falcons do battle for first win of season
The New York Giants are beginning to see a few positives after what has been a negative start to the season.
The Giants (0-2) and visiting Atlanta Falcons (0-2) look to record their first win of the season at the other’s expense on Sunday when they meet in East Rutherford, N.J.
New York followed up a 27-13 season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos on Sept. 12 with a heartbreaking 30-29 setback to the Washington Football Team four nights later.
While the negatives are obvious — the Giants have lost their first two games of a season in five straight years and eight in the last nine — they did receive some semblance of a positive on Wednesday; Pro Bowl tight end Evan Engram was deemed to be a limited participant.
“He’s still progressing, moving in the right direction,” New York coach Joe Judge said of Engram, who has missed the first two games with a calf injury. “We were hopeful early coming out of camp — obviously, we didn’t put him on IR — we were hopeful to get him to this point.”
Judge was also inspired by Saquon Barkley’s explosive 41-yard run against Washington. Barkley, however, had 12 other carries that went for just 16 yards as he continues to work his way back from last season’s torn ACL.
“I see him going out there every day, he practices hard, he plays with confidence,” Judge said. “Obviously, there are some things coming off an injury like that that you’ve got to have certain stepping stones, but like I’ve said all along, when the medical team says he’s greenlighted to go, we’ve got to go and start playing with him. He’s done a good job preparing for us. he’s done a good job in performance for us and we’re going to keep on going with him.”
Barkley’s 83 rushing yards trail quarterback Daniel Jones (122) for the team lead. Jones, in fact, rushed for a career-high 95 yards against Washington and has scored on the ground in each of his first two games.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan hardly would be considered a speedster, however the 36-year-old has accumulated 1,398 yards rushing on the ground in his career.
Ryan is best known for his arm, although he threw for just 164 yards in a 32-6 setback in the season opener against Philadelphia. He got back on track last Sunday by throwing for 300 yards in a 48-25 loss at Tampa Bay.
Ryan, however, is touting consistency for his team as it attempts to work its way down the field.
“I think that’s a recipe for success moving forward,” Ryan said. “The percentages are much higher of converting drives (and) converting third downs when we are at third and five or less, so I think that’s been pretty good so far this year.”
Ryan’s most trusted target is Calvin Ridley, who reeled in seven receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown against the Buccaneers. Fellow wideout Russell Gage had five catches last week, however an ailing ankle prevented him from practicing on Wednesday.
Gage is being looked upon to take a step up after the team parted ways with seven-time Pro Bowl selection Julio Jones in the offseason.
Cornerback A.J. Terrell (concussion) also did not practice Wednesday.
Like Barkley and Engram, wide receiver Kenny Golladay (hip), defensive back Logan Ryan (hamstring) and tight end Kaden Smith (knee) were limited in practice for New York.
On Sunday, former Giants quarterback Eli Manning will become the 43rd member of the team’s Ring of Honor. He will have his No. 10 jersey retired at halftime.
–Field Level Media