[The Beatles] A rare recording of a Beatle singing gets questioned.
The Beatles are arguable the most important group in the history of 20th century music. The story of John, Paul, George and Ringo have become a mythology of sorts in the world of rock music. Even so, their mythology expands beyond the 13 core albums and eight year history between Please Please Me
and Let It Be
, with myth and fact often getting confused. This is one of those stories.
Part I: The Bass Player Before Paul
Despite being best known for his bass work, Paul McCartney was not the original bassist for the Beatles; rather, he was a guitarist alongside John Lennon and George Harrison. The role of bassist was delegated to Stuart Sutcliffe, a friend of Lennon’s from art school. After winning some prize money in an art contest, Sutcliffe was convinced by Lennon and McCartney to buy a Hofner President 500/5 bass and join the Beatles (then called the Silver Beatles) for a tour of nightclubs in the German city of Hamburg. During this time Sutcliffe also booked the band’s gig back home (until the arrival of manager Allan Williams) and - along with Lennon and Lennon’s girlfriend Cynthia - came up with the name “Beatles”.
Sutcliffe stayed with the band for about a year before leaving in 1961 to focus on his art career in Hamburg, where he lived with his fiancée Astrid Kirchherr until his sudden death by a brain hemorrhage a year later, a death that had a major impact on Lennon’s life. The other three guitarists then discussed who would take over, leading to the bass duties falling on Paul. The rest, as they say, is history...
By all regards Sutcliffe was not a spectacular bass player, sticking to root notes and chords. Some recordings of him playing appear on the first Anthology
; however, none of these involved any vocals from Sutcliffe - something that made him one of the more popular Beatles during his short stint.
After death, however, Sutcliffe became a part of the Beatles lore, appearing on the cover of Sgt. Pepper
and all three parts of Anthology
as well as John’s solo album Rock and Roll
. Yoko Ono said that she “felt I knew Stuart because hardly a day went by that John did not speak about him.”
Part II: Love Me Tender
In 2011, the Stuart Sutcliffe estate announced that they had come in possession of a recording of Stuart singing
. This was somewhat of a big deal in the Beatles fanworld, as (like mentioned before) no audio clips of Stuart singing had come forward.
This recording was a cover of the Elvis Presley track “Love Me Tender”
. This is a key part of the drama, which we’ll get to later.
The post from the estate explained that they had acquired the recording from a private anonymous collector sometime in 2009, but had known of it as early as the 1990s.
While the song was confirmed to be Stuart by his sister Pauline, that didn’t stop it from being approached with skepticism from the Beatles community. ”Here's a guy who was cajoled into playing in a band. A visual artist, not a musician who, by all accounts, was so uncertain of his abilities that he performed with his back to the audience. Now a recording surfaces that nobody has heard before, with Sutcliffe fronting an unknown band, singing a song with confidence? They might believe it's him. Maybe they found an unlabeled tape in his possessions but, nah.... I don't buy it.” writes BeatMichael of the Steve Hoffman forums, a board focused on music production and mastering
. “Complete bull. Listen to those early, early Beatle recordings. Ramshackle, beat all over the place, sound like they are beamed from Mars. This is some 80s tascam-4-track cassette job. Saturday morning in a pub somewhere...”
adds user William Shears.
Reddit user u/mayor-of-awesometown
added in a later comment on a post regarding Sutcliffe that ”"Love Me Tender" probably isn't a Stu recording. There's no documentation or contemporary evidence of the session, nobody who would have been there remembers it and there's a drum machine on the recording.”
In response, the Sutcliffe estate released pieces by two Beatles historians covering the authenticity. They can be found here
Next, we’ll cover the reasons for and against the recording’s authenticity.
Part III: The Magical Mystery Tour
Let’s first talk about what this recording has going for it.
First and foremost, we have Pauline Sutcliffe saying that it is Stu’s voice. Letters from the time of the purported recording date (estimated to be in 1961, but after Stu left the Beatles) confirm he was working on a musical project
, and it is known that he played with a band known as the Bats for a brief period.
Second, it is not unlikely that Stu would record himself singing this cover, as “Love Me Tender” was generally considered his number and a highlight of the Beatles’ Hamburg gigs, as noted by Beatles biographer Bob Spitz. These are also backed up by the films Backbeat
(which had its accuracy praised by Pauline herself as well as Paul McCartney and friends of Stu) and Birth of the Beatles
(which featured former drummer Pete Best as a consultant), but the versions in these films are somewhat different than the recording.
Pauline’s reasoning on why it was Stuart was, according to an interview with the Examiner
was pretty much the same as what was said in the official post from the estate.
Now, let’s cover what arguments there are against this recording.
Arguably the most damning piece against the recording is a cover of “Love Me Tender” by the Boston Show Band
, which sounds identical. It’s a few beats slower and more full-sounding, but it clearly sounds exactly like the Sutcliffe recording.
Others, particularly the Steve Hoffman forum, have noted similarities to a later version of the song by Percy Sledge
, most notably in the melody.
Aside from this, a big problem with verifying the recording is that most people who knew Stuart are no longer with us. For a run-down:
- John Lennon was killed in 1980.
- Astrid Kirchherr refused to talk about it until her death earlier this year.
- George Harrison passed away from cancer in 2001.
- Allan Williams, the Beatles original manager, died in 2016.
- Cynthia Powell Lennon died in 2015.
There are only a handful of people remaining who can verify or deny this recording’s authenticity. Here’s who:
- Paul McCartney, who hasn’t said a word.
- Pete Best, former Beatles drummer, who hasn’t said a word.
- Bill Harry, founder of Mersey Beat magazine, said he wasn’t sure.
- Klaus Voorman, a friend of Stuart and the Beatles (as well as the cover artist for Revolver), said he didn’t think that was him.
- Any surviving members of The Bats. Their whereabouts are unknown.
To this day, the recording is up to debate (albeit not as much as when it came out), and for what it’s worth it may never be known whether or not it is actually Stuart. TLDR: A rare recording of a Beatles member may not be him. No one can truly confirm it and fans argued about it for quite some time.
submitted by Chengweiyingji
Offseason Review: New York Giants Edition
New York Giants
Division: NFC East (4-12, 3rd)
Before I start I just want to warn everyone that I'm generally incredibly long-winded. So: if you don't want to read all of my commentary and just want the tl;dr version, I will put that in a comment and link that comment <<>>
The tl;dr version will mostly just be a few tables of main coaching changes, free agency, draft, predicted record, without any of my notes. Now that that's done:
- Daniel Jones flashed the ability to be a legit player for the Giants, starting with his first start, a wild one in TB where he led a game-winning drive.
- Darius Slayton surprised as a good WR after being selected in the 5th round.
- Ryan Connelly played well out of the gate as a 5th round rookie LB.
- Dalvin Tomlinson had a more productive year as a pass rusher
- Injuries were a significant problem; Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram, Jabrill Peppers, and Daniel Jones all missed games with injuries.
- Very few of the young players the Giants added to the roster under Dave Gettleman took steps forward; Jones and Dexter Lawrence were good, but DeAndre Baker, Will Hernandez, BJ Hill, Lorenzo Carter, and Oshane Ximines, the rest of the Giants top 100 picks under Gettleman (besides Barkley who we know is good), all struggled at times or had their roles reduced at times.
- Many veterans the Giants would need to rely on struggled; Nate Solder, Janoris Jenkins, Alec Ogletree for example.
- The Giants only won 4 games all year, being among the worst teams in the league, and in many of their games, were down by 10+ points at some point in the first half.
So it came as no surprise when HC Pat Shurmur was fired after this up and (mostly) down season. However, in a move that surprised many (myself included) GM Dave Gettleman was retained.
Coaching Changes Coaching Changes:
|Title ||Old Coach ||New Coach (2019 Position) |
|Head Coach ||Pat Shurmur ||Joe Judge (NE STC/WR Coach) |
|Offensive Coordinator ||Mike Shula ||Jason Garrett (DAL HC) |
|Defensive Coordinator ||James Bettcher ||Patrick Graham (MIA DC) |
|Special Teams Coordinator ||Thomas McGaughey ||Thomas McGaughey |
|QB Coach ||Mike Shula ||Jerry Schuplinski (MIA Asst QB Coach) |
|RB Coach ||Craig Johnson ||Burton Burns (Alabama) |
|WR Coach ||Tyke Tolbert ||Tyke Tolbert |
|TE Coach ||Lunda Wells ||Freddie Kitchens (CLE HC) |
|OL Coach ||Hal Hunter ||Marc Colombo |
|DL Coach ||Gary Emanuel ||Sean Spencer (Penn State AHC/Run Game CoordinatoDL Coach) |
|EDGE Coach ||Mike Dawson ||Bret Bielema (NE DL Coach) |
|LB Coach ||Bill McGovern ||Kevin Sherrer (University of Tennessee STC/ILB Coach) |
|DB Coach ||Everett Withers ||Jerome Henderson (ATL Passing Game Coordinator) |
|Strength and Conditioning ||Aaron Wellman ||Craig Fitzgerald (University of Tennessee Director of Strength and Conditioning) |
MASSIVE turnover here, with just 2 main coaches retaining their positions: WR Coach Tyke Tolbert and STC Thomas McGaughey. HC Joe Judge Grade: A-
When Judge was first hired, I will not lie, I was not really happy. Personally, I was a big Matt Rhule proponent; I love his resume, going to two different low quality colleges and flipping their programs around in a very short time. OC Jason Garrett Grade: B
But the more I see of Joe Judge, the more comfortable I am with the hire. Not ecstatic, not expectant of him to be great, but comfortable. He's the kind of coach I thought this team needed.
It turns out, the Giants had done their homework on Joe Judge. Judge had been with Bill Belichick and the Patriots since 2012, he had been their STC since 2015. Before that he had worked for Nick Saban at Alabama. The Giants polled both of those legendary coaches for their takes on Joe Judge, and it seemed that both really raved about Judge.
On top of that, John Mara claimed Judge's interview was one of the most impressive he's ever been a part of. He really sold ownership on his plan for the future of the team.
His arrival signals a bit of a shift in what ownership wants in its HC. The last two times, with Ben McAdoo and Pat Shurmur, it seemed that the Giants tried to go with the trend of finding hot offensive minds to design and build an offense that would carry the team to wins. But with Judge, they are bringing in someone who is going to try to oversee the whole operation, instead of hone in very closely on one element and leave the rest alone. Specific gameplans will be delegated, while he ensures that the team is working as a single cohesive unit instead of multiple disjointed ones.
Judge's background is in special teams, but he'll have a say in the offense and defense. He'll have a huge say in roster building and construction, because as a special teams coach he had to evaluate players on both sides of the ball already.
The challenge here for Judge is that he's never been a HC before at any level. So he's mostly going off of his own intuitions and what he learned from coaching with Nick Saban and Bill Belichick (the latter of whom apparently had consistent and lengthy conversations with Judge about being a HC). Plus he will have to rely somewhat heavily on his assistant coaches to help put together a strong offense and strong defense, since that's somewhat outside of his repertoire.
It's hard to really grade a HC hire before they actually do anything, but I'm happy with what Joe Judge seems to be bringing to the table.
I think I like the Jason Garrett hire, but it doesn't come without faults. First of all, there's the obvious: Hiring coaches that were thrown away from other orgs, especially rival orgs, is usually a tough sell. And since Garrett's offense hasn't run incredibly well the last couple of years (and it seemed the Cowboys offense performed better when Kellen Moore had more say in recent years), that's a bit concerning. DC Patrick Graham Grade: C+
The next thing is a long term thing; if he's good, how long is it before he gets another bite at the HC apple? And if he's not good, how long would he last? It doesn't seem like the type of hire that is made to last, but that we will have to see. Maybe his tenure in Dallas turns everyone off enough to not hire him, who knows?
I think I trust Garrett a lot schematically in the run game, where his teams in Dallas have been extremely multiple. They shifted between man/gap/poweinside zone/outside zone schemes year to year, or even play to play pretty consistently. Garrett has almost always had a stellar runningback in recent years, with Demarco Murray and now Zeke, and has been able to shift his scheme without a problem. The main concern about this is that the Giants OL has been a weakness, compared to the Cowboys' which was undoubtedly a strength.
The biggest concern to me as far as his success with the team goes is how his scheme will mesh with Daniel Jones. Jones is really the key to a lot of the Giants success for the next decade; he'll get a good long look as the future of the franchise, and it's important that he's set up for success.
Jones flashed on his rookie film, but there's places he still needs to improve. The first thing everyone will say is ball security, not fumbling in the pocket, but it's deeper than that; in my opinion he really struggled to find comfort in his progressions. Quick throws or first reads were routine for him, but when he had to move off and find the window for his next read, often times he seemed quite uncomfortable. His footwork would accelerate, he'd start pumping and patting the football, and often times he'd be late. This was a significant portion of his propensity for fumbles, along with a weak OL. His deep ball placement needed improvement as well.
Garrett's offense is going to really challenge him to improve there; Garrett will implement more vertical concepts into the offense, he wants to be aggressive and be able to push the ball downfield with the first read, and then have the QB move on if it's not there. That's going to challenge Jones to improve on those things.
And if Jones is able to meet the challenge (which I hope he can), then this will be great for him. But those things will also exacerbate his weaknesses; if he gets off to a slow start, IT'S OKAY. But that's why I am pumping the brakes on Jason Garrett a bit.
Graham doesn't really have an impressive resume, with last year being his first year as a full-fledged Defensive Coordinator. Miami's roster was very weak, so it's no surprise the defense put up poor results. STC Thomas McGaughey Grade: A+
The main thing that makes me uninspired with this hire is...it doesn't make sense to me why the Dolphins just...let him go. The Giants requested permission to interview him for a completely lateral move (he did gain an "Assistant HC" title with the Giants, but that's not considered a promotion) and the Dolphins just said "see ya". It doesn't make sense to me.
The good thing about Graham is that he really embodies the "multiple" defense philosophy. He worked with a ton of spare parts in Miami, but they still ran a lot of different schemes, depending on the opponent. If he can bring that philosophy to the Giants, that will be exciting, after watching a very vanilla defense for a long time now. If he can find creative ways to use the players on this roster, and specifically produce a pass rush from a weak pass rusher group, then this will be a success.
And I can't blame him if the defense isn't good; there's a lot of missing pieces with this defense still. I'm not saying he'll be a failure, but there's not a lot of reason on the board so far to be particularly excited.
It's not often you see someone get excited for a STC hire, but McGaughey was one of two assistants retained from Pat Shurmur's staff, and it's well deserved. Best of the Rest Grade: A
McGaughey's arrival in 2018 really helped flip the Giants' special teams identity. While still generally a weaker returning team, kick coverage especially has been incredible. Players rave about his simple yet effective scheme, how it encourages them to play fast and loose, and we've seen it really pay off, with a few players like Michael Thomas, Cody Core, and Antonio Hamilton earning basically their whole paycheck on special teams.
McGaughey and Judge will be a fun combination since they're both high quality special teams coordinators, and frankly with how people talk about McGaughey, I wouldn't be surprised to see him get some HC interviews in the next few years.
I'm really a big big fan of almost all of the other hires Judge made. I was very concerned at first that it would just be filled with Alabama/NE assistants, and there are some of those, but Judge really made this staff his own and brought in some very talented people.
QB Coach Jerry Schuplinski has received rave reviews from guys like Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett for the way that he communicates concepts and can really be an asset especially for young QBs.
RB Coach Burton Burns was loved at Alabama and former Alabama RBs like Mark Ingram came out to say how much they loved him.
WR Coach Tyke Tolbert has been quite good for the Giants, including playing a pivotal role in the great rookie year that Darius Slayton had in 2019.
Possibly the acquisition most Giants fans are most excited for is OL Coach Marc Colombo; Colombo played for Jason Garrett and then went up through the ranks to become the Cowboys' OL coach for the last couple of years. Now, the Cowboys OL was full of talent to begin with, but Colombo hopefully can help improve the Giants OL and get players like Will Hernandez to really come into their own.
The last hire I want to highlight is DB Coach Jerome Henderson. Henderson is another player-turned-coach who has been coaching DBs for 15ish years in the NFL, most recently being Atlanta's passing game coordinator. Henderson doesn't have the most incredible track record of developing corners the way someone like Josh Boyer does, but he's experienced. This hire isn't one of my favorites, but it's an important one, since the Giants CB room is still incredibly young.
Roster Acquisitions/Losses Players Lost/Cut
|Player ||Position ||New Team (Contract Details: Click to go to OverTheCap) |
|Eli Manning ||QB ||Retired :( |
|Alec Ogletree ||LB ||N/A |
|Mike Remmers ||OT ||Kansas City Chiefs (1 yr, $1.1875m) |
|Antoine Bethea ||S ||N/A |
|Michael Thomas ||S/ST ||Houston Texans (1 yr, $1.05m) |
|Jon Halapio ||C ||N/A* |
|Markus Golden ||EDGE ||N/A* |
|Janoris Jenkins ||CB ||New Orleans Saints (3 yr, $27m) |
|Zak DeOssie ||LS ||Retired :( |
The Giants barely lost any players of real note this offseason; that's kind of what happens when your team is really bad and in year 2 or 3 of a rebuild.
Overall Grade: A
Overall I give the Giants an A for all the players that walked, because none of them were important to keep. Players Acquired
I love Eli as much as anyone, but it was time, and I'm glad he retired a Giant instead of trying to milk another year out of his career elsewhere. Same with Zak DeOssie.
The Alec Ogletree experiment was not a success, being a pretty weak LB that was paid far too much for the quality of his play. I won't bash the acquisition because the picks and money didn't mean that much in the end, but he didn't live up to it.
Mike Remmers and Antoine Bethea were more or less veteran stopgaps to fill spots on the roster that just couldn't be solved that quickly, and both did fine at that, but were no longer really needed.
Janoris Jenkins was released mid-season after a Twitter beef with a fan, but he was going to be released this summer anyways in all likelihood, anyways.
Jon Halapio is currently not signed by the Giants, but they are closely monitoring his recovery from a late season Achilles injury. Halapio was the week 1 starter at center both of the last two seasons, and was middling. There's no real reason I feel he needs to be signed, but the center position will be pretty much completely up in the air this summer. The Giants very well may bring him back if they can verify his health.
Markus Golden was signed last year as a one year stopgap and performed solidly. He led the team in sacks, was generally steady, but didn't prove a game-changing effect for a terrible pass rush. The Giants were perfectly comfortable letting him walk, and he remains unsigned, because the EDGE market didn't materialize the way people thought; with Clowney and Everson Griffen still unsigned, and Golden not receiving the offers he thought he would, the Giants placed a UFA tender on Golden; that means that if he remains unsigned on the first day of training camp, then his negotiation rights revert to the Giants. This means that if Golden doesn't sign somewhere by then, then the only team he can play for is the Giants, and the Giants have a minimum offer of his 2019 contract with a 10% salary bump; this means that if Golden does come back to the Giants then, he will sign for 1 year, ~$5.1m (a $4.1m salary plus $1m in LTBE bonuses).
It would not hurt my feelings if none of the above players returned, so I think the Giants did a fine job here.
|Player ||Position ||2019-2020 Team (Contract Details; Click to go to OverTheCap) |
|Leonard Williams ||IDL ||New York Jets/New York Giants (1yr, $16.126m FT) |
|James Bradberry ||CB ||Carolina Panthers (3 yr, $43.5m) |
|Blake Martinez ||LB ||Green Bay Packers (3 yr, $30.75m) |
|David Mayo ||LB ||New York Giants (3yr, $8.4m) |
|Kyler Fackrell ||EDGE ||Green Bay Packers (1yr, $4.6m) |
|Levine Toilolo ||TE ||San Francisco 49ers (2yr, $6.2m) |
|Casey Kreiter ||LS ||Denver Broncos (1yr, $1.05m) |
|Nate Ebner ||S/ST ||New England Patriots (1yr, $2m) |
|Cameron Fleming ||OT ||Dallas Cowboys (1yr, $3.5m) |
|Colt McCoy ||QB ||Washington Redskins (1 yr, $2.25m) |
|Cody Core ||WST ||New York Giants (2yr, $4m) |
|Elijhaa Penny ||FB ||New York Giants (2yr, $2.2m) |
|Cooper Rush ||QB ||Dallas Cowboys (1yr, $1.25m) |
- Leonard Williams Grade: B-
The thing with Williams is that the Giants almost had no choice but to tag him. You can't trade for a player when you're like 2-6 and firmly out of the playoff hunt and then let them walk after the season, it just makes you look doubly stupid. So they kind of have to retain him, which is also probably not a great move.
I actually like Williams as a player. I think the raw trade value for Williams was pretty fair. It's the context that doesn't make sense; the Giants could have used their 3rd round pick (though not on a player of Williams' caliber, I truly believe) on a player with less financial impact that maybe could grow into something. And the Giants IDL was generally perceived as a strength; Dalvin Tomlinson is a very good nose tackle, Dexter Lawrence had a really promising rookie year, and while I'm not the biggest BJ Hill fan, for a 3rd IDL in a rotation, he really wasn't a problem.
On top of that, Williams had this incredible reputation of just being "one step late" on sacks. In his time with the Giants, that didn't change. I'd argue though it's not really his fault as much as it was the fault of the inadequate edge pass rush; if the Giants had been able to rush the passer from the edge, force QBs to step up at all, then I think you'd see Williams on the scoresheet more often, and I think that applies to his time with the Jets as well, who haven't had a good edge pass rusher in I don't know how long.
Williams is a good player but it's not clear he's worth the amount of investment the Giants have put into him; this is a really risky move that I don't necessarily see the great upside to.
- James Bradberry Grade: A-
I like James Bradberry, and I think the cost is pretty much going rate. I'm very happy with the term especially, because it frees up the Giants to be more flexible earlier in the contract; if things don't work out, the Giants can release Bradberry after just 2 years with very minimal cap penalties. Compare this to a contract like the one Byron Jones signed, and it will take until year 4 to cut Jones without feeling a very significant cap penalty.
I think this was a pretty necessary signing, as Janoris Jenkins' release left the Giants pretty barren at the CB position; 2019 1st round pick DeAndre Baker struggled mightily this year, especially early in the season. Supplemental draft choice Sam Beal wasn't healthy until midseason and didn't perform incredibly. And the rest of the CB room was made up almost entirely of late draft choices or UDFAs. So a stable, solid veteran CB was definitely in the cards.
There's two things I don't like about the pickup, and both are very minor:
- How good is James Bradberry really? I'm not convinced he's a true CB1, but he's probably a very good CB2 at least.
- The Giants originally had proposed a contract that had a much lower signing bonus (if it had one at all), that would have made it possible to cut Bradberry after just one year if necessary. This is incredibly minor because honestly, I doubt that he'd need to be cut after just 1 year.
The Giants doled out another 3 year contract, this time worth $30.75m to Blake Martinez.
DC Patrick Graham worked with Martinez in Green Bay at one point and probably played a big role in bringing Martinez here.
Martinez is more of a box LB, he doesn't bring a lot to the table in coverage, which is where the Giants really really need help. He racked up tackles at an incredible rate in 2019, but he was mostly a "cleanup" guy, not really creating a lot of opportunities for himself.
I personally worry this will be Alec Ogletree 2.0: another investment by the Giants into a bigger name at LB who just won't live up to the expectations they put on him. He'll almost unquestionably where the signal-caller's green dot on his helmet, but his level of play matching his contract is the biggest question mark for me.
This is another super low risk signing, similar to how Markus Golden was signed prior to the 2019 season. It's a short deal for a player who had a career year working with Graham before.
It became clear early on in FA that Markus Golden wasn't coming back for what the Giants were offering, and they knew that all of the good free agents would be tagged, with the exception of Clowney, who was reportedly asking too much for the Giants to give, so the Giants targeted Fackrell. He was pushed down the depth chart by the addition of the Smiths in GB, and the Giants are hoping that adding him to Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines, along with a better defensive scheme, will help put together a somewhat competent edge pass rush.
Fackrell just isn't an incredibly impressive player; I'm not unhappy with him being signed, but it just doesn't move the needle.
Levine Toilolo is a blocking specialist TE, something the Giants will need for Garrett's scheme. They paid him a lot but having Toilolo gives the Giants a steady/stable option in case Engram can't stay healthy and/or Smith has a sophomore slump.
Cameron Fleming is a solid swing tackle who is familiar with Judge and Garrett/Colombo. He'll be a really useful player to step in and play in case of injury, as well as help the young OL the Giants have brought in adapt and develop to the new system.
David Mayo is a depth LB/STer at best, really. He was forced into a bigger role due to injuries and was serviceable against the run and a huge liability against the pass. This deal is just a last resort plan.
The Giants added two backup QB options; Colt McCoy and Cooper Rush. McCoy as a veteran present to fill the void left by Eli as best he can and help Jones prepare and improve as a professional. Rush serves as a (hopefully) high upside backup who knows Garrett's offense. I wouldn't be surprised to see both carried on a 53 man roster.
The Giants also added Casey Kreiter, a former Pro Bowl LS, to at least compete for the job vacated by Zak DeOssie.
Lastly, the Giants' focus on ST continued this offseason, replacing Michael Thomas with Nate Ebner from the Patriots and re-signing Cody Core, who was a standout STer for the Giants last year.
2020 NFL Draft
If you want explanations on the players drafted, I wrote the Defending the Draft
post for the Giants again this year over at NFL_Draft
. I'm going to leave the link as the only explanations to cut some of the length. Primary Needs Entering the Draft:
New York Giants 2020 NFL Draft Summary
- Tier 1 Needs: OT, EDGE
- Tier 2 Needs: CB, FS, LB, C
- Tier 3 Needs: WR
|Pick (Round.Overall Selection) ||Player Name ||Player Position ||Player School |
|1.4 ||Andrew Thomas ||OT ||Georgia |
|2.36 ||Xavier McKinney ||FS ||Alabama |
|3.99 ||Matt Peart ||OT ||UConn |
|4.110 ||Darnay Holmes ||CB ||UCLA |
|5.150 ||Shane Lemieux ||IOL ||Oregon |
|6.183 ||Cameron Brown ||LB ||Penn State |
|7.218 ||Carter Coughlin ||EDGE ||Minnesota |
|7.238 ||TJ Brunson ||LB/S ||South Carolina |
|7.247 ||Chris Williamson ||CB/S ||Minnesota |
|7.255 ||Tae Crowder ||LB ||Georgia |
Projected 53 Man Roster
Starters are BOLD
QB (3): Daniel Jones
, Colt McCoy, Cooper Rush
RB (3): Saquon Barkley
, Dion Lewis, Wayne Gallman
FB (1): Eli Penny
WR (5): Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton
, Corey Coleman, ???
TE (3): Evan Engram
, Levine Toilolo, Kaden Smith
OL (9): Nate Solder, Andrew Thomas
, Matt Peart, Cam Fleming, Will Hernandez, Jon Halapio/Spencer Pulley, Kevin Zeitler
, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates
DL (6): Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson
, BJ Hill, RJ McIntosh, Austin Johnson
EDGE (4): Markus Golden, Kyler Fackrell
, Oshane Ximines, Lorenzo Carter
LB (5): Blake Martinez, Ryan Connelly
, David Mayo, TJ Brunson, Cam Brown
CB (5): DeAndre Baker
, James Bradberry
, Darnay Holmes
, Sam Beal, Corey Ballantine, ???
S (2): Jabrill Peppers, Xavier McKinney
DB (2): Julian Love, ???
K (1): Aldrick Rosas/???
P (1): Riley Dixon
LS (1): Casey Kreiter
ST (2): Cody Core, Nate Ebner NOTES:
- This is assuming DeAndre Baker is good to go and the armed robbery stuff is made up. Frankly at this point I have no clue what will happen; if he's out, then Sam Beal will slide into his spot most likely.
- ??? means it's basically wide open. For WRs, there's about a 5 way battle between: Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, Derrick Dillon, David Sills, and Da'Mari Scott. For the extra DB slot, it's between Grant Haley, Montre Hartage, Chris Williamson, Sean Chandler, Rashaan Gaulden, and Dravon Askew-Henry. It's also possible that Beal or Ballantine loses their spot depending on performance.
- Core is a WR and Ebner is a S, but they're really on this roster for their special teams ability; that's why I listed them separately.
- Halapio/Pulley are listed that way because I expect only one of them to make the roster; Halapio is currently a free agent while rehabbing from an Achilles injury. If he can prove he's healthy, then I think the Giants will bring him back, and he'll be the starting C week 1 (the Giants have answered every question about their starting C position with him included).
- Some roster sleepers: Javon Leake (RB), Garrett Dickerson (TE), Carter Coughlin, Oluwole Betiku (EDGE), Tae Crowder, Josaiah Tauaefa (LB)
- Key future needs: We left with a lot of the same needs we came in with: C, EDGE, WR, possibly LB/TE (depending on Ryan Connelly and Evan Engram/Kaden Smith)
- Aldrick Rosas was arrested for a hit-and-run, it looks really really bad and he was charged this week, but also as of writing this, the Giants haven't released him, the NFL hasn't suspended him or anything, and the Giants don't have another placekicker on the roster, so we're just going to leave him there, there's no one else to project.
What to Expect in 2020 QB:
Daniel Jones had a pretty strong rookie year, all things considered. A lot of inconsistency, but he definitely showed that he has the potential to be a franchise QB. The goal is for him to grow and develop this year into that type of player. Limit his turnovers, help the offense run more quickly and smoother, improve on his field vision and progressions, and that'll be a great start. I wouldn't expect him to be an absolutely top tier elite QB like Mahomes/Jackson, or be up there with the old heads like Rodgers and Brees, but hopefully he will be comfortably in the top half of the league's QBs this year with more room to build on. RB:
Colt McCoy and Cooper Rush serve as backups that are mostly there to help Jones and his transition from Shurmur's offense to Garrett's.
Nothing has really changed for the Giants in the RB room; it's still Saquon Barkley's world and we're just living in it. I was kind of wrong last year, I said Saquon would cement himself as a top 3 RB in the league; really weak run blocking and a high ankle sprain really derailed that, but this year is a big bounceback year for him. The hope is that a new scheme, new OL coach, and the addition of Andrew Thomas will really help open holes for Saquon and get him into space, where he works his magic. He will get a lot of touches, especially in the ground game. Pass Catchers:
The Giants brought in Dion Lewis in free agency as well, he'll probably be the relief back. He never really worked out in Tennessee; for the Giants, he'll likely come in mostly on passing downs to spell Barkley, especially on plays where the back is expected to pass protect, a rare weak element of Barkley's game. Past those two, it pretty much is wide open, and the winner of the spot will be whoever contributes most on special teams; Javon Leake has a shot as a kick returner, for example.
Evan Engram is coming off of yet another injury, which is quickly becoming a significant concern; entering the 4th year of his rookie contract, the Giants chose to pick up his 5th year option. Staying healthy for a full 16 games is imperative for him if he wants to stick with the team. There were reports of him possibly being traded, but the Giants know his value pretty much will never be lower and decided to take the gamble. Backing him up you have Levine Toilolo, a blocking specialist acquired in free agency, and Kaden Smith, a waiver-wire pickup from the San Francisco 49ers who showed some promise and upside after Engram was injured. OL:
At WR, I first have to admit, Golden Tate was good for the Giants last year. My concerns from when he was signed still stand, and we're not sure when that contract will start to bit the Giants, but in 2019, he was good, after serving a 4 game PED suspension. I wouldn't expect him to be more productive than he was in 2019, however, partly due to aging, partly due to scheme, and partly due to other players emerging/getting healthy.
Sterling Shepard was once again a solid, steady player, but struggled to stay on the field, suffering multiple concussions. There is concern amongst Giants fans that one more concussion may end his career, continuing the scary trend of injuries more or less ending the careers of successful Giants WRs; Plaxico Burress, Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, OBJ (I think the ankle injury that cost him the 2017 season was the start of the problems), and now maybe Sterling Shepard. My hope is that he'll stay healthy this year and be a productive WR2.
The real key to this group in 2020 is Darius Slayton. The Giants' 5th round draft choice in 2019 had a stellar rookie year, especially for a player of his draft slot. If there's two things the Giants have scouted well in recent, it's DL and WRs. Slayton's production was heavily bolstered by strong TD production, but he added something the offense was severely lacking; a real deep threat option. Hopefully Jason Garrett's system will help unlock more of his potential. He needs to have steadier hands and just keep developing the nuance of his game. If Slayton can emerge as a consistent WR1/2, then the Giants pass catching group becomes much stronger.
Once again, I was too hopeful last year; I said the OL would take a step forward and they pretty much did the opposite. Nate Solder was quite bad, Will Hernandez didn't take a step forward, Jon Halapio was serviceable at best, Kevin Zeitler was pretty good, and Mike Remmers was an admirable stopgap. DL:
I don't want to get my hopes up that it'll be way better this year, but hopefully it will. The addition of Andrew Thomas as hopefully a day 1 high end starter should already be a massive upgrade; if he can be a blindside protector for Jones, who is often oblivious to backside pressure, then the Giants can move Nate Solder to the right side, where Jones' mobility can help make him look better. And with better coaching hopefully from Marc Colombo, there is room for the Giants OL to improve; Hernandez could take the step forward we are hoping for and Zeitler and Solder can potentially reach their peak again.
The biggest challenge for the Giants OL is finding a competent center; it'll be a wide open camp battle, and a weak center position could be this OL's Achilles heel. The other interesting thing will be which of the 3 (or 4) tackles earn starting roster spots. The expectation is it will be Thomas and Solder, with the sides as of yet to be decided, but the Giants also added Matt Peart, who, depending on his development and transition from UConn, could take control of the "RT of the Future" spot as soon as training camp. Nick Gates wasn't terrible last year in some spot starts at RT (though it sounds like they'll focus on him training at center) so he's a potential option as well.
This should be a major strength of an otherwise questionable defense. Pretty much everyone has the same expectation; strong run defenders, but they need to show more of the pass rush production. For Dexter Lawrence, this is just the next phase in his devlopment. For BJ Hill, that's a necessary step for him to prove he deserves a roster spot and more playing time moving forward. For Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson, that would bolster their future payday. I expect Tomlinson to get something like what DJ Reader signed for this offseason (probably not from the Giants, who, according to some, were shopping Tomlinson aggressively at the trade deadline and at the draft before deciding he was worth more to them than the offers they got), while Williams will shoot for as much as he can. It was reported in the last week or so that Williams was seeking $18m-20m and that's a price the Giants (and probably every other team in the NFL) have absolutely zero interest in paying; so he's likely walking next year. EDGE:
This is, I think, the weakest group on the Giants roster this season, which is really disappointing given how dominant pass rushes have been a major piece of the Giants' identity when they were good. LB:
Kyler Fackrell is a one year flier stopgap, there should be no real expectations of him; we can't rule out a Shaq Barrett-esque season but there's no way I'd put money on it. This is Lorenzo Carter's last real shot at breaking out, as we've been hoping he would put two and two together and put his raw ability to good use, but that hasn't happened and many Giants fans are losing hope. It seems that the Giants are expecting Markus Golden back on that UFA tender (when this is posted, it will be around 10 days before the deadline for that) since no other teams have stepped up and made offers despite knowing this tender is on him. And Oshane Ximines flashed a couple of times but was invisible the rest of the time. If he can break out, that would be really big for the Giants, but overall, I'm expecting no one to break double digit sacks.
Expectations for this group are really hard; it really hinges on Ryan Connelly. Connelly, another 5th round pick of the Giants in 2020, had a really strong start to the year before tearing his ACL a quarter of the way through the season. If he comes back fully healthy and can build off of that early success, this group looks a lot better. Martinez will probably be a solid contributor against the run, especially with the guys up front being really effective at opening holes for him. Hopefully one of these guys can add some coverage ability to their repertoire this season. Secondary:
This group, for the most part, is in the same position it was last year; One vet CB out (Janoris Jenkins) and one in (James Bradberry), but still a group of relative babies behind them; Almost every DB on the roster besides Bradberry is on a rookie contract (with ST specialist Nate Ebner being the only other exception). Overall, the Giants need breakout years from at least some of these players. Jabrill Peppers has been serviceable for the Giants, but outside of a few splash plays like forced fumbles or a pick six, I think he has been fairly forgettable. DeAndre Baker struggled early in the year but did improve down the stretch; he needs to really build on that. The rest of the CB room needs to just get on the field and be productive; Sam Beal is entering his 3rd year but has barely played. Darnay Holmes hopefully will be the day 1 starter in the slot, but don't expect him to be lockdown from jump. Xavier McKinney is the wildcard of this group; if he can generate some turnovers or be a more effective safety net over the top, it could really help this group look better, instead of leaving the CBs exposed on an island.
Training Camp Battles
Training camp battles will be big for the Giants, because HC Joe Judge has made numerous comments about how the best players will play; incumbency is out the window.
This will be a four-way battle probably; incumbent Jon Halapio, backup Spencer Pulley, Swiss Army Knife Nick Gates, and draftee Shane Lemieux. Halapio and Pulley have the upper hand, since they've both played C in NFL games before. Gates has been trained at every position along the OL, and C is probably his best shot to crack the starting lineup. Lemieux was just drafted, and I don't think the goal is for him to start at C, but they will train him at C, and if they decide he's the best option he'll start. The C position is probably the biggest reason Giants fans are really unhappy with the Leonard Williams trade; the 3rd rounder the Giants spent trading for Williams could have been used on a center prospect like Matt Hennessy or Lloyd Cushenberry, who probably are day 1 starters at that position.
The big question here is where the tackles will start. The most likely scenario is that 4th overall pick Andrew Thomas and Nate Solder will start at tackle, but who starts where will be decided in camp. My money is on Andrew Thomas on the left and Nate Solder on the right; LT is Thomas' long term home, while Solder will most likely not be on the roster next year (his 2021 cap hit is scheduled to be 20.5m while the Giants would save 14m by releasing him). The big question here is just how good Solder will be in camp; I love Matt Peart, but I don't expect him to perform better in camp than Solder. I can't rule it out, though.
With or without Markus Golden back in the fold, the EDGE group has to shake out somehow. If Golden is back, he'll probably take one starting spot. But how Carter, Ximines, and Fackrell shake out is a complete mystery. This will be purely who looks the best in camp.
Darnay Holmes should be the leader in the clubhouse at this position, but the Giants have a wealth of unproven young CBs. Sam Beal is still an option, though he profiles better on the outside, and Grant Haley and Corey Ballantine are both still potential options.
Thank you all for reading!
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