Azeez Ojulari makes Pro Football Focus' Team of the Week
Rookie Azeez Ojulari has already found his way into the record books.
With another on Sunday against the Falcons, Ojulari is the first Giants player with a sack in each of his first three career games. He is also the first NFL player with at least 1.0 sack in each of his first three career games since Cleveland's Myles Garrett in 2017. His sack of Matt Ryan in Week 3 also forced a fumble, which was recovered by teammate Lorenzo Carter.
Pro Football Focus recognized Ojulari for his dominant performance against Atlanta, naming him to its NFL Week 3 Team of the Week. Ojulari played 31 defensive snaps and earned a team-high 92.2 overall grade, aided by his elite 92.2 pass rush grade. The rookie was also solid against the run, receiving a 70.2 run defense grade. Assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Patrick Graham praised the rookie last week for his impact in the run game.
"The thing that's encouraging (to) me with Azeez for these young edge guys, is his ability to play the run," Graham told the media. "He's playing stout in the run game. You think about a young edge player, they're thinking about, 'Okay, I've got to get sacks. Everybody wants to know how many sacks I'm going to have.' He's playing stout in the run game, that's what's encouraging for me."
Through the first three weeks of the season, Ojulari has earned a 77.5 pass rush grade, good for the 23rd-highest mark among all edge defenders. It is also the highest pass rush grade among edge defenders from the 2021 draft class, and the third-highest among all rookies. His three sacks currently lead the 2021 rookie class.
"I'm just doing whatever they want me to do," the rookie told the media Monday. "Playing my heart (out), playing my best, playing my heart out (out) there. Just whatever comes to me, make the plays that come my way. I'm just trying to do what I've got to do and do my part."
LB Blake Martinez suffers torn ACL; out for season
The Giants announced Monday afternoon that middle linebacker and defensive leader Blake Martinez suffered a torn left ACL yesterday against the Atlanta Falcons and will miss the remainder of the season.
Martinez was hurt on the game’s fourth play as he pursued running back Cordarrelle Patterson on an eight-yard reception. The six-year veteran remained on the ground for several minutes before two members of the team's medical staff helped him walk off the field.
Martinez is the second of the team's seven 2021 captains to suffer a season-ending injury in as many weeks. Offensive lineman Nick Gates fractured his lower left leg at Washington on Sept. 16 and subsequently underwent surgery.
When Gates was hurt, he owned the Giants' longest active starting streak at 19 games. When he went down, that designation shifted to Martinez – who was also hurt in his 19th consecutive Giants start.
The Giants also lost a captain and valuable player early last season when running back Saquon Barkley tore his ACL.
Martinez joined the Giants as a free agent in 2020 and bolstered his reputation as one of the NFL's most prolific tacklers. He was the only player in the league with at least 140 tackles in each of the previous four seasons (the first three with the Green Bay Packers). Last year, Martinez started all 16 games for the fourth consecutive season and led the Giants and was third in the NFL with 151 tackles (86 solo). He posted double-digit tackles in eight games, including a season-high 14 (eight solo) vs. Washington on Oct. 18.
View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands.
Giants sign OL Wes Martin off Washington practice squad
The Giants filled the opening on their roster by signing guard Wes Martin off the Washington Football Team's practice squad.
Martin, 6-3 and 315 pounds, played in 25 regular-season games with 10 starts and played in one postseason game for Washington in 2019-20.
Last year, he played in all 16 games, including starts at left guard in each of the first five games. Martin also played in the NFC Wild Card Game against Tampa Bay.
As a rookie in 2019, he played in nine games with five starts at right guard. Two of those games were against the Giants, the opponents when he was a starter in his NFL debut on Sept. 29
Martin was a fourth-round draft choice, No. 131 overall, in the 2019 NFL Draft from Indiana. With the Hoosiers, Martin played in 50 games with 43 starts – including a start in each of his final 37 games – at left guard.
The Giants had an opening on their roster since placing offensive lineman Nick Gates on injured reserve last week.
View photos of former Washington offensive lineman, who recently signed with the Giants.
🎥 Highlights: Atlanta Falcons 17, New York Giants 14
View the video below to check out the top plays from the Giants' Week 3 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium on Sunday.