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Giants Now: Young linebackers step up


Azeez Ojulari, Quincy Roche shining in rookie seasons

The Giants recorded two sacks of Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa in Week 13, both of which were registered by rookie linebackers.

Quincy Roche got things started when he took down Tagovailoa on a third and five deep in Dolphins territory. The sack forced a punt from Miami's two-yard line, leaving the Giants with great field position which led to a Graham Gano field goal. Roche's effort in Miami earned him a strong 75.8 overall grade from PFF, aided by a 78.9 run defense grade and 71.2 pass rush grade. His 74.5 run defense grade on the season is the second-highest among all rookie edge defenders.

Azeez Ojulari then set the new franchise rookie record with his third quarter sack, giving him 6.5 on the season. The previous franchise record was 5.5, set by B.J. Hill in 2018. Ojulari ranked second on the team with his elite 82.5 overall grade against the Dolphins.

This year's second-round pick leads the Giants rookies in games played (12) and starts (nine). He has 36 tackles (22 solo) and a forced fumble on the season. Ojulari ranks third among all rookies in sacks (6.5), sack yards (46.0), tackles for loss (seven), and is tied for the fifth-most quarterback hits (eight). He was the only NFL rookie with a sack in each of his first three games. Dallas' Micah Parsons (10.0) and Miami's Jaelen Phillips (8.5) are the only rookies with more sacks than Ojulari.

Meanwhile, Roche has played in nine games with three starts after being claimed off waivers on September 1. The 2021 sixth-round pick (by the Steelers) has 25 tackles (15 solo), 2.0 sacks, four tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, and one forced fumble. Against the Raiders, he strip-sacked quarterback Derek Carr late in the fourth quarter. The ball was recovered by Leonard Williams, effectively clinching the victory for the Giants.

Roche and Ojulari are the only pair of rookie teammates with at least one strip-sack this season.

Joe Judge optimistic Mike Glennon will start vs. Chargers; Daniel Jones update

Daniel Jones' injured neck was examined again, he has not been cleared for contact and he is not expected to play when the Giants visit the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday in SoFi Stadium.

Mike Glennon, who started last week in Miami, remains in the concussion protocol, but Joe Judge is optimistic the veteran will start in L.A.

Jake Fromm began his second week with the team by taking most of the first-team reps as the Giants held their initial practice at the University of Arizona. But practice squad QBs Brian Lewerke and Clayton Thorson, who returned to the team yesterday, also worked.

Jones, who was hurt 10 days ago against Philadelphia, flew to Los Angeles with senior vice president of medical services and head athletic trainer Ronnie Barnes and was examined by Dr. Robert Watkins, who has been monitoring the quarterback's exams remotely. Jones was on the field for today's workout.

"He'll continue to go through practice like he did last week," Judge said. "He'll throw with the team. He'll move. He's in all of the meetings. We'll see if anything changes in terms of his status, but he has not been cleared for contact."

Judge said "there is not an immediate timeline" for Jones' return.

"This could change quickly, it could change over time," Judge said. "Talking to the doctors and the medical team, there are some things that they're just waiting on in terms of just making sure that he's cleared for contact. When it comes to necks, backs, things of that nature, we're not going to take any risks with our players."

Judge continues to expect Jones will return sometime in the season's final five weeks.

"There's nothing at this point that we've been told that would indicate this would be season-ending," Judge said.

Glennon took every quarterback snap in the Giants' 20-9 loss in Miami. The team announced after the game he had suffered a concussion. Glennon is prohibited by NFL rules from speaking to the media while in the concussion protocol.

Jones sustained a concussion in Dallas on Oct. 10. He was replaced in the second quarter by Glennon. Jones was placed in the protocol but was cleared in time to play the entire game the following week vs. the Rams. Judge is hoping for a similar scenario this week with Glennon.

"We're optimistic he's going to be fully cleared and getting ready to play," Judge said. "Assuming everything clears the protocol, I would (expect him to start). We have nothing at this point that would say he wouldn't clear, so we'll wait and see where that goes. But we're going to prepare Jake as if he's the starter today."

📸 Practice Photos: Giants train in Arizona

Check out the gallery below to view photos from practice at the University of Arizona as the Giants prepare for their matchup Week 14 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

View photos from practice at the University of Arizona as the Giants prepare for their matchup against the Chargers.


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