Broncos week is officially here
Week 1 is finally here, which means we are just a few days away from the Giants welcoming the Denver Broncos to MetLife Stadium to kick off the season.
Coach Joe Judge spoke to the media yesterday on the injury status of several Giants players heading into the opener. While he wouldn't go so far as to confirm or deny that any of them would be active this Sunday, he did express some optimism that a lot of them will be able to suit up.
"I'd say a number of these guys coming back right now, we're optimistic about all of them, to be honest with you," said Judge. "We'll see how they do throughout this week in practice. Saw a lot of guys make a lot of gains last week. There are a lot of guys that are getting reintroduced to the team that missed some time in training camp. I'd say it was a productive week in terms of them making progress with the team on the field. Obviously, this week will be a big thing for them."
One player who is certain to be out there is first-time team captain Logan Ryan.
Ryan is entering his ninth season in the NFL and his second with the Giants. The veteran defensive back signed with the team just days before the start of the 2020 campaign, and then signed a multi-year extension later in the season.
Ryan is the most experienced player on the defensive side of the ball for the Giants. In fact, he went up against Broncos starting QB Teddy Bridgewater while they were both in college, Ryan playing for Rutgers and Bridgewater for Louisville. Ryan told the media yesterday that he already began breaking down the film of Denver's starting quarterback.
"Yeah, of course. I've been watching him over these last couple of days off. He's a very smart quarterback, man, he beat me in Louisville (versus) Rutgers nine years ago..." Ryan said about Bridgewater. "I think he's going to protect the ball. They have good playmakers. I think his job is to distribute the ball to the playmakers and I think he has to do a good job of protecting the ball. I think he does that, (a) cerebral guy, been in the league eight years. I've got a lot of respect for him going back to college."
On the other side of the ball, the Broncos have a few dominant pass rushers.
Bradley Chubb is fresh off his first Pro Bowl appearance after registering 7.5 sacks, nine tackles for loss and 19 quarterback hits in 14 games last season. Opposite him is veteran outside linebacker Von Miller, and while he missed the entire 2020 season with a tendon injury, the eight-time Pro Bowler is now healthy and ready for Week 1.
When asked about the talented pass rushing duo, Giants offensive tackle Andrew Thomas said that the O-line will have to be at their best come Sunday.
"Definitely a dominant group at outside linebacker," said the second-year tackle. "Both very talented. We'll have to be on our A game to block them."
Giants vote 7 team captains for 2021 season
When Joe Judge gathered his players together late Monday afternoon, he spoke to them about their just-completed practice, the schedule for the rest of the week – and who they had voted to be their captains on the 2021 Giants.
Seven players will represent the team as captains: quarterback Daniel Jones, running back Saquon Barkley, center Nick Gates, linebacker Blake Martinez, safeties Jabrill Peppers and Logan Ryan, and kicker Graham Gano.
"To me, the important thing for a captain is they've got to set the tone for the team in how they work, how they perform, and also how to put the team first," Judge said. "They have to be the example of the most unselfish players on the team. The other important role for captains in any locker room is they've got to be the voice of the team directly to the head coach. So, if there's an issue, or if there's something that needs to be addressed, they've got to be someone who the team trusts to speak for them on their behalf and make sure that the issue is getting addressed. It's important that these guys are good players who put the team first, and also have good communication as well and are not afraid to speak their mind."
Barkley is a third-year captain; Jones, Martinez and Peppers were selected for a second season; and Gates, Ryan and Gano received the honor for the first time.
Martinez, Ryan and Gano joined the Giants last year.
The seven captains match the 2019 team for the Giants' highest number since they began selecting season-long captains in 2007.
"They're players who demonstrate on a daily basis how they put the team first," Judge said. "They're obviously good players and they've earned the respect of their teammates."
View photos of the New York Giants' active 53-man roster as it currently stands heading into Week 1.
📸 Through the Years: Giants vs. Broncos
Check out the gallery below to view rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.
View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.