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HomeSportsGiants’ Lorenzo Carter making late imprresion ahead of free agency

Giants’ Lorenzo Carter making late imprresion ahead of free agency

If you want to be a cynic, you could look at Giants linebacker Lorenzo Carter’s awakening down the stretch of this season and call it a last-ditch effort to make a positive impression, now that his contract is about to expire and he is headed to free agency for the first time in his NFL career. 

If you want to take a more optimistic view, you could say Carter, 26 and coming off a ruptured Achilles tendon that ruined his 2020 season, has finally become healthy enough to put that serious injury behind him and show what he can do for the Giants’ defense. 

“I told him I’m going to start calling him Mr. Carter,’’ defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. “Mr. Carter showed up. Who knows the exact reason? I know he works hard, he works really hard during the week, and I’m happy for him that it’s starting to come together, having some success.’’ 

Carter, in his first nine games, had no sacks, one quarterback hit and one tackle for loss. He was not impactful. In his past four games, Carter has four sacks, six quarterback hits and four tackles for loss. Quite impactful. 

Lorenzo Carter is enjoying a strong end to the Giants' season.
Lorenzo Carter is enjoying a strong end to the Giants’ season.

Is this a belated attempt to make a positive impression in order to get a new contract and stay with the team that took him in the third round of the 2018 draft? 

“Sometimes it just takes a while to get it clicking,’’ Graham said. “Maybe something in his mind is coming together. I’m just happy that he’s playing better and he’s having some success. Not that he was playing poorly before, but just getting the production because that’s part of it. This is a production business — whether you’re coaching, you’re playing, whatever it may be. It’s a production business and you want to reap the benefits of your hard work. Those sacks, the TFLs, being around the ball, all that stuff is part of it.’’ 

Ordinarily, it is a safe bet to assume a starting wide receiver is going to come up with the 1 yard he needs to achieve a goal. Kenny Golladay’s first season with the Giants is anything but a safe bet, though. After all, he was on the field for 45 snaps last week in Chicago and did not have a single catch. He has 34 receptions for 499 yards and no touchdowns. Will he make it to 500 yards? One of the problems all season is that the Giants were unable or unwilling to use Golladay’s 6-foot-4 frame and long arms to any advantage whatsoever, as the quarterbacks have not thrown it to him often enough, even when he is covered. 

“There’s probably some validity to that,’’ wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert said. “It’s having guys feel more comfortable and throwing it to a guy when he doesn’t, quote unquote, see him open. Like I tell a lot of people all the time, Kenny is 6-4, so a lot of times he’s open when he’s not open because of his catch radius. If a quarterback or whoever is not used to throwing to guys like that, then that might take some time. So yeah, there’s some validity to that.’’ 

If the Giants lose Sunday, it will give them exactly 100 losses in the 10 seasons since they won Super Bowl XLVI. They came into Week 18 with a 61-99 record in the regular season since then. 

The Giants added two receivers to their roster, activating Alex Bachman and signing David Sills from the practice squad. Two quarterbacks, Brian Lewerke and Clayton Thorson, were also added. Lewerke will serve as the backup to starter Jake Fromm.

Notably absent from the practice squad elevation list:  Pharoh Cooper, who had been added to the roster for eight consecutive games.  Cooper’s gaffe on kickoff return last week in Chicago – thinking the ball was headed into the end zone when it actually dropped inside the 5-yard line – cost him not only a chance to play in the season finale but also cost him around $40,000 – the difference between a practice squad salary and a roster spot one-game paycheck.  

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