Giants Release Former 1st-Rounder After Viral Ridicule

Giants release Darqueze Dennard

Getty The New York Giants say goodbye to two defensive backs.

It looks as if Twitter has gotten their wish.

On Tuesday, December 28, the New York Giants announced that they have released cornerback Darqueze Dennard along with fellow defensive back Sam Beal. Dennard, who was originally signed on the 22nd, was elevated to the active roster for the Giants’ Week 16 game against the Philadelphia Eagles, logged just 14 snaps on the afternoon — all on special teams. However, that was still enough field time for Dennard to leave a lasting negative taste in the mouths of Big Blue faithful.

Twitter Lost it Over Dennard’s Effort

Midway through the first quarter — to the dismay of viewers and his own teammates alike — Dennard was spotted letting a punt bounce into the endzone rather than attempting to down the football.

“Darqueze Dennard just gave up on the play. Allowed the ball to bounce into the end zone. Giants players were all coming up to him after the punt asking “WTF!?!?.” I’m guessing of course,” tweeted ESPN’s Jordan Raanan.

New York Daily News’ Pat Leonard chimed in, demanding the Giants “Cut Darqueze Dennard tomorrow. What the hell was that.”

“Darqueze Dennard has a front-row seat to that punt bouncing into endzone,” Newsday’s Tom Rock tweeted.

“Thanks for coming out Darqueze Dennard. What was that, just letting the ball roll into the end zone for a touchback?” Dan Duggan of The Athletic questioned.

The tweets go on and on — at least the ones that still remain up. As for those who voiced their displeasure during the moment, it was certainly understandable as the optics were undoubtedly horrendous. However, as it turns out, Dennard actually wasn’t in the wrong.

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Joe Judge Backs Dennard

While it may have not saved Dennard’s job, head coach Joe Judge did reveal to reporters on December 27, that the veteran defensive back did the right thing. While serving as a gunner in punt coverage, Dennard stepped out of bounds, meaning had he been the first player to touch the football, it would have resulted in an automatic touchback. Which explains why he opted to back off, allowing other Giants players the possibility to down the football. Here’s what Judge had to say regarding the situation:

I could’ve told you exactly yesterday what happened. It was a plus-50 punt, so we’re looking to go ahead and down that ball on or inside the 10-yard line. We’re working for that range. In Darqueze’s defense a little bit, it’s been a handful of years since he’s played gunner. He’s done a good job. Did a good job for us yesterday. He got a little fogged up on the rules – you cannot be the first toucher if you go out of bounds. The second he ran out of bounds in that situation, I was actually walking down the sideline yelling in his ear ‘Don’t touch it, don’t touch it, don’t touch it,’ because that’s an illegal touch penalty and inside the five it becomes a touchback anyway right there.

So, in that situation, the other players have to have an opportunity if the ball kicks back to go ahead and have a chance to make that play the way it bounced, went right into the end zone. (Linebacker) Cam (Brown) after he reacted to playing through the returner didn’t have an opportunity to really make that play. It’s something that we’ve got to make sure that we don’t make that mistake as a guy in our gunner and downing position, but anytime a guy gets knocked on the white, I always do a job or special teams coaches always do a job of just reminding him to make sure you don’t be the first toucher, especially in a plus-50 situation. You have a lot of communication in a game with guys on the perimeter, whether it’s your advice to your gunners because they’re close enough to you. You try to help them out and give them some coaching points with the ball in the air, ball location, whatever it may be. It’s amazing how much communication you can have in the middle of a play with somebody.

The 30-year-old Dennard will now look to latch on with his fourth team this season, after previously spending time with the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts earlier in the year. Selected in the first round of the 2014 draft by the Cincinnati Bengals, Dennard has amassed 312 tackles (229 solo), four interceptions and 27 passes defended over his eight-year NFL career.


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