Apr 222014
 
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Victor Cruz, New York Giants (April 22, 2014)

Victor Cruz – Photo by Connor Hughes

Day Two of the New York Giants Offseason Program: Tuesday was day two of the New York Giants nine-week offseason workout program. The Giants are currently in “phase one” of the program (April 21 – May 4) with activities limited to voluntary strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation.

BigBlueInteractive.com will soon publish a number of feature articles based on today’s content, but here are some brief highlights:

  • Guard Chris Snee wasted no time before cracking the first joke of the day. When the 32-year-old was asked about all of the new faces, he responded, “I requested a team photo” in order familiarize himself with the team. Snee said the new offense is “different” from what he’s used to. Snee said he has been given no indication that he will be held back as he recovers from offseason hip and elbow surgery. Snee said has no limitations and is 100 percent.
  • Safety Antrel Rolle said he “loved” what has been done with the secondary this offseason and the goal during this portion of the offseason program is to build chemistry. When asked about cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Rolle said he feels that Rodgers-Cromartie, in his seventh year, has matured, and is a huge addition to the defense. With defensive end Justin Tuck in Oakland, Rolle was asked if he will take on any additional leadership roles: “I’m just go out there and play ball. I just know how to be Antrel…I think there should be 53 leaders on this team.”
  • Will Hill, who reportedly will be suspended by the NFL for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing or abusive substances, was was not made available to the media. Several players offered their support to the troubled safety.
  • Defensive end Robert Ayers said one of the main reasons that he decided to come to New York was the tradition and opportunity. Also, his late father, who passed away last year, said he used to wish Ayers would play for the New York Giants. Ayers also said that he plans on playing a bunch of different positions as it is what the management and coaches want. “They ask everyone to do everything….I look forward to doing whatever they ask me to do.”
  • Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul caught the attention of everyone when he alerted the media that he now weighed in at 270 pounds, down from the 285 pounds he played at last season. If you remember, Head Coach Tom Coughlin has made several comments in the past about Pierre-Paul being overweight. “I feel good at that weight,” said Pierre-Paul. After rehabbing his shoulder over the offseason, Pierre-Paul said he’s 100 percent right now and expects no limitations. Also, when asked if his role will change with Tuck in Oakland, Pierre-Paul said, “Not at all.” Pierre-Paul said he “didn’t get the memo” on Will Hill. Pierre-Paul said if Hill misses time, losing Hill would be a blow, but the defense would be “alright.”
  • Quarterback Eli Manning talked to the media in a walking boot. He said the surgery on his ankle went well and things are progressing very quickly. Manning told the media that with this being his first surgery, he’s being smart with it. Manning said when he started his training and running for the season he could tell something wasn’t right. He went for some additional MRI’s and developed a plan to see what was the best way to approach the injury. After consideration, he and the doctors felt surgery was best bet rather than waiting. “This will ensure I’m back at 100 percent for training camp,” said Manning. Prior to his informal workouts at Duke University, Manning had gotten a cortisone shot. He felt that once that wore off the injury and pain would return.
  • Left tackle Will Beatty said that the doctors have all given him positive reports and he’s “out here moving around.” Beatty said that he is hanging on every word from the doctors and doing whatever they say. He said that because the team has not gone full-contact, he hasn’t tested himself in that regard. Beatty said he plans on being 100 percent by the start of the season but was more non-committal about being ready for the start of training camp. Beatty talked about new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, saying he’s very “Energetic” and has “a lot of positive things to add to the team.” Beatty said that McAdoo came in the first day and told the team, “Our goal is to be a top-four offense, have an elite top-four QB, make it to the Super Bowl.”
  • Right tackle Justin Pugh talked to the media and said the new offense is similar to the one he ran in Syracuse and “I’m very comfortable in it.” He said, “It’s up-tempo and we’re going to be moving the ball.” Coughlin had told Pugh that he wanted him heavier, so he gained 10 pounds, he’s up to 315. “I’m stronger than ever,” said Pugh.
  • Cornerback Walter Thurmond III may have brought some of Richard Sherman’s personality with him to New York. The corner said he views himself as “the best slot corner in the league” and said the Giants secondary can be as good, if not better, than Seattle’s “Legion of Boom.”Thurmond says he looks forward to matching up with the Redskins now that they have Desean Jackson. He also said the difference between New York and Seattle: “Guys are a bit older here.” Thurmond got a solid laugh out of the media when asked the similarities between cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Richard Sherman saying, “They’re a little different,” before bursting into laughter.
  • Wide receiver Rueben Randle has a very, very soft voice, and it was a little tough to make out everything he was saying. What he did say is that his original plan was to attend Duke University with fellow wide receivers Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz, but “something came up.” From listening to Victor Cruz talk later in the day it seemed to be a family issue. He contacted Eli Manning to inform him once he became aware he could not participate in those workouts. Randle also went on to say that he is “ready” to step up as the starter. As far as the offense, Randle does not see much difference aside from the terminology.
  • Linebacker Jon Beason seems very comfortable with the New York media. He stated that he does feel that this is his defense as it “comes with the territory of being the signal caller and mike linebacker.” Beason said that he did his research before representing himself as his own agent in free agency. He said one of the reasons he wanted to be his own agent was he wanted to be “directly involved” and not “a little kid playing telephone.” There were other teams interested in Jon Beason’s services, but the Giants contacted Beason at 3:52 on Tuesday, only minutes before free agency began.
  • Quarterback Josh Freeman talked to the media for an extended period of time. He said he feels great coming in and last year, “Didn’t turn out how I had hoped.” He said he can’t pinpoint what has caused his career to go downhill since being considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league. “A couple things just didn’t go my way.” One of the things that drew Freeman to New York was the history and tradition, but also to learn things from Eli Manning.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz said he enjoys the new offense. It’s a “high-powered offense” and “high octane.” Also, Cruz said the offense in similar with the type of routes and compared it to Green Bay’s offense. Cruz was asked if he could tell at Duke University if Eli was impacted by his ankle injury. He said he could not and “it may have been something he was battling internally.”Cruz said he has taken on a stronger leadership role, including grabbing some of the younger guys, taking them off to the side, and “letting them know how valuable they are to this team and the receiving corp.” Cruz went on to say that the new offense is based less off of body language.
  • Running back David Wilson was excited and as animated as ever. In January, Wilson underwent a surgical procedure to fuse vertebrae to repair a herniated disc in his neck. Wilson said he expects to be cleared for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) but admitted it will come down to the doctors. Wilson said he feels great, and all that is holding him back “is a picture” (MRI) allowing him to resume his football career. Wilson was asked if he sees himself as a No. 1 back and he said he does, but in today’s NFL the feature back doesn’t exist. “Way the game is played today, it’s not gonna be one guy,” said Wilson.
  • Running back Rashaad Jennings said that he thinks the backfield has a lot of talent and potential. He said all are trying to “mesh into the system” and they will “spend a lot of extra time as a unit.”

An “all-access” video of Monday’s activities is available at Giants.com.

New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips from Tuesday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on Today’s Offseason Program Media Day: Player interviews: 10 things we learned by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Eli Manning, Giants envision their offense being similar to the Packers by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: QB Eli Manning: I’ll be ready for camp by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on RB David Wilson: David Wilson ‘expects to’ be cleared for OTA’s next month by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on CB Walter Thurmond: Walter Thurmond: Giants secondary can be better than Seahawks ‘Legion of Boom’ by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

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Connor Hughes/BBI

Connor Hughes has been working in both the broadcasting and journalism fields for the last seven years. His work has been heard on WMCX, WBZC and Lenape District Television, while read on the pages of The Star-Ledger and The Burlington County Times. Connor can be reached via email (Connor_Hughes@bigblueinteractive.com) or on twitter (@Connor_J_Hughes)

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