Aug 052015
 
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Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 5, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fifth summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Left tackle Ereck Flowers (hip flexor), center Weston Richburg (knee tendinitis), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice.

“Richburg has a little tendinitis and they decided to hold him out today,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

“We’re just going day-by-day. It’s getting better,” said Flowers. “When it first happened, I wasn’t able to lift it, but now I can lift it up. So, it’s getting better, I should be practicing soon…I usually heal pretty fast and do pretty well, so I’ll definitely be out there really soon.”

“Day to day (with Flowers),” said Coughlin. “He’s much improved. Whether they let him go tomorrow or not, I don’t know. But he was much improved.”

Linebacker Jameel McClain (stinger) and cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) left practice early with injuries. McClain suffered a serious neck injury while with the Ravens so the injury could potentially be more serious than an average stinger.

“(McClain) got a little stinger,” said Coughlin. “So he’s got to run through all the tests.”

“Prince [Amukamara] had a little strain in the groin area during one-on-one,” said Coughlin.

PRACTICE NOTES…
For the first time this year, the Giants practiced in full pads. “It was kind of sluggish, to be honest with you,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “As it usually is the first time in full pads. Their legs are covered etc. etc. But they have to learn how to handle that, and they will.”

Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With left tackle Ereck Flowers (hip flexor) and center Weston Richburg (knee tendinitis) out, the starting offensive line was left tackle Justin Pugh, left guard Adam Gettis, center Dallas Reynolds, right guard Geoff Schwartz, and right tackle Marshall Newhouse. The Giants also worked in John Jerry at right guard and Geoff Schwartz at right tackle. The line struggled to keep a clean pocket for the quarterbacks.
  • Cullen Jenkins got some work at defensive end with the first-team along with Robert Ayers. Johnathan Hankins and Markus Kuhn were the tackles when Jenkins was at end. Damontre Moore and Owamagbe Odighizuwa also played end with the first-team.
  • Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins nailed running back Orleans Darkwa in the backfield on one play.
  • Landon Collins and Bennett Jackson were the first-team safeties. Jeromy Miles played with the second-team and made a couple of nice plays against the run.
  • Wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris returned a punt for a touchdown after bobbling it.
  • Wide receiver Julian Talley had a good practice, even beating cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on an in-cut.
  • Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record said his three stars of practice were safety Landon Collins, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, and safety Jeromy Miles.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media after the afternoon practice:

Q: What happened to Jameel McClain out there?

A: He got a little stinger. So he’s got to run through all the tests.

Q: What about Weston Richburg?

A: [Weston] Richburg has a little tendinitis and they decided to hold him out today.

Q: Tendinitis in what?

A: Knee.

Q: How about Prince?

A: Prince [Amukamara] had a little strain in the groin area during one-on-one. So, naturally, he was out.

Q: Are you expecting Ereck Flowers back pretty soon?

A: Day to day. He’s much improved. Whether they let him go tomorrow or not, I don’t know. But he was much improved.

Q: What did you think of the padded practice, seemed like there was a lot of balls that hit the ground today, maybe today more than usual?

A: Balls hit the ground? Not necessarily, no. It was kind of sluggish, to be honest with you—as it usually is the first time in full pads. Their legs are covered etc. etc. But they have to learn how to handle that, and they will.

Q: Without the benefit of seeing the film, how do you think your offensive line held up?

A: I’m sure there was some good and some bad. To be honest with you, there were better runs than there were anything else. I thought that was something, if you want to build on, that was pretty good.

Q: While you were fully padded, did you want to do some more runs?

A: Well, we had an inside run drill, which we usually do fully padded. But otherwise it was blitz pickup and everything else. Nothing in particular to make it a run practice, if that’s what you’re asking.

Q: Do you feel like Jon Beason is under any restrictions?

A: Beason? Well, we’re very aware and his snaps are controlled, and basically they’re controlled by the number of people at the position. Obviously, if [Jameel] McClain is held out for any length of time, then that would affect the rotation.

Q: But you don’t want to overwork him obviously.

A: Well, everybody has got to get ready to play, though. We keep talking about that, and you know what, we’re taking every precaution—scientific precaution. Anything that has been discovered in our game by virtue of all the things we’ve looked at, we’re doing it. So now we’ve got to go out on the field. When we’re on the field, unfortunately, some things happen. I don’t have any other explanation for you.

Q: We got screened at the end of practice, what was the game today? It looked like both teams lost because they all had to do pushups.

A: We took some receivers and DBs and challenged them to throw the football and hit the crossbar. It wasn’t pretty. They all tried to kick field goals with the ball, and throw the ball up in the air. Take the ball and zing it. It was an eye-opener, let’s put it that way. Not anywhere as competitive as the last thing we did.

Q: This seems to be an emphasis for you guys, though.

A: Compete. Find stuff to make them compete. Just compete. Just always something, in addition to the field, obviously.

Q: Your defensive tackles looked like they had a solid day. Do you think they had a good showing today?

A: I know they’re working hard and they’ve improved their technique. Our footwork seems to be better. I think both the ends and the tackles rushed the passer pretty well today. Like I said, some runs squirted through, but they certainly did okay.

Q: How much negotiating goes on between you and Marvin Lewis as you get closer to these practices with the Bengals?

A: We set this up in the spring. It’s been set. Practice schedule is set, everything is set. I’m sure there will be maybe one more phone call, but most of it has all been done.

Q: How limited or how much contact are those practices going to have?

A: Just practice.

Q: Pads?

A: Pads.

Q: Uppers?

A: Pads one day, uppers the next—yeah.

Q: With the game officials here, did they tell you there’s going to be any extra emphasis on any part of the rules this year?

A: Well, they always stress whatever the new rules are and whatever the points of emphasis are. So, John (Parry) is prepared to speak about that as we’ve heard in the spring when the officiating crew is by. I’m sure we’ll continue to hear.

Q: Mike Sullivan thinks that Eli’s arm has looked as live as it has at any point that he’s seen. Would you agree with that assessment?

A: Yeah, it was that way in the spring, too. I think there was a lot of grinding on the part of the receivers today. Then, perhaps, the idea that in some occasions they weren’t where they were supposed to be kind of nullified some of the balls going downfield today. But, no question about his arm.

Q: With the more direct approach instead of the lob approach, could you have hit the crossbar?

A: I may have wanted to move it up.

Q: It was the crossbar not the upright?

A: It started out being the crossbar. The upright? Are you kidding? If we put a limit on it, we’d be out here all night.

Q: It looked like they were going for the upright.

A: It’s the way they were throwing the ball. I thought it was a rainbow.

Q: Cruz said last week about getting the pads on, it was going to be another step. Was this another rung in the ladder for him?

A: Yeah, I think he really got acclimated probably further than he expected, just in uppers. He went down a couple times with piles and that kind of thing. But I’m sure just handling the pads today.

Q: So nothing you saw today?

A: I didn’t see anything that way, no. Not at all.

QUARTERBACKS COACH MIKE SULLIVAN…
Mike Sullivan addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: Last summer with Eli there was an emphasis on footwork. Is there something this year that there is an emphasis on mechanically or is it still the footwork?

A: It always starts with the footwork but I think it is just really having the reads, having the concepts become second nature and having that level of comfort and confidence that the player is going to be where we want them to be. That he is going to trust his feet, as we like to say, in terms of the timing of the system and nothing beats experience. There are no shortcuts, there is no way to kind of go around that and you’ve got a true professional like Eli who really buys into doing all the little things that really makes it easier to improve.

Q: What else can be done besides reps to get that done and to get that familiarity?

A: Certainty the reps out on the field and then the things that we can teach in the classroom. There is great dialogue that we have in our meeting room and certainly a guy with his experience and his background…and there is a couple of them in terms of being able to say anything [and] ask anything.  Those quarterback meetings…Ben (McAdoo) is certainly heavily involved in those meetings and it’s like another coaching meeting, so it is a lot of fun. Between the execution on the practice field, that preparation, what we do in the meeting room and then him taking care of his body, which he has done a tremendous job, of I think that we will be ready to go.

Q: How is your comfort level with the offense and is it odd that the guy you are trying to help and teach knows more of it than you do?

A: It has been exhilarating. I just can’t say enough about working with Ben McAdoo, what a detail-oriented, great teacher, very comfortable relationship and it is exciting. There [are] so many concepts about this scheme and I think Eli has really bought in and it has been a lot of fun to work with him. We didn’t really have to break through any of those barriers as far as establishing who we are and what we are about. We have a little history together so that has made it a lot easier so it has been a lot of fun.

Q: Does he have more options now? You look around at the talent level. Are his choices greater?

A: I think there [are] a lot of players that we are counting on. You look at certainly the receivers; Victor Cruz who is coming back and looking strong, Odell Beckham and Larry Donnell and so many of the players and younger guys, the addition of Shane Vereen out of the backfield. [It is] definitely nice to have those so he has been trying to spread the ball around and work on different reads, if you will, and that is certainly [a good thing].

Q: What have you seen from Ryan Nassib so far?

A: I think Ryan is a very, very hard worker [and] very competitive. I mean he is a gym rat, excellent…you talk about knowledge of the system, that guy, he is as sharp as a tack. He is someone from a mobility standpoint, the ability to extend plays and if he has to scramble, he has that as an asset and he is getting better [with] some of the things with his release and vantage point and tightening that up and getting the ball out of his hands faster. He has been doing that, so we have been very pleased working with him and I am excited to see what he does here in the preseason.

Q: Is that the emphasis with him? Getting the ball out faster?

A: I think there is a ton of areas of emphasis and he still has to get the, “Be ready to go at a moments notice.” That is the mindset and that is the way he prepares, which is great. He is not in the mode of, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in grad school.’ He prepares as though he is going to be called upon and takes it up [notch] in that regard. I think that whether it is footwork or tightening up his release or any little, tiny thing, he is looking to improve everything, so I wouldn’t just limit it to that one area. He is looking to get better in all areas.

Q: You guys always had a veteran behind Eli during your first time here. I know this is a new look at Ryan but do you have any sense of whether if anything happened to Eli he could step in and get the job done for a little while?

A: Yeah, you know you are always hoping that your backup quarterback, if called upon, is ready to win, is ready to go ahead and do the things that are going to help you be successful, and certainly he is the backup quarterback for a reason because there are certain things he might not be able to do. [However], certainly from the standpoint of a person who would be competitive, who would be prepared, would work very hard and give everything he has, we have great confidence that he will continue to develop and be ready to go if he is called upon?

Q: How has being an offensive coordinator made you a better coach?

A: You know, it is interesting to see when you have the perspective of the entire operation: the run game, the pass game, the protections. I certainly can appreciate the responsibility and the pressure that Ben is under and having gone through that, I kind of try and find different areas and ways to make his job easier, to try to have a perspective of some of the bigger picture things, of lessons I learned and mistakes that I made, things that worked well and just to focus on what can I do, especially from the quarterback’s standpoint, to help him to be at his best so it helps the rest of the offense flow smoothly.

Q: With Tom Coughin, it always comes up every year whether the game has passed him by or if he is up with the latest things. How have you seen him evolve as a coach and keep up with the times and what is your opinion about that?

A: I think Coach Coughlin certainly has core values, he is a man of great integrity and honor and the way his style of football…the discipline, the belief in team above self that has not changed. He has in a lot of ways tried to do various thing to…whether it is the music we’ve got at stretch or just some of the various things behind the scenes that I don’t necessarily want to get into, but he has definitely been on the cutting edge and you look at just the openness of having the veteran quarterback and now with the new system and all that is going on there, I think he is always looking to evolve and grow. It stresses to us as coaches that the day you stop learning, the day you are so set in your ways, is the day that it is time to move on, so he has been very energized and it has just been a thrill for me to be back.

Q: Did you ever you think six or eight years ago that you would see a Giants practice with Tom Coughlin with music on the field and big guys catching punts?

A: It has been great and there is more to come. We have a few more things in store, so it should be a lot of fun.

Q: What about your year as a consultant. Was that sort of a year off?

A: It was an opportunity, first and foremost, to reconnect with my family and spend more time with my daughters, and I spent the time to work with Derek Carr to help get him ready for the draft, which was a lot of fun. Of course, David’s younger brother, went out to California and helped train him and work out with him and I was pleased with the progress he has made and wish him well as long as we don’t play him. I did some online work and that just gave me a chance really to take a step back and without all the pressure, to see the games it is just amazing. There is so many…when you take that vantage point, you can see some of the mistakes that are made and of course you fill the spiral notebook with ideas and it is not necessarily X’s and O’s as much as just ideas and thoughts of how you can be better prepared should you get another opportunity. I feel very fortunate to have a chance to be back and not just back but to come back home with big blue.

Q: Do you still have that book?

A: Oh, yes. My manifesto, my lessons learned and that type of thing.

Q: The goal for Eli last year was 70% completion rate, which he hasn’t really backed off when you ask him about it. Is that just something that is put out there as something to shoot for or is that an attainable goal?

A: Eli has always been very goal oriented. He has always been someone that has had high expectations for himself and I would say this, he is certainly going to do everything and has been and will continue to do everything possible to achieve those goals that are going to help us win. I think that it comes down to however many passes we need to win, that is what we are going to want to complete. However many big plays or touchdowns or adjustments in the run game or protections or whatever needs to be done, he is going to do. I don’t know if there is any set number or those certain indicators that help you win. We all know that if you protect the football, if you are able to have a certain amount of yards you are able to rush for or efficiency on third down or red zone or QB rating, those are all objectives but ultimately it just comes down to winning and I think that is all that really Eli cares about. In fact, I know that is all he cares about.

Q: How much does this offense make it reasonable to think that number can be realistically attainable?

A: I think there are components of the offense where we are looking for completions and trying to get the ball out of his hands and if there is a completion there, we are going to take it. Heck, when you’ve got a guy like Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Shane Vereen and some of these guys that can do a lot of damage…a 70-yard gain is a 70-yard gain whether the ball is in the air for 50 or one yard and we had a great run, so whatever it takes.

TIGHT ENDS COACH KEVIN M. GILBRIDE…
Kevin Gilbride addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: What have you seen in Larry Donnell this year as opposed to last year?

A: He’s coming along, as far as just getting healthy again. As far as football is concerned, it’s his commitment to focusing on the techniques in blocking—that’s really improved. What we need to get him to do is really get back to where he was running routes. He’s not quite there yet, but he’s working towards it and he’s done a nice job with the workload we’ve given him.

Q: Because of the Achilles?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you have a handle on what he is and what he can be?

A: I think he can be a pretty special player, but there’s a lot of improving that is going to have to take place in order for him to be that special player. The good thing is, he’s working towards it, and he’s starting to understand that he could be a pretty special guy as well.

Q: When you say special, in what way? A big time pass catcher or an overall player?

A: A big-time pass catcher, number one. I think we all saw the ability there last year. But also, not only be serviceable in the run game, but could be a very good run blocker in what we’re asking him to do.

Q: After the Washington game did his injury slow him down?

A: I think so. I think the wear and tear of the full season—it’s the first time he’s ever had to go through something like that. Even in college, he was a quarterback to start off and then became a tight end. College seasons are much shorter than the professional NFL year, so through the course of the year and the wear and tear, and the banging day in, day out that he took, did slow him down through the course of the season.

Q: What has Jerome Cunningham shown you?

A: He shows that he can be an explosive pass catcher and route running receiver from the tight end position. What’s been not necessarily surprising, but exciting, is watching him run block and watch how intense he is about it, and how he likes to finish blocks and move defenders off the ball.

Q: Larry had some great highlights but also some lowlights—dropping the ball, losing it. Is controlling his body an issue?

A: I think that’s a big, big part of it. I always reference back to the fact that he hadn’t played much football, and hadn’t played the position very long. So the more he does it, the better he’s going to be. It’s been a huge emphasis on our part—having him carry the football the proper way. Knowing how to protect himself when he has the football in his hands and he’s carrying it and running with it. There’s little things like every time he was on the sideline or came out of practice—he’s having a ball tossed to him and he’s holding it with the tip high every now and then as I’m telling the rest of the guys the plays, I’m trying to knock it out. Just little things to have him remember that it is the most important thing—to hold it properly. That’s the way you protect it the best, by focusing on it and focusing on doing it right.

Q: He got knocked head over heels a lot?

A: Often, when he would almost straighten his legs and at the waist. That’s something that also we’ve talked about. He’s got two options: he can lower his shoulder and run over the man—and that means you’re bending your legs, bending your knees or you can jump over him. It’s one of the two. No matter what you do, you have to protect the football. The tip of the football can never be here [down]—it’s not protected, it’s not secure, it’s not strong. It has to be high.

Q: How big of a surprise was Daniel Fells last year? He seemed to be an extra guy but he made a lot of big receptions.

A: He did, he made a lot of good plays. Again, I wouldn’t say it was a surprise because you know what you’re getting with Daniel. You know he’s going to be a consistent player, a consistent person, and a great leader in that room—being a veteran and having those guys to help them come along. Daniel makes the plays that are there to be made and then he impressed you every now and then by making one that you don’t necessarily think he can make.

Q: Do you expect to have good matchups with your tight ends because of all the weapons you have in the receiving corps and running backs? Do you expect Donnell to have more favorable matchups?

A: Rather than have like a dime playing him, they have to worry about Shane [Vereen]. We’ll see how it plays out, you never really know how you’re going to get attacked by the defense. You prepare for all the different scenarios and you prepare based on what you see on film from the defense. That certainly could a scenario where because of all the weapons on the outside with Shane Vereen out of the backfield, with Rashad Jennings, that potentially you could get a good matchup at the tight end position. That’s something that as coaches we study very, very hard to prepare for, but then through the course of the game, they can always switch up the matchups based on who they’re being hurt by.

Q: It seems like this time last year Larry moved up out of the pack because of the work he had done in the offseason, is that fair?

A: Not necessarily, no. Last training camp we were working hard to figure out who was going to be the best player and what they can do. We’ve talked about that with you and I and this group. Each guy has a certain skillset, and we’re going to try and find the things that they can do and put them in the football game to execute those things. If you can do something that’s going to bring in value to our team, you’re going to get in the game to do it.

Q: In terms of him specifically, he seemed like a good offseason guy for you. A guy who took coaching well and advanced quickly as a result of that. So he misses May and June, what does that do for his development?

A: Well, where it hurt his development was physically, not mentally. He did a great job of being very locked in, in the meetings and on the practice field when he was with us and wasn’t rehabbing. He did a tremendous job of making sure he was locked into the play and getting mental reps.

Q: If he gets back to where he was, is he going to be the guy who takes the majority of the snaps like last year?

A: You would love to have even more guys. The more guys, the better, because the wear and the tear through the course of the season isn’t as heavy—it’s not as heavy of a workload for each guy. The more you can have, the better off you’re going to be.

Q: Has Jerome done enough to play himself into a role yet?

A: Right now the evaluation process is going on with everybody.  I think he’s done some very good things, and he’s done some things where he can improve. He certainly warrants a shot, as far as getting playing time in the preseason and then you see where it goes from there.

Q: You mentioned the advancements Larry is making as a blocker, what specifically do you see in what he’s doing now better?

A: As far as the technique is concerned? Not dropping his inside knee when he’s working with the offensive tackle. Trying to keep his elbows tight. Those are all very important things and really it comes from having confidence. When your hands go outside, it’s because you think the guy is going to go around you. When you trust yourself to get your elbow tight and punch your hands inside, that means you’re trusting what you see and that’s a very important thing. It’s an area he still needs to improve on, but he’s getting there. He’s getting there and he’s working with it. He’s making mistakes and learning from them rather than just reverting back to what he was doing before.

Q: There was a play when he was split outside on a run play, in terms of downfield blocking in the run game, is that something he’s still working on?

A: It’s something that we’ll ask him to do certainly. It’ll be a part of our package. That’s one thing that you always work on, but that’s not the major focus. The major focus is the in-line blocking that we need him to improve on. And he is, he’s getting there, he’s just not there yet.

Q: To have Mike Sullivan back, how excited is he and how excited are you to have him back?

A: I think he’s very excited to be back. You’d have to ask him as far as any specifics. But I can comment on what itit is to have him back. I think the comradery and the synergy that you have as an offensive staff is incredibly important. Having him back is a big part of that. Getting him back in the fold and he really got back in the fold pretty quickly and got to know the guys that he hadn’t known before. Re-established relationships and working relationships with guys he had before, so it’s been a nice addition.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video clips of player media Q&As are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The sixth training camp practice will be held on Thursday from 2:30-4:30PM. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only five remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Thursday, August 6: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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