Aug 282015
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Jets at New York Giants, August 29, 2015

THE STORYLINE:
New York Giants fans are in a generally pissy mood. While a number of teams have already been hit hard on the injury front, the Giants have seen over 20 percent of their 90-man roster on the injury report and have already lost four safeties for the season. Throw in the uncertain injury status of important cogs such as Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Weston Richburg, and Jon Beason, and Giants fans fear that medical issues will once again sabotage the season. And we have yet to even play the third preseason game!

The third preseason game is the most important dress rehearsal for the regular season. It’s the game where the starters play the longest – usually at least the first half. And it’s the preseason game where coaches want to see positive performances and consistency. Yet as a fan, at this point, I just find myself not caring about that and just praying no one else gets hurt.

THE INJURY REPORT: (Unofficial – will be updated once Giants make official).

  • WR Victor Cruz (calf – will not play)
  • WR Rueben Randle (knee – expected to play)
  • RT Marshall Newhouse (ankle – expected to play)
  • OC Weston Richburg (knee – questionable)
  • RT/RG Brandon Mosley (back – not expected to play)
  • LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP and will not play)
  • DE George Selvie (knee – will not play)
  • LB Jon Beason (knee – will not play)
  • LB Mark Herzlich (concussion – will not play)
  • CB Chykie Brown (knee – will not play)
  • CB Jayron Hosley (concussion – expected to play)
  • CB Chandler Fenner (hamstring – will not play)
  • S Landon Collins (knee – expected to play)
  • S Nat Berhe (calf – underwent surgery on Friday and will not play)

FOUR DOWNS: No, I’m not lazy… the main questions this team faces remain the same for the third week in a row.

First Down
How will the offensive line perform?
The New York Jets are very talented up front. They are big and physical and this will be a great test for the Giants. Unfortunately, Weston Richburg continues to be bothered by knee tendinitis and did not practice all week. Dallas Reynolds may be starting in his place on Saturday. The Giants have yet to officially move Geoff Schwartz back into the starting line-up at right guard or right tackle either. With the start of the regular season only two weeks away, the offensive line still seems far too unsettled.

Second Down
Can the defense stop the run?
For whatever reason, the coaching staff seems determined to start Cullen Jenkins at defensive end and Markus Kuhn at defensive tackle despite the fact that these two have struggled in holding up at the point-of-attack in the first two preseason games. Fellow starters defensive end Robert Ayers and defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins did not play well against the run against the Jaguars either. If the Jets are able to generate decent yardage totals on the ground on Saturday against the starting group, the alarm bells will start to sound. On the other hand, since the starters for both teams will play the entire first half, we may finally get a better gauge on Jay Bromley, Kenrick Ellis, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Kerry Wynn, and Damontre Moore if they are allowed some quality reps against the Jets starting offensive line in the first half.

Third Down
Who will do well or poorly at cornerback?
For the first time this preseason, Prince Amukamara will be on the field alongside Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. That’s the good news. The bad news is we still don’t know who the main nickel corner is, as well as who are the primary back-ups at corner in case a starter gets hurt. The under-the-radar injury that has hurt the Giants is the knee injury suffered by Chykie Brown early in training camp. He should return soon, but he has missed valuable practice time. Jayron Hosley returns this week after missing most of the first preseason game and all of the second with a concussion. Hosley is competing for playing time and a roster spot along with Trevin Wade, Trumaine McBride, Mike Harris, Josh Gordy, and Chandler Fenner. Wade seems to the favorite right now among an uninspiring group.

Fourth Down
How will the new safeties perform?
The football gods must be playing a bad joke on the G-Men. Considered by many the weakest position on the team heading into training camp, the Giants have now lost three players who had a legitimate chance to start in Nat Berhe, Bennett Jackson, and Mykkele Thompson. Worse is that two others – Landon Collins and Cooper Taylor – have missed valuable practice time due to injury. Now the penciled-in starters are veteran journeymen Jeromy Miles (who has yet to flash this preseason) and Brandon Meriweather (who was just picked off the NFL scrap heap). Both lack range. The only other two safeties on the roster are rookie free agents who were only signed because of all of the injuries (Justin Halley and C.J. Conway).

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Brandon Meriweather
The Giants desperately need some good fortunate at safety. What they need is for Brandon Meriweather to demonstrate that he can be a viable NFL starter.

Markus Kuhn
Kuhn has been starting at defensive tackle since the May/June OTA’s, but he has yet to demonstrate why. Unless he shows greater stoutness against the run, the decision-making process of the coaching staff will come into question. Jay Bromley and Kenrick Ellis have played better in the preseason.

Johnathan Hankins
For as much grief as Kuhn has received from fans, Johnathan Hankins hasn’t been making much of an impact against the run either yet this preseason. It’s time for him to start rounding his game into form.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Tom Coughlin on what he wants to see from his offensive football team against the Jets: “It is continued improvement for me. The timing of the passing game is not there yet, and it’s got to happen. I thought our protection did a nice job early on (against the Jaguars). We’ll be tested this week, the Jets have an outstanding pressure package – they also have an outstanding front, a big front, so we are going to be tested with regards to that, too. That brings up the idea of some kind of consistency with your run game. We have got to have that. We had it at times the other night (against the Jaguars); we need it more often but we are going up against a very good front, so those would be the ways, you mentioned offense, where we would be looking to see us make progress.”

THE FINAL WORD:
I hate to admit it, but the injuries are sapping my enthusiasm. The team can’t catch a break. Things could still work out if Landon Collins is as good as advertised, but rookie safeties who miss half the preseason usually don’t excel. The Giants also need Brandon Meriweather to experience an unlikely career renaissance. Can this team stop the run? Can it rush the passer? Can they cover?

Offensively, the injury issues to Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle are not ideal. The top three targets have yet to play in a game together. And the Giants still have not set on what their final offensive line heading into the season will look like. The clock is ticking. The season starts in two weeks.

I feel like the Giants are an Eli Manning or Odell Beckham injury away from a true disaster.

Aug 272015
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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AUGUST 27, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants concluded their summer training camp on Thursday with a “recovery cycle” day of yoga, massage, contrast bath (hot and cold tubs), self-massage stuck rollers/bands, functional movement screen exercises, and air compression boots. With preferences based on seniority, players were able to choose from two of these six 15-minute recovery activities.

INJURY REPORT…
The injury that right tackle Marshall Newhouse suffered to his right ankle on Wednesday is apparently not serious. “He is fine. He just got stepped on,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “That is a surface scratch. Someone stepped on his leg when he was on the ground and it was down relatively low and it scared him because of where the step occurred.”

Safety Nat Berhe, who has been sidelined with a calf injury since May, re-aggravated the injury in practice on Tuesday. “He re-injured his calf, that is all I can tell you,” said Coughlin. “Whatever the mechanism, whatever goes on, he had one day of practice, felt really good, came out here and had the same occurrence that happened the last time – occurred this time, so he is re-injured.”

Center Weston Richburg has been bothered by tendinitis in his left knee. “He actually feels pretty good today,” said Coughlin. “We should’ve called a practice for today. We’re going to keep working with him and seeing what the doctors and those people tell me. I don’t have anything new for you right now.” Coughlin would not indicate if Richburg would play on Saturday against the New York Jets.

“A little bit of swelling,” said Richburg. “That was the issue. The swelling can kind of take away from some muscle function. So trying to get that swelling down, get that figured out.”

Linebacker Mark Herzlich is still recovering from a concussion he suffered in the second preseason game. “He was coming along well and just didn’t feel real good yesterday,” said Coughlin. “(He’s) not (doing) as well as I would like.”

Coughlin said receiver Victor Cruz (calf) and linebacker Jon Beason (knee) would not play against the Jets. But he did say safety Landon Collins (knee) and cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion) would play.

Left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), defensive end George Selvie (knee), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), and cornerback Chandler Fenner (hamstring) will miss the game.

According to NJ.com, wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis) should play against the Jets. But NJ.com says offensive lineman Brandon Mosley (back) has not practiced all week.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Thursday (video is available at Giants.com):

A little different week for us. This is what I call the GPS week. We’re following that to a ‘T.’ We’ve had two hard practices, followed by basically meetings, walk-throughs and a recovery cycle. So all three – special teams, defense and offense – had good, long meetings, they had walk-throughs and we finished that up with a recovery cycle. The recovery cycle has basically six elements and, by seniority, they can choose two. It is two fifteen-minute periods and we are currently right toward the end of the second cycle, so it is a unique kind of a day and I am interested in the feedback that I get from our leadership council and also from the assistant coaches as we go through the day and, of course, the proof will come later as to how we perform.

Q: What are those elements? What kind of things are they?

A: Yoga, massage. There are some fancy names for things we do with rollers and sticks and so on and so forth — cold tub, but it is basically just the recovery cycle muscular so on and so forth along with yoga and some of the other things we employed.

Q: Is this something you may implement during the season?

A: We are going to see. I will see what it looks like and again tomorrow is another day of this experimentation, so we are going to go through with that and we’ll see how we like it at the end of the week.

Q: Do you consider this the end of a certain segment? The last day of training camp, such as it is.

A: We just keep going. Nothing ended, everything keeps right on going. It is much different, as you know and as you have recognized in other years, and I think at this point in time the players who are able to have a home in this area, they have checked out of the hotel, the other guys will stay in the hotel and we just keep going.

Q: You talked about wanting to see more urgency in practice in the beginning of the week. Did you see that over the course of the week?

A: Yesterday, I saw a little bit more and I would like to continue to see more.

Q: Marshall Newhouse looked like he [got injured]?

A: He is fine. He just got stepped on.

Q: [What about] Nat Berhe?

A: Berhe re-injured his calf.

Q: Is it kind of back to square one with him?

A: He re-injured his calf, that is all I can tell you. Whatever the mechanism, whatever goes on, he had one day of practice, felt really good, came out here and had the same occurrence that happened the last time — occurred this time, so he is re-injured.

Q: You have all these new tools, you have the GPS and all this stuff. Can it prevent these things from happening or can it decrease the probability of these things happening?

A: Not in the case of a guy that has not been practicing. It can tell you — it can monitor the players under certain types of practices to tell you what their workload should be and if they approach that, you can back them down, but in the case of someone like Nat, he wasn’t even practicing, so there was no workload level other than the fact that he was doing a very, very limited amount of work the day before.

Q: How bad is Marshall Newhouse?

A: That is a surface scratch. Someone stepped on his leg when he was on the ground and it was down relatively low and it scared him because of where the step occurred.

Q: He should be able to play?

A: I think so.

Q: Just to be clear, this GPS day, recovery cycle day, that would be in place of a practice if you implemented this during the regular season?

A: That would be in the place of a practice. What you would do is you would load up according to the GPS system the first two days of the week. In other words, you cover a lot of territory. I don’t know if you noticed, but yesterday’s practice was quite long and could’ve actually been another five minutes. So you’re getting a lot of things done on an overload kind of a day and then you’re having an unloaded cycle and then the week’s not over yet.

Q: You don’t seem like a ‘less practice is better’ kind of guy?

A: Let’s not go there.

Q: Do you personally spend any time with the data? Do you find it interesting?

A: I have people that give me the feedback. It’s interesting, there’s no doubt about it.

Q: What about it has jumped out to you personally?

A: To be honest with you, they can tell you by virtue of the information the potential for a guy to have a soft tissue injury. When that happens, you back the guy down, and that’s the whole purpose. The whole purpose is to recognize someone who is headed for a strain, if you will, and try to do something about it.

Q: Have there been instances when you’ve gotten the information during a practice?

A: We’ve gotten the information that’s said to back off a guy, yes.

Q: Is Jayron Hosley okay?

A: Hosley practiced yesterday and he’s got the greenlight to go.

Q: You said he was doing some things before…

A: Yeah, he was. We’d like to see him do some more things. There’s a bunch of them we’d like to see some more things.

Q: After you see what happened with Nat Berhe, do you have to handle Victor Cruz any differently with his calf issue?

A: It’s the same basic area but two totally different injuries. We’ll do whatever we can if there are similarities. I’m sure the medical people follow that practice but each case is different. They’re not exactly the same.

Q: Victor is not going to play, correct?

A: He’s not going to play, no.

Q: With Weston Richburg, where do you stand with him?

A: He actually feels pretty good today. We should’ve called a practice for today. We’re going to keep working with him and seeing what the doctors and those people tell me. I don’t have anything new for you right now.

Q: Is it possible he plays then on Saturday?

A: Anything’s possible. It might rain. You never know.

Q: You just said Cruz is out, though. Is Richburg likely to be out as well?

A: I’m not answering that question. How much more—what can I do? I answered the Cruz question, that’s it.

Q: You said after a couple of days with the medical staff you may have a better idea on Jon Beason. Do you have that?

A: I don’t have any more for you. He won’t play this week.

Q: Will Landon Collins play?

A: Yes.

Q: How’s Mark Herzlich doing? Is he still…

A: He was coming along well and just didn’t feel real good yesterday. Not as well as I would like.

Q: So when that happens, it’s back to square one with the concussion thing?

A: Protocol has to be accomplished; otherwise, no.

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 New York Giants training camp practices for this summer are now over. The team will conduct a walk-thru practice on Friday in advance of Saturday’s preseason game against the New York Jets.

Aug 262015
 
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Preston Parker, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Preston Parker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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AUGUST 26, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their second-to-last 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…
Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf), center Weston Richburg (knee), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), defensive end George Selvie (knee), linebacker Jon Beason (knee), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), cornerback Chandler Fenner (hamstring), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice.

The bad news on Berhe is he re-aggravated his calf injury during practice on Tuesday.

Cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion) returned to practice.

Right tackle Marshall Newhouse left practice early after injuring his left ankle. The Giants said another player stepped on Newhouse’s ankle.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Jeromy Miles and Brandon Meriweather remained the first-team safeties.
  • Landon Collins practiced with the second-team unit at safety.
  • Wide receiver Preston Parker had another good practice, including catching a deep ball from quarterback Eli Manning. (Video)
  • Cornerback Jayron Hosley broke up a pass intended for wide receiver Geremy Davis.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham beat cornerback Jayron Hosley for a touchdown.
  • One defensive line formation employed Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Cullen Jenkins, Robert Ayers, and Damontre Moore.
  • For the second practice in a row, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had a pick-six interception. This time he intercepted quarterback Ryan Nassib. Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa pressured Nassib on the play.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade picked off quarterback Ricky Stanzi. (Video)
  • Safety Cooper Taylor blew up a screen pass.
  • After right tackle Marshall Newhouse left practice due to injury, Geoff Schwartz and Bobby Hart split snaps with the first-team offense at right tackle.
  • Tight ends Daniel Fells, Larry Donnell, and Jerome Cunningham were all active catching the ball, with Donnell also catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • According to Giants.com, the top players of the day were defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, tight end Daniel Fells, and wide receiver Preston Parker.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Wednesday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: Landon Collins didn’t really seem like he did much yesterday?

A: He did enough. They wanted to take him and work him and just see him on the side and I think he passed all the tests, so he is going to get some time today.

Q: How is Rueben Randle doing today?

A: Rueben is fighting his way through. He thought he needed just to get some more work in and so today will be a better day for him, I’m sure, too.

Q: Did you like what you saw from him yesterday?

A: He was slowly getting into it. Hopefully he will be able to start faster today.

Q: Will Weston Richburg go today?

A: No.

Q: Is that concerning?

A: Well, certainly it is concerning; it is always concerning, but he is not going to be able to go today so I don’t know what else to say to you.

Q: What is it? Tendinitis?

A: It is his knee, yeah.

Q: How important is the third game overall because the guys will play the most they will play all preseason?

A: Well, we have played our people a little bit more this preseason. The third game, obviously, is an important game, just like any of them are but as far as advancing our people, we’ll play a half. There may be some that extend and there may be some that won’t not play a full half, but by and large, we’ll plan on playing a half and a half.

Q: Do you always look forward to playing the Jets in the preseason?

A: It is always a good game. It is a game that is well approached by the media, it is a preseason game, we have our issues, we have people that we are trying to evaluate and they do, too, and I think that is where it is. That is where the game is.

Q: Does it seem any quieter without Coach [Rex] Ryan on the other side?

A: You know what, we’ve got our own issues. I don’t pay much attention to what is going on in other places.

Q: In other years you’ve often had the starters in the third game play through halftime.

A: I always say that, Paul. I’m glad you brought that up, but it doesn’t happen much. I come in at the half and if we are in pretty good shape, I say that is enough.

Q: It is a special day for Osi. Any thoughts on today?

A: I just smile when I think of — I have this picture in my mind and it will always be there and I smile every time I think of it. It is that picture on the wall where 72 (Umenyiora), 92 (Strahan) and 91 (Tuck) are walking away from Brady who is laying on the ground in Super Bowl 42 and I just have that picture and every time I think of that, I think of Osi and I think of Strahan and I think of Tuck and I just smile. It will always be there.

Q: In your head, is he always aligned with that group?

A: Oh, absolutely. Early on, it was Strahan and Osi, and then, of course, when a young Justin Tuck comes along, but that way in which stories of how Strahan broke in and then how Osi was put to test, too, by the…that is a rare room, the defensive line room, now; you have to understand that. I will always have that smile and that thought of Osi, number one, and on this special day of his and, of course, those that surrounded him.

Q: That second Super Bowl run, when you think of him coming back, can you overstate the contribution that he made back there?

A: No, you can’t because of the way in which, like you say, he fought his way through some things. He had some injuries and he fought his way through those things and the way he played down the stretch in that situation and then through the playoffs was outstanding.

Q: What was he like to coach?

A: He was fun. He was a good guy. The one thing that probably went below the surface [was] what a job he did preparing. He studied those left tackles and he knew them—he knew the guy he was going against inside and out and that was really, I thought, the key to his success, that and the fact that he was very fast [and] very confident. When he stepped on the field, the guys around him knew that he was a very confident player, he was a master at his craft and that gave them great confidence, as well.

Q: The young group you have now has mentioned that group and how high they have set the bar. Do you see that as a good thing for these guys now to try and aim for that?

A: Most definitely, that is a good thing. It is always important to have something to look at to establish where you have to get to, to have that kind of success, and I think those guys represent that.

Q: Do you see that kind of talent in the room here?

A: Well, that is what we are shooting for. Guys are going to emerge and they are going to have to and these young guys are going to have to come and emerge. Guys like Owa, who people don’t know a whole heck of a lot about because he played on the other side of the country, and so on. He is a guy that is a talented young guy that can learn from watching these guys and knowing full well the success that that group had.

Q: Can I bring you back to this week’s game. What is going to mark the first half for the offense to be a success for you? What do you need to see?

A: It is continued improvement for me. The timing of the passing game is not there yet, and it’s got to happen. I thought our protection did a nice job early on. We’ll be tested this week, the Jets have an outstanding pressure package—they also have an outstanding front, a big front, so we are going to be tested with regards to that, too. That brings up the idea of some kind of consistency with your run game. We have got to have that. We had it at times the other night; we need it more often but we are going up against a very good front, so those would be the ways, you mentioned offense, where we would be looking to see us make progress.

Q: Victor Cruz said yesterday he sees defenses gunning for Odell Beckham. What does Odell have to work through with that?

A: I wouldn’t use those words. Obviously there is a difference between — people are always going to recognize someone who has the type of season that he had and they are going to do things to defend that. As far as gunning for him — you know the continuous of making plays [and] earning the respect of the opponents by doing it over time, proving as a rookie you made these plays and now the continuation of that, and I think that is what the rest of the league will see out of Odell this year.

Q: You saw the last play. The one down the right side where Odell kind of bumped him and gave the guy a little forearm. What did you say to him about that?

A: Well, we talk about those things and that remains pretty much between he and I. He is not going to be that way, I don’t believe so. You’ve got to stay away from those personal battles — that is a general statement for anybody in football, whether you are a lineman; a lot of times you want to attach those thoughts to linemen who get involved personal battles rather than see the whole picture and play for the purpose for the rest of the team. Odell he is going to improve on that.

Q: You had Steve Weatherford placekicking yesterday. Is Josh Brown okay?

A: We were working on our second and third kickers, is it okay to do that?

Q: Anything new with Cruz since yesterday?

A: No.

Q: So he won’t practice again today?

A: No, he won’t.

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 last training camp practice for the Giants this summer is on Thursday, but the practice is not open to the public.

Aug 252015
 
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Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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AUGUST 25, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their last public training camp practice on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

ROSTER MOVES…
On Monday, the Giants waived/injured safety Justin Currie (fractured tibia and ankle) and linebacker Tony Johnson (knee sprain). To fill these roster spots, the team signed unrestricted free agent linebacker Ashlee Palmer (Detroit Lions) and rookie free agent C.J. Conway (Montclair State).

Palmer was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Buffalo Bills after the 2009 NFL Draft. He has played both for the Bills (2009) and Detroit Lions (2010-14). In six seasons, Palmer has started 24 games. In 2014, he played in 16 regular-season game for the Lions, starting five, and accrued 12 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and two pass defenses. Palmer is a good special teams player.

Conway was the New Jersey Athletic Conference’s (NJAC) Defensive Player of the Year in 2014, when he was also chosen to the American Football Coaches Association Division-III Team and First-Team USA Football. Conway led the NJAC in passes defended with 17 and was second with eight interceptions, as he also registered 51 tackles and forced two fumbles.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf), center Weston Richburg (knee), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), defensive end George Selvie (knee), linebacker Jon Beason (knee), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion), and cornerback Chandler Fenner (hamstring) did not practice.

Wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (neck), safety Landon Collins (knee), safety Nat Berhe (calf), safety Cooper Taylor (toe) practiced on a limited basis. Collins did not appear to do much in practice however.

Wide receiver Julian Talley (toe) returned to practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Jeromy Miles and Brandon Meriweather were the first-team safeties.
  • Without Jon Beason, the starting middle linebacker was Jameel McClain.
  • Without Weston Richburg, Dallas Reynolds started at center with the first-team offense.
  • Geoff Schwartz continued to see first-team reps at both right guard and right tackle.
  • Wide receiver Preston Parker caught a touchdown pass.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Odell Beckham for a touchdown against cornerback Josh Gordy. (Video)
  • Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie picked off a pass intended for wide receiver Rueben Randle from quarterback Eli Manning and return the interception for a touchdown. (Video)
  • Cornerback Josh Gordy picked off a pass from quarterback Ricky Stanzi.
  • According to Giants.com, the top three players from practice today were wide receiver Odell Beckham, wide receiver Preston Parker, and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

GIANTS ON ESPN RADIO…
Audio clips of the the following Giants being interviewed on ESPN Radio are available at ESPN.com:

  • President/CEO John Mara (Audio)
  • General Manager Jerry Reese (Audio)
  • Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Audio)
  • QB Eli Manning (Audio)
  • WR Odell Beckham (Audio)
  • WR Victor Cruz (Audio)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (Audio)

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Tuesday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: How was Landon Collins able to keep engaged while he was on the sideline? Sometimes young players have difficulty with that.

A: He’s in every meeting, he’s in every plan, he’s interested. After what he’s missed on the field, he has an opportunity to listen to the coaches talk about it in the classroom. He’s up to date on everything that we’re doing.

Q: He was also kind of engaged with the players, running to the ball, things like that. How important was that to see? Just to not see him on the sideline in his own world.

A: Well, that’s his game. He’s got to be involved like that. To keep him as involved as we possibly can, even though he can’t take snaps—that’s the challenge. Of course with a young guy, who has a sense that he’s missing time, he should be more engaged.

Q: He’ll go full today?

A: He’ll go limited.

Q: What about some of the other guys?

A: What about them?

Q: Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle—do you expect them out here?

A: They say Rueben [Randle] will go tomorrow. And I don’t know when to say Victor [Cruz] will go.

Q: Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe?

A:  [Cooper] Taylor goes today, and Berhe’s  going today. Yeah, he’s going. They’re all limited. Anybody that’s been out, their classification when they first come back is limited.

Q: Any better idea on Jon Beason?

A: No. Nope.

Q: Are you concerned about Victor at all?

A: I’m concerned, yeah. Because obviously there were a couple of slotted opportunities there that didn’t take place, or one. Of course this would have been the second one, if he’s not ready to go. So, yeah, yeah, I am. But I would like to see him get out there, and be able to stay out there. That’s what our real intent is. As soon as that can be done, that’s possible, then that’s what will happen.

Q: Would you say he’s out for Saturday or it’s too early?

A: I’m not going to say anything like that. No, it’s day to day.

Q: It’s not the knee right?

A: No, it’s not the knee.

Q: You said originally that you thought it might be dehydration-related. Did it end up being more serious than maybe you thought?

A: No. I can’t classify it. I just know that he can’t go.

Q: Ashlee Palmer, what’d you like about him?

A: Worked out very well. And I do like the fact that he’s played without injury for quite some time. That could’ve been the reason right there.

Q: What do you like about the combination of Jay Bromley and Kenrick Ellis? They seem to be working well together.

A: Well, they’re big, solid guys inside. What I like is they enjoy playing and they seem to be able to hold the point in there pretty good. So we just need to keep those two getting better.

Q: What has Andre Williams shown you in year two, specifically, in how he has grown?

A: Well, he’s obviously second time around—he knows more about what he’s doing. He’s more comfortable doing it. He is a powerful runner, and when given the opportunity, he’s demonstrated.

Q: Do you notice a different level of patience with him?

A: That’s not necessarily the first word that would come to—but he did demonstrate it the other night.

Q: Johnathan Casillas’ neck, is that a serious thing or day to day?

A: You know, I don’t know what to make of that, because he came out and practiced. He was not supposed to have any contact. Evidently, he did get a little bit, and then he got sore again. They’re just not going to let him go until they feel like he can play and not receive any kind of injury.

Q: Steve Weatherford didn’t seem to have a great night the other night. How open is that competition?

A: Well, it is open. It should be looked at that way by everybody. I don’t care how many years in the league, when you come to camp, it’s competitive, and you’ve got lots of people trying for the same job. So we certainly would like to see it the way we hope to expect it on game day and during the regular season. So I’m hoping that improves.

Q: When you got a better look at the film, you saw Odell Beckham had five targets with no catches. Was that all just timing that you assume will come? Or was there anything you saw as to why he didn’t get to those balls?

A: To me, he had a chance for one ball that was thrown out in front of him. He had a drop. Again, to me, it’s timing, it’s rhythm, it’s all of those things. But that would be where I would start.

Q: I would assume you don’t worry about a guy like that with what he’s done.

A: I worry about everything. I’m worried about everything. You give opportunities and guys make plays and they don’t make plays. Then you analyze why they did or why they didn’t and present it. You’d like to see it the other way. There has to be a little bit of a sense of urgency right now. You’re a couple weeks away from lining up. So, I mean, I’d like to see things done well, done right. Obviously, whoever it is, doesn’t matter, Odell—it doesn’t make any difference. When it doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to go, and we’ve been at this for a couple of weeks, why doesn’t it go that way? So you have to look hard at that. And the one thing—it’s not an excuse—but again, when you see some of the younger guys doing some things and catching the ball and so on, advancing the ball, they’ve been out here. (Geremy) Davis has been on the field all this time, you know? The practice part of this thing has got to be understood and it’s got to be done right. It’s got to be done with a sense of urgency.

Q: Back to Victor, how do you view the importance of him getting into a preseason game?

A: Well, it’s great, but if it doesn’t happen, then it doesn’t happen. You know, Odell didn’t have a preseason game last year. So you want them to play, that’s what the plan was. If it doesn’t work out that way, then what’s the next thing? We can’t worry about something that, right now, is not within our control.

Q: Would you contemplate playing him in the fourth game if he couldn’t be ready for this game?

A: Well, I’m considering that the whole time. I’m saying, ‘When can we play him?’ Would I contemplate it? Sure. I mean, we just have to have X number of days together practicing before that’s going to happen, though. We’re not going to make a decision the night before the last preseason game to play him. It has to be something that builds up to it, so I know he’s ready to go. I wouldn’t put him out there without that.

Q: There was a report yesterday that Jason Pierre-Paul is planning a return.

A: I don’t know anything about that. I don’t know anything about that.

Q: He hasn’t told you?

A: He hasn’t told me.

Q: Getting any of your corners back? Chykie Brown?

A: No.

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 last two training camp practices for the Giants this summer are on Wednesday and Thursday, but neither is open to the public.

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Eli Manning and Shane Vereen, New York Giants (August 22, 2015)

Eli Manning and Shane Vereen – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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New York Giants 22 – Jacksonville Jaguars 12

Game Overview

Like most preseason games, there was good and there was bad. But the big take-away from this game is the continued mounting injury situation that is likely to impact the 2015 season. Some of the players who have been lost for the season probably were not going to make the team such as wide receiver Marcus Harris (knee) and safety Justin Currie (ankle). But the Giants have now lost two safeties who were receiving first-team reps in Mykkele Thompson (Achilles) and Bennett Jackson (knee). This is in addition to weird losses of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (hand/arm) and left tackle Will Beatty (pectoral).

Heading into the second preseason game, the Giants were missing 18 players on the roster due to injury. They came out with six more injured, two done for the season and fingers crossed on Jon Beason (knee sprain). They’ll get most of these players back, but the hits have been already significant for a thin team projected by many to struggle.

And the coaching staff have made two decisions in the preseason that have come back to bite them in the ass. The first was to play wide receiver Rueben Randle last week in Cincinnati despite him missing the week of practice before the game with knee tendinitis. That set him back. And despite the dwindling numbers at safety, it should have been either Justin Halley or Brandon Meriweather in the game late in the 4th quarter against the Jaguars and not Bennett Jackson, who had a good chance to be the team’s starter on opening night against Dallas.

Offensive Overview

On the surface, it was another disappointing performance for the first-team unit. With Eli Manning at quarterback, the first team played three drives and the results were 76 yards, five first downs, two punts, and a 51-yard field goal. But it was the passing game, especially quarterback Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, who let the Giants down early. Meanwhile, those supposed areas of concern – the offensive line and the running game – showed promise. If one believes that this was only a hiccup for Manning and Beckham, and that the healthy return of Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle will make a difference, then there were some positive developments on Saturday despite the lack of production.

The second- and third-team offensive units performed decently, scoring on their first four drives of the second half as the Giants pulled away.

Quarterbacks

I don’t really worry about Eli Manning, but if we are going to fairly evaluate his performance, this was not a good effort. Yes, he was the victim of some short-arming by Beckham and drops by Beckham and Preston Parker. He also had a couple of passes batted or tipped at the line of scrimmage. But Manning’s accuracy was off when pressured. The word coming into training camp was that Manning was primed for a huge year with renewed arm strength and building confidence in Ben McAdoo’s system. But that hasn’t translated yet to the field. If the Giants are going to make the playoff this year, Eli Manning will have to carry them there like he did in 2011. And he has to make plays when not given picture-perfect pass protection. We’re not seeing that level of play yet.

The Giants tried to get the passing game going early as Manning threw deep to Beckham without success on their first two plays. The first five plays were pass plays where Manning was 1-for-4 with two tipped passes. Manning continued to target Beckham and Parker without success on the two ensuing drives. Manning finished the game a paltry 4-of-14 for 46 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Ryan Nassib, New York Giants (August 22, 2015)

Ryan Nassib – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Ryan Nassib played much better this week, finishing the game 19-of-35 for 217 yards with one touchdown and no interceptions. That said, he did make some questionable decisions, missing some open receivers and throwing into coverage. Nassib’s mobility helped to extend some plays, including clutch moments to keep drives alive, but he also has to be careful not to run too soon when he has decent pass protection. That said, Nassib made some excellent throws on the run. He has a fastball and was particularly accurate on a few slants, including the touchdown pass to Dwayne Harris. Ex-Jaguar quarterback Mark Brunell was very impressed with Nassib during the game.

Running Backs

The stats seem a bit misleading as Giants running backs only gained 83 yards on 24 carries (3.4 yards per carry), but the big three of Rashad Jennings (1 carry for 4 yards), Andre Williams (3 carries for 13 yards), and Shane Vereen (3 carries for 13 yards) flashed and averaged over four yards per carry as a group. Williams made a nice, instinctive cut on his 11-yard run off the left side. He later had a very physical inside run in the 2nd quarter. Williams performed well in pass protection. Vereen caught one pass for 14 yards on 3rd-and-10 – a perfect example of why he was signed.

Orleans Darkwa also continues to impress, carrying the ball six times for 25 yards. Akeem Hunt had four carries for 10 yards, with a long run of seven yards. Long-shot Kenneth Harper had seven carries for 18 yards with a quality 9-yard run to help run out the clock. Darkwa had one catch for nine yards and Hunt two receptions for nine yards. Even fullbacks Henry Hynoski and Nikita Whitlock got into the act catching the ball as they each had one reception for five yards. Hunt missed a blitz pick-up late in the first half.

Wide Receivers

To be frank, “superstar” Odell Beckham played like crap. He made a business decision or two on deep throws where he short-armed the ball. He also had one ball sail through his hands and later dropped a pass that would have kept a drive alive and put the Giants at the 5-yard line. He got frustrated and took a cheap shot at a Jaguars defender. Overall, he was targeted five times with no catches.

With Victor Cruz (calf) and Rueben Randle out, Preston Parker started. Manning’s pass on Parker’s first opportunity was too low. But he later dropped a perfectly-thrown back-shoulder throw on 3rd-and-9. In the second quarter, Parker caught one key pass for 14 yards on 3rd-and-8 from Manning.

Corey Washington had two catches for 17 yards but also could not come down with a well-contested ball on 3rd-and-14. He did have a 6-yard reception on 3rd-and-3 in the third quarter.

More impressive were James Jones (5 catches for 83 yards), Geremy Davis (4 catches for 43 yards), and Dwayne Harris (2 catches for 35 yards and a touchdown). Jones was the best wide receiver on the field on Saturday night. He had two catches for 36 yards on the drive right before halftime (though he also dropped a ball too on this possession). Jones caught an 18-yarder on 3rd-and-4 in the 3rd quarter and an 13-yard catch on 3rd-and-6 in the 4th quarter.

Harris was flagged for a bogus holding call on a well-executed 19-yard screen pass to Orleans Darkwa. He did a nice job of catching a low throw despite contact on his touchdown reception.

Right now Jones, Davis, and Harris three would be my favorites to make the team with Parker and Washington being cut.

Tight Ends

Larry Donnell caught three passes for 29 yards. But some old troubling signs appeared in his game. He lost the ball after one big third down catch that originally was ruled an incomplete pass. Ball security Donnell! On the same drive, he had a high throw from Manning sail through his hands. Also, Donnell took another awkward quasi-somersault fall when being tackled. Donnell had a nice block on linebacker Paul Posluszny on Shane Vereen’s 10-yard run.

Jerome Cunningham was targeted twice with no catches, but he did draw a pass interference penalty. Daniel Fells got a good block on Darkwa’s 16-yard run early in the 3rd quarter.

Offensive Line

All things considered, the coaching staff has to be somewhat pleased with the progress the offensive line is making. However, there are just enough rough spots – particularly on the right side of the line – to keep the coaches and quarterbacks nervous.

Rookie left tackles – particularly ones who have serious technique issues – usually are disasters their initial season. But Ereck Flowers continues to hold his own (no pun intended) and improve. There were a couple of plays where his man got around him and pressured the quarterback, but he’s been surprisingly adequate in pass protection while flashing those advertised run-blocking mauling skills. The left side of the line created some big holes for the running backs, though guard Justin Pugh missed a block on an Andre Williams run that lost yardage in the second quarter. Flowers and Pugh also had some issues on a stunt late in the first half.

The right side of the offensive line hasn’t been the disaster predicted thus far. Marshall Newhouse did an adequate job pass protection for most of the first half. However, his pass blocking deteriorated late in the second quarter when he gave up one sack and a few pressures.

John Jerry continues to have some issues at right guard. He gave up a couple of pass pressures on New York’s second drive. And if Jerry (or Odell Beckham) had been able to take out the defensive back who made the tackle, Vereen would have scored from 44 yards out on his 10-yard run in the 1st quarter.

Geoff Schwartz entered the game in the second quarter at right guard. He was more steady than Jerry at that position. However, Schwartz had some issues when playing right tackle both in pass protection (bull-rushed on a 3rd-and-5 incomplete pass, failure to pick up stunt on 3rd-and-14) and the running game (got stood up and pushed back on one right-side run). The Giants also played Schwartz at right guard and Jerry at right tackle.

Dallas Reynolds saw a lot of snaps at center. Emmett Clearly and Adam Gettis formed the left side of the second-team line again. When Gettis briefly left with a stinger, Brett Jones played at left guard. These guys played pretty well although there was one run on the left side blown up by penetration against Cleary and Jones. Gettis was flagged with a holding penalty on running play that he got stood up on.

Another offensive line combination had Bobby Hart at right tackle and Bret Jones at right guard. Jones seems to lack size and power. Hart has both, but the same pass rusher who gave Marshall Newhouse some problems – DE Chris Smith – also gave Hart issues on one pass rush. Eric Herman later replaced Jones at right guard, but he immediately gave up a pass pressure on the play where Nassib did a fantastic job of avoiding a sack and getting the ball to Dwayne Harris for a 27-yard gain. Herman gave up another pressure later on this possession.

Guys like Michael Bamiro and Sean Donnelly didn’t enter the contest until late in the 4th quarter.

Defensive Overview

The Jacksonville Jaguars have been an offensively-challenged team, yet the Giants had issues getting them off the field on their first three drives of the game as Jacksonville had drives of 10, 10, and 12 plays – each resulting in field goals. The first-team defense still looks soft against the run and opposing starting quarterbacks are having a far too easy time completing passes. Sometimes it looks like a 7-on-7 drill out there with very little pass rush and soft coverage. That doesn’t bode well when the Giants face high-powered, multi-dimensional offenses like the Cowboys and Eagles.

The second- and third-teamers were clearly superior to the Jacksonville offensive counterparts as the Jaguars only gained three first downs in the first half after the first three drives, and only one first down in the second half until late in the game.

I made this point last week, but I’ll make it again – Steve Spagnuolo’s blitz packages are much better than Perry Fewell’s. It’s a night and day difference.

Defensive Line

The starting defensive line had Cullen Jenkins at left end, Markus Kuhn at left tackle, Johnathan Hankins at right tackle, and Robert Ayers at right end. Jenkins didn’t play well at end. As would be expected, he looked sluggish rushing the passer from that spot. But somewhat unexpectedly, he had a lot of issues defending the run there too. I’m not sure what the thinking is about having him play out there, especially in the preseason when guys like Damontre Moore, Kerry Wynn, and Owamagbe Odighizuwa should be seeing some first-team practice reps. Jenkins did get good pressure on the quarterback rushing from DT on 3rd-and-20.

Ayers was pretty invisible as a pass rusher and didn’t stick out in run defense either.

Kuhn should not be starting. Period. In fact, he should be fighting for a roster spot. The coaching staff is blind if they can’t see this. Lost in the fan criticism of Kuhn is that Hankins hasn’t been making as much noise as was expected from a guy who was supposed to be a budding Pro Bowl candidate. Hankins did not play well on Saturday night. The Giants starters are not playing tough up the gut right now. Hankins needs to kick it into gear and Kenrick Ellis and Jay Bromley should be splitting Kuhn’s first-team reps.

As soon as Bromley came into the game (against starting Jaguars offensive linemen), he made a play by shooting through the line and hitting the back in the backfield. In the second half, Ellis and Bromley really gummed things up inside against Jacksonville back-ups. Ellis got a couple of decent pass pressures on the quarterback.

Damontre Moore flashed on the pass rush with two sacks, but he still has issues at the point-of-attack on running plays. And another team took advantage of the defense’s young ends by running an end-around to his side on a play where he bit on the fake. This showed up too on play-action fake on a roll-out pass that Kerry Wynn bit too hard on in the 2nd quarter.

Odighizuwa batted down a pass at the line and also gave the Jaguar tackles some problems with his bull-rush. He is very quick off the ball too.

Jon Beason, New York Giants (August 22, 2015)

Jon Beason – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Linebackers

Before he left the game, an excited Jon Beason’s feet were pumping and he was correctly reading running plays. He was hurt by a defensive line in front of him that was getting pushed back however. Despite being picked, Beason did a good job of recovering and saving a touchdown on a pass to a receiver coming out of the backfield.

J.T. Thomas had a big night against his former team. He disrupted an otherwise well-blocked run on the Jaguars’ first drive. Thomas looked fast blitzing the quarterback and was rewarded with a sack/forced fumble (he also missed a tackle on another sack opportunity). Thomas later read and destroyed a screen pass for an 8-yard loss.

Kennard recovered a fumble. The good news about him is he doesn’t look completely out of water in pass coverage.

Unai’ Unga (6 tackles, 1 pass defense) was very active for the second week in a row. He did a nice job of shooting the gap and tackling the runner for no gain on a stretch play. I am hoping the Giants can find a roster spot for him. Victor Butler’s penetration on a running play may have been a factor in a Jaguars’ running back losing his concentration and fumbling the football.

Defensive Backs

Surprisingly the Jaguars took a number of deep shots at Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Not surprisingly, these plays were not a success for Jacksonville. Rodgers-Cromartie got picked (possibly illegally) on a 3rd-and-2 short crossing pass that picked up 36 yards in the first quarter. He was fortunate that his man who was open dropped the ball on a post route (Bennett Jackson seemed to misread the play here too).

As he has been all summer, cornerback Trevin Wade (who started for the injured Prince Amukamara) was up and down. Wade gave up a couple of first-down catches early. But he had good coverage on a deep shot down the middle. Wade seemed to be playing way off the ball, allowing too much space underneath.

Trumaine McBride, Mike Harris, and Josh Gordy played decently against Jacksonville’s struggling offensive reserves. McBride had good coverage on a deep pass late in the 2nd quarter but grabbed the receiver with his left arm before the ball arrived and was flagged for a 29-yard pass interference penalty. Harris also got flagged with a 5-yard defensive holding call on 2nd-and-8. The Giants corners were aggressive against the run on Saturday.

Brandon Meriweather, New York Giants (August 22, 2015)

Brandon Meriweather – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Bennett Jackson missed a tackle on 3rd-and-8 that would have prevented a first down. Jeromy Miles was pretty quiet…I’m not sure if that is a good thing or bad thing. He should have turned and intercepted the ball on the play where McBride was flagged for interference. Miles also missed a tackle near the line on a 12-yard run late in the 2nd quarter.

Brandon Meriweather looked vulnerable in deep coverage as a Jaguars receiver got behind him on one deep effort that fell incomplete.

Special Teams Overview

Steve Weatherford has not been punting well this preseason. He’s over-punting in situations where the Giants could down a punt inside the 20. He also isn’t showing much directional ability. His net on three punts was 36 yards.

Josh Brown, on the other hand, did well. He nailed kicks of 51, 43, 53, 37, and 28 yards. He did miss a 46-yarder but a penalty on the Jaguars wiped out that miss.

Giants continue to struggle on punt returns with Dwayne Harris returning two for seven yards and Preston Parker two for three yards. Akeem Hunt returned two kickoffs, each for 24 yards. Derrick Johnson had one return for 21 yards.

Punt coverage was good as the Jaguars only returned two punts for six yards. Kickoff coverage was not as solid as the Giants gave up returns of 42 and 35 yards.

(Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants, August 22, 2015)
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Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (November 30, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants, August 22, 2015

THE STORYLINE:
The second preseason game is more serious than the first. The starters will play a bit longer and coaches want to see their players beginning to round into form a bit more. That said, winning the game takes a backseat to getting quality practice reps and working on areas of weakness.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin would like to see much more productivity out of his passing offense than he did last week but that will be tough with Victor Cruz and Rueban Randle once again on the sideline. “Everybody wants to talk about our passing game,” lamented Coughlin earlier this week. “Unless we get out there and practice together, what passing game?” While the offensive line was not the huge issue that some made it out to be last week, the team will be looking for fewer individual breakdowns that sabotaged a number of running plays.

Where the Giants really need to show marked improvement is on defense. The starting defense played horribly against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the back-ups were not all that much better. A Giants defense that has made it mission #1 to stop the run gave up 225 yards rushing in Cincinnati.

With an extensive injury list already, particularly in the secondary, keep your fingers crossed the Giants come out of this game relatively healthy. Not counting safety Mykkele Thompson who is on Injured Reserve, the Giants will be down six defensive backs heading into this contest.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • WR Victor Cruz (calf – will not play)
  • WR Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis – will not play)
  • WR Julian Talley (toe – will not play)
  • OG/OT Brandon Mosley (back – will not play)
  • LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP and will not play)
  • DE George Selvie (knee – will not play)
  • LB Jonathan Casillas  (unknown – will not play)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (groin – will not play)
  • CB Chykie Brown (knee – will not play)
  • CB Jayron Hosley (concussion – will not play)
  • CB Chandler Fenner (injured in practice on Thursday – will not play)
  • S Landon Collins (knee – will not play)
  • S Nat Berhe (calf – will not play)
  • S Cooper Taylor (toe – will not play)

FOUR DOWNS:
First Down
How will the offensive line perform?
We asked this same question last week. The results in Cincinnati were mixed. The first-team offensive line pass protected reasonably well although their performance was aided Eli Manning getting rid of the ball quickly. This week the Giants focused more on their downfield passing attack and Eli may need to hold the ball a bit longer. And the Giants certainly want more consistency and productivity in running the ball with their main backs (Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams, Shane Vereen). Fans will be focusing on left tackle Ereck Flowers, right guard John Jerry, right tackle Marshall Newhouse, and right guard/tackle Geoff Schwartz in particular. Schwartz won’t start, but he should receive a decent amount of playing time.

Second Down
Can the defense stop the run?
We asked this same question last week and the answer was definitely not. The team gave up an unacceptable 225 rushing yards. The Giants not only had issues at the point-of-attack, but the younger defenders were often fooled by misdirection. Jacksonville wants to run the ball so this will be a good test. The Giants must determine who should be starting at defensive tackle alongside Johnathan Hankins in the base defense.

Third Down
Who will do well or poorly at cornerback?
Same question as last week. The good news is that Prince Amukamara (groin) will probably play. The bad news is the Giants are still really thin at corner with injuries to Chykie Brown, Jayron Hosley, and possibly Chandler Fenner. The problem remains for New York – after Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, the team has nothing but question marks. Trevin Wade has a nose for the football but he also gives up big plays. Trumaine McBride left last week’s game early with a hamstring issue; he needs to step it up. Other candidates for serious playing time include Mike Harris and Josh Gordy. All will see serious playing time in the second half given the injury situation. Will any take advantage of the opportunity?

Fourth Down
How will the new safeties perform?
Broken record – same question as last week. Landon Collins is missing valuable practice and playing time. Mykkele Thompson – who was receiving some first-team reps – is now gone for the season. Nat Berhe has yet to practice or play this summer. Now Cooper Taylor is hurt again. The starters for this game will likely be Jeromy Miles and Bennett Jackson. Miles didn’t really distinguish himself last week and Jackson was up and down. The only others healthy enough to play are Justin Currie, Justin Halley, and newcomer Brandon Meriweather. It’s not a pretty situation.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Markus Kuhn
The coaches and players keep talking up Markus Kuhn, who started against the Bengals, but we have yet to see the improved performance on the playing field. To be fair to Kuhn, defensive tackles often do the dirty work and it’s difficult for them to flash. But one does expect a defender to make an obvious positive play once in a while against the run and pass. Jay Bromley and Kenrick Ellis played better last week – albeit against reserves. With the Giants unlikely to part ways with 3rd rounder Bromley this year, the final defensive tackle spot could be between Kuhn and Ellis. The Giants could possibly keep five defensive tackles, but even given that scenario, it would be extremely difficult for them to activate all five on game day. “The big guys, they set the tone,” Kuhn said. “We have to push back the offensive line, we have to set the new line of scrimmage.”

Marshall Newhouse
It seems like the Giants would like Newhouse to really take hold of the right tackle position, at least until Will Beatty returns in October. That way, Geoff Schwartz and John Jerry can battle it out at right guard with the hope that Schwartz moves Jerry to the bench. But the Giants are hedging their bets here by having Schwartz practice at both right guard and right tackle. Newhouse did not play poorly last week, but the spotlight remains on a player who was benched by his two previous teams. “I have confidence in Marshall, I’ve been around him at a different spot before, and he’s an athletic guy,” said Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo this week. “He’s a smart guy and I look forward to him growing in the offense.”

James Jones
Rueben Randle is having a disappointing summer. We haven’t heard much noise when he has practiced and he has missed most of the last two weeks with knee tendinitis. The assumption is that he is on the verge of a breakout season in his contract year, but if the Giants can’t count on him, there may be an opportunity here for someone to move past him on the depth chart. James Jones seems to be coming on. I wouldn’t be shocked if he makes a serious push to become the team’s new third receiver. “He was out of work for a little bit, he’s getting his football legs underneath him, the last two days of practice he’s stood out a little bit, and it’ll be exciting to see him over this next week get out there a perform,” said McAdoo this week.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Tom Coughlin (on the Jacksonville Jaguars): “This weekend will be an outstanding test because you have a team that’s trying to be very physical and wants to run the ball, has a good run defense, so it’ll be a good test.”

THE FINAL WORD:
I’m not sure the Giants will satisfy their fans yet by looking like a well-oiled machine on Saturday night. Hopefully, the starting defense puts up a little resistance this week, but there could be issues with Jeromy Miles and Bennett Jackson as the starting safeties. And down six defensive backs, the secondary could be a problem all night, especially once Amukamara and DRC exit the game. The Giants may frustrate fans by trying to work on their running game against a good run defense, in other words, playing weakness against strength, but that’s the point of preseason. It also hurts that Cruz and Randle will not play. Don’t get too depressed! This is practice.

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Dwayne Harris, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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AUGUST 20, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf strain), wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), wide receiver Julian Talley (toe – boot on left foot), right tackle Brandon Mosley (back), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), defensive end George Selvie (knee), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion), and safety Cooper Taylor (toe) did not practice.

“It’s feeling better than yesterday,” Cruz said of his calf strain. “They didn’t give me a timetable, but I know how it feels for me right now [compared to] how it did when it first happened. It feels light years better than it did then. I doubt Coach will let me play this weekend, but we’ll see.” Cruz said the calf strain was on a different leg than his knee injury.

Safety Landon Collins (knee sprain) participated in individual drills. Safety Nat Berhe (calf strain) participated in a few practice snaps and did much of the scout team work. He reported no soreness in his calf. Berhe will not play on Saturday against the Jaguars, but he expects to fully practice next week.

“It’s been so long that getting back out there made me realize how much I’ve really, really missed it,” said Berhe. “It was one thing to say I missed it, but to actually get out there on the field, I’m like, ‘Man, this is where I belong.’ So it was good. I got a lot of reps today on scout, and on (special) teams. I was able to get in a couple toward the end of team, I was able to get thrown in for two, three plays. I was good. Just trying to make sure I ran to everything so I can get my cardio back, and just trying to get in shape at this point.

“Everything is really big. You can play your technique no matter what coverage you’re in, or whatever they put you in on the paper. So I just try to make sure I get to the ball and go through my progressions and stuff like that. Just try to keep sharpening.”

Cornerback Chandler Fenner left practice early with a possible hamstring issue.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham (dental work) and left guard Justin Pugh (dental work) returned to practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Giants practiced in “uppers” (shoulder pads, but not full pads) this evening. It was a pretty uneventful practice as there was not much contact and the Giants were doing a lot of scout-team work. Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Bennett Jackson and Jeromy Miles were once again the first-team safeties.
  • James Jones, Dwayne Harris, Corey Washington, and Geremy Davis received first-team reps at wide receiver in 11-on-11 drills.
  • Jerome Cunningham saw first-team reps at tight end.
  • Geoff Schwartz received second- and then first-team reps at right guard, but John Jerry remained with the first-team offense at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.
  • Linebacker Jon Beason picked off a pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib. (Video)
  • Wide receiver Corey Washington dropped a pass.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Jerome Cunningham for a touchdown.
  • Wide receiver James Jones caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib. (Video)
  • Quarterback Ricky Stanzi hit wide receiver Geremy Davis for a touchdown.
  • The Giants ran a wide receiver screen to wide receiver Odell Beckham.
  • Tight end Larry Donnell had two catches during the two-minute drill.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media in the early afternoon before the evening practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: When you bring guys like [Shane] Vereen and James Jones in, is there something beyond what they can do on the field that’s part of the equation?

A: Well, there always is— every opportunity to evaluate is taken, and there’s always thought given to, normal circumstances, to how people are going to fit in and how they’ll not only help us as a team but obviously in representing the Giants, so I would say yes.

Q: With regard to [Shane] Vereen, you haven’t had a lot of pass-catching backs here for a couple of years. How good is he out of the backfield?

A: Well, he had an exceptional year a year ago. In certain situations, he was dominant because people played certain coverages and [Tom] Brady dropped the ball off. The catch and the run were a huge part of their [the New England Patriots’] offense, and we felt like that ingredient, in addition to some of the other people that we would pose as threats, would really do a good job of accommodating the rest of our offense.

Q: Is Victor [Cruz] going to play this week?

A: Probably not.

Q: What have you seen offensively and defensively in terms of your team responding after Friday?

A: I would say it’s been a good week of practice— certainly last night was very spirited. The first night of the week, Sunday night, was when you saw all the offensive production with Odell [Beckham Jr.] and Victor [Cruz] and Larry [Donnell] getting involved, and Eli throwing the ball down the field— he threw the ball down the field again last night, which was good— but I’ll continue to say what I said yesterday. They have to practice for us to advance in terms of the passing game— the timing, the significance of knowing exactly when people are reacting to coverage and adjusting their routes, etc. That all has to be seen through the eyes of the quarterback, and it’s been very rare that we’ve had the whole group out there to practice with. But there are some other guys that are getting a lot of time and will get a lot of time this weekend, and in the long run, it’s going to be good for our team.

Q: Is [Rueben] Randle still out?

A: As of now, he is.

Q: Odell will be back today?

A: Today he’s going to work, yes.

Q: Is there anyone else besides Victor [Cruz] that you know you’re not going to play in the game on Saturday? Rueben [Randle], I assume, at this point?

A: Well, we’ll see about all of that. I’m not going to project anything just yet. We’ve had some guys that have been out that are going to remain out.

Q: You have a ton of playmakers on offense— what’s your confidence level in your defense right now?

A: My confidence level is growing, but we’ve got to, again, test ourselves in these preseason games. This weekend will be an outstanding test because you have a team that’s trying to be very physical and wants to run the ball, has a good run defense, so it’ll be a good test.

Q: Who will start on the right side of your offensive line Saturday?

A: In all likelihood, J.J. [John Jerry] and Marshall [Newhouse]. Same combination, but obviously [Geoff] Schwartz is going to get his opportunity to play in there.

Q: At both spots maybe?

A: We’ll see. Possibly.

Q: How are Prince [Amukamara] and Nat Berhe coming along?

A: Prince practiced yesterday. Prince had about 15 plays yesterday, which was good to see. Hopefully he’ll be able to do some more. [Nat] Berhe does nothing but individual.

Q: What have you seen from [Brandon] Meriweather?

A: He’s trying to understand what we want of him and understand the terminology as best he can. He starts to grasp it— yesterday was a little bit better than the day before.

Q: So how much will he play Saturday?

A: Probably a limited amount, since he’s been here a very short time and this will be his first experience.

Q: Who do you likely expect to start in that secondary in this preseason game? Do you want to shuffle them?

A: You’ll see. I mean, it’s not going to be anything complicated. I’ll let you know that.

Q: With the new extra point rules, have you spent any extra time thinking about what your strategy will be?

A: Well, I have. As you see, many people came out last weekend and just went for two, but the advantage there is no different than it ever was. I think it’s just as important to kick extra points from 33 yards as it is to go for two. I think the real interesting concept there is a defensive penalty. A defensive penalty puts a ball at the one, so most people are going to go for the two points then.

Q: So the fact that statistically it makes sense that there will be more extra points missed, so that difference… wouldn’t it affect your thinking?

A: Well, as I’ve said before, the old extra point circumstance was 99 point something, and a 33-yard field goal was 94 something— so in between there, yeah it’s something. But still, I don’t think until late— you know, you’re talking maybe after November, after Thanksgiving, in December before any of those issues, I think, come up. I’m hoping that our percentages, in terms of 33-yard extra points, are going to be 100 percent— just like I always think.

Q: So, let’s say it’s a bad day in December here [MetLife Stadium]. Would you literally be in touch with the kicker as to what he thinks about kicking a 33-yard field goal and trying for an extra point at that point in the game?

A: Not necessarily at that point in the game, but obviously pregame, we’d go through all that and it would be part of the questions that I always ask. You know, ‘How far— what’s the distance like today from both ends?’ I get a feel for what the wind is, now that the wind is an issue during the course of the game, and you have to revisit it, so it’s a constant.

Q: Any projection on how deep your first teamers are going to go on Saturday night?

A: Play a little more probably than they did the other day.

Q: What are you looking to see from them in general?

A: Improvement. Improvement.

SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR TOM QUINN…
Tom Quinn addressed the media on Thursday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: Josh Brown’s leg has gotten stronger on kickoffs in the last couple of years. Have you seen that and is that rare to happen for a player in that stage of his career?

A: I don’t think so. I think they’re obviously learning about their bodies and nutrition and training and taking care of their bodies and managing their kicks. They are pretty serious about how many kicks we do in a week and in a day, so we don’t try and kick our leg out. It’s a long season and a long process, so we try and keep him fresh but then he also does a lot of work in the weight room, which is showing up.

Q: When Dwayne Harris was signed, he was supposedly for special teams [or] wherever you wanted to put him. Is that still the case?

A: Yeah, I hope so. If he is a receiver and he can play on all the big four teams, he can be the returner, the gunner, the kickoff coverage, so we are excited about him going forward.

Q: Is he the primary kickoff and punt returner at this point?

A: Yeah, I mean at this point in the preseason, we are trying to get as many guys opportunities to see what they can do, so we will roll a lot of different guys back there to see what we have.

Q: How did Akeem Hunt look kick returning?

A: He looked fast. There was a big hole. I hoped he would have finished it off more and not gotten nudged out of bounds, dive in there and keep scrambling and trying to cutback and trying to score, but he has got quickness, so, so far so good with him.

Q: How has Geremy Davis been progressing so far?

A: He’s progressing. He really works hard at it [and] he really has a lot of upside. He didn’t do a lot of it in college, so a lot of it is new to him, but he has really taken to the coaching and he tries hard and works hard, so we’ve been pleased with him.

Q: Is it almost like working with a blank canvas with him?

A: A little bit. I was trying to tell these guys to use your skill set and we will put you in the right position, so if you are a receiver, be a receiver. If you are good at avoiding guys, that is how you cover a kick, so you keep it simple for them and he has done that.

Q: Where do you see him? Gunner?

A: That is [where] we are starting him out. We are starting him out there and he will play all four teams, which he did last week, and try and give him enough reps to show what he can do.

Q: You kind of alluded to it. How different is it to get off the line as a wide receiver as opposed to a gunner?

A: Well, a lot of times as a gunner you have two guys standing in front of you, so you have to pick one and make that the battle…there are limitations on being able to go out of bounds and come back in and all those things and the rules they have to understand. It is just a mentality, it is hard. You talk to David Tyree and you have to earn your money out there and a lot of young guys, it is a whole new experience and they really don’t do that much in college the way college is played, so it is a little bit of a transition.

Q: How much of a loss is Mykelle Thompson?

A: We were really excited for him. He is a guy that [had] shown in the spring and the start of training camp that he could really add some value. He is smart, got great speed, had some size to him, so that will be a loss. It is too bad for him.

Q: Do you do anything different extra-point wise?

A: No, we had the two or three preseason games with it last year. I think three because we had the Hall of Fame game and if we kick our field goals, we start at the 15. We always kick a PAT first and then go from there. I think you will get more pressure, more of a chance to block it, so you will have to be ready to anchor down and treat them just like a field goal.

Q: Offensive linemen don’t seem to be that much for it?

A: Well, they better be for points. I understand, but that play has always been a violent play and they have done some things to make it safer, but I think if they use good technique, they will be all right.

Q: You always look at Zak DeOssie for his reliability with snapping but when you see him make that tackle in Cincinnati, can you just talk about the contributions he makes on special teams?

A: He is a great leader in the room. We have grown up with him from when he was a rookie to the point he is at now and he does have the ability to cover and tackle. When he first came into the league, he was a little bit rare but now with the rules of not being able to line up over the center and some different things, more and more guys are starting to become more athletic like he is but he does add great value because he is a football player, he isn’t just a specialist who snaps. He was brought here as a linebacker, played some linebacker early and then had to become a snapper.

Q: What are the goals for the special teams for you in particular?

A: Obviously, the net punt and the punt return. We want to make a big difference on the opponent’s punts and our punts. We need to see a big swing there; we spent some money with bringing guys in to get that done.

Q: So that is what the focus is on?

A: Yeah, I mean you focus on all of them. You don’t neglect one or the other but kickoff and kickoff return nowadays, half of the kicks are returned and half of them are covered, but all the punts and punt returns and that is the biggest impact nowadays, so we have to really make that go with a lot of time and effort.

Q: Have you shifted the time you spend on those two?

A: A little bit. We’ve always spent a lot of time on punt, obviously, and then [we] spend a little more time on punt return than we normally do.

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 Giants will hold a walk-thru on Friday before Saturday’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday. 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 one remaining training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 192015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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AUGUST 19, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another 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.

ELI MANNING DENIES HE WANTS TO BE HIGHEST PAID QUARTERBACK…
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning denied the earlier NFL Network report that he wants to be the NFL’s highest paid quarterback. Manning is entering the last year of his current contract.

“Reports are all wrong and I don’t know where they’re getting their information from, I just kind of laugh at it,” said Manning. “Never been said. Never come out of my mouth. Never said it to my agent, never said it, so I don’t know where the reports are coming from.”

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Odell Beckham (dental work), wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf strain), wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), left guard Justin Pugh (dental work), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), defensive end George Selvie (knee), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), and cornerback Jayron Hosley (neck/concussion) did not practice.

Beckham and Pugh are expected to return to practice on Thursday. Both are recovering from dental procedures.

“Selvie, no ligament damage,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Had a little tissue, little strain. He gives everything he’s got. I don’t really think he’ll be too long. He can’t go today, but I think he’ll be back soon.”

“Cruz has had a little strain in the calf area, so he’s not going to practice today,” said Coughlin. “Randle’s not ready. We thought Randle was going to be ready to go today, but he’s not going to practice today.”

Safeties Landon Collins (knee sprain) and Nat Berhe (calf strain) participated in the walk-through portions of practice.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) and safety Cooper Taylor (sore toe) returned to practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
The Giants practiced in full pads. Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With George Selvie out, Cullen Jenkins received reps at first-team defensive end.
  • Bennett Jackson and Jeromy Miles were the first-team safeties. Jackson broke up a pass intended for tight end Daniel Fells.
  • Prince Amukamara participated in full-team drills as a starter along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at cornerback.
  • With Justin Pugh out, the Giants worked quite a few combinations with the first-team offensive line, including John Jerry at left and right guard. Geoff Schwartz practiced at both right guard and right tackle. Adam Gettis also saw time at right guard.
  • Mike Bamiro received some reps at right tackle with the second-team offense, but was promptly beat by defensive end Robert Ayers. Bamiro was moved backed to guard and did a good job of picking up linebacker Jameel McClain on a blitz.
  • Wide receiver Geremy Davis made a leaping sideline catch during 11-on-11 drills.
  • Tight ends Larry Donnell, Jerome Cunningham, and Will Tye each dropped a pass.
  • Running back Orleans Darkwa made a nice catch of a low pass.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver James Jones for a touchdown, but Geoff Schwartz had a false start on the play.
  • Unai Unga worked with the second-team defense at middle linebacker with Jameel McClain playing outside linebacker.
  • The nickel linebackers were Jon Beason and Jonathan Casillas.
  • Wide receiver Dwayne Harris got behind cornerback Trevin Wade and safety Cooper Taylor for a long touchdown pass from quarterback Eli Manning. (Video)
  • Linebacker J.T. Thomas knocked away what would have been a touchdown pass to tight end Larry Donnell.
  • Wide receiver Julian Talley beat cornerback Trevin Wade for a touchdown.
  • One defensive line package had Devon Kennard and Damontre Moore at defensive end, and Kerry Wynn and Owamagbe Odighizuwa at defensive tackle.
  • Newcomer Jimmy Staten received third-team defensive tackles reps along with Dominique Hamilton. Staten penetrated into the backfield twice against the run during team drills.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade ended practice by intercepting a pass intended for wide receiver Geremy Davis from quarterback Ryan Nassib. Wade returned the pick for a defensive score. (Video)

Pads be poppin during run drills #giants

A video posted by Jordan Raanan (@jraanan) on

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media in the early afternoon before the evening practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: Can you update us on George Selvie?

A: You know [George] Selvie, no ligament damage. Had a little tissue, little strain. He gives everything he’s got. I don’t really think he’ll be too long. He can’t go today, but I think he’ll be back soon.

Q: Do you expect Prince Amukamara or Nat Berhe to be back today at practice?

A: They’re little by little. Little by little, they’re doing it. You don’t see much of them in the team stuff, but they’re working their way back in there, which is good. They take all the jog-through and all that business, they take. And some of the individual. Hopefully we can advance that part of it.

Q: Are Victor Cruz or Rueben Randle ready to get any action Saturday?

A: [Victor] Cruz has had a little strain in the calf area, so he’s not going to practice today. [Reuben] Randle’s not ready. We thought Randle was going to be ready to go today, but he’s not going to practice today. So we’ll have a couple receivers down today.

Q: Is it beneficial right now to be extra cautious with him, sit him down, and let that build back up? Randle, I’m talking about.

A: Well, we’ve been out a while. I mean, yes, but he needs to practice. That’s the one thing I’m anxious about. Everybody wants to talk about our passing game. Unless we get out there and practice together, what passing game? So that’s something that has to be considered. We have to work together on the field to get to where we’re going. So advancing some of these young guys, yeah, that’s a plus. But we certainly aren’t cohesive with the other guys, either.

Q: Is Victor’s calf related to his knee at all?

A: No. No, not at all. No. Probably dehydration, little bit of that.

Q: Assuming your cast can be together, what are the steps you expect to make in this second year of Ben McAdoo’s offense?

A: You know, like I said before, I think the going back with the installation has been better for the players. Obviously, they’ve done it before. So they’ve had it in the spring, they’ve had it last year in the spring and fall. So the advancement of that is good. What we expect from them, they have a pretty good idea of that. They’ve got to go see everything on the field, and all the different coverages and the techniques that are going to be employed against them. But I expect it to be—we’re going to improve, we’re going to improve in all areas, and we’re going to be able to complement each other by hopefully having a lot of weapons on the field that people are going to have to decide what they’re going to defend.

Q: We all know how smart Eli is. How much in tune is he with Ben the second year into the offense?

A: He’s very much in-tune with what’s going on. His opinion is asked for and shared in the quarterback meetings. He’s anxious. He knows the offense well and he’s very much interested in moving forward.

Q: What difference do you see in the offense between now and last summer?

A: I don’t see enough right now, to be honest with you. I don’t see enough yet, but I’m looking forward to it.

Q: You’ve tried different offensive line combinations for different reasons. In your mind, is there a point when you want to decide on the five moving forward?

A: I read about that when I read about other teams. They’ve got this point and they’ve got—I just want to find the five guys that work best together, as soon as we can. Whether it’s the second, third preseason game. There’s a certain number that we’re going to have to depend on, and they’re going to have to be versatile enough to play in some different spots. And so, obviously, I’d like it to happen fast, but you’ve had a guy like [Geoff] Schwartz that hasn’t practiced much. You have Marshall [Newhouse] who has been out a day or so. So we’ve had some of that. Plus, the young guy, we’re trying to bring a couple of young guys around. [Bobby] Hart, we’re trying to get Hart going. And he’s had some good days, and days that are not as good. So I’m looking for some consistency in his play as well.

Q: What went into that decision of bumping Hart out? You bumped him back out last week to tackle.

A: That’s where he’s played. He’s played there in college, so we wanted to take a look at him.

Q: But you started him at guard.

A: Yeah. You’ve got to line them all up somewhere. He’s playing some guard and he’s playing some tackle.

Q: Did Orleans Darkwa impress you the other night?

A: Darkwa’s had a couple of good weeks, yeah.

Q: A guy like that who is behind a bunch of players who have been around for a while, do you think he fits in the mix or does he have to impress you on special teams?

A: Last year his special teams were outstanding. He’s always been a pretty good—he’s run the ball on scout team for us, and done a nice job of that, too. So he has some power, he has some punch, he’s run the ball up in there for us. You know he gives you some more flexibility. Thinking about having a guy who can run behind the line of scrimmage and can play special teams.

Q: You’ve played against and had to game plan against Dwayne Harris for several years. When you watched him, what did you see?

A: Powerful, nifty, tough, do a lot of things for you. It’s kind of interesting that in studying him, you saw him as a gunner on kickoff coverage, running punts back, running kicks back, and doing a lot of things. Coming into [the Dallas Cowboys] offensive sets and blocking at the perimeter, or being a guy who catches the ball underneath—short pass, long run kind of a guy. So he’s versatile. We’re trying like heck to get the punt return team going, which is something I’m hoping will advance come Saturday night.

Q: He filled four very big roles for the Cowboys. He was a big identity for them. Do you need an identity on special teams and can he bring that identity to you guys?

A: I think he certainly could. As one of some guys that are obvious special teamers, you take great pride in that. Yes, he could.

Q: Speaking of special teams, Geremy Davis has obviously gotten some work on that. How has he looked to you in that role?

A: He’s got to get better. We like him, he’s big and strong and fast. But he’s got to define some of the things that he can do for us. But, obviously, we’re always looking for gunners, gunner help. If he does that for us, as one of those people who can work in a rotation out there, that would help a lot.

Q: There was a lot of stuff about Eli’s contract yesterday. Would you think that would impact him or have you seen anything in that regard?

A: No. I haven’t seen one thing about it. It’s not going to affect him.

Q: How would you describe his professionalism overall as a leader for this team?

A: How high does it go? What’s the number you want, 1-10? (Yes.) 11.

Q: How did you think Geoff Schwartz did the other day?

A: So-so. He did so-so. Trying to get him to go every day. His second day wasn’t as good as his first. But hopefully he gets better.

Q: Any news from Jason Pierre-Paul in terms of when he might be showing up?

A: No.

Q: He’s been tweeting and on Instagram a lot lately.

A: I think he’s talked to more of our people, but it’s conversation.

Q: You guys didn’t have any incidents in your joint practices with Cincinnati last week. That’s not been the case in some other places. There’s a lot that goes into it, you practice, you play a game. Is it something moving forward that you think you would look into doing again?

A: Yes. Yes. How’s that?

Q: Why?

A: Because we got a lot out of it.

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BEN McADOO…
Ben McAdoo addressed the media on Wednesday (video is available at Giants.com):

I hope everyone is having a good camp. With that, let’s fire away.

Q: Has the starting offense made progress this week?

A: We made some progress this week. We were disappointed in our performance last week. We had two productive days of practice, got to the game, and it seemed like we were a little flat. The details, the play speed wasn’t there, and we addressed the issue head on and we’re working to fix it. You don’t fix mistakes overnight, it takes time to do that, and we’re working at it every day.

Q: What kind of expectations do you have in your second year?

A: We met a couple times as an offense on this, in the offseason, and now in training camp. We set our expectations very high. We set parameters, I’m not going to spell those out for you, the players may be able to help you figure those out, but we do set them high. We have high expectations for ourselves. There is one goal in this business and we all know what that goal is, but you can measure the parameters each week as you go to make sure you’re on track.

Q: How much faster do you want the offense to be?

A: My mother told me not to put all my eggs in one basket. I like to change up speeds, and I think it’s important to be able to do that. You don’t want to just have a fast tempo, you don’t want to slow things down, you don’t always want to be no-huddle, and you don’t always want to be in the huddle. I think it’s good to be able to change your pace and change your tempo as long as it’s on your terms. It has to be on our terms.

Q: What are you looking to accomplish in the second game with your first group?

A: Execution. We’re not out there to chase numbers, that’s not good offense. We’re out there to execute, put ourselves in position, to take care of the ball and put puts on the board.

Q: How do you view your RT position right now?

A: Marshall [Newhouse] has been getting a lot of work in there. He’s growing, he’s getting comfortable with the men around him, and he and John Jerry are working well together. After that, we have a couple guys in the mix. One guy isn’t practicing at this point in time and we’re going to continue to develop and see really how the preseason games go. Practice is practice, but when the lights come on we need to see guys play and play well. I have confidence in Marshall, I’ve been around him at a different spot before, and he’s an athletic guy. He’s a smart guy and I look forward to him growing in the offense.

Q: Where does Geoff Schwartz stand?

A: I need to see Geoff play. He’s coming off of a major injury. He needs to get back out on the field and needs to do it on a consistent basis. It’s tough to answer that question.

Q: Is it difficult when you have to continue to swap guys in and out on the offensive line? Would you want to have five in there so they can jell?

A: In a perfect world, that’s how things work but this isn’t. It’s far from a perfect world and our philosophy here is next man up. We don’t think twice about it.

Q: How fortunate do you feel to be in a situation with an established QB? Do people sometimes take for granted how indispensable Eli [Manning] has been?

A: I don’t take him for granted. I’ve been fortunate since 2006 to be around a franchise quarterback. Men that have carried themselves well, prepared well, and can rally the team in their own way. They’re comfortable in their own skin, so we’re very fortunate to have Eli.

Q: Has WR James Jones been a pro since he’s been here? Do you like what you see from him?

A: Absolutely, he’s been a pro. He was out of work for a little bit, he’s getting his football legs underneath him, the last two days of practice he’s stood out a little bit, and it’ll be exciting to see him over this next week get out there a perform.

Q: Does it help in any way to have some former Green Bay guys here like Jones and Newhouse?

A: It’s probably a better question for the players.

Q: Are you aware of the rule changes that seem to favor the offense when you’re scheming or coming up with plays?

A: We try to teach things from a fundamental perspective and a read perspective. Is it the passing game that you’re referring to?

Q: Some of the defenders can’t do the things they used to do?

A: It goes back to fundamentals. Any benefit that you get from a flag, we’ll take that. From a fundamental perspective, we can’t go out there, and from a mentality perspective, we can’t go out there and coach players on this pass interference. You have to fight through all contact and any contact and can’t rely on the referees to make those calls to get us a first down. It’s up to you to come and compete and win your one-on-one matchup to make those plays.

Q: Do you think too many players are trying to make one-handed catches these days?

A: I’m not in favor of it. I would like to see two hands on the ball.

Q: Have you seen more in the last couple of years?

A: I think maybe it’s come to light a little bit more. Guys are always out there trying to work on catching the ball with one hand, whether it’s pre-game, pre-practice, and challenging each other. I don’t know if there’s anything wrong with that, but the game situation, you’d like to see guys catch the ball with two hands out in front of their eyes.

Q: How in tune are you and Eli now as opposed to last year?

A: Last year we spent a lot of time together, we had to have a conversation on just about every play, and make sure we were on the same page there. This year it’s a little bit more natural for him and as we go, things will gravitate to what he likes and what he does well and what he feels that the players around him do well.

Q: Has Dwayne Harris shown you anything as a receiver?

A: Yes, Dwayne is a guy that when the lights came on the other night, you could see some physicality from him. He’s a guy that doesn’t mind getting mixed up in the run game. He’s working to learn the offense from a couple different positions inside and outside. He’ll have some opportunities here over the next few weeks moving forward. It’ll be good to see him out there.

Q: Can you do what you need him to do as far as running routes and catching the ball?

A: Absolutely.

Q: You have three capable guys in Rashad [Jennings], [Andre] Williams, [Shane] Vereen. Do you have to find a way to give all three a way to contribute? Is it a blessing or a burden?

A: Each of them has a unique skillset. They’re all different and you can add Darkwa [Orleans] in there as well. They’re all different and you have to use their skillset to our advantage but at the same point and time, we have to push them out of their comfort zone. We can’t let them fall into a niche, ‘I’m this guy or I’m that guy.’ You have to be a complete player and we’re going to push them that way.

Q: Do you have more of an idea of what [Victor] Cruz you’ll get on September 13?

A: Yeah, I’m excited for Victor. He came out early on and didn’t seem tentative at all about sticking his foot in the ground. The other day he made some nice plays, made one in the back of the end zone similar to the one the injury was on, and that’s a big step, that’s a major step. He made a b-line play down the middle at the beginning of the no-huddle period of last practice. It’s good to have him out there and I can’t wait until he’s out there full time and ready to go.

Q: How do you view that WR position?

A: I see it as it’s all up in the air right now. There’s a lot guys in, a lot of guys out, a lot of opportunities for young guys. It’s who takes advantage of it is going to get the nod, I would think.

Q: How many receivers is the max that you think the roster can handle?

A: That’s probably a better question for Tom [Coughlin] and Jerry [Reese], but we’ll take as many as we can get.

Q: You would take ten if you could?

A: If we could.

Q: Does the new extra point rules change the amount of time you spend on the two-point play?

A: We always put a lot of time on the two-point plays because the information is hard to get. They weren’t very prevalent but now they’re going to be more prevalent, so your time may be a little bit better spent because you’ll have more options, and more recent tape to look at. You won’t have to dig back four or five years at a time to find something. You’ll be able to be smarter with your time. We’ll be ready. We’ll have plenty of options down there.

Q: Overall, do you think the quality of your offensive line will equip you to do the things that you want to do with the rest of your ball club?

A: I’m excited for the offensive line. I think they’re growing and they’re ahead of where they were last year. The saying is, ‘We’re not where we want to be but thank goodness we’re not where we use to be.’ From a physicality standpoint and communication standpoint, they’re growing.

Q: What was the thinking behind moving Bobby Hart from guard to tackle?

A: Bobby is a young talented man. He’s a rookie and has to figure some things out, but I think he has some ability and at some point in time may be able to help us.

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 next training camp practice will be held on Thursday. 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 two remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 172015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 17, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

ELI MANNING WANTS TO BE HIGHEST PAID PLAYER IN NFL?…
The NFL Network is reporting that quarterback Eli Manning wants to be the highest paid quarterback in the NFL. Manning is entering the final year of his current contract.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (neck/concussion), and safety Cooper Taylor (sore toe) did not practice.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) and safety Landon Collins (knee sprain) participated in walk-through drills. Safety Nat Berhe (calf strain) participated in some individual drills. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas (stiff neck) returned to practice.

Defensive end George Selvie left practice early with a knee injury. No word yet on the severity.

Safety Mykkele Thompson, who was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve on Sunday, underwent surgery today to repair his torn right Achilles’ tendon.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Geoff Schwartz continued to split time between right guard and right tackle.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Victor Cruz on a slant for a touchdown (Video) and then Odell Beckham in the corner of the end zone for another touchdown.
  • The first-team safeties were Jeromy Miles and Brandon Merriweather with Bennett Jackson playing in the slot corner position. Miles and Jackson also played first-team safety in 7-on-7 drills.
  • Linebacker Jonathan Casillas received some first-team reps in 7-on-7 drills.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham beat cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a “sick” out move.
  • Wide receiver Julian Talley also beat Rodgers-Cromartie on an out route.
  • Defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis “flattened” left guard guard Adam Gettis in red zone drills.
  • Bobby Hart saw second-team reps at right tackle and looked good. Brandon Mosley saw second-team reps at right guard.
  • Giants.com said the three standout players today were safety Jeromy Miles, wide receiver Odell Beckham, and linebacker Jon Beason.

GIANTS ON WFAN RADIO
The audio from the following interviews on WFAN Radio are available from CBS New York:

  • Team President/CEO John Mara (Audio)
  • General Manager Jerry Reese (Audio)
  • Head Coach Tom Coughlin (Audio)
  • Quarterback Eli Manning (Audio)
  • RB Shane Vereen (Audio)
  • WR Odell Beckham (Audio)
  • WR Victor Cruz (Audio)
  • LB Jon Beason (Audio)

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media in the early afternoon before the evening practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Coughlin: Good Afternoon. What can I do for you today? Who do you want to talk about — which one on the list do you want to talk about?

Q: Let’s talk about the new safety you signed?

A: Yeah — Brandon Meriweather, who we’ve played against before. He’s a very physical safety — comes down in the box very well. He’ll bring a degree of toughness to our secondary, to that position, so we welcome him.

Q: How much did you feel that you needed to get a veteran at that spot?

A: Well, it worked. It helped. It’ll help to have a veteran there — a guy that’s played and can share information with a lot of the young guys who are obviously trying to play but haven’t been there yet.

Q: He was not signed by anyone. How much does he [Meriweather] think — his legs and everything — how much does he think he has left?

A: Well, he [Meriweather] had a toe issue, which he had corrected. He’s 31 years old — he certainly doesn’t need to be put away to rest. He’s a young guy.

Q: He’s been on the other side of the NFL disciplinary system for a lot of hits that he can’t seem to have corrected…

A: Can’t seem to have corrected?

Q: Well, he’s been fined multiple times. I think he was suspended. What do you do with that? How do you coach that?

A: Well, the toughness part you want. The penalties and the issues, you don’t want. And he’s a young man who has expressed thanks in being here and having the opportunity, and I think he’ll take coaching. He’s competitive, he’s very competitive. And to a certain extent, obviously, we want that, but we don’t want what goes with it, obviously.

Q: Did you have to say something to him?

A: I will talk to him, yes. I will talk to him.

Q: How does he fit into the defensive system here?

A: How does he fit in?

Q: Yeah.

A: He’s a safety. And we’re looking for safeties, so there you go. When they blow the whistle, 11 are supposed to go out there, so that’s what we’re looking for.

Q: What has it meant for you to have had one quarterback [Eli Manning] your entire career here, and where do you see Eli as far as how much longer you think you two might be together?

A: Well, I think he’s better than — I think he’s prepared to be better than he’s ever been, to be honest with you. I thought last year his improvement was outstanding. His conditioning, his offseason work. Even right now, his recovery cycle work and flexibility is better than I’ve ever seen it. Again, he’s young, he’s obviously very driven, and he’s in a great frame of mind. (something bangs off the ground) That having been said, that’s an exclamation point.

Q: What do you — or I guess the medical staff at this point — need to see from Victor [Cruz] to get him into a preseason game?

A: Well, I think he’s showing it. We’ll pick when he goes, but he’s done everything. Yesterday he did everything — we didn’t even have a… he and Odell both had a full practice yesterday, and both did well and both are back ready to go today.

Q: Is that the plan again today? Not to be limited at all? Or do you have to back off a little bit after a full day like that?

A: He [Victor Cruz] is going to practice. That’s all I’m telling you. They’re [Cruz and Beckham Jr.] going to practice.

Q: Do you want to limit Victor to one preseason game?

A: Not necessarily. He has to do things gradually, and he’s doing them gradually. He’s getting to where he needs to be, and his mindset is outstanding. We brought him to the game [preseason opener at Cincinnati] for a reason. We put him into the workout in Cincinnati for a reason. He didn’t get a chance to play in the game, but he saw it. He was in it. He was involved. He was mentally involved, and he’s looking forward to going to the next step.

Q: We’re three weeks into camp now — where do you sort of gauge where your defense is at this point?

A: Well, obviously after last weekend, both offense, defense, and certain parts of special teams need to improve. And that’s what camp is for. So let’s take what we have on tape, let’s teach, and let’s go back out and correct some of the mistakes that we made.

Q: How did [Geoff] Schwartz come out yesterday after his first workout?

A: He’s practicing today.

Q: Is that a positive sign for him to go back-to-back [practices]?

A: Definitely. Definitely.

Q: Where do you see him on the line? Is he a guard or tackle?

A: Both. He’s played all those positions his whole career — both sides — so, wherever we need him. He’s smart enough, he understands it, he can play multiple positions.

Q: How’s [Marshall] Newhouse doing today?

A: He seems he’s going to be ready to go. We have to watch him, but he’s going to be ready to go.

Q: Is it an extra challenge when you have to add these new pieces in on the fly, during training camp? You know, the secondary…

A: Well obviously you can’t go back to day one. So it’s an issue for them — they have to catch up. But again, it’s the language. It’s the language — he’s [Brandon Meriweather] done it, he’s played all kinds of coverages — particularly in Washington. It’s just a matter of him understanding what the terminology represents and what his responsibilities are, and I’m sure he’ll be accelerated because of his number of years of service in the league.

Q: Would Geoff Schwartz — he obviously has a foot problem that he’s been dealing with — does that factor in for you as to how much you can use him at right tackle and how much more difficult maybe does that make it to put him out there?

A: I hope not. I hope not. I’m not thinking that way. I’m not thinking of any restriction. I’m thinking where he can best help us, and we’ll take it from there.

Q: Is it something you have to manage long-term with him? I know you kind of mentioned that before, that maybe you might have to do that.

A: Well, whatever happens, we’ll manage it. Whether he can go without anybody being concerned, whether he does have concerns and he gets a restricted amount — that’s all to be seen. But for now, after the time that he’s been away from the field, he’s ready to practice and we need him to practice to get going to see whether we can count on him.

Q: How long had Meriweather been on your radar, just as far as being an option?

A: There’s a list. Who’s available? Who isn’t? It happens everyday. Some come off, some come on. He’s been on that list since the non-signing in Washington, but he did have the toe issues, which anybody and everybody in the league, I’m sure, was monitoring. He hasn’t worked out that many places, to be honest with you, so the timing is just about right for our need.

Q: Is this the first time that you had him in to work out or did you have him in here beforehand?

A: First time.

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR STEVE SPAGNUOLO…
Steve Spagnuolo addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: What were your thoughts on the first preseason game?

A: I knew we were going to get general. Well, I’ll be honest, like I told the guys, I didn’t think we started out like we should have, that was a little disappointing—we talked about that the other day. Cincinnati came out and jumped us pretty quick, I thought got us on our heels a little bit. I think the guys felt that, too. Of course, in a preseason game, you’re taking some guys out, and it kind of gets out of whack a little bit. We did settle down a little bit. I thought the young guys did some good things. It was encouraging to see us play good in the red zone. Not encouraging to give up all of the long run plays, I think a lot of that can be fixed. There was a couple of pass plays where we challenged, our corners, we went into it saying, look, we’re going to stay very vanilla. We might do some things man-wise, it’ll challenge the corners on the outside. But that’s okay, we want to find out where we are. So some of that was planned, and it wasn’t a deep game plan to stop Cincinnati’s offense. We practiced against them for two days. All in all, I think we’ve got a long way to go, but I think the guys are willing to do the things they need to do to get there.

Q: When you have players talk about not playing fast and they wish they would have, why wouldn’t you?

A: You know what I attribute that to? And we talked about it. I think they were thinking too much because they wanted to be right, and it’s the first game, and there’s a lot of youth on our side of the ball. I think it was more that. Look, we focused a lot on that and we’re talking about it now. I’m hoping in this next go-around, that it will be think fast and just go. That’s what the defensive game is all about. I told them, don’t worry about making mistakes. Maybe I didn’t say that enough going into the game. If you’re a guy and you want to make the football team, and they’re always being corrected for an error, they want to be perfect. But we’re going to chase perfection, but we’re going to rely on relentless. That’s what we’re going to try to do.

Q: Is a guy like Trevin Wade kind of embodying that mentality right now? It seems like he’s always around the ball.

A: Yeah, I’m glad you brought Trevin [Wade] up, he’s done a nice job. When a guy steps up, he’s around the ball, he’s making plays—he made a big one at the end, I think you have to recognize that. At first I don’t think anybody really knew where he was, as a player. But it’s good to see him, I’d like to see more guys do that.

Q: What do you guys like about Brandon Meriweather?

A: You know, Brandon, I’ve seen from afar, obviously as an opponent. Very aggressive football player, experienced, has started in the NFL. From guys that played with him in college, because we’ve got some Miami guys here, obviously, the feedback from them was he was very vocal—I like that in a safety. I think Coach Coughlin and Jerry [Reese] like the same thing. Not afraid to make a mistake, bold—I think all those things are good attributes. We’ll have to find out where he is with all the other things, he hasn’t been in football for a little bit right now.

Q: How was the communication, especially among the first team defense, in getting everything lined up and what not?

A: Not too bad, could’ve been better. I think the first touchdown, I’m going to take the onus on that one. Again, we didn’t game plan against Cincinnati. Had we been game planning, we would have played that bunch route they had a little bit differently. In the way we were playing it, made it real challenging for our guys. So we certainly could have played that better, that wasn’t the players’ fault, it was just that particular play. We shouldn’t have let them down that close, but that particular play was really on the coaches, my fault.

Q: You’re more familiar with Jeromy Miles probably than anybody. What did you like about him to bring him here?

A: Well, Jeromy [Miles] has always been more of a special teams player, he was never really a pure starter in this league. But I felt he could at least provide depth, some veteran presence, and certainly special teams. We’ll see where it goes with regards to playing safety and how much. There was a comfort level there, when you know people, I knew what kind of effort you were going to get from Jeromy. I know he’s a pro, I know he works at it, I know he studies the game. I think that’s all been evident. And he’ll tell you he’d like to be playing a little bit better football than he did the other night.

Q: So he’s got a ways to go on defense?

A: Yeah, we all do. We all do, myself included.

Q: What do you see from your defensive end group? Does anybody stand out?

A: I think they’re all kind of clumped together. When I say that, I think we have some guys that will play relentless football. I was kind of impressed with some of the things that the guys did up front. Now, there are some tweaks and some mental errors that we have to get ironed out, and I think they’ll do that. A lot of those guys are ready, set, go—that’s not a bad quality in a defensive end, to do that. And Coach [Robert] Nunn is working technique with them. We’ve moved some guys around, I think you saw some of those defensive ends played inside the other night, which we like to do. We’ll continue to do that. We have to get into situations that will allow us to do that. But we’ll keep moving them around, I think all of them are doing about the same right now.

Q: What kind of leap has Kerry Wynn taken against the run, in particular?

A: Yeah, I didn’t know a lot about Kerry [Wynn] coming here. I’d seen him on film as I studied the Giants from last year. But he’s a solid football player, he knows what he’s doing. He made a couple of uncharacteristic mental errors in the game, and even in practice yesterday. But I trust Kerry because I know he knows what he’s doing. I think he’s getting better as a football player, as we start talking about technique and things he needs to do out there. I think he’s improved as we’ve gone on in training camp.

Q: Jon Beason almost sounded like a rookie the other day, saying he’s really trying to do the right thing and show you he knows the defense. Do you see it’s not quite there yet for him?

A: I think anytime it’s new language, new system—but look, I love Jon Beason. We do individual stuff, him and I get a lot. He’s a football player, he loves the game. When you’re passionate about football and want to do the right thing, that’s what comes out. I think he said to me, it might’ve been in the walk-through here. He was moving the trash cans around that we use and getting them perfect. I said, “You wanted to get those right?” He goes, “Yeah.” He goes, “I’m like that, I want it to be perfect.” He goes, “It’s a blessing and a curse.” And it is, we all know that. Sometimes you can try to be too perfect. But I love working with him. I watched him out here yesterday, and coming off a game, having a day off, and everybody being sore, it’s a little sluggish. I felt we were sluggish yesterday, but you watch Jon Beason, and he was flying around like a rookie. And good for him. I pointed that out in the meeting, and all the other guys need to follow suit. I love working with him.

Q: How much do you miss JPP?

A: Well, it’s hard for me to calculate that. I really haven’t worked with him. So we’ll keep our fingers crossed. Our prayers are with him for health. Until we can get him back here, we’ll just focus on the guys that we’ve got.

Q: You mentioned Meriweather with his aggressive play. Obviously he’s gotten in trouble in the past for being too aggressive. He’s also said that he doesn’t necessarily want to change his style. Is that a fine line for you to walk as a coach?

A: Very fine line for a coach, very fine line for a player in the league that we play in nowadays. But it’s all about target, and it’s a low target area, a strike zone. We’re talking from the chest down to the thigh. That’s what guys have to begin to do. I think that a lot of aggressive players in this league have adjusted to that, I think a lot of them are doing it. And we need to. So it’s preached, it’s talked about, and, again, we haven’t had him here but for a day. But that will be a focus, and I’m sure when you’re away from football for a little bit and you realize where that may have been one of the reasons—I don’t know if it is or not—I’m sure he’ll find a way to get it corrected.

Q: When you’re dealing with the issues in the secondary, how much can the ends help by getting pressure on the quarterback?

A: Yeah, all secondary players appreciate good defensive ends, we all know that from the past. We need that. It needs to all work together. I mean, look, you’ve got to cover them for a certain point, certain amount of time, so the defensive ends can get there. And defensive ends needs to get there quick enough so they’re not back there hanging out. It all works together, and hopefully with some things that we’ll do and some plays that we’ll have, and when we get all the guys where we want them, that’ll piece together and we’ll have something good.

Q: How concerned are you with Landon Collins’ knee and how it may kind of hold back his progression?

A: Yeah, the biggest concern is all the time he’s missing. I let Ronnie [Barnes] handle how long and when. He is staying in tune, he was standing by me most of yesterday as the calls went in. He gave me the feedback, he’s trying to stand behind there in the walkthroughs. That’s about all he can do right now, until he can get healthy. It’s just one of those things that sets you back. I don’t know where we are with game time and all of that, as far as these preseason games. But that’s valuable, valuable experience for any rookie, but especially a safety who we’re depending on to make calls and changes and adjustments, so it’ll be a challenge.

Q: There were obviously mistakes in the game, did you see the little things like hustle and physicality that make a defense?

A: Yeah, I did. I saw more of it in the practice against Cincinnati, to be honest with you. I don’t know if we—I’m not really sure in the game. I think if you were to ask every one of our guys to a man, we would’ve thought that we would have played more physical and faster. We’re all trying to put our finger on that, and I think everybody has to look in the mirror first. But that is the goal. I think you can make up for a lot of mistakes if you do that, we all know that. That’s the goal, that’s been a goal right from the beginning.

Q: What’s your impression of Damontre Moore?

A: I love Damontre. I love guys that like to have fun, I really do. Look, he pulled me aside in the walkthrough—because we had put one or two little wrinkles in, and he wanted to make sure he had it exactly right—this is what I’m hearing and this is what I’m doing. So he’s passionate, he wants to do well. We’re looking for him to do good things. We’ll fit him in there where we can, and fit him in the right spots.

Q: What had Landon shown you before he got hurt?

A: I’ll tell you what, he was progressing like you would hope when you take a guy as high as we did and with the expectation that he would fit in there. I’m normally—I’d prefer not to slot rookie’s right in there as starters—you make them earn it. But, it was obvious here that Landon is ahead of the game, playing at Alabama, I think, helps. He had come leaps and bounds in the verbal part of it, the mental part of it, handling the volume. I think some of the guys were starting to get confidence in him. It still has a ways to go, and then when you lose this amount of time, I think that sets him back a little bit. So he’s going to have to come back in and play catch up. Hopefully he can do that, and get everybody back on the same page.

Q: Had he kind of emerged as the voice of that safety group?

A: Yes and no. I think there’s a couple of safeties back there doing it, and certainly Jon Beason, in the middle, has a big part in that.

Q: How much will a guy like Brandon Meriweather help to develop the other safeties?

A: Well, I don’t know that yet. I’m not sure I know him well enough to know if he’s that kind of guy. Some veterans come in and look, they just worry about what they’re doing. And certainly he’s here trying to keep a job or get a job. I don’t know where that will go just yet. I’ve got to learn a little bit more about him.

Q: He’s been in the league a while, but you didn’t know him at all?

A: No, other than talking to him at the Combine, way back when. I know it seems like forever ago, when he came out. He’s played a lot of football, and that’s a good thing.

Q: How do you see using Devon Kennard?

A: Devon Kennard, in a lot of places right now. He’s a good football player. He looks like they’re supposed to look. He’s versatile in that he can play off the ball as a linebacker, in my opinion. He plays up on the line as what we call a SAM linebacker. And sometimes, we put him down there to rush. That means we’ve got a pretty good football player. So keep him healthy, don’t overload him. And yet he wants more and more. So I think those are all good qualities.

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 players are off on Tuesday. The next training camp practice will be held on Wednesday. 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 three remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 162015
 
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Brandon Meriweather, Washington Redskins (October 12, 2014)

Brandon Meriweather – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 16, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Sunday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GIANTS SIGN SAFETY BRANDON MERIWEATHER, WAIVE KICKER CHRIS BOSWELL…
The New York Giants have officially signed unrestricted free agent Brandon Meriweather, who has played with the New England Patriots (2007-10), Chicago Bears (2011), and Washington Redskins (2012-14). The 31-year old Meriweather is a two-time Pro Bowler (2009 and 2010) who has a history of being suspended by the NFL for illegal hits.

The Giants also waived place kicker Chris Boswell and placed safety Mykkele Thompson (torn Achilles’ tendon) on season-ending Injured Reserve. Because Thompson is not a vested veteran, he will continue to count toward the Club’s 90-man roster limit.

INJURY REPORT…
Wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), linebacker Jonathan Casillas (stiff neck), cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (neck/concussion), safety Landon Collins (knee sprain), and safety Nat Berhe (calf strain) did not practice.

The Giants provided the following updates on those who did not practice:

  • WR Rueben Randle (day-to-day)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (day-to-day)
  • CB Chykie Brown (week-to-week)
  • CB Jayron Hosley (concussion protocol; cervical issue still being evaluated)
  • S Landon Collins (day-to-day)
  • S Nat Berhe (day-to-day)

Amukamara and Berhe worked with the trainers on the side before practice.

Right guard Geoff Schwartz (ankle) and linebacker Jameel McClain (neck) returned to practice. Right tackle Marshall Newshouse left practice after overheating.

PRACTICE NOTES…
The Giants practiced in full pads today. Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Cornerback Trevin Wade received some first-team reps.
  • Geoff Schwartz saw reps both at right guard and right tackle, filling in for either right guard John Jerry or right tackle Marshall Newhouse.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw touchdown passes to wide receiver Odell Beckham, tight end Larry Donnell, and wide receiver Victor Cruz.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz looked quick and decisive in and out of cuts.
  • Quarterback Ryan Nassib threw a long completion to wide receiver James Jones.
  • Cornerback Mike Harris, playing left cornerback, had nice deep coverage on wide receiver Odell Beckham.
  • Left tackle Ereck Flowers looked good handling defensive ends George Selvie and Damontre Moore in team drills.
  • Wide receiver Corey Washington made a diving sideline catch on a pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib.
  • Safety Cooper Taylor intercepted a slant pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib to wide receiver James Jones in the red zone.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham made a leaping sideline catch over cornerback Trevin Wade.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade then deflected a deep pass to wide receiver Preston Parker that safety/cornerback Bennett Jackson dove to intercept to end practice.

RUNNING BACKS COACH CRAIG JOHNSON…
Craig Johnson addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: How much does Shane Vereen give you maybe a different dimension in regards to the backfield?

A: I think Shane brings a lot to the table. He’s a veteran, he knows what he’s doing, he’s smart, he’s tough, he can make a lot of plays both in the run game and the pass game. I think he brings a lot to the table from his experience and we can use him in a lot ways. We can use him on early downs, we can use him on third down, and so far he’s really acclimated to our system.

Q: With three talented running backs, how hard is it to get them all snaps and be able to even out playing time?

A: That’s a work in progress. We’re still trying to get through all that in the preseason and find out just how we’re going to get that done. It probably won’t be arrived at until we get ready to play our first game, but what we’re trying to do right now is put every guy in situations and find out what their strengths and weaknesses are in each situation and then when we get closer to game time, we’re going to try and figure out close to a rotation and try to make sure everybody gets their touches so they can help us win.

Q: It’s good to have this depth compared to last year, right?

A: There’s no coach that I know of who doesn’t want competition at their position. So yes, I think they all bring a lot to the table.

Q: Does Rashad Jennings look any different to you? Is there anything he did in the offseason that you look at him and say he’s taken his game up a notch at all?

A: I would probably say this about Rashad, he is one of the hardest workers I know. He trains religiously. I would say, like myself, both of us are second year in the offense. I think from that alone, he works hard for the game both on and off the field and that is where I think he is probably going to make his greatest improvements. It’s just being more comfortable in our system in his second year.

Q: What do you think about Andre Williams’ progression so far?

A: I think Andre did a really good job. He was our leading rusher as a rookie last year. I thought he started off kind of slow. He started understanding the game, understanding his pace and timing to get into the hole, he found out that in the NFL, holes close really quickly, but I think he’s done a really good job. He has tirelessly worked on the stuff he needed to work on. We all knew that when he came out of college he did not have a catch his last year and I can’t tell you how many hours he spent on catching the football. He knew that was something he had to get better at, he’s done that and he is walking around with the confidence of a guy that’s played (and) knows that he can get it done on this field and he’s continued to do that.

Q: What were your takeaways from the preseason game of your unit?

A: I would say because we did not win the game, I’m never happy. I would say that our guys, I thought, were okay. I don’t think they really stood out. They didn’t not lose the game, but they didn’t help win it. I told them all they need to pick it up as a unit. I think we can do a better job. One thing I will certainly single out is I thought Orleans Darkwa really had a good game in every phase. He did a good job running the ball, which everybody can see those stats, but he also did a really good job in his pass protection and his passing game routes where he was supposed to be. As I told him, that’s the kind of play I want to see out of all of them this year. Orleans was good last week, but as I told him, I don’t want to see one-week wonders, I want to see him continue to improve.

Q: Talking about how you want them to pick it up, it seems to be the underlying theme of the entire game. What did they need to do that you didn’t see them do on the field?

A: Well, I’d like to see them, if there’s something there, make more of it. If there’s nothing there, still have a positive play so we’ll stay on track on down and distance. So make sure we can get ourselves in the 2nd and 6 and 3rd and 2 and so on and so forth. So all a back can do is when his number is called to make the right read if it’s a run or the right protection or the right catch. I just think that we were playing at a higher level in practice and I’d just like to see that get carried over to the game.

Q: What is it about Orleans that sort of stood out to you about his game the other day?

A: I thought he really showed good speed to the hole, but I think even more so, I think he did a great job of setting up his blocks. And if you really go back and watch the film and verified that, that he was really in good timing with his line, and he knew how to get right to the hole and explode it through the hole and he had really good finishes. He did a really good job—all backs want to do is finish forward and get the extra yardage. That helps add up, it helps put that 3rd and 6, maybe a 3rd and 3 or 3rd and 2. I thought he really did a good job with that.

Q: You mentioned the work Andre’s done on improving as a receiver. Has it worked?

A: When I watch him, I can just tell you I got a chance to watch him in the Combine and I would say he’s a much changed player from the player I saw in the Combine coming out from Boston College to the player I see today. I think one of the greatest examples happened was the swing pass that he caught. It’s a very difficult catch in that he did not see the ball thrown, so when he turned around the ball was on him and as a back, that’s a tough situation. I would probably say in Boston College coming here, that would probably be a dropped pass. I think he’s worked really hard on his hands, he’s going to continue to work at that and he was able to execute the catch, which allowed him to catch the ball and run. As the backs know, I don’t care how they get the yardage, whether it’s in the pass catching game or the run game, I want anything they can do to help us win.

Q: We see him after practice on the Juggs machine, but something like you’re talking about, that’s a game situation. How does he simulate that and get better at that?

A: We try to put him in situations like that all the time in practice. I know he does a lot of work with catching tennis balls, he’s got a little thing he does that with someone in the training room and we have some drills that we do in the pregame. As I told him in our meeting today, we practice that exact scenario on the practice field. We do it as one of our pregame warmups and basically it’s a blind and draw ball drill and so the backs have got to turn around and locate the ball as it’s in the air, which is exactly what he had to do. So we were fortunate that sometimes you like as a coach when your drill carries over to the field. In that example it did.

Q: Did you throw the ball to him in that drill or is it a machine?

A: No, I actually throw the ball. I was a quarterback in my other days, but it’s only about a four or five-yard distance because I know my limitations.

LINEBACKERS COACH JIM HERRMANN…
Jim Herrmann addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: What did you see from your group, what is your overview of them this summer?

A: The biggest thing that I was looking at when we went in the game, as a group, we were talking about block destruction. Getting off blocks and getting to the ball. There’s quite a few plays in there where we did that. We can always improve. There were spaces in there where we can get better at, that was what I was looking for—block destruction, being where you’re supposed to be, knocking guys back, getting off the ball and making some plays. A couple of the guys did a good job in there, and we’re always looking to improve, but that was the biggest thing going into the game was, knock back and getting off and making plays.

Q: Looked like Unga had a good night for you guys. Can you talk about his development?

A: He did a great job, as a young player. I don’t know how long exactly it’s been since he’s actually played in a game because he was hurt his senior year, didn’t play last year. So it’s been about a year and three quarters since he’s played in a true game. I thought he did a great job of taking over the role as the Mike backer and making calls, he made a great call in there and got the guys lined up. Did a good job, and I like his development. I think he’s doing a great job of—he got in on a few plays, made a hell of a play tipping the ball. I think he’s going to get better and better as he goes.

Q: Do you have any idea of when you’re going to get Jameel McClain back?

A: You have to ask the medical guys. I’m not a doctor, unfortunately.

Q: Unga seems like he’s got some athleticism.

A: He does, he’s got some range. He’s a stocky young man, but he has range. He can move around in there, so that’s what we saw on his college film prior to his injury coming out of college. That’s why we brought him in, he showed some good stuff.

Q: How did Jon Beason look to you?

A: Good. I think Jon [Beason]—it’s been awhile since he’s played, too. He did a great job of commanding the defense and getting the calls out and getting himself in position to make plays. Made a couple plays, and I like what I saw in his limited snaps.

Q: What are your options at middle linebacker if Jameel isn’t there behind Jon? Who would you move around if you needed to? Devon Kennard or J.T. Thomas or Mark Herzlich?

A: What we’ve always done, to me, every guy has their position and they all have alternate positions based on what we know about different guys. So there’s a lot of different options you can go to. Normally you go into a game maybe five, maybe six backers on the 46 [game day roster.] So everybody is going to have to play dual roles. You just have to, each week that changes because of injuries. All the guys know how to go in there and do it. I feel confident that all those guys could take over that role. The guys that are alternates, they could do it.

Q: Is that an option for Devon, or would you rather keep him outside?

A: Yeah, but this past spring and even some of last year, we put him some at Mike. He has an ability, he does a great job of getting the calls out, and knowing where to play. He’s a big backer, big man. He does a good job with that.

Q: How much has Kennard’s pass rush improved?

A: I think it’s better and better now that we’re asking him to do some of that. The quandary that you come into is he’s got to cover and do cover stuff, and then we want him to rush. You’ve just got to be able to balance that as a staff and decide when he can go down and do some rush stuff and when he can do the coverage stuff, because you can’t do all just, so he’s got to do both. He does a good job. He’s played out there in college, so it’s not like it’s foreign to him. Very similar to Victor Butler, he’s played out there, he’s done that, so it’s not foreign to him. Just have to keep getting their reps when they can.

Q: What do you see from J.T.? What are some of his strengths and some of the things that you’re trying to work on?

A: I think both those new guys, J.T. [Thomas] and [Jonathan] Casillas, both have a lot of range, they can run, their speed, they’re both tough guys. Just the ability to have a speed guy out there, it helps when we go to sub [package], if they have to cover down on a tight end. That’s really what you see out of those type of guys, they can walk out on a guy and not feel uncomfortable. So that’s what you get. Then, the fact that they can run. In this game you have to be able to run, and you’re a backside pursuit guy—being able to run the ball down and do those types of things. Both those guys show that kind of stuff.

Q: You see Casillas in certain packages and J.T. as well, is that the way you’re looking at it? You’re going to try and fit these guys in based on their skill as much as possible?

A: Right now we’re just trying to get our stuff in, our package in, and where they fit and that kind of stuff. As we narrow it down, it’s going to about, ‘Okay, who best fits where? How are we going to play this game? It is going to be a three-backer game, two-backer game? How are we going to play that?’ A lot of that will depend on the opponent. So they give you a lot of flexibility because they can play either-or, so the flexibility is nice as a coach.

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

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WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The next training camp practice will be held on Monday but is closed to the public. 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 three remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM