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:

RELATED ARTICLES…

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
Aug 152015
 
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Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Cincinnati Bengals 23 – New York Giants 10

Game Overview

It’s usually unwise to make too much of preseason games, particularly the first contest. Every year we see teams that look great in the preseason founder in the regular season and teams that look terrible go on to post-season glory.

But we have to evaluate what we have to work with, and there were not many positives coming out of the New York Giants initial preseason performance. The Giants were clearly out-classed and if this game was in fact a true indication of New York’s overall talent level, then the Giants are going to have a rough 2015 season.

But as bad as the Giants were on the field, the truly disappointing result was the rash of injuries to an already injury-plagued defensive backfield. Coming into the game, the Giants were missing cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) and Chykie Brown (knee) and safety Nat Berhe (calf). Mykkele Thompson ruptured his Achilles’ tendon during the game and is done for the season. Safety Landon Collins (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (neck and possible concussion), and cornerback Trumaine McBride (hamstring) all left the contest and did not return. Collins will miss at least a couple of weeks of practice time he cannot afford to miss. The net effect was that the Giants were running out of defensive backs to put on the field in only their first preseason game.

As for the action on the field, the results were also not good. The Giants are still having problems in areas that sabotaged their 2014 season:

  • While the run blocking wasn’t as bad as it first appeared, there were three negative plays by the first-team line on the two runs by Andre Williams and the 3rd-and-1 short-yardage play to Shane Vereen.
  • The first-team defense looked dreadful both against the run and pass as the Cincinnati starters cut through them like butter.
  • The Giants could not stop the run all night, allowing an unacceptable 225 rushing yards.

In a nutshell, the Giants had trouble moving the ball and the Bengals didn’t. The game was not as close as the somewhat lopsided score would indicate. The Giants got their asses kicked.

Offensive Overview

The Giants starting offense was so bad that Tom Coughlin kept quarterback Eli Manning and the starting offense in for four drives and the entire first quarter. In 15 plays, they only gained 38 yards and one first down. The first three drives were three-and-outs. The Giants did manage a touchdown drive in the second quarter with the first-team offensive line in the game with back-up skill position players, and then chipped in another field goal later in the quarter. But that was it. In the end, the Giants only gained a paltry 13 first downs and 118 passing yards. The team did rush for 106 yards, with Orleans Darkwa responsible for almost half of that production.

Quarterbacks

The Giants only passed for 118 net yards as New York never really threatened the Bengals deep. Everything was largely dink-and-dunk. The longest play was Ryan Nassib’s 28-yard throw to TE Jerome Cunningham. Eli Manning completed only 4-of-8 passes for 22 yards, with 16 of those coming on a screen pass, despite very good pass protection. Manning and RB Rashad Jennings didn’t sell a swing pass, leading to a 5-yard loss on the first drive. The play was too hurried. Manning was hurt by a couple of third-down drops by wideouts Rueben Randle and Preston Parker.

It was a disappointing night for Nassib (8-of-18 for 79 yards) who didn’t do much with his extended playing time. Nassib had pretty good pass protection, but he tended to take off with the ball quite a bit. He was also off-the-mark on way too many of this throws. Ricky Stanzi (3-of-7 for 34 yards) has no chance to make the team, but he didn’t really look all that bad. His stats would have looked better had wideouts James Jones and Justin Talley been able to keep both feet in-bounds. Stanzi also wasn’t helped by some shoddy late pass protection. Stanzi’s last fourth down throw into the end zone was right on the mark too, but Derrick Johnson couldn’t come down with the reception given the tight coverage.

Running Backs

The stats for the big three were disappointing as three of the six running plays were not well blocked: Rashad Jennings (2 carries for 14 yards), Shane Vereen (2 carries for 4 yards), and Andre Williams (2 carries for -2 yards). Williams did have a 16-yard gain on a screen pass and Jennings gained six yards on another pass.

The most productive player on the field for the Giants was Orleans Darkwa (9 carries for 52 yards and a touchdown), who ran with vision and power. The diminutive Akeem Hunt (3 carries for 18 yards) also flashed. The problem? Is there a roster spot for either? Darkwa did pretty well on blitz pick-ups while Hunt was late on one effort, causing Ryan Nassib to scramble out of the pocket.

Wide Receivers

Not a productive night. Odell Beckham played but wasn’t on the same page as Eli Manning on his only chance of the night. Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis) looked gimpy and did not have a catch. He dropped a 3rd-down back-shoulder throw and left after three snaps. Victor Cruz (knee) did not play. The leading receiver, Julian Talley (3 catches for 34 yards), is a long shot to make the team. He also couldn’t come down with one on-the-mark sideline throw from Stanzi. Dwayne Harris had one catch for 15 yards, James Jones two catches for 11 yards, Corey Washington one catch for eight yards, and Geremy Davis one catch for five yards. Washington did not distinguish himself despite a number of opportunities. Preston Parker dropped a third-down pass. Harris also dropped a pass. Jones couldn’t keep his feet in bounds on a well-thrown ball from Stanzi.

“I didn’t think our receivers played well,” said Tom Coughlin.

Tight Ends

Other than Jerome Cunningham’s one catch for 28 yards to set up the team’s second-quarter field goal, the tight ends were really a non factor. Adrien Robinson is supposed to be this amazing athlete, but he looks very cumbersome to me. He had two catches for 12 yards. Larry Donnell was very quiet with one catch for five yards. Larry Donnell did not get a good block on the failed 3rd-and-1 running play early in the second quarter. I didn’t care for Adrien Robinson’s effort run blocking on one play in the third quarter that was stuffed.

Offensive Line

The first-team offensive line did better than the media and fans thought they did. Pass protection was very solid. And although there were blocking mistakes on the two runs by Andre Williams, the run blocking was not as bad as it first appeared.

On the first possession, many blamed RT Marshall Newhouse for the 5-yard loss on the swing pass, but there was nothing Newhouse could do. Manning and Jennings didn’t sell the play and the defensive end simply reversed his field to make the tackle. On the second drive, RG John Jerry’s man blew into the backfield to nail Andre Williams (bad play #1). There was immediate pressure on Eli on second down but that’s because the Bengals didn’t bite on the play-action off a naked boot and the unblocked end was in Manning’s face. The Giants had good pass protection on third-and-long but there was miscommunication between Manning and Beckham.

The good news is that despite a face mask penalty on Ereck Flowers (bad play #2), he really didn’t look all that bad in his first real live action. On the play where he got the penalty, he grabbed at his man after being knocked off balance. On the next snap, Jerry did a nice job of engaging the middle linebacker on a draw play that picked up good yardage. On the next snap, all five offensive linemen provided excellent pass protection and followed that up with good protection on 3rd down, but Preston Parker dropped the ball.

On Eli’s fourth and last series, Weston Richburg’s man got past him and almost decapitated Andre Williams (bad play #3). The really disappointing moment was the failure to convert on 3rd-and-1 behind Newhouse and Jerry. However, it appears that Larry Donnell was the chief culprit in allowing penetration on that play.

Ironically, where the right side of the line had some issues run blocking was on the team’s best drive of the game, the TD drive in the second quarter. But Darkwa showed good vision navigating around penetration. Of the starters, Justin Pugh stood out as the guy didn’t make any mistakes. Flowers and Richburg each had one negative play. Jerry had a couple of issues in run blocking. Newhouse did not play as poorly as many say he did.

The second-team offensive line had some shaky moments, but played better than expected. That line was composed of Emmett Cleary at left tackle, Adam Gettis at left guard, Dallas Reynolds at center, Eric Herman at right guard, and Brandon Mosley at right tackle. The Giants best running play came with this group as they opened a big hole for Darkwa to gain 20 yards. But the drive stalled after back-to-back poor pass protection plays, first by Clearly and then by Mosley. On the next series, Mosley moved to right guard and Bobby Hart was inserted at right tackle. This group did an OK job in pass protection. The Giants later went back to Mosley at right tackle and Herman at right guard, but I thought Hart did a pretty good job at right tackle.

Late in the game, the Giants had Sean Donnelly at left tackle, Michael Bamiro at left guard, Brett Jones at center, Herman at right guard, and Hart back at right tackle. Herman gave up a couple of sacks late in the contest. His man got around him on the first and he couldn’t recover when Akeem Hunt got in the way. On the second, Herman failed to pick up the stunt.

Mosley and Donnelly were flagged with false starts and Gettis with a questionable holding penalty.

Defensive Overview

Growing pains under Steve Spagnulo’s new defensive scheme are to be expected, especially throughout the preseason and early regular season. But the Bengals starting offense ripped though the Giants starting defense in six plays for what was a far-too-easy touchdown drive on their first possession. Minus starting quarterback Andy Dalton, the Bengals also continued to move the ball against the starters on their second drive, resulting in a field goal and a quick 10-0 lead. There were issues in both pass and run defense. The second teamers gave up an 11-play, 80 yard touchdown drive in the second quarter too.

While the second- and third-teamers only held the Bengals reserves to six second-half points, Cincinnati didn’t have much trouble moving the ball after intermission either until reaching the red zone (they also missed a very short field goal). The mobile back-up quarterback gave the Giants problems with his legs and the Bengals called a lot of misdirection plays. The good news? This experience will help the young players.

It was interesting to see some early signs on how Spagnuolo will generate pass pressure in this defense. The blitz packages already look smoother and more professional than under Perry Fewell. They were not as easy to spot by the opposition and the quarterback took some shots.

The most damning statistic of the night was the defense allowing 225 yards rushing. You can’t win if you can’t stop the run. It’s also an indication that your team isn’t very tough and physical.

Defensive Line

The Giants started off with Johnathan Hankins and Markus Kuhn at defensive tackle and Robert Ayers and Cullen Jenkins at defensive end. The coaching staff keeps talking up Kuhn but he’s not making any plays in games. He got pushed around far too often. Hankins had a decent pass rush on one play on the opening drive.

On the second series, things looked more natural with Ayers and George Selvie at defensive end and both of them blew up the first run. Selvie, who played right defensive end, also helped to stuff another run to his side. On the next snap, Ayers got immediate pressure in the quarterback’s face, leading to a clean-up sack by Jenkins and Damontre Moore. Jenkins pressured the quarterback off a stunt on third down on the next series, leading to a punt.

In the second quarter, Selvie and Kerry Wynn played defensive end. Wynn helped to stuff a run and then Selvie got a decent bull rush on the quarterback. Owamagbe Odighizuwa had a rough start at left defensive end when he was easily taken out of running play to his side that picked up good yardage. Damontre Moore also had some issues holding up at the point-of-attack at left end, but did make one nice play to his side that Jay Bromley helped to gum up. That said, Bromley and Kerry both got handled on the 2-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter.

What caused the most problems for the young defensive ends in the second half was misdirection. Wynn and Odighizuwa bit too hard on play fakes, opening up the perimeter. Bromley made some plays in the third quarter both defending the run and rushing the passer. Kenrick Ellis looked pretty stout inside and he helped to pressure the quarterback into a clean-up sack by Wynn and Cooper Taylor. (Ellis was also held on the play).

What was a bit troubling is that guys like Selvie and Moore were playing against back-ups in the third quarter and often were not getting enough pressure. That doesn’t bode well for when they have to up against NFL starters when the games count.

Linebackers

Jon Beason got beat by the tight end for a first down on the Bengals first offensive snap and then got effectively taken out on a run up the gut for another first down on the second play. Devon Kennard looked good at times in coverage and against the run, but he also got clobbered on one second-quarter running play to his side. J.T. Thomas was invisible.

Uani Unga flashed in run defense, but couldn’t make a play on the running back in space after a short catch, leading to a big gain down inside the 5-yard line. Jonathan Casillas did a nice job of reading screen and tackling the running back for a loss. Cole Farrand was easily blocked and also had some issues with misdirection. He disrupted one run by aggressively filling the gap at the line, but got caught too far inside on another run to his side. Tony Johnson made a nice tackle in the backfield in the fourth quarter.

Defensive Backs

Aside from cornerback Trevin Wade (who also got beat deep for 42 yards), there weren’t many positives. Landon Collins looked gimpy (probably the ankle he tweaked in practice) early and then lost valuable playing time by hurting his knee. Mykkele Thompson had a real shot to contribute this year and is now done for the season. Jayron Hosley was forced to leave the contest with a neck injury and possible concussion. Trumaine McBride also left with a hamstring issue that Coughlin said was troubling McBride before the game.

Hosley got beat for a first down by WR A.J. Green on the Bengals third offensive play. It looks like Bennett Jackson covered the wrong guy and left WR Mohamed Sanu wide open for the touchdown three plays later (Jeromy Miles looked late getting over to cover the guy Jackson covered too). Collins got beat over the middle by the tight end on the second series, but he was also picked by his own man (Hosley) on the play.

Jackson had good coverage on a second-down incomplete pass to a tight end. Cooper Taylor looked out of position on a 30-yard completion early in the third quarter.

Wade did get beat deep on one play but looked like the best corner on the field other than Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He has a nose for the football, as indicated by a few pass defenses and an interception that he returned 61 yards late in the game. He almost had another interception early in the third quarter when he jumped another route but dropped the ball on what might have been a pick 6 opportunity.

Cornerback Chandler Fenner was picked on all evening and doesn’t look like an NFL-caliber player.

Josh Gordy looked good on a corner blitz that forced an incompletion but he was also flagged with a 30-yard pass interference penalty. He later batted down a third-down pass in the red zone. Late in the game, he missed the running back in the backfield on a blitz, leading to a 26-yard gain.

Justin Currie was active against the run.

Special Teams Overview

One of the best plays of the night for the Giants was Akeem Hunt’s 70-yard kickoff return. The Giants couldn’t get anything going with their punt returns. Josh Brown missed a 53-yard field goal but made a 41-yarder. Punt and kickoff return coverage was good.

(New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals, August 14, 2015)
Aug 132015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 11, 2012)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals, August 14, 2015

THE STORYLINE:
Fans often read too much into the first preseason game, which is basically nothing more than a glorified scrimmage. The point is not so much to win – though that is nice – but to simply get some quality full-speed, full-contact practice reps against a different opponent. The starters usually only play for part of the first quarter before giving way to the second- and third-teamers.

In 2014, the Bengals were a 10-5-1 playoff team in a very tough division. The two days of practice plus this preseason game should serve the Giants well in preparing for the 2015 season.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • WR Victor Cruz (recovering from knee surgery – will not play)
  • WR Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis – questionable)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (groin – will not play)
  • CB Chykie Brown (knee – will not play)
  • OG Geoff Schwartz (ankle – will not play)
  • LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP and will not play)
  • LB Jameel McClain (neck – will not play)
  • S Nat Berhe (calf – will not play)

FOUR DOWNS:
First Down
How will the offensive line perform?
On paper, the New York Giants offense looks set except for one major exception: the offensive line. Barring injury, left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Justin Pugh, and center Weston Richburg should eventually become stalwarts. But it is unusual for a rookie to start at left tackle and do well in his first season. And there are major question marks on the right side of the line. Geoff Schwartz seems more interested in interviews and his twitter account than getting back onto the playing field. John Jerry was extremely inconsistent in 2014 at right guard. And right tackle Marshall Newhouse has been discarded by two teams that benched him. There are also serious reservations about the team’s depth. Do any of the the young reserves have NFL talent? It’s been a long time since Offensive Line Coach Pat Flaherty as turned one of the reserves into a legitimate starter.

Second Down
Can the defense stop the run?
The Giants were dead last in the NFL in 2014 in run defense in terms of yards allowed per rush. Teams that can’t stop the run usually lose, and lose a lot. The Bengals were 6th in the NFL in rushing the football in 2014. This will be a good test for the defensive line, particularly the defensive ends. Those who perform best against the run at both tackle and end are far more likely to start when the real bullets starting flying. It will also be interesting to see how the revamped linebacking and safety corps perform in run defense.

Third Down
Who will do well or poorly at cornerback?
With no Prince Amukamara (groin) and Chykie Brown (knee), Jayron Hosley has been starting with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie this week. He’s been up and down. The Bengals have very good wide receivers, led by A.J. Green and Mohamed Sanu. The Giants have a bunch of question marks after Amukmara and DRC. Who will take advantage of the opportunity? Or will the third/fourth cornerback positions be a sore spot all season for New York?

Fourth Down
How will the new safeties perform?
Outside of veteran journeyman Jeromy Miles, the safeties are very young and green as grass. There is talent, but opposing teams will test their inexperience throughout the upcoming season with play-action, pump fakes, misdirection, and other tactics. It’s assumed that Landon Collins will start at one position, but there is still an open competition at the other spot with Miles and Jackson currently the two leading candidates. Others who could factor into the picture include Mykkele Thompson and Cooper Taylor. Nat Berhe was supposed to be a leading candidate but he remains sidelined with a torn calf muscle.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Ereck Flowers
The two tackle spots could be problem spots in 2015. Flowers appears to have the tools and temperament to succeed, but he is very young and raw. It’s a huge risk to entrust Eli Manning’s blindside to a rookie. If Flowers struggles all preseason, the Giants may have to consider shifting Justin Pugh to left tackle.

Marshall Newhouse
Marshall Newhouse is big and athletic, but he simply has not been able to put it all together in his five NFL seasons with two teams. The odds on him turning it around in New York are not good, but he certainly is being handed a wonderful opportunity. If Newhouse struggles, the Giants will have to sign someone or hope one of the younger players such as Brandon Mosley or Bobby Hart can replace him. Moving Geoff Schwartz to right tackle remains a possibility too if he will ever get back on the field.

Jon Beason
The injury-prone Jon Beason is the cerebral and emotional leader of the defense. Can he stay healthy? And if so, have all of the injuries – including the most recent foot injury – sabotaged his mobility to the point where he is now an ineffective player? The Giants need Beason to be a stud against the run and not too bad of a liability in pass defense.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Tom Coughlin (on what he expects from the rookies in the preseason): “Play hard. Play hard. Give great effort, let’s see what you’ve got. Plenty of spots out there to be (taken). You’ve seen the guys that are competing for starting jobs. Hopefully all that is going to do is get better.”

THE FINAL WORD:
The Bengals should win the game because they are the better team with more stability and depth. Also keep in mind that the Giants will be missing a few of their most important players such as Victor Cruz, Prince Amukamara, and Geoff Schwartz. The Giants offense is a much different animal with both Odell Beckham and Cruz in the line-up at the same time. Same with the defense with Rodgers-Cromartie and Amukamara. The most important thing for the Giants – other than avoiding injuries – is to simply see some progress in the offensive line and the defense overall. I expect some rough moments in both areas. The second- and third-team offensive lines could really struggle. And the Bengals have enough offensive weapons to give the Giants undermanned and young secondary problems.

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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 12, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their tenth summer training camp practice on Wednesday outside of Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio in a joint practice session against the Bengals. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Not making the trip to Cincinnati were Geoff Schwartz (coming off of ankle surgery), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), and safety Nat Berhe (calf).

Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) made the trip to Cincinnati but has not practiced. Wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis) did not practice.

“I’m fine,” Randle said. “It was just the change of surface from our grass field to their grass field, it was kind of bothering me a little bit. It’s nothing serious. I expect to play on Friday…I know how to handle it and prepare myself.”

Unlike on Tuesday, wide receiver Victor Cruz (recovering from knee surgery) participated in team drills, including against the Bengals. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been dealing with a slight groin issue, but has not missed practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Today’s practice was in “uppers” (shoulder pads and shorts). Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The first-team offensive line remained Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, John Jerry at right guard, and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.
  • Working at nickel corner were Bennett Jackson, Trumaine McBride, and Josh Gordy.
  • The first-team safeties remained Landon Collins and Jeromy Miles; the second-team safeties were Cooper Taylor and Mykkele Thompson. Thompson also saw some first-team reps.
  • The first-team cornerbacks were Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jayron Hosley.
  • Linebacker Mark Herzlich disrupted a screen pass by the Bengals, allowing defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis to finish off the play.
  • Linebacker Tony Johnson made a number of physical hits.
  • Wide receiver Geremy Davis caught a deep ball from quarterback Eli Manning for a touchdown. Davis was targeted quite a bit and had another good practice.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham scored on a reverse in team drills. He also scored twice in the red zone catching the football.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz participated in team drills against the Bengals. He didn’t see a lot of action but he moved well.
  • Left guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg stood out in some drills.
  • Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap gave right tackle Marshall Newhouse some problems.
  • Defensive end Jordan Stanton got a sack.
  • Safety Mykkele Thompson looked to be out of position on a play where running back Rex Burkhead was left wide open on a pass play.
  • Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa forced an incomplete pass with a strong pass rush. Later, Odighizuwa beat Bengals offensive tackle Eric Winston on a speed rush in 1-on-1 drills.
  • Defensive end Kerry Wynn had some problems with Bengals right tackle Matthew O’Donnell.
  • Wide receiver Julian Talley continued to catch everything thrown in his direction.
  • Safety Landon Collins was beat deep by Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah on a corner route.
  • Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu leaped over cornerback Jayron Hosley in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Tight end Adrien Robinson made a very difficult catch, surrounded by three Bengals defenders, for a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib. Robinson later caught another deep pass from Nassib in the two-minute drill. Robinson also caught another pass for a touchdown. (Video)
  • The Giants first-team offensive line had issues with pass protection in the two-minute drill.
  • Linebacker Unai Unga broke up a pass intended for tight end Tyler Eifert.

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

Q: Your thoughts on Day 2? You said you wanted to look at the film from last night..

A: Yeah. We did some good things and didn’t do some other things very well. It’s lots of people, lots of work, lots of situations to be in. It’s been two good days and it gives us a lot of speed work in addition to the first preseason game, so that’s a good thing.

Q: Did Victor Cruz wear you down wanting to get in there?

A: No. No, that was the decision that we made, or I made, coming out here that we would go ahead and look at practice the first day and decide how much. So we got him in there a couple snaps each segment with the exception at the end there. It’s good for him to come out here and get on the field against somebody else.

Q: Your situation at safety, it’s kind of in flux. Where do you see it right now?

A: Well we’re hoping it’s going to be as competitive as it can. We got a young guy that’s playing in there a lot and he went out for a while today and then back in. It’s something that we hope is going to solve itself right here, right in practice before regular season.

Q: Would that be Bennett Jackson you mean? The young guy you said went out.

A: No, Collins was out for a little bit too.

Q: What’s the thing behind having Bennett do a lot of slot stuff? It seemed like he did that a lot today.

A: The thinking behind it is we are looking for someone to be the nickel and we are trying a number of people in there and he got his shot.

Q: With an inexperienced group back there, Jeromy Miles is one who has been around for a while. What does he bring?

A: That’s why he’s here. The veteran experience, he’s been involved more, he knows the defense pretty much. So that we felt would add to (have) a player back there that knew it and understood it and played it would help some of these young guys.

Q: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been out there, he says he’s battling some things. Do you see that?

A: Well, today he was. He had a little bit of a groin (injury). Played his way through that. Hopefully that’s all it is, some short-term deal.

Q: Because you saw it last year?

A: Yeah. Oh yeah. We’ve seen a lot of that.

Q: Do you think Rueben will play Friday?

A: I don’t know. I haven’t any idea. I’m surprised he wasn’t able to work here yesterday.

Q: Is Victor going to play in the game on Friday?

A: No.

Q: Is anybody else going to be out aside from guys…

A: Whatever the medical people tell me. Whatever. Otherwise, everybody will play.

Q: So there’s nothing at this point that will prevent Odell from being out there?

A: No. Not at this point.

Q: How has Unga looked?

A: He made a nice play today. I saw a couple plays he made today, which was good. He’s a guy that can contribute on special teams, he can run, he’s a big guy, he’s physical. Hopefully he’ll grow into that type of role.

Q: How’s he doing right now with controlling, making the pause?

A: I think that’s an experience he’s got to get better at.

Q: The usual routine? One or two series for the starters?

A: Yeah, that’s usually what it is.

Q: What are you expecting from the rookies in the preseason?

A: Play hard. Play hard. Give great effort, let’s see what you’ve got. Plenty of spots out there to be (taken). You’ve seen the guys that are competing for starting jobs. Hopefully all that is going to do is get better.

Q: Ereck Flowers came out well yesterday afterwards..

A: Seems to be okay today, too. Although that—there was a comeuppance here with that last two-minute drill where nobody is playing run at all and they just turned the front loose. So he saw all kinds of games. They’ve got a good front. Hopefully he’ll learn a lot from that.

Q: Looked like Pugh and Richburg really did well against (Geno) Atkins too today?

A: He’s a good player now. He’s a good player. I know he made one real good play out here in this two-minute.

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…
There will be a jog-thru practice on Thursday in advance of Friday’s Giants-Bengals preseason game.

The next training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be held on Sunday, August 16th from 5:50-7:50PM. 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 four remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 11, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their ninth summer training camp practice on Tuesday outside of Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio in a joint practice session against the Bengals. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GIANTS RELEASE FIRST OFFICIAL DEPTH CHART…
The Giants released their first official depth chart on Monday. See the Depth Chart section of the website for details.

INJURY REPORT…
Not making the trip to Cincinnati were Geoff Schwartz (coming off of ankle surgery), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), and safety Nat Berhe (calf).

Linebacker Jon Beason told NJ.com that he expects McClain to return to practice next week. McClain has also tweeted that he is doing well.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked about Chykie Brown, but he could not provide an update.

Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) made the trip to Cincinnati but did not practice. “Regular protocol is to shut it down a little bit for a couple days to let the (cortisone) shot do the healing,” Amukamara said. “It’s definitely not 3-4 weeks. They know it’s definitely not, I know it’s definitely not. It all depends on how I feel the next couple days.”

Wide receiver Victor Cruz (recovering from knee surgery) participated in Giants-only drills, not the practice periods that involved the Bengals.

Wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis) did very little work. “Tendinitis,” said Coughlin about Randle. “We thought he was doing pretty good last night.”

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

  • The first-team offensive line was composed of Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, John Jerry at right guard, and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.
  • Left tackle Ereck Flowers did well against Bengals right defensive end Karl Dunlap.
  • Left guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg made good blocks on a screen pass to running back Shane Vereen.
  • Guard Michael Bamiro looked good.
  • Tight end Larry Donnell made a nice juggling catch. (Video)
  • Quarterback Eli Manning’s pass intended for wide receiver James Jones was intercepted and returned for a defensive touchdown.
  • In 7-on-7 drills, running back Andre Williams and tight ends Adrien Robinson and Daniel Fells all dropped passes.
  • Wide receiver Geremy Davis made a tough catch in traffic, and later made another catch on a comeback route. He had a good day.
  • The first-team safeties were Jeromy Miles and Landon Collins.
  • Safety Bennett Jackson broke up a seam pass to Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones. Jackson also saw some action at nickel corner.
  • Safety Bennett Jackson and cornerback Trevin Wade would have had sacks on blitzes from the nickel spot had this been a real game.
  • Defensive ends George Selvie and Robert Ayers pressured Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton for what would have been a sack in a real game.
  • Fullback Henry Hynoski made a good block on the edge on a run by running back Andre Williams.
  • Defensive end Damontre Moore pushed Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth five yards into the backfield on one play at the snap of the ball.
  • Wide receiver Julian Talley caught everything thrown in his direction.
  • Despite good pressure from defensive end Robert Ayers, quarterback Andy Dalton connected with wide receiver A.J. Green for a touchdown against cornerback Jayron Hosley. Hosley did well against Green for much of practice but struggled against him late in the day.
  • Bengals running back Jeremy Hill broke off a big run for a touchdown against the Giants defense.
  • Safety Jeromy Miles made a nice a leaping pass defense against Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert.
  • Linebacker Devon Kennard looked comfortable rushing the passer from a down position.
  • According to Giants.com, the three standout players were wide receiver Odell Beckham, linebacker Jon Beason, and left tackle Ereck Flowers.

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

Q: Un-training camp-like weather? Not as humid?

A: Yes. Not sure what the humidity normally is here. We’ve had some nice humidity from where we came from.

Q: Tom, what did you think of the work you got done?

A: It’s good to get to work against another team. Both teams did a good job of making sure that, although they were fast and crisp, for the most part kept the piles to a minimum and did a good job that way. I thought the initial special teams drills were good. Then I picked my spots the rest of the way. But it’s good to work against the Bengals. Marvin (Lewis) did a very good job of preparing his team for this and our guys came in and did a nice job as well.

Q: What was it about the special teams that you liked so much?

A: It was very crisp and we had some good penetration. They did too, unfortunately, but I liked it. I liked the tempo of it.

Q: Tom, how is it important that you and Marvin seem simpatico? It has to be a guy you trust.

A: It has to be someone you trust because obviously there is an awful lot at stake when you work but it is good for your team to work against someone else, the intensity goes up a notch and they realize all the drills are meant for their own improvement and to get a handle on where your team exactly is. I think from that standpoint, I thought the Bengals did a good job preparing for us and things went well.

Q: Was there any point where you had to settle the guys down or you thought they did a good job?

A: No, there was none of that.

Q: Tom, has (Jayron) Hosley looked very different to you on the outside this year? I know he’s been on the inside for a little while.

A: I’m hoping. He certainly came back in excellent condition and I think he’s very serious about it right now and he’s trying and he senses this is a critical, critical camp for him. We’re all hoping he comes through in the fashion we thought of him when we drafted him.

Q: Coach Coughlin, Paul Brown—the only reason I ask this is because I know you have an appreciation for the history of the game—Paul Brown, did he have any effect on you, really what you’re doing now with a variation of the offense?

A: When I was 12 years old, after a game, probably a Giant playoff game, I sent him a note and he sent one back. That was the highlight of someone of his stature of that time reacting to me sitting there critiquing his game at the age of, like, 12. Tremendous history. All you have to do is think about the man’s success and his career, way back in the beginning, high school.

Q: Jon Beason earlier today was saying that these two practices are very important for the starters. How would you view that?

A: Well, it’s important for everyone. Not just the starters, but it is important to them because it does lead up to a game in which normally he  doesn’t get many snaps.

Q: …

A: From time to time. Some spot things that I thought were good. I wanted to look at all the different one-on-one stuff because that may be where you formulate all your parts right there before you get into the screen passes. So I look forward to seeing that.

Q: What do you think of your offensive line from here?

A: Well, that’s what I want to look at.

Q: A lot of the things the Bengals were talking about looking forward to going against players like Eli and Odell, how do you think that turned out today as you watched?

A: Well, obviously both teams are going into their first preseason game so you’re operating with just what you have in up or not from the development, what we’re doing offensively. I thought it was—for Eli to get out there with pressure and recognizing where the pressure is coming from, adjusting the cover protections, signaling the receivers different kinds of plays, so on and so forth. I think that’s good.

Q: On how important is this preseason going to be for Ryan Nassib?

A: Very, very important. For his development, yeah, this is where, again, he takes that next step. He took a nice step a year ago and hopefully he’ll do it again this preseason.

Q: What are you looking for during these practices in the preseason that tells you he’s making that kind of progress?

A: Moving the ball, control the offense, put points on the board.

Q: Rueben Randle, on sideline with ice on his knees…

A: Tendinitis. We thought he was doing pretty good last night.

Re: benefits of joint practices in player evaluation

A: It’s good. It’s very good. It’s good to see them against another team. People you know are outstanding players. It’s good.

Q: You got a lot out of practice today. Tomorrow, is that the plan? Are you going to do the same? Are you going to…

A: Basically the same but no, there are some other drills that we’re going to use.

Q: Have you gotten an update on Chykie Brown?

A: No, not really.

Q: Did what Odell get out of team drills, is that what you were hoping to see?

A: Yeah, I think he did. I went back and forth between both fields and really didn’t just stand there and watch the office per say but I’m sure he got a good workout. Hopefully, he’ll come back tomorrow.

Q: I’m sure you know what happened in the Jets locker room today. Have you ever heard anything like that?

A: I’m trying to make sure that our locker room is very, very—it’s a disappointing and sad thing. That’s all I can tell you.

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 hold another joint practice session against the Bengals on Wednesday outside of Paul Brown Stadium starting at 3:15PM. There will be a jog-thru practice on Thursday in advance of Friday’s Giants-Bengals preseason game.

The next training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be held on Sunday, August 16th from 5:50-7:50PM. 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 four remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 082015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 8, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their eighth summer training camp practice on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

JASON PIERRE-PAUL UPDATE…
Head Coach Tom Coughlin said he has finally spoken to defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered serious, potentially career-affecting injuries to his right hand in a July 4th fireworks accident.

“I did talk to him late yesterday afternoon,” said Coughlin. “Everybody has had a good conversation with him, and mine was the same. Do I know any more than I did before? No. Do I know when he’s coming? He’s looking forward to coming, he’s anxious to be here, but he’s not going to come until he feels like he’s ready to be able to play. It could be whatever amount of time, I’m not even going to speculate. I was glad to hear his voice, he sounded good, he sounded interested in wanting to get back here. His baby and his fiancé are doing well. He wishes he was here, too. So we’ll see.”

INJURY REPORT…
Right guard Geoff Schwartz (coming off of ankle surgery), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), linebacker Cole Farrand (unknown), cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin), safety Bennett Jackson (quad), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice.

Schwartz has missed three straight practices but Head Coach Tom Coughlin did not provide an update on him when asked.

Left tackle Ereck Flowers (hip flexor) and center Weston Richburg (knee tendinitis) were limited.

Cornerback Chykie Brown left practice early with a right knee injury that caused him to scream in pain. No word yet on the severity of the injury.

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

  • Landon Collins and Jeromy Miles were the first-team safeties.
  • Wide receiver Rueben Randle stretched out to make a sensational, juggling touchdown catch in left corner of the end zone against cornerback Chykie Brown on a pass from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz caught a touchdown pass on a quick out from the slot position.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham made a trio of impressive catches including a left-handed grab down left sideline on a go-route for a touchdown, beating cornerback Josh Gordy. (Video) Beckham also gave cornerback Chykie Brown problems.
  • Defensive tackle Jay Bromley and defensive ends Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Damontre Moore, Jordan Stanton, and Brad Bars flashed.
  • Linebacker Mark Herzlich was active making plays.
  • Wide receiver James Jones beat cornerback Jayron Hosley on an out for a touchdown.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade intercepted a jump ball pass from quarterback Eli Manning to wide receiver Rueben Randle. (Video)
  • Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted quarterback Eli Manning when there was miscommunication with wide receiver James Jones. (Video)

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

Q: You said yesterday there was a possibility you would talk to JPP, did you talk to him last night?

A: I did. Yeah, I did talk to him late yesterday afternoon. Everybody has had a good conversation with him, and mine was the same. Do I know any more than I did before? No. Do I know when he’s coming? He’s looking forward to coming, he’s anxious to be here, but he’s not going to come until he feels like he’s ready to be able to play. It could be whatever amount of time, I’m not even going to speculate. I was glad to hear his voice, he sounded good, he sounded interested in wanting to get back here. His baby and his fiancé are doing well. He wishes he was here, too. So we’ll see.

Q: How optimistic does it make you? Are you at least more optimistic after speaking to him, now that at least the lines of communication are opened up a little bit.

A: Well, we’ve had many people talk to him. Robert Nunn has talked to him, Jerry [Reese] has talked to him. He’s little by little tried to make his contacts, and that is a positive thing.

Q: Victor Cruz, at this point, would travel with you guys, but not necessarily play?

A: Most likely he’ll come, and he may practice. Whether he plays or not, or whether he practices or not—that’s another thing.

Q: How has he looked?

A: He’s moving along very well. Very well.

Q: Tom, do you think there will ever come a time when one-handed catches by Odell Beckham Jr., like today’s, will become routine?

A: Two hands, please. Two hands on the ball. Thank you very much. Ball security, as well.

Q: That seemed to be one of your more physical or chippy practices?

A: It was intended, it was intended. It’s a longer practice, as you know. But that was planned, they’re off tomorrow.

Q: I’m sure you saw or heard about what happened with Houston and Washington.

A: I know, I heard about it.

Q: Do you address that with your team?

A: It’s already been addressed. It’s already been addressed. Marvin [Lewis] and I have already talked about that, last spring. We want good, solid work, but we don’t want any of that.

Q: Concerned about Bennett Jackson?

A: I thought he was started back. He really didn’t miss anything. He was in the jog-through last night, he was running or jogging—as that goes. Again, precaution, precaution. They don’t want him to do any more damage, and he is sore, you can tell he was favoring it a little bit.

Q: What is it?

A: It’s just a quad.

Q: Chykie Brown, did you hear anything?

A: I don’t know anything about it yet.

Q: Is Prince going to Cincinnati?

A: Probably not. Why would he come? He hasn’t practiced yet.

Q: For meetings?

A: Yeah, but I mean if he can play or practice, they would come. The meetings are basically, once we get there, the practice and then looking at the practice—studying it, making sure they know what the corrections are. Those will be the meetings. But you’re right, that’s a good point—we are going to be meeting.

Q: Did you like what you saw of Damontre Moore today?

A: He goes hard, he goes hard. Yeah, he did some good things.

Q: You had another fight today, like the third one in the past few days. Do you have to say something to them?

A: Every time. Every time. Every time. Every time. It’s too bad it gets to that because that takes away from everything else.

Q: Michael Bamiro seems to be in the middle of at least a couple of them:

A: He’s totally innocent. It just happens to be him.

Q: Any word on Geoff Schwartz?

A: No, I don’t have any update on that.

TIGHT ENDS COACH KEVIN M. GILBRIDE…
A video of a Giants.com Q&A session with Kevin M. Gilbride is available at Giants.com.

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…
There is no practice on Sunday. The Giants travel to Cincinnati on Monday for joint practices with the Bengals on Tuesday and Wednesday. There will be a jog-thru practice in Cincinnati on Thursday before Friday’s first preseason game. The next training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be held on Sunday, August 16th from 5:50-7:50PM. 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 four remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 072015
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 7, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their seventh summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GIANTS SIGN SAFETY JUSTIN HALLEY, WAIVE CHRIS HARPER…
The New York Giants have signed rookie free agent Justin Halley (Florida International) and waived/injured wide receiver Chris Harper.

INJURY REPORT…
Right guard Geoff Schwartz (coming off of ankle surgery), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked if there was an update on McClain. “No, he will be a while,” responded Coughlin. “He has had some issues in the past and they are trying to rule out a bunch of things. I’m not going to rush a guy back in, forget that stuff. It is just like a head [injury], we aren’t going to rush anyone back in who has an injury like that.”

Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) was limited.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Today’s practice was only a jog-thru. “The purpose is we went two hard [practices] in a row and we have a hard one tomorrow, so this would be the natural down curve and we thought this was the time to go with a mental day, a learning day, rather than anything physical so we can get something done tomorrow,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With Geoff Schwartz out, the starting offensive line was left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Justin Pugh, center Weston Richburg, right guard John Jerry, and right tackle Marshall Newhouse.
  • Landon Collins and Jeromy Miles were the starters at safety.
  • Dominique Hamilton received some reps with the first-team at defensive tackle alongside Johnathan Hankins. The first-team defensive ends were Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Robert Ayers.
  • Jordan Stanton also saw some time with the starters at right defensive end and inside as a pass rusher.
  • Shane Vereen and Rashad Jennings worked with first-team today; Andre Williams worked with the second-team.
  • At one point Victor Cruz motioned into the backfield and lined up at tailback.

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

Q: What was purpose of this practice?

A: The purpose is we went two hard [practices] in a row and we have a hard one tomorrow, so this would be the natural down curve and we thought this was the time to go with a mental day, a learning day, rather than anything physical so we can get something done tomorrow.

Q: You’re hurting your reputation a little bit here running games and easing down here?

A: A new, changed scientific approach.

Q: Any updates on Jameel McClain?

A: No, he will be a while.

Q: Is there something structural there? A herniated disk on McClain?

A: No, but he has had some issues in the past and they are trying to rule out a bunch of things. I’m not going to rush a guy back in, forget that stuff. It is just like a head [injury], we aren’t going to rush anyone back in who has an injury like that.

Q: Is it his neck or his back or his spine?

A: It is in that area, I think.

Q: You haven’t been asked in a while. Have you spoken to Jason Pierre-Paul yet?

A: No, but I think I will speak to him [shortly].

Q: Shortly today?

A: I have not talked to him yet, but I am anticipating talking to him perhaps before the end of the week.

Q: What makes you say that?

A: I just have a premonition. So far my premonitions, none of them have worked.

Q: What do you think that conversation will be like?

A: If and when it happens, I am concerned about knowing how he feels. Where is he? How is he coming along? I won’t even ask about the extent of the injuries but I’ll let him tell me. Why isn’t he here?

Q: Richburg and Flowers obviously feeling good enough to be out there today; I know you didn’t go hard. Do you anticipate them being out there tomorrow?

A: I hope so. They are not going to get the full green light. They are going to be restricted, but I’m thinking they will be out there.

Q: I didn’t see Odell out there at all. Was there something to that?

A: No, nothing to that.

Q: What was your reaction to Shaun O’Hara’s comments?

A: I don’t have any reaction. I am not going to comment on that.

Q: Any update on Geoff Schwartz?

A: No.

Q: Will you bring everyone to Cincinnati? Even guys who aren’t going to participate?

A: No, but they have to be ruled out of the game not to go. They may be ‘can’t work today but we’ll see’ kind of people and they will come.

Q: Do you have to prepare any differently even with the practices maybe than you would with the first preseason game because you are going out there and going against a [different] offense or defense?

A: That is the purpose. The purpose is to go and get good, hard work against someone else instead of beating on your own people.

Q: Do you think Victor is a no-go for that first game?

A: Probably, but again — ask me next week in the middle of the preparation for the game.

Q: But he will come with you?

A: Ask me next week after I get there.

OFFENSIVE LINE COACH PAT FLAHERTY…
Pat Flaherty addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com).

Q: I know you really can’t control it, but the level of frustration when you look and see three projected starters on the side yesterday, how frustrating is that?

A: I don’t think it’s frustrating. I probably have my feelings go towards those guys because I think, I believe, they want to be out there and they can’t be out there for various reasons because they’re injured. My feelings of whatever I have is really for those guys that they want to be out there and get better. As a group, we need them out there to get better. There are some things as a coach that you can control, there are some things you can’t control. The one thing that I always want to stay focused on as a coach is do the best job with what we have to work with and what I can control. That’s the players out there practicing at the moment.

Q: But still you can’t build continuity when you have guys coming in and out. How do you comb that over, if you comb that over?

A: You try to do it with the things that those guys can do, whether it’s walk-throughs, in the meetings, trying to keep that continuity. You’re not getting 100 percent, as you mentioned, you just get the best of what you can do, whether it’s sitting in a chair and talking about things and letting them call things out in the meeting rooms. We try to keep that exercise going each and every day.

Q: Where do you stand at right tackle at this point? I saw the other day you rotated Newhouse and Schwartz..

A: We just want to make sure that we get guys working at various positions because if something else happens at a position, you want to be able to say, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this.’ So we’re going to let guys work at positions and see how they do and one of them was Geoff at the time. Now he’s not totally healthy right now so for him to go out there for Marshall really is not the best indication we can get at this point, but we’ll continue to work with that. So right now, Marshall Newhouse is the starting right tackle and we will have other options. I think the more competition you develop, and that’s what we’re trying to do as the New York Giant offensive line, which we’re going to also get a starting five and always have competition right nipping at their heels. I know we’ve used a term here ‘the next guy up’ but, really, what that means is you’re ready to take over because you’re pushing the starter.

Q: Prior to the injury bug starting, Justin (Pugh) and Weston (Richburg) spoke about being tougher, being like that 2008 line. Are you seeing that from them yet?

A: Yeah, I’m seeing that. You can’t—we have a saying in our offensive line room and I’ll share it with you, “We talk with our pads.” I know they are sharing that with you, I heard that before and that’s fine, but it’s not going to get done just verbally talking about it. You have to do it with pads. One thing I have seen each and every day by these guys is they are coming off the ball better with their pads. We always have to work on our leverage on our pads and if we continue to progress like that, we are going to be a good offensive line. We are talented enough. I know sometimes we question that, but we are talented enough. Whether or not we do it, I’m part of that equation as a coach.

Q: How is Brandon Mosley coming along? I see him getting worked into the mix.

A: He is out there at tackle now. We are trying to keep him in one spot. We moved him and worked a couple reps at the guard position and it is a little bit different out there at tackle in terms of the pass protection, so he is getting a feel for that with his technique, he has some work to do.

Q: Missed practices at this time of the year, what do they mean, especially for Flowers?

A: Well, it is critical, it is. It is nothing that you take lightly with a young player. The only guys that you would actually kind of, as a coach, breathe okay with is a guy that is a veteran, a guy that has played year after year after year. A young player needs every snap that he gets, so my job is when he’s not in there, in particular in our jog-throughs and walk-throughs, is he’s right beside me and he’s telling me his assignment so he’s getting mental reps. Mental reps aren’t going to get the job done, you have to get out there and physically do it. Obviously, right now he can’t physically do it, so we’re going to do whatever we can to keep getting him ready to play.

Q: Do you have a sense on when you will get Flowers and Richburg?

A: No, I don’t. I think Ronnie (Barnes) can answer that. If you ask me, I’d say my fingers were crossed for today, but that’s asking me. I have no idea. I’m just hoping that the guys get back sooner than later but when you get them back you don’t want that reoccurring. Ereck is a little different now. He wants to—he’s chomping at the bit, he’s in my ear, and I say, ‘Hey, listen, you’ve got to understand we have the best training staff in the world.’ And I said, ‘They’re going to put you out there when you’re ready so you don’t re-injure it.’ It’s no good to get out there and then go back to square one now. So he’s missing some time now but the objective is when he gets out there, he’s not looking back, he’s going straight ahead. So when that is, I really couldn’t tell you.

Q: Were you aware of the tweets by Shaun O’Hara questioning the offensive linemen?

A: I don’t have one of those accounts. I don’t even know if I can pronounce it but I can’t say. I’m not going to stand before you and say I don’t read your articles because I do when I have time, but when I come in the morning, and whatever time it is right now and whatever day it is, I haven’t done that.

Q: Did you hear about it though?

A: What are you…

Q: He’s basically questioning the toughness, saying offensive linemen shouldn’t be sitting out practice coming off a day off basically.

A: That’s one man’s opinion from that standpoint. When you get into the inner circles and really into our organization and all the discussion we have with Coach Coughlin each and every day from head coach to assistant coach, I don’t question the toughness because I know and I understand what they’re going through. Now I don’t know what Shaun’s saying, but maybe he’s saying, ‘Hey, listen. Sometimes if you have a little bit of soreness, you have to play through it,’ but that’s different. These guys don’t have that, they have an injury and that’s why they’re not practicing. One thing in training camp that I know is in Shaun’s back of the mind because we’ve always talked about it in our room with all those guys, you have to develop the calluses on your hands, you have to develop the soreness with the pads and next is going to be a little stiffness and all those things that come with playing this game that they love to play. If they don’t love to play it, okay we’re missing the boat there somewhere. That’s what you have to be able to do —you do have to work through some hurts and some pains, you do. The injuries, that’s totally different. That’s controlled. So whatever the opinion is, mine is if they’re injured and they’re hurt, my job is to make sure they get the mental reps.

Q: (O’Hara’s) around here a lot, though. How much is he in the guys’ ears in regards to..?

A: That’s a great question. I think all those guys—first of all, whether it’s Shaun or Richie (Seubert) or Chris (Snee), they love the New York Giants. You guys have heard it before, once a Giant, always a Giant and those guys are going to do everything they can to help this organization, whether it’s with players or outside talking to the fans, whatever it is. I’m sure they’re going to—the one thing I’ve always, as a coach, told the younger guys is reach out to the veterans, watch them, absorb everything you can, see what kind of passion they have because the true veterans have been through it. The veterans are going to reach out to the retired guys possibly from that standpoint.

DEFENSIVE LINE COACH ROBERT NUNN…
Robert Nunn addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com).

Q: What kind of correspondence have you had with DE Jason Pierre-Paul?

I’ve spoken to him on the phone. I’ve texted him back and forth and mostly about things other than football. The first thing you know, it’s been talked about before, and it was a tragic thing that happened, major accident. Everybody has their beliefs on what happened, what should have happened, and make of it what they want to, but the guy went through a tough thing. It was a tough situation to be in so when I talk to him we talk more about where he is from a mental standpoint. I texted him back and forth, just to let him know that we’re here for him. Whatever he needs, we’re here for him, and his response has been, “Coach, I’m good, I want to get myself right, and I’ll be back.” That’s kind of where it stands. I don’t know any more than what you guys know from that standpoint. Most of my conversations with him have been about things other than football.

Q: Do you have any idea on when to expect Pierre-Paul?

No. Everybody is guessing. Nobody knows right now, and he texted me just this morning to tell he’s good today. I kind of keep up with him like that. Every day or every other day I’ll shoot something at him with text. Again, it’s all usually about something other than football. We talked about we miss him in meetings and busting his chops in meetings and we kind of laugh about it. That’s kind of where it goes. I don’t know any more than that.

Q: How do you balance the confidentiality established with Pierre-Paul and sharing information with the organization?

Jerry (Reese) and I talk almost daily when I talk to him. If he (Pierre-Paul) asks me not talk about it, I don’t talk about it, but we don’t really get into that. It’s not anything everyone knows, you know. I just want to know where he is from an emotional and mental standpoint, and we’ve told him, everybody in this building has told him, we’re here for him. Whatever you need, just let us know how we can help, and so that’s been the conversation, but there’s really not any more to it other than that. He shoots me a funny text every so often and I’ll shoot one back. Some of the guys have talked to him, I think, and texted him about the meetings and we have some laughs. He’s not here to defend himself when we bust his chops and so we laugh about that. It’s that kind of conversation.

Q: Do you have to prepare as if you have to move on without Pierre-Paul?

We’ve talked about it in our room as far a defensive line room and that’s kind of been how it is. We’re going on and he’ll be here when he’ll be here and those other guys have a great opportunity and we’re going from there.

Q: Are you at the point where you’re sending Pierre-Paul defensive information?

I haven’t lately. We’ve discussed a little bit of that but I haven’t been sending a lot of stuff yet. He’s got up until the accident happened. He’s got most of everything in front of him, so when the time comes, we’ll get on it, and I’ll spend day and night doing that, and getting him ready to go.

Q: Do you get the sense that Pierre-Paul misses being here?

There’s no question, yeah.

Q: Do you know the extent of Pierre-Paul’s injury and if he’ll be as effective as he once was?

I don’t really know any more than what’s been printed. I told him that we’ll just tie one hand behind his back because he’s that kind of player. We joke about it a little bit like that, but I don’t know. I don’t know anything more than you guys know as far as the extent of the injury.

Q: Were you expecting Pierre-Paul to have a big year?

Oh yeah. He’s been an outstanding player. When he’s been healthy, he’s been as good as there is in the league and so we were all looking forward to that. Hey, it was a crazy thing that happened, but it happened. It was an accident, a horrible accident, life-changing experience, and so we’re going to move on from there and make the best of it.

Q: How do you plan moving forward? Do you have to plan as if Pierre-Paul is not going to be here?

Right now that’s what we’re doing as far as a group and everyone. We’re all pulling for him in that room. Everyone in there is very close and stays in touch with each other, and so we’re all pulling for him to be back, but right now we’ve got a job to do and that’s what we’re doing.

Q: How do you see filling that right defensive end spot?

The situation right now, as far as the defensive ends, we’ve got a group of defensive ends that have come in here with the right frame of mind, and I really feel good about the rotation. Right, left, starter, non-starter, we’ve got a good group, and we’re going to keep building every day and stacking successes. Young guys come in and are doing what we ask them to do, and I like where we are. Preseason games will tell us where we stack up as far as against other offenses, but I like where we are going into this practice here Saturday, and going to Cincinnati next week and we’ll see where we stand.

Q: Do you have to tweak the defense because of the absence of Pierre-Paul?

No, not necessarily. Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) has his package and we’re putting it in and we’re putting it in as best we can. We’re going to continue to tweak it and adjust it just like we would if he was here, he’s not here. No we haven’t changed very much.

Q: Have any of the defensive ends jumped out at you?

In certain areas they’ve all jumped out. I really like where Robert Ayers has come in from a mental standpoint. Kerry Wynn, when he got his opportunity, he made the most of it as far as production. Kerry Wynn, when the pads come on, he’s a different player than when the pads are not on, and I’ve coached players like that.

Q: Does Wynn become a different player when the pads are on because of his strength?

Yeah. He’s a strong, young player and they all do some things that the other ones don’t. Owa (Odighizuwa), you know we have to get him in better condition but he’s showed some good things. He’s a strong kid that wants to do what you ask him to do. Damontre (Moore) has come in and done some good things. They all have something that they can do that maybe somebody else doesn’t do. The group of defensive ends, I like where they are. George Selvie is a professional, hard-working, every day he shows up, does what you ask him to do, and that bleeds through that entire room.

Q: Did (Jonathan) Hankins show you enough as a pass-rusher last year?

Oh yeah. He kind of started showing up a year ago, when we would get in one-on-one pass rush, he was doing some good things, and he got his opportunity and took advantage of it. If he’s producing, he’s definitely going to be in there. He’s definitely going to have that opportunity to get in there in some rush situations.

Re: playing Hankins on third down passing situations versus lining up with four defensive ends

A lot of that will be controlled by down and distance. If it’s a truly long yardage situation, then Jonathan probably won’t be in there just because of what you can see. He’ll be in there, he’ll have some opportunities.

Q: Why have the defensive ends been moving inside? Is it because it’s early or do you want to see what guys can do in those spots?

Both, it’s early and you know we can get some of those other guys some opportunities. We’ll continue to tweak that and look at it and give everybody a shot.

Q: Have you seen any early indication that you’ll be better against the run?

It’s hard to tell until you get in real games. When real bullets are fired you is when find out. I know we challenged them, we’ve challenged them to come in here, and we have to be able to stop the run better than we did last year. I like where we are, Hankins has come in here in a great frame of mind, and I can’t say enough positive things about where he is. Markus Kuhn has come in and is ready to give himself a shot. Jay Bromley, the one thing I love about coaching Jay is when you give him something to work on, he works on it every day. He tries to correct it as you talk to him each day, each practice, and Kenrick Ellis, they’ve got their opportunity in front of them, so we’ll see when the real bullets fire.

Q: What is it that you see in Kuhn that is giving him an opportunity?

He’s got himself in that position. Markus didn’t have a lot of production last year but he still did some things that caused production. There are a lot of those times that the defensive tackles, there’s hidden productivity, now there’s also some times he has to make some plays that he should have made. That’s the thing that we talked about in the off-season, he and I did, and it’s some things that you have to improve on. He’s gotten himself ready to have that opportunity going into preseason.

Q: What is different about Kuhn this year?

Foot quickness, I think he’s continuously worked on that, and his agility inside and his balance. He seems to be further along than he’s ever been with the foot speed and the quickness. Markus is another one, you give him something to work on, and he’ll work on it over and over. He’s a lot of fun to coach.

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 eighth training camp practice will be held on Saturday from 2:30-4:30PM but it is not open 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 four remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 062015
 
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Jameel McClain, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Jameel McClain – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 6, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…

The New York Giants held their sixth summer 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…POTENTIALLY SERIOUS INJURIES FOR McCLAIN AND BERHE
Left tackle Ereck Flowers (hip flexor), right guard Geoff Schwartz (coming off of ankle surgery), center Weston Richburg (knee tendinitis), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice.

“Well, (Schwartz) obviously wasn’t doing well enough to stay out there for two days in a row,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “It looks like one of those things that’s got to be managed. We hope to get him where he can practice hard a couple days a week, but we’ll have to see how that goes.”

McClain suffered a serious spinal contusion neck injury late in 2012 that caused him to miss six games in 2013. The Ravens released him at the end of that season.

“Tests on McClain, but chances are, because of the extent of the trauma, he’s going to have to sit for a while,” said Coughlin. “I wouldn’t be able to even guess on what they will do.”

“(Berhe) had some kind of a muscle tear in the calf area,” said Coughlin. “They’re treating it…I don’t have a timeframe.”

Wide receiver Preston Parker left practice early with a hamstring or quad injury to his right leg.

PRACTICE NOTES…
The Giants were in full pads again for the second day in a row. Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With Ereck Flowers, Geoff Schwartz, and Weston Richburg out, the starting offensive line was left tackle Justin Pugh, left guard Adam Gettis, center Dallas Reynolds, right guard John Jerry, and right tackle Marshall Newhouse.
  • With Prince Amukamara out, Chykie Brown started at corner in his place.
  • Bennett Jackson started at safety again. He returned an interception from quarterback Ricky Stanzi for a defensive touchdown.
  • Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa beat offensive tackle Emmett Cleary for a sack.
  • Running backs Shane Vereen and Andre Williams saw quite a bit of action with the first-team.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw his first interception of training camp when a deep pass to wide receiver Victor Cruz was intercepted by a leaping cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. In a real game, Manning may not have gotten the pass off as defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis was bearing down on Manning for a sack. (Giants.com is also saying the ball hit the ground). (Video)
  • Left tackle Justin Pugh and fullback Henry Hynoski made good blocks on a running back Shane Vereen run that picked up good yardage.
  • Defensive end Damontre Moore gave right tackle Marshall Newhouse problems with his speed off of the edge.
  • Tight end Larry Donnell had his best practice and made a leaping catch over safety Cooper Taylor.
  • Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record said his three stars of practice were tight end Larry Donnell, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, and safety Bennett Jackson.

Kerry Wynn … meet running back. #Giants

A video posted by Jordan Raanan (@jraanan) on

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

Q: How’s Geoff Schwartz doing?

A: Well, he obviously wasn’t doing well enough to stay out there for two days in a row. It looks like one of those things that’s got to be managed. We hope to get him where he can practice hard a couple days a week, but we’ll have to see how that goes.

Q: Tests on Jameel McClain?

A: Tests on McClain, but chances are, because of the extent of the trauma, he’s going to have to sit for a while. I wouldn’t be able to even guess on what they will do.

Q: Because of his history with that injury?

A: Yes. I’m sure that’s part of it.

Q: Did you get results on Nat Berhe’s MRI, he said he had one earlier?

A: He had some kind of a muscle tear in the calf area. They’re treating it.

Q: When you say tear it sounds kind of serious.

A: That’s all I know. I can’t tell you anymore, I don’t know what it means either.

Q: No timeframe?

A: I don’t have a timeframe.

Q: It looked like Dallas Reynolds was working with a couple units out there.

A: Yeah, he’s come back a stronger player, no doubt. We needed him to do that. He’s gotten a lot of time on the field with our issues with [Weston] Richburg. It’s good that he did.

Q: Is he upping his stock with you guys?

A: I hope so. When we look at tape, ask me again.

Q: Where do things stand with Weston Richburg and Ereck Flowers?

A: When I hear day-to-day, I don’t know. I can’t tell you. It looked like they were doing okay, especially [Ereck] Flowers. He looks like he’s really coming on—I saw him out of the corner of my eye, saw him running. He looked like he was doing okay.

Q: Missed practices at this point in training camp for him, can you get him up to speed?

A: Very difficult. Very tough. You miss time and you really have a difficult time making it up because there’s all kinds of stuff being thrown at him. The defense has got a sophisticated disguise and pressure package. He would benefit, definitely, from being out here. So he’s had his work in the spring, there’s no doubt he’ll pick it up, but it’s not good to miss practice. That’s that we’re here for.

Q: At some point are you going to move Justin Pugh back inside so he gets those guard reps, too?

A: We’ll have to share some time there, depending on how long he [Flowers] is out.

Q: We talked about the offensive line gelling and that being important. Three guys are out already, how much does that set you back and how do you speed it up if you have to?

A: Not really. You’ve got to go on the field and do your work on the field. You certainly want them all out there together every day, but that’s not the way it is.

Q: How about Prince Amukamara, we didn’t ask you about him?

A: Same kind of deal. He’s got a little groin, but because of the position he plays, how long he’ll be, I don’t know.

Q: Are you seeing Larry Donnell looking more explosive? You see him getting back to where he was before?

A: He’s coming along. He made a really nice play. I think every day he gets a little bit more mobility and he looks like he’s moving better. That’s what we’re hoping to get at. He’s also had a couple of good blocks in there.

Q: He had a pretty good season last year, but it was overshadowed by some mistakes. How hard has he worked on eliminating those?

A: He’s obviously worked hard at it. He’s also worked hard to try and hang onto the ball.

Q: You see anything different from Marcus Kuhn? Cullen Jenkins said he sees a significant difference in him.

A: He’s a big, strong kid that is moving his feet a little bit better. We need him to make a strong contribution.

Q: You said earlier on the radio that you thought Eli’s best football was ahead of him. Can you kind of expand on what you see that would lead you to say that? 34 year olds usually don’t have–

A: I base it on his offseason, his strength, the way he threw the ball in the spring, his knowledge—his continuing knowledge of the offense. And the fact that, God willing, we’ll have some production around him.

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

The following Giants were also interviewed by ESPN Radio:

  • RB Andre Williams (Audio)
  • WR Victor Cruz (Audio)
  • DE Robert Ayers (Audio)
  • DT Johnathan Hankins (Audio)
  • S Landon Collins (Audio)

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The seventh training camp practice will be held on Friday from 2:30-4:30PM but it is not open 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 four remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 052015
 
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Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

Q: What happened to Jameel McClain out there?

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

Q: What about Weston Richburg?

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

Q: Tendinitis in what?

A: Knee.

Q: How about Prince?

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

Q: Are you expecting Ereck Flowers back pretty soon?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Just practice.

Q: Pads?

A: Pads.

Q: Uppers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: I may have wanted to move it up.

Q: It was the crossbar not the upright?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: So nothing you saw today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Do you still have that book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Because of the Achilles?

A: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What has Jerome Cunningham shown you?

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

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

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

Q: He got knocked head over heels a lot?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

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

  • Thursday, August 6: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 032015
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 3, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fourth summer 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.

INJURY REPORT…
Left tackle Ereck Flowers (hip flexor) and left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery) did not practice. The Giants say Flowers is “day-to-day.”

“(Flowers) doesn’t seem to be bad,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “It’s a hip flexor issue. This morning he was sore, but by the time I caught him in the meeting room, he was doing this [stretches leg]. Hopefully, it’s just a short amount of time…(It’s something that happened) a couple of days ago…He tried to (play through it).”

Cornerback Chykie Brown left practice early. “I’m not sure what it is,” said Coughlin. “They said something about a foot or possibly a shoe issue or something. Hopefully, that’s it. He’s been doing pretty well, he’s been flashing a lot. I’d like to see him stay with it, he’s very motivated.”

THE JASON PIERRE-PAUL SAGA…

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (hand/arm) still has not signed his 1-year Franchise tender and has not reported to training camp. ESPN is reporting that Pierre-Paul plans to play this season but he will not sign his tender until he is sure he can pass a physical. General Manager Jerry Reese said he had a “great conversation” with Pierre-Paul on Sunday and has also spoken to his agents. He did not offer any details on what was said.

“I don’t want to really talk about it because when you talk about those things the agent listens and he thinks you’re trying to send a message,” Reese said. “So I don’t want to talk about it at all. If I don’t talk about it, there’s no message.”

Pierre-Paul has also spoken to Giants Senior Vice President of Medical Services Ronnie Barnes and Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With Ereck Flowers (hip flexor) out, the starting offensive line was left tackle Justin Pugh, left guard Adam Gettis, center Weston Richburg, right guard Geoff Schwartz, and right tackle Marshall Newhouse. The Giants also worked in John Jerry at right guard, Dallas Reynolds at left guard, and Geoff Schwartz at right tackle.
  • Bennett Jackson and Mykkele Thompson worked as the first-team safeties with Landon Collins and Jeromy Miles working with the second-team.
  • Left tackle Justin Pugh and defensive end Damontre Moore got into a fight.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham got behind cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and safety Mykkele Thompson deep for a touchdown. (Video)
  • Running back Shane Vereen continues to look sharp catching passes out of the backfield.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade picked off quarterback Ricky Stanzi. (Video)
  • Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record said his three stars of practice were linebacker Devon Kennard, safety Bennett Jackson, and quarterback Eli Manning. He also pointed out that Manning has yet to throw an interception in training camp.

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

Q: Have you ever seen a player change positions the way Bennett Jackson has from corner to safety?

A: Yeah, I think so. Sure. Guys change their position whether it be somewhere in the college ranks or in the pro game. He’s progressing and we hope he continues to because it’s early and there’s a lot to go.

Q: The guys that do it successfully, do you notice a commonality with those guys?

A: Well, basically they have an awareness and the big picture of how to play–what the game is all about. Because they’ve been in the secondary, they listen, they see, they listen to corrections. Whether you’re a corner or a safety and you’re playing a specific coverage and if you listen over and over again to what the important ingredients are to play the coverage well, and then the corrections. He’s a smart kid. I’m sure he adapted some of that, although he may not be able to put his finger on it like I’m saying it. There’s the commonality, I think—you’re a player, you’re a football player.

Q: How bad is Ereck Flowers?

A: He doesn’t seem to be bad. It’s a hip flexor issue. This morning he was sore, but by the time I caught him in the meeting room, he was doing this [stretches leg]. Hopefully, it’s just a short amount of time.

Q: Is it something that happened during the practice yesterday?

A: No, a couple of days ago.

Q: So he played through it for a little bit?

A: He tried to, yeah.

Q: What have you seen out of Robert Ayers and can he be that dynamic presence?

A: Robert has played well. He’s been a really good soldier, he’s been a good teammate. He’s grabbed guys and talked to them, whether it be in the meeting rooms or out here. He’s worked hard. I’ve seen nothing but good things out of him.

Q: Chykie Brown looked like he walked off. Anything on him?

A: I’m not sure what it is. They said something about a foot or possibly a shoe issue or something. Hopefully, that’s it. He’s been doing pretty well, he’s been flashing a lot. I’d like to see him stay with it, he’s very motivated.

Q: Can you talk about Justin Pugh’s versatility and what he brings to the table?

A: Well, he’s obviously played left tackle in college. He came here and played right tackle. In the spring we moved him to left guard knowing full well that he would have to move around. So, we thought today would be a good day to put him at left tackle. [Geoff] Schwartz came back out, so we had Schwartz out there. We had John Jerry out there so that he could do a little something with the right side as well. His versatility—he’s a smart player.

Q: I know he’s only a rookie but how vital is Flowers to your offense at this point because you lost Will Beatty?

A: He’s a first-round draft choice. The left tackle from last year tore a pec, he’s out there trying to learn how to play. He’s important.

Q: You’ve been using Devon Kennard as a pass rusher, do you envision him doing that?

A: I hope so, but he’s playing linebacker. You see the pressure packages, so he comes in the packages.

Q: If you have to replace the sack total from JPP, is he going to add to that?

A: I hope so, I hope there’s lots of guys who will add to it. I hope that we develop more people that are effective as pass rushers, no matter where they come from–secondary, linebacker, up front.

Q: The first skirmish seemed to be heated but quick.

A: That’s the way they usually are.

Q: You have any problem with that one?

A: Oh yeah, I’ve got a problem with all of them because they’re out there swinging. I’ve been hurt firsthand by a guy who broke his hand in a fight.  In the old days they used to wrap it up and play with it, they don’t do that anymore. I was upset about the fight and losing their temper and all that stuff. The bottom line is you can’t afford to do it, to lose a guy.

Q: Did you have to say something or did they self-regulate?

A: I usually say something to everybody.

Q: Gently, right? Nice, calm tone.

A: However it comes out, it comes out. Sometimes not so gentle, sometimes it is.

Q: This morning Jerry Reese said that he spoke to JPP yesterday, have you had that chance to speak to him yet?

A: No.

Q: Is that disappointing that you haven’t had the chance?

A: As long as he’s talking to Jerry [Reese] or somebody in the building, it looks like there’s a chance that the communication thing will open up and when that does, I’ll end up on the phone, I’m sure.

Q: How did Adam Gettis do today?

A: He had a good day yesterday, I’d say so-so today.

Q: Why did you decide to go that direction without Flowers, with Pugh at left tackle and Gettis there?

A: Because Gettis played well yesterday and we thought this would give him a chance. If he was going to catch our eye, this would be a good way to do it.

WIDE RECEIVERS COACH SEAN RYAN…
Sean Ryan addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com).

CORNERBACKS COACH TIM WALTON…
Tim Walton addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: With Victor and Odell back on the practice field, can that help your group get better? Can everyone make everyone better?

A: Oh, without a doubt, it is a great pleasure to have those guys out there because our guys have to work, they have to be really prepared. Those are two elite receivers in the league that have a lot of credibility, they are very competitive, they have good ball skills, they understand coverages and they know how to run routes, so when you go against them every day, that helps us get better so we can be better prepared for Sundays, going against guys with that experience and that athletic ability.

Q: What tells you that DRC is healthier right now than he was last season?

A: He has been able practice. The thing I look at is for the guys to get better, we have to practice every day. We have to be on the field and guys have been working hard on trying to do that and given the condition to be able handle the games on Sunday, he has taken a great step forward with that.

Q: Prince said he wanted to take a little shot at Odell the other day saying, “I would’ve hit you.”

A: It is good competitive fun, guys are working hard together. That makes both sides of the ball better. You have two experienced guys that understand how to play the game and that makes you go full speed and play with great effort with a great respect for each guy on the other side of the ball.

Q: Tom said yesterday that DRC and Prince really haven’t had a lot of opportunities. There hasn’t been a lot of down field passing in this camp so far. Do you expect that to happen and do you need that to happen?

A: Oh yeah, it will happen. It hasn’t happened against those two guys where they have a lot of opportunities now, but they are going to the fourth day of camp and they will definitely get opportunities to go in. That is what we need to be good at. We have to be good at playing the ball at the top of the route and finishing down field in the pass game, so that is a thing we will get a chance to evaluate and they need that work on it and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of opportunity to get that in.

Q: Tim, I’m curious how does it work as a secondary when the cornerbacks have so much experience, especially the two starters, and the safeties have very little and yet the safeties make the calls?

A: Well, it is a trust factor. Coach Merritt has done a great job with those guys. Those guys are developing and it is a family atmosphere, guys trust each other, guys work together, guys believe in each other and then guys help each other out. We’re doing this thing as a team, so everybody works together and those guys are doing a good job and …communication. You know those guys are growing up fast and they are doing a good job. If we have confidence in them outside so we are good with what they are doing.

Q: I think it was Spags who said he almost asked the cornerback to sort of let [the safeties] do the talking. Are you guys still doing that?

A: Yeah, and they are directing the show and we just communicate with them. They are directing the show and we let them do it to let them get the confidence of doing it. We have the experience outside for those guys but we don’t want them to ever step on their toes or try to do it for them, we want them to develop that communication on their own and we just communicate back with them, not communicating for them.

Q: Is that tough with those guys though?

A: No, [because] we understand leadership. Spags tells us how he wants it done and that is how we are doing it, so it is easy for guys to buy in. That is the thing that is good for the group of guys on defense. Spags sets the tempo of how he wants things done; guys are following it really good so we understand the plan of, “You have to get that development with those guys now so when the time Sunday comes, we are already in a good position with that.”

Q: That is nice to do now on the practice field but come September 13, can you envision that changing a little bit?

A: They will be ready by then. That is why we are doing it now and like you said, communication is a two way street. Obviously if something is going on, those guys have enough experience out there that they know how to help them out if the time comes when it’s needed but for the most part we are trying to let them run the show and they are doing a good job at it and like you said, if we communicate back and forth, we will all be on the same page.

Q: As you get to know Prince and DRC as a combo and I know the nickel is going to come into play, can they be as good as they will need to be in this division and for this defense to do what it’s going to need to do?

A: Yeah, we can be. The thing that we have to do is take it one day at a time. We need to prepare and practice each day to make sure we develop because it is a new system, it is a new scheme, you are playing with new guys, so have to make sure it all blends together and we can be as good as….they are talented guys, they are smart, they understand the game, they have toughness, but each day we come out to the practice field we want to make sure we get better because we are going to be playing against some other good teams and good players out there so we want to make sure we control what we control and that is making sure we get better each day on growing on all the little things we need to do.

Q: DRC said it is a cornerback-friendly defense. My take on that was he probably has the opportunity to make some plays?

A: Yeah, it is a multiple defense. We are going to have opportunities over there to make plays but what happens is, is you have to understand all facets of the defense because when it is your time to cover, we need to be able to do that. When it is time to pressure, when it is time tackle, so it is a deal where they are going to be very involved with the overall scheme with the defense. The thing we stress is being complete football players.

Q: Where do you stand at this point with your slot cornerbacks? Do you feel any closer or better about that spot at this point?

A: We try to have competitions at all positions. It is really early right now, so we have a long time before we play and what we have to do is evaluate the strengths and areas of improvement that each player needs to do. Even at the spots at corner, we try to create competition so we can evaluate. We move guys around so we can evaluate and try to see what works best together, what guys’ strengths and weaknesses are and now you get a chance to see it in live action. In OTAs you are just in shorts, so you can’t really tell what people can do until this time of the year, so we need to just give that process time to develop and get a true evaluation of it.

Q: Jayron Hosley said that when you walked in the door you kind of broke him down and built him back up. What have you thought about his progress since you [arrived]?

A: He is doing good. The thing about it is it starts with confidence and technique and the approach to the game, study habits, so we start from ground zero and go through the steps of getting to be a good player. We just go through each day to make sure we are having building blocks and he is a very coachable kid, he is buying into it, he is working, improving each day and I just try to give daily feedback on what I see. I try to be honest with him and he is taking a good step so far.

Q: Is it even more important for a guy who admits that he kind of lost his way a little bit last year?

A: Well, here is what happened. To go and develop and to go where you want to go, you have to first of all admit where you are. We have to always operate in an honest manner and he has…what he started to do he mentioned that to me. The first thing with that is starting to gain confidence back. But how do we do that? It is about doing all the little things, alignment, communication, study habits, all the little things that prepare you so when you get on the field you are prepared for the things you are going to see and he is doing all the little things to take that approach. I can see a change, I wasn’t here last year but I can see a step forward on his approach.

SAFETIES COACH DAVID MERRITT…
David Merritt addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: It’s a little early but do you have any more clarity on what you have back there?

A: No. I’ll tell you, you look at these young guys and you’re still trying to make sure you figure out who’s going to be the leader, who’s going to be able to stand back and make the calls and make the adjustments that we need on game day. When you pull your eyes back and you look at it from a depth perspective, we have rookies on the field. I mean, the one guy that we have that is a veteran is Jeromy Miles, and Jeromy just came to us from Baltimore. As far as clarity and who’s going to be the starters right now— right now, it’s still wide open.

Q: How long would you figure that would take to develop organically?

A: We’re going to have to get into some preseason games. When you look at the practices, it’s great going against our guys every day, but once you go into the preseason games, you’re able to play against opponents, and you’re able to go against other offenses that are playing against our first defense– you’ll be able to roll some guys in and out. Then, hopefully it will clear up right away.

Q: Does that become next week in Cincinnati? Does that help you accelerate the process?

A: It does, it does. Always when you’re going against an opponent, that’s going to be a great eye opener for a lot of these young guys that never played in the NFL, such as a Landon Collins and Mykkele Thompson. So, once you go against an opponent, again, that’s going to clear up a lot of things. Not only just the first preseason game. You go into the second, and then hopefully by the time you roll into that second preseason game, going into the third for sure—hopefully you have this thing solidified.

Q: This early in camp, how important was it to have Miles in here, not just a veteran with these young safeties but with Spags’ system. Is he kind of like a coach?

A: He is, but you know what, it’s different. I heard the young man say yesterday, he said “Coach, this defense is different.” It’s because we’re not Baltimore. The thing is that some of the things they did in Baltimore, and coach Spags would be able to talk about that, it is different because Spags wasn’t the [defensive] coordinator. So, when you look at the defense they ran in Baltimore, it’s a completely different defense that we’re running here. For Jeromy, some of the techniques he understands, some of the words, some of the lingo, but as far as overall package– it is completely different.

Q: You said in the spring that you were looking for which guys work well together. Are you starting to get any clarity on pairings or anything like that?

A: Today, for instance, I am going to throw in Bennett Jackson. He is going to be out there with the ones, and then I’m going to try Mykkele Thompson out with the ones. The thing is that when you look at these linebackers and the corners, they need to feel comfortable about who’s going to be back making the calls. So, there’s no one that has a job that it is walking in saying “Hey, this is your starting job”. Even hough a lot of people want to put it on Landon Collins, right now, there is no clarity. I still recall the days of Kenny Phillips, when he was a first-round draft pick. Kenny Phillips had to come in here and had to fight and try to get on the field. As we all that were here understand, you had Michael Johnson and James Butler, a free agent and a seventh-round pick, that started that entire season. I’m still looking for the chemistry and hopefully that will kind of iron itself out over the next few weeks.

Q: Do you look at just chemistry or do you look at abilities and being able to balance each other on the field? Or do you just look at guys who play well together?

A: Of course you have to look at their abilities, but at the same time, I can have a guy who’s out there [that is] big, strong, and fast, but if he’s making mental errors, that’s going to kill you. Versus the guy who may be a little less athletic and who can go out there and make the calls and put himself in the right position. My greatest example is the one that I just gave. You’re talking Kenny Phillips, by far, was a better athlete than James Butler and Michael Johnson. But, when it came to chemistry, who was going to be out there on the field meshing this defense and the guys feel confidence in, it really goes back to two guys working together and therefore being on the same stream, being on the same accord. That’s my greatest example that I draw on as a coach from my own experience.

Q: Do you ask the linebackers and corners about that, who they’re comfortable with?

A: No, I don’t. The corners just go over and just listen to the call. As far as the linebackers, as a former linebacker, I don’t try to bother those guys because they have enough on their plate trying to get the defense and trying to get the front. They just need to make sure that we control the rotation and control what coverage you’re going to be in. So, I don’t ask.

Q: What has Bennett Jackson shown you? Obviously he was out in the spring a lot. What do you like?

A: Bennett, this kid, when he sees the ball—it’s simple: see ball, get ball. When that kid sees the ball, he goes and gets the ball. This kid’s ability to put his toe in the ground and go and burst out of his break, you guys see it out here, he’s able to make plays. He’s making production and production, as Spags has said over and over, production is at the ball. This kid is able to get his hands on a couple of balls and passes already here. By far, more than any other safety I’ve had in camp so far. When you see this kid doing those things, I’ve told them all, I’ve said “Look, the relentless meter and what we preach as far as running to the ball, guys—you have to handle that. I can sit up here and I can try to come out here in a skirt and be your cheerleader and pump you up “let’s run to the ball,” but eventually that has to come from inside of you. Bennett Jackson is one of those guys who’s a self-starter and he’s able to go out there and perform and do the things that we’re asking him to do. On top of that, he’s able to relentlessly run to the ball, which is a plus.

Q: You moved him out of necessity. Do you think he’s better-suited at this position than corner?

A: I do, I do. I think Bennett came in as a corner and then, near the end of camp, we tried to move him in as a nickel last season. He did fairly well in there, as a nickel. The kid can play corner, he played corner at Notre Dame as well. The fact that he’s a big kid and he’s learning the safety position, as we all know, with these safeties—you have to be ready for three safeties to be on the field. This kid who can go down and cover a slot receiver is going to be huge for us, if he’s one of the guys that we decide is going to be in there with the first group. So, it was out of necessity at first moving Bennett. He’s able to pick up the defense and being able to regurgitate it back to us, it’s been a plus for us.

Q: How much of a game of catch-up has it been for Nat Berhe? Over the first few practices, has he made any strides?

A: He’s made some strides. Nat, he missed the OTAs, he missed minicamp. So for him to come back in training camp, it’s just like him starting at the beginning—which it is because he missed so much time in the offseason. So, it is a learning curve for him. You’ll see him out today and running around and he’s picking it up though. But, he’s definitely behind the eight ball right now a little bit.

Q: Is he gaining any ground?

A: Well, you know what? Two practices, three practices—he’s moving slowly. Snail’s pace.

Q: You said you’re going to get Mykkele Thompson with the first group, what are you seeing from him so far?

A: Smart kid. Mykkele is one of those kids that is able to take it from the classroom and it appears, so far, take it to the field. Even with the checks that we have on the backend. With him being able to think and being able to maybe be a quarterback on the field—that’s what I see from him. He’s a smart kid. Hopefully, he’ll be able to control the coverages today and along with the heat, we’ll see if he can think.

Q: It’s very early, but do you see Jackson being a productive member of this secondary and possibly starting?

A: I see him being a productive member of the secondary. As far as starter, again, it’s wide open. There are not starters right now. Giving him an opportunity yesterday, he went with the first group, today he’s going to go with the first group. I told him, “Once you get in there and you’re able to step into a first team role, don’t give it back. Don’t sit up here and have me turn around and throw another guy in there. If you’re in there as a starter with the first group, hold your position.” It’s very early, again, we have no starters, but we have that first team, second team. I told them, “At the end of the day, however Mr. Mara, however Mr. Reese, however many guys that Coach Coughlin decide to keep, if it’s four—you’re all going to be starters. You have to think of yourself that way. You cannot look at yourself as a backup.” So the one thing that I like right now is rotating these guys around because no one has a position locked down.

Q: Will you work Thompson with Jackson today with the ones?

A: Yes sir, that’ll be the group that you’ll see out there today with the ones. Hopefully these kids can go out there and perform and do the duties that we’re asking them to do.

Q: One of the things that we’ve noticed in practice is that you guys run your fits in both first and second groups at the same time. What’s the benefit of that?

A: The benefit of that is when you’re out here and going through jog-through, going through walkthrough and we’re trying to get the guys to have multiple reps in practice. A lot of times its hard having one team out there and sending them through five or six plays then the second unit gets out there for five or six plays. What we do is we stack them, you go out there and stack your position. Therefore, you have the first and second team out there running the same reps that the guys would get if they’re waiting. It’s just a time saver, which has been good.

Q: Physical or mental reps?

A: Both, definitely.

Q: Some guys have said that maybe Landon is a little more advanced because of where he went to college. Do you feel that way?

A: Well, if he had gone to NC State (Merritt’s alma mater), then he would definitely be advanced, but I won’t get into that. As far as Alabama and all the schools, that to me, he’s coming from a good program. Landon has the ability to probably be able to receive more information and to be able to go out and perform it because of the system that he came from Nick Saban, who was a long time NFL coach, so the fact that he had that system down in Alabama, I would probably say that he may be a little more pro-ready than some of the other guys who maybe have come from a smaller school, such as I won’t say that blue school in the state of North Carolina.

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 Giants do not practice on Tuesday. They return to the field on Wednesday but that practice is not open to the public. The next practice open to the public will be on Thursday from 2:30-4:30PM. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only five remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

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