Aug 122014
 
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Curtis Painter, Ben McAdoo, and Eli Manning; New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Curtis Painter, Ben McAdoo, and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

When Curtis Painter re-signed with the New York Giants this offseason, he knew the situation and scenario right in front of him.

Painter, 29, was a journeyman in the NFL who’d only seen action in three of his five NFL seasons. One year earlier, the Giants had trade up in the fourth round to select Ryan Nassib, costing the Giants their own fourth- and sixth-round picks.

New York had been forced to keep three quarterbacks on the team’s roster in 2013. They didn’t want to do it again. There was one open spot behind Eli Manning.

Was it going to be Painter, or the player New York had traded up to select in the 2012 NFL Draft?

Painter knew the odds. Painter didn’t care if they were stacked against him.

“I can’t control anything like that,” Painter said. “That comes from the upper management and coaches. All I can really do is do my best on the field and try to help the team get better.”

The apparent long shot to make the Giants’ final roster has seen his odds significantly increase this week in training camp. After receiving the NFL equivalent of ‘scraps’ for reps in the first three weeks of camp, Painter has worked entirely with the second team in each of the last two practices.

Painter downplayed any such ‘promotion’ on the depth chart, but the increase in snaps has been noticeable. Throughout the early portions of training camp, Manning and Nassib would split 80-to-90 percent of the team’s reps in each drill before Painter would see the field.

When the offense and defense would work one-on-ones, it was Manning and Nassib throwing passes while Painter handed off to running backs in the distance. While his time on the field was far from glorious, Painter made the most of it. Slowly, but surely, his reps began to increase.

Early in camp, interceptions, poor decisions and forced passes began to mount for Nassib. While Nassib has improved both in practice and the preseason, Painter just kept on making the most of what he was getting. Then, Painter made his ultimate case for a promotion when the Giants took the field for Saturday’s preseason home opener versus the Steelers,

After a Nassib’s incomplete swing pass – which was ruled a fumbled lateral and returned for a touchdown — put New York behind late in the fourth quarter, Painter entered the contest and promptly marched the team down the field on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended in a three-yard game-winning touchdown pass to Corey Washington.

Painter finished seven-of-seven for 68 yards and one touchdown.

“When you can put together a drive like that, whether it be in the first quarter or fourth, you’re going to be pleased,” Painter said. “We did some things well.”

Painter has seen every second-team rep since.

“I don’t think much about it,” Painter said. “At the end of the day, you’re running the same plays. It’s just a matter of going out there and executing and knowing your responsibilities. “

Aug 122014
 
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New York Giants Training Camp (July 27, 2014)

New York Giants Training Camp – Photo by Connor Hughes

AUGUST 12, 2014 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
Maybe it was the drizzling rain slowly coming down in East Rutherford, bouncing off the helmets of the Giants attempting to hold practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

Maybe it was the wind, whipping around the practice field. Maybe, just maybe, the offense still doesn’t understand Ben McAdoo’s West Coast scheme.

Either way, it wasn’t a pretty practice for the Giants’ offense at the team’s training camp today. There were more interceptions, more drops, more bad passes and few big plays. Not even the attendance of Super Bowl hero Plaxico Burress could spring life into Manning and the offense.

On to the report…

Jayron Hosley and Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (September 29, 2013)

Jayron Hosley returned to practice – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE WALKING WOUNDED...
A couple of the players that missed practice yesterday returned today. Victor Cruz, Marcus Harris and Jayron Hosley were all back. Odell Beckham Jr. went from doing just individual work, to some seven-on-seven reps, too.

Then, there were those that were still out. Xavier Grimble (hamstring), Peyton Hillis (ankle/foot), Trindon Holliday (hamstring), Jerrel Jernigan (knee), Mike Patterson (shoulder), John Conner (concussion), Xavier Grimble (hamstring) and John Beason (foot) were absent again.

SPECIAL TEAMS…
Brandon McManus needed to have a near perfect camp if he hoped to upset Josh Brown for the Giants kicking spot on the 53-man roster. Today certainly didn’t help his cause.

  • Yesterday was punt/punt return; today was kick/kick return. Your returners? Preston Parker, Quintin Demps and Marcus Harris. Your up-men? Henry Hynoski, Marcus Harris, Andre Williams and Michael Cox.
  • I said it was an ugly day for McManus…and it was. The kicker went 2-for-4 with both kicks missing wide. One of the two he made did drill the cameraman atop the crane. At this point, it looks like Josh Brown has the position all but wrapped up. McManus has a cannon for a leg, he just needs consistency. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s a good player in the league in a few years, he’s just not there yet.

INDIVIDUALS…
There were a few interesting drills run during the individual portion of practice. The most interesting? A little-league style tackling drill that the defensive linemen seemed to get a kick out of. Players stood facing each other. When the coach yelled, ‘Go!’ all would wrap up, then roll-tackle the player to the ground. I don’t think one defensive lineman got through this without laughing.

  • One little funny incident happened during a linebacker drill: Jim Herrman yelled for ‘Spencer’ to run from the left side to the right. The result? Both Spencer Adkins and Spencer Paysinger jogged over. Herrman laughed and said he meant “Megatron” which means Adkins.
  • In a drill with just the offense, Odell Beckham Jr. worked with the second team. The Giants do need him to catch on and get going quickly. The offense right now just doesn’t have the playmakers to be effective. Beckham was supposed to be counted on, but he hasn’t been on the field.
Rueben Randle, New York Giants (June 12, 2014)

Rueben Randle – Photo by Connor Hughes

TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
As always, the first team-oriented drill the Giants run (aside from special teams) is the two-minute drill. Normally, like it was today, the Giants’ starting offense matches up against the starting defense.

  • For the time being, Curtis Painter is the Giants No. 2 quarterback. Again today Painter took all reps with the third team as Ryan Nassib worked with the threes.
  • Eli Manning hit Rueben Randle for a deep play down the right sideline. Zack Bowman was in coverage and Randle simply jumped over top of the veteran to make the catch.
  • While he saw some snaps at center during the Giants’ preseason game versus the Steelers, Weston Richburg has worked entirely at left guard these last two practices.
  • I’ve seen this quite a bit and I wouldn’t be surprised if it translates to a game: the shovel pass. Manning, Painter and Nassib have all gone to it the last couple practices.
  • The more practices that go by, the more likely it appears Mario Manningham will not be a part of the Giants in 2014. Not only is he suddenly buried on the depth chart, but Manningham has now dropped six passes in his last two practices.

ONE-ON-ONE…
The Giants offense and defense split into two. The quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs did some one-on-one drills while the running backs, defensive linemen and offensive linemen did some running drills. Another tell-take sign that Nassib is struggling – he was the quarterback handing the ball off while Painter and Manning threw to the receivers.

  • Manningham dropped one of his three passes during this drill.
  • In a one-on-one matchup, Quintin Demps had very good coverage on Corey Washington. On a slant, Demps got inside position to take the route away.
  • Walter Thurmond III had good coverage on a slant attempt to Victor Cruz. Cruz came up a bit limp, but was back for the next series.
  • A nice battle between Washington and Rodgers-Cromartie. Cromartie came away with a nice defense on blanket coverage

SEVEN-ON-SEVEN…
I said it in the last report, I’ll say it again. A Giants’ training camp practice isn’t a Giants’ training camp practice until the defense starts intercepting some passes. Yesterday, it was during the 11-on-11. Today, it was the seven-on-seven.

  • Eli Manning hit Victor Cruz for a deep touchdown on a flag route past Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. By my count, that’s the first long ball Cruz has pulled in during camp.
  • Odell Beckham Jr. took part in his first drill which involved a defense. The results? Not pretty. The first two reps Beckham got both ended in interceptions. The first, Manning went to him on a slant that Amukamara came away with. The second involved Curtis Painter forcing the ball and Jayron Hosley picking it off. On another play, Beckham ran a curl and and Ross Weaver batted it out of his hands.
  • Michael Cox dropped a very, very easy pass out of the backfield.

ELEVEN-ON-ELEVEN/TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
There wasn’t much taking place during either of these two portions of practice. My guess? It was the end of the day, the rain was coming down and the wind whipping around. No one looked good. It wasn’t pretty.

  • This is where Mario Manningham’s third drop occurred. Easy curl, Rodgers-Cromartie batted it out.
  • A skirmish broke out between Damontre Moore and Weston Richburg. Just as punches were going to be thrown, several players broke it up. Moore didn’t like something that happened and was going after Richburg.
Damontre Moore, New York Giants (August 10, 2013)

Damontre Moore – © USA TODAY Sports Images

  • Ryan Nassib hit Travis Harvey for a long touchdown, sort of. It was a busted coverage and Nassib was ‘sacked’ before the pass was thrown.
  • Touchdown pass from Curtis Painter to Kellen Davis in the back of the end zone in the red zone. Busted coverage.
  • Kendall Gaskins fumbled the ball very early on a carry. Either he didn’t get the handoff quickly, or a defensive lineman had great hands.
  • Bennett Jackson hasn’t had the strongest of camps, both before the foot injury and after. He was beat by Preston Parker for a touchdown on a flag route. Ryan Nassib threw it.

TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
Two previous times the Giants had run a timed two-minute drill. Once it was second-string versus second-string, then it was third-string versus third-string. Today? The ones went at it. The result? A turnover on downs for the offense. They may have picked up one first down and that was discrediting the two would-be sacks by Jason Pierre-Paul.

The second-to-last training camp practice will be  held on Wednesday from 1:20-3:30pm.

Aug 112014
 
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Corey Washington and Eli Manning, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Corey Washington and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 11, 2014 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
Throughout the course of this year’s training camp, Corey Washington had made highlight-reel catch, after highlight-reel catch against the third- and fourth-string Giants’ defense.

While the catches were impressive, they always came with a bit of an asterisk simply because of who was guarding the 6-4, 214-pound rookie.

Then Monday’s practice came. Victor Cruz, Marcus Harris, Jerrel Jernigan and Trindon Holliday did not practice and Washington got his first chance to play with the starters.

The result? Catch… after catch… after catch. Then, just for good measure, another catch.

Washington stole the show at Giants’ training camp as he continues to make a push for a spot on the final 53-man roster.

John Conner, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

John Conner – © USA TODAY Sports Images

SETTING THE STAGE…
The same faces were absent from practice again today: Trindon Holliday (hamstring), Peyton Hillis (foot/ankle), Xavier Grimble (hamstring) Mike Patterson (shoulder), and Jon Beason (foot). Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) and Daniel Fells (knee) practiced in a very limited capacity.

Then there were the new faces. Victor Cruz (knee), John Conner (concussion), Marcus Harris (hip) and Jayron Hosley (foot) did not practice. Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin did say after practice he expects Cruz, Harris and Jernigan to return tomorrow.

SPECIAL TEAMS…
The Giants were in shells today, so it’s really tough to gauge anything that really transpires at practice. You can look at little things, but it’s more flag football than anything else. Special teams falls in that same category. Really the only observations to be made are that of who’s lining up where.

  • The Giants worked punt team and punt return today. Your returners have dwindled down quite a bit since camp started. Just Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr. and Preston Parker were back fielding kicks. This group, more than any, has thinned out the most.
  • Josh Brown kicked today and went a perfect 4-for-4. The kicking battle really is tight this year.
  • Charles James II and Bennett Jackson were your starting gunners. Ross Weaver and Zack Bowman were on the second unit. In a drill that practiced downing the ball inside the five, neither James or Jackson stood out. James misjudged one and had it go through his hands. Jackson misjudged a hop and missed it entirely.

INDIVIDUALS…
There was just one player I was keeping my eye on during the individual portion of practice: Odell Beckham Jr. For the first time since the very first practice, Beckham was back on the field doing something with the group of receivers. Here are a few observations:

  • It seems as if the drill involved even a little contact, Beckham was held out. The first thing the Giants receivers did was a one-on-one with defensive backs where all they had to do was get by them. No quarterbacks were involved…and no Beckham. Odell sat this drill out.
  • The first portion of practice Beckham took part in was one where a route-tree drill was run with the quarterbacks. The group of receivers would line up facing one direction of the field, run a pattern and the quarterback would throw the ball. Beckham moved well and didn’t waste any time bringing the crowd to their feet…

  • I did my best to see if I could find something…anything…to pick out on the negative front with Beckham. Truly, I couldn’t. This wasn’t because Beckham was perfect, but rather he didn’t do all that much. Aside from the route tree, Beckham was with the trainers. Tomorrow’s another practice and we’ll see if Beckham does more. Maybe this segment should just be renamed “Beckham Watch.”

TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
Overall, Eli Manning and the offense looked pretty good in the two-minute drill. The starters connected on a few big plays and three-straight touchdowns down in the redzone. Albeit, the scores came against the reserves.

  • On three straight plays, Eli Manning went to Corey Washington. On three straight plays, Corey Washington made the catch in front of Prince Amukamara. The first two came via a curl route, the third on a skinny post. It was only the beginning of Washington’s stellar afternoon.
  • Corey Washington doesn’t just play receiver, he plays defensive back, too. Eli Manning made a terrible decision attempting to force the ball to Washington and it was traveling directly to Jameel McClain. Truly, it was going to hit him between the ’5′ and the ’3.’ Washington jumped up and over McClain, reached around and batted the ball out of his hands.
  • Pretty interesting development that Coughlin shook off, but I took as much bigger. Curtis Painter took all second team reps while Ryan Nassib worked with the third team. The quarterback rotation worked as follows: Manning, Painter, Manning, Manning, Painter, Nassib.
  • Eli Manning strung together three straight touchdowns in the redzone. The first – Manning found Rueben Randle on an in-route at the goal line. The second – Manning hit Randle for a touchdown on a fade route. The third – Manning hit Julian Talley on a flag route. Again, these all came versus the second- and third-team defense.
  • It’s very tough to gauge Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, simply because no one throws his way. On Monday, Manning wanted desperately to take a shot to Washington, but had to pull back because Rodgers-Cromartie had lock-down coverage.
  • Mario Manningham is on the roster bubble and needs to catch everything thrown his way. Instead, he dropped three passes today. If his name wasn’t ‘Mario Manningham,’ I’d give him zero shot to make the team.

    Mario Manningham, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

    Mario Manningham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

  • Maybe being dropped to the third team was exactly what Ryan Nassib needed because on his first pass he made an unbelievable throw. Rolling out to his right, Nassib put one on a line to Preston Parker on a deep comeback. The issue? Two throws later he sailed one over Randle’s head on a slant.

SEVEN ON SEVEN…
Of all drills run in shells, the seven-on-seven may be the one you can take the most out of. It’s simple, the receiver has to get open and the defender needs to prevent that from happening. Today was a relatively slow day in the drill, but here’s the update:

  • Andre Williams is now catching just about everything with his hands. The issue? It still doesn’t look natural. Still…progress. He’ll improve each day.
  • Eli Manning made his best throw of the entire training camp. Manning dropped back and fired a pass deep down the field to Rueben Randle who was covered by both Prince Amukamara and Stevie Brown. Despite the double coverage, Manning placed the ball where only Randle could get it. The LSU alum reached out and caught it with his finger tips on the way to the endzone. The throw and catch caused several to say “Wow.”

ELEVEN-ON-ELEVEN…
It’s not a New York Giants practice until the quarterbacks start throwing interceptions. The Giants made it to the final leg of the race before the pick birds came out. Two INTs by the starting defense versus the starting offense.

  • Antrel Rolle notched the first interception of practice, jumping an Eli Manning pass intended for Rueben Randle.
  • A play later, Manning was intercepted again, this time by Prince Amukamara. Not sure who the pass was intended for because it went directly to No. 20.
  • Corey Washington continued to shine. When Curtis Painter checked in, the quarterback when deep down the far sideline for the rookie who was covered by Amukamara. Washington reached up and made the grab for a 40+-yard gain. Washington wasn’t done, making a toe-taping reception on the sideline and his best catch of practice.

The Giants will hold practice tomorrow from 1:20-3:30pm. Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo will speak to the media at 11:15am. 

Aug 112014
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (June 18,2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

All offseason, Jason Pierre-Paul has answered the same question over and over and over again.

How close is he to returning to JPP circa 2011? The one that terrorized quarterbacks, was a force against the run and simply over-powered offensive tackles on his way into the backfield?

Does he feel he’s there? Is he back to the player who some once felt had limitless potential? Heck, can he even be that player again?

The answer is no. Pierre-Paul isn’t the ‘JPP of 2011.’ In fact, he doesn’t want to be, either.

What does the former All-Pro want?

“To be better,” Pierre-Paul said.

Better? Is there a better? Just three short years ago, Pierre-Paul recorded 16.5 sacks in his second NFL season. He was ferocious and fearless, making quarterbacks’ Sunday afternoons a nightmare. ‘Up’ from there would be teetering on a record-breaking year? A record that a recently inducted Hall of Famer set wearing Pierre-Paul’s same jersey.

Is that in clear sight?

“Yeah,” Pierre-Paul said, “Maybe.”

Whether it’s 2011 Pierre-Paul, or a new-and-improved JPP, either will be welcome on the Giants’ defensive line this year. The old, familiar faces who had once terrorized quarterbacks are gone. Michael Strahan is a talk show host. Osi Umenyiora is in Atlanta. Justin Tuck in Oakland.

From the team that defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI, just Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka remain across the defensive line.

Actually, in recent memory, the Pierre-Paul who took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium in February 2012 hasn’t been seen much since. In New York’s championship run, Pierre-Paul recorded 104 tackles, 17 sacks and two forced fumbles in the regular and postseason.

In the 27 games since? Pierre-Paul has managed just 93 tackles, 8.5 sacks and one forced fumble while dealing with a string of nagging injuries.

“Being injured, nobody wants to be injured,” Pierre-Paul said. “It comes with the game; you never know when you’re going to be injured. You have to fight through it. You go out there and play. If you can’t, you can’t.”

Thus far in training camp, Pierre-Paul’s been healthy and as a result his play has been eerily reminiscent of just a few short years ago. Not only has his game made an apparent return, but so too has his talk.

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (October 28, 2012)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Pierre-Paul is provoking opponents during his few snaps during the preseason, teasing teammates and, the way defensive coordinator Perry Fewell sees it, having “fun” again.

“I’ve seen a much better attitude. I’ve seen the old JPP,” Fewell said. “His attitude is good. His work ethic has been very good. He’ll continue to develop and I’m sure he’ll re-gain his form.”

Versus the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Giants’ preseason home opener, Pierre-Paul was as active as he’d been in a long time. He tracked down a receiver on an end around, put in a full-force sprint on Dri Archer following a screen and put a huge hit on quarterback Bruce Gradkowski.

He looks, by all counts, like he’s back and if he is, is that limitless potential back? Wanting to be better than the 16.5 sacks in 2011, is there a number in JPP’s mind that he’d like to reach?

“Nope,” Pierre-Paul said. “Unlimited.”

Aug 092014
 
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Jay Bromley, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Jay Bromley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

He remembers it ever so vividly. Then again, it was just a few months ago.

Jay Bromley, at the time a defensive tackle for Syracuse, woke up and wandered down stairs on Christmas morning. He sat around the tree, the same way he always had, and began to open up his presents. As he ripped the paper off of his gifts, one caused his eyes to light up. It was the perfect one for a die-hard Giants’ fan.

“Giants’ bed sheets,” Bromley said with a smile.

Many nights the 22-year old tucked his massive 6-4, 305-pound frame underneath those same covers. By just about every count, they were put to good use.

That was until May 9, because, well, it wouldn’t be very professional for Bromley to sleep on them after being drafted by New York.

“I had to change that up a little bit,” Bromley said. “I couldn’t be a little kid anymore.”

The no longer ‘little,’ Bromley is hoping to make a Giant impact on Big Blue this year. The team he once spent Sunday after Sunday cheering to victory will now be the one he’s contributing to on the field. He has the size to play the run, along with the agility to get after the quarterback.

Last season for Syracuse, Bromley recorded 13.5 tackles for a loss, forced three fumbles and sacked the quarterback nine times. He attained career highs in nearly every statistical category. His sack and tackle for loss numbers were higher than his previous three years combined.

And none of it was by accident.

Despite having all of the physical tools, Bromley said he spent his senior season oblivious to his NFL Draft stock. Could he focus on where scouts thought he could be picked? Sure, but where were those opinions going to get him? Instead, he focused on a much simpler task: Be the best he could be.

“Whatever after that comes after that,” Bromley said. “I just wanted to be the best at my position because if I worked hard at that, everything else will just stack on top.”

That same mentality carried over on draft day. While so many NFL hopefuls dress in suits, watches, necklaces and chains, invite camera crews into their homes and soak in every minute of the fame while waiting for their name to be called, Bromley had other plans.

He and his girlfriend, Alexis, went out to rent a movie. Bromley’s Saturday night was supposed to be spent eating popcorn and watching Gravity. That’s when his phone rang with Tom Coughlin on the other end.

Hysteria set in at the Bromley household in Queens, New York. He still hasn’t seen the movie. Nor has it set in yet that he’s a member of the team whose logo once graced his bed.

It didn’t hit him when he signed his rookie contract. Not when he showed up for the offseason conditioning program or training camp. He even admitted it hadn’t hit him when he played in last week’s Hall of Fame preseason game.

But today? When he runs through the tunnel at MetLife Stadium? The same stadium he attended a game two years ago as a fan?

“Maybe, maybe,” Bromley said. “It just might at MetLife.”

Aug 082014
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants, August 9 , 2014

It’s a gradual learning process with the New York Giants this season as the offense continues to learn Ben McAdoo’s new West Coast scheme. Sunday’s Hall of Fame game was a taste. Saturday’s game versus Pittsburgh should be the appetizer.

THE STORYLINE:
Progress. Progress. Progress. Last week versus the Buffalo Bills, the Giants’ starting offense took the field for three possessions. Two looks very bad, one looked very good. The good one came against the Buffalo’s No. 2 defense. Tom Coughlin said on Tuesday the Giants installed two new elements of the offense in practice this week. Is there an improvement with the starters? We’ll see.

FOUR DOWNS:

Andre Williams, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

First Down
Who’s the Giants’ No. 2 running back?
When David Wilson announced his retirement, it ended the career of a promising back far too soon, but it also opened up questions on who exactly will be spelling Rashad Jennings. Andre Williams flashed in Canton, but he hasn’t proven he can catch. Peyton Hillis has proven he can be a serviceable back, but he’s dealing with an ankle injury. Kendall Gaskins and Michael Cox? The two had a combined 22 carries a year ago. Can someone from this group step up?

Second Down
Can Charles James II handle punt return duties?
When Giants’ special teams coordinator Tom Quinn spoke to the media last week, he said Charles James II and Preston Parker would get extended looks as a punt returner with Odell Beckham Jr. and Trindon Holliday ailing. Holliday is no sure bet to make the team, James isn’t exactly a lock either. The chance to show his value on special teams should be music to his ears for the young corner. If James can show he can be a serviceable returner, reliable with the chance at a big return every now and then, it could go a long way for him making the team. He’s on the bubble as a corner, being a returner could be just the edge James needs.

Third Down
Will the first-team offensive line and tight end be able to generate running room for Rashad Jennings?
Last week, the answer was no. Last year, Eli Manning found himself constantly in 3rd-and-long situations because the Giants had no running game. The Steelers will be a good test.

Fourth Down
Can the first-team defensive line generate a pass rush?
Last week, the answer was again no. The Giants need to see more of pass rush from Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, Cullen Jenkins, and Johnathan Hankins.

Michael Cox, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Michael Cox – © USA TODAY Sports Images

PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Connor Hughes – RB Michael Cox
Playing with some very, very bad offensive linemen in front of him, Michael Cox flashed versus the Bills on Sunday. The one play that stood out to me was the screen pass in which he applied a perfect chip bock, then took a few steps up, caught the ball and picked up a good gain. With Hillis ailing and Wilson retired, Cox should see extended reps at running back. This is his chance to not only prove he deserves a spot on the final 53-man roster, but a role on the offense as well. There are reps to be had, Cox needs to grab them. If he can’t? Well, there could be a roster move made next week to bring in another body.

Eric Kennedy - WR Rueben Randle
We heard last  year at camp how great Randle was doing. We’ve heard that times this year as well. Last week, Randle didn’t have a pass thrown in his direction. In 2013, Randle played in all 16 games but he only averaged 2.5 catches per game, did not score in the last six games of the season, and only had one 100-yard receiving game all year (the opener). With Hakeem Nicks gone, Rueben is being penciled in as the the starting split end or X-receiver. He’s got to be a guy who can get open and make plays against top cornerbacks. If not, teams will constantly double Cruz. Who knows when Odell Beckham will be able to play, and how productive he will be since he is so far behind? Randle needs to prove he can do it.

THE INJURY REPORT:

• Jon Beason (PUP LIST/foot/out)
• Will Beatty (pre-planned/leg/out)
• Trumaine McBride (pre-planned/hip/out)
• Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring/out)
• Xavier Grimble (hamstring/tbd)
• Geoff Schwartz (knee/tbd)
• Mike Patterson (shoulder/tbd)
• Trindon Holliday (leg/out)

FROM THE COACHES MOUTH:
Tom Coughlin: (on how he manages a second preseason game when for many its their first) “If there is a normal role, I suppose you are describing it. Our guys will play the same amount or maybe a little bit more than they did before. I still want to see, if we can, everyone who is dressed. If they are able to play, I would like to see them all.”

THE FINAL WORD:
Connor Hughes - There was promise shown in Canton, now it’s time to build on that and develop consistency. I want to see what Eli Manning looks like another week into the offense. I want to see an improvement amongst the offensive line. I want to see if Marcus Harris can continue to move what he’s shown in training camp to the game day field. But more importantly, as the story line says, I just want to see progress. Because I got the score right last week, although teams wrong, I’m picking again :)
Giants 20 – Steelers 14

Eric Kennedy – On the offensive side of the ball, I still expect growing pains (ups and downs) with Eli Manning and the new offense. But he’s still not my #1 concern. My number one concern is do the Giants still have enough offensive weapons to really scare other teams. We have Cruz. But we don’t have a tight end. I’m not sure we have a starting split end (Randle has to show me; how far behind is Beckham?). I like the running backs, but losing David Wilson takes away the home-run hitter who I think would have done very well in Ben McAdoo’s offense. When will Will Beatty be able to play a full game? And how will he rebound? Do we have a starting-caliber right guard? Defensively, everyone has been saying JPP is back, but we haven’t seen it yet. Can these ends rush the passer?
Steelers 20 – Giants – 13

Aug 072014
 
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Charles James, New York Giants (August 24, 2013)

Charles James had his fifth interception of the offseason in Thursday’s practice – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 7, 2014 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
As the Giants took the practice field for the final time before Saturday’s game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was just more of the same.

The defense intercepts three-to-four passes. The defense returns three-to-four interceptions for touchdowns. The Giants quarterbacks go back to the huddle and try to figure out what went wrong.

At first, a lot of praise was given to the cornerbacks and the traditional logic of ‘the defense is ahead of the offense’ fit. But this is three weeks into camp. It’s not even Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie or Walter Thurmond III hauling these down. It’s Charles James, Zack Bowman and Chandler Fenner.

Seriously, the Giants’ offense is making Chandler Fenner and Zack Bowman look like Deion Sanders and Darrell Revis.

On to the report.

Odell Beckham (13) and Zack Bowman (31), New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Odell Beckham is getting closer – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE WALKING WOUNDED…
Bennett Jackson returned to the field for his second day of work. Odell Beckham Jr. continues to work on the side of the field with trainers. Peyton Hillis, Daniel Fells,Mike Patterson, and Trindon Holliday all took turns riding bikes. Geoff Schwartz worked in-and-out with the offense. Peyton Hillis and Kelcy Quarles are both still out with ankle injuries. Will Beatty just did work individually. No alarm, he won’t play Saturday so Charles Brown got all first team reps. Jerrel Jernigan also returned.

SPECIAL TEAMS…
It was tough really to gauge too much of practice because the team was in just shells. No contact, essentially two-hand touch. There were some observations to be made though.

  • The following players saw punt return looks: Preston Parker, Jerrel Jernigan, Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Charles James II. James and Parker got the majority of the reps.
  • With Bennett Jackson still not 100 percent, it was Marcus Harris getting reps as the lead gunner opposite Zack Bowman.
  • It was Brandon McManus’ day to kick. He went 3-of-4. The one miss was ugly on a complete shank wide left. That brings his camp misses to three. Josh Brown has missed two.

INDIVIDUAL…
There were a few pretty interesting drills run by the Giants’ offense today. Some different ones that we haven’t seen before.

Adrien Robinson, New York Giants (July 27, 2013)

Adrien Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

  • Just to throw this one out there early: Odell Beckham Jr. was working off in the distance running routes at about 3/4 speed with a coach throwing him passes. He seems to be progressing nicely. My take? He gets on practice field Monday.
  • Cool drill being run with the tight ends. One player would run in place with another right behind him. As Kevin Gilbride Jr. threw the pass, the “defender” would smack the “offensive” player’s arms. Pretty interesting way to work on catching in traffic.
  • Andre Williams caught two passes, by my count, with just his hands. Got a video of the one. It still doesn’t look natural, but it’s coming along.

ELEVEN ON ELEVEN…
With today being a lighter practice, the Giants ran a few different variations. Saw some eleven on eleven, then primarily cards. Practice concluded with a two-minute drill. Here’s the highlights from 11-on-11.

  • Henry Hynoski was featured a bit more today in the pass game than usual. Saw the fullback catch two or three about 5-8 yards down the field.
  • Geoff Schwartz worked in at out at left guard. When he wasn’t in, Weston Richburg took his place.
  • It seems as if Charles Brown is having a very, very tough time guarding Jason Pierre-Paul. By my count, I had two sacks and one pressure for JPP coming off the edge. It could have easily been more.
  • The defense intercepted three passes, could have been five. Seriously. Five. First miss came when Charles James II undercut a pass from Ryan Nassib to Jerrel Jernigan. James missed it by an inch and the pass fell incomplete.
  • Near interception No. 2: Eli Manning went down the seam to Larry Donnell who was guarded well by Jameel McClain. Stevie Brown came over top and Manning’s pass sailed a little high. Brown didn’t watch it in, though, as the pass fell through his hands.
Henry Hynoski, New York Giants (December 30, 2012)

Henry Hynoski – © USA TODAY Sports Images

THE CARDS…
I described this a bit last week and it will be a trend the final practice before each game. The offensive coach holds up a card with a play on it and the defensive coaches do the same. Then, the play is run.

  • Another Henry Hynoski sighting in the pass game. This time he beat Jacquian Williams.
  • I saw this a bit last week, Giants didn’t go to it in the game but it’s there. The read option with Ryan Nassib seems to be something in Ben McAdoo’s back pocket.
  • Marcus “Soup” Harris continues to catch just about everything that is thrown in his zip code. He beat Prince Amukamara on an out, then got deep on a shallow post.
  • Chandler Fenner has had a nice showing the last two days of practice. He fought a ball away from Corey Washington on a deep in.
  • First interception of practice comes from Zack Bowman. He picked off Ryan Nassib. I had my head down so I missed the exact play. Either way, he returned it for a touchdown.
  • Second interception (and fifth of camp) came from Charles James II. The second-year pro undercut an Eli Manning pass intended for I believe Victor Cruz. James II then returned it for a touchdown.

THE RED ZONE…
Following some special teams work, the Giants lined up and worked through a red zone drill. It wasn’t pretty for the offense as the defense continued to have all the success.

  • Ryan Nassib threw a terrible interception to Zack Bowman (his second of the day). On a play-action roll out, Nassib threw it, well, directly to him. Ben McAdoo gave him a few words of ‘encouragement’ after that.
  • Nice pass defense from Prince Amukamara as Manning looked for Rueben Randle in the back of the endzone. Prince had it guarded perfectly and knocked it away.
  • Something happened between Jameel McClain and Adrien Robinson. Didn’t see too much, but McClain got up yelling about “having maturity.”

TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
Yesterday, the Giants concluded practice by running the two-minute drill with Ryan Nassib under center. Today, it was Curtis Painter’s turn. The drive didn’t last very long. On a fourth-and-two from midfield, Painter went deep for Corey Washington. Washington got past Chandler Fenner for the ‘game-winning’ touchdown. Really pretty pass from Painter, dropped it right into Washington’s hands.

 

Aug 072014
 
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Brandon Mosley, New York Giants (December 22, 2013)

Brandon Mosley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

This was the moment Giants’ guard Brandon Mosley had been waiting for.

After a long, injury-filled rookie season, the former fourth-round pick was going to be able to step foot on the field, go toe-to-toe against Detroit Lions’ defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairly and show coaches exactly what he was capable of.

He started strong. Then, it all came to a screeching halt. In the first quarter, Mosley broke his hand.

His start, his season and his chance: All over.

“It was tough,” Mosley said. “It was very frustrating and I was very down about it. You finally get a chance to start and show them what you got, then that happens.”

Now a year later, Mosley, healthy hand and all, sits atop the Giants’ depth chart at right guard. A place he hopes to stay. A place once occupied by Giants’ great Chris Snee.

When the Giants reported for the team’s offseason conditioning program, there was a familiar face holding the position Mosley now does. 10-year veteran and four-time Pro Bowler Chris Snee was battling back from elbow and hip issues, determined to erase all memories from a dreadful 2013 campaign.

Snee started the offseason as a full participant in the Giants’ voluntary workouts. Then, as the days went on, Snee’s body began to fail him. His health deteriorated and Snee walked away, opening the door for Mosley.

During the two years the two played together, Snee had taken Mosley under his wing. Despite being drafted as an offensive tackle, Mosley began to work more and more with the offensive guards. Snee would watch film with Mosley, show him the ropes and push him in the weight room.

While Snee was always regarded as the ‘strongest’ member of the Giants’ roster, Mosley gave him a run for his money.

“I hated to see him go,” Mosley said. “He was such a great leader and teacher. He taught me a lot in the short amount of time I was with him.”

Mosley is now focused on taking what Snee taught him and displaying in on the field. He’s gotten the majority of the work with the starters, but free-agent acquisition John Jerry and rookie guard Weston Richburg are just as eager to fill the Snee-sized hole on the Giants’ offensive line.

In Sunday’s Hall of Fame game versus the Bills, Mosley credited himself with an “all right” performance. There were the ups, there were the downs and all the learning curves of a young offensive lineman.

Early in the game, Mosley had his hands full with Pro-Bowl defensive tackle Kyle Williams. Against the second-team line of the Bills, Mosley helped pave the way for several long runs on the Giants’ 12-play, 80-yard touchdown drive.

There was room for improvement and Mosley knows that. There are areas of his game he needs to perfect, especially if he’s to take the field with the starters on Monday Night Football in five weeks.

If Mosley steps on the field at Ford Field against the Lions as a starter, it’ll be full circle return from where his season suffered an early stop last year.

“Right now, I’m really just trying to compete for the starting spot first,” Mosley said. “But if it does come to that, it will be exciting to be able to go back there.”

Aug 072014
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 17 – Buffalo Bills 13

REVISITING: FOUR DOWNS
During our game preview, we listed a new segment, ‘Four Downs,’ which took a look at the top four questions surrounding the Giants heading into the game. Now that the game has been played and the film reviewed, it’s time to break it down.

Eli Manning and Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Eli Manning and Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

First Down
How does Eli Manning look in a West Coast Offense?
The short answer? Good. The long answer? It’s a work in progress. Manning created a few waves when he and others said the goal this year was to complete “70 percent” of his passes. Well, after one game, Manning is completing over 85 percent. He went 6-for-7, missing on his first throw and then hitting his next six. There will be many more check downs this year, something that early on appears to suit Manning.

Second Down
The progression of Ryan Nassib
Entering into Sunday’s game, Ryan Nassib was coming off two of his best practices of the summer. His showing in the Hall of fame game displayed that. Nassib put some zip on the ball, displayed his mobility and the ability to keep plays alive. There was accuracy shown and some arm strength. Unfortunately, he also showed the inconsistency. Both the intentional grounding and nullified interception were the ‘bad’ aspects you get with the ‘good’ of Nassib.

Third Down
The ‘Legend’ of Devon Kennard
Kennard played well in his first game in a Giants’ uniform. He was physical, wasn’t out of position much and made his usual ‘pop’ play down by the goal line. Kennard ran through a pulling offensive guard, knocked the guard back, while retaining his own balance, and tackled Anthony Dixon near the goal line.

Fourth Down
The rebuilt, re-tooled secondary
One stat says it all, Bills’ quarterback E.J. Mannuel completed 3-of-7 passes. On the few deep passes thrown against Prince Amukamara, the former first-round pick had perfect coverage. On the two passes thrown at Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (both of which were batted down), the corner had cut on the ball and was in position to make a play. The secondary looks good. Very good.

OFFENSIVE OVERVIEW - by Eric Kennedy

Six offensive players did not make the trip to Canton, including key contributors WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) and LT Will Beatty (migraine). Also missing were RB David Wilson (neck), WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring), TE Xavier Grimble (hamstring), and OG/OC Eric Herman (hip).

The Giants had nine legitimate offensive possessions, not counting the kneel down before halftime and three plays to run out the clock at the end of the game. The Giants starting offense played three of the nine possessions (1/3 of the game). They struggled on their first two drives, one three-and-out followed by sack/fumble turnover after picking up one first down. The first-team offense then easily drove down the field on a 12-play, 80-yard drive against the Bills’ second-team defense.

In the second quarter, Ryan Nassib and the second-team offense took the field. Nassib had two drives in the second quarter, the first was an 8-play, 52 yard possession that resulted in a 47-yard field goal. The second only covered 15 yards in six plays.

In the second half of the game, a mixture of second-, third-, and even some fourth-teamers participated in four more offensive possessions that traveled 29 yards (5 plays), 23 yards (5 plays), 69 yards (2 plays, including a 4-yard loss), and 36 yards (12 plays). The highlight was obviously the 73-yard scoring pass from Nassib to WR Corey Washington.

Overall, the Giants accrued 308 total net yards (121 rushing, 187 passing) and 19 first downs. The team was a respectable 6-of-13 (46 percent) on third down and won the time of possession battle 33:37 to 26:23.

Based on my comments below, I have major concerns about offensive line depth and the tight end situation. As much as Jerry Reese supposedly did this offseason, the cupboard is still too bare at these critical positions.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

QUARTERBACKS - by Eric Kennedy

Eli Manning’s completion percentage was impressive (6-of-7, 86 percent). But he only threw for 43 yards. It’s going to take me some time to get used to this dink-and-dunk offense. However, Eli actually looked more adept at it than I expected, particularly for the first game. His first throw was a bit off the mark (or Jerrel Jernigan was a bit off the mark on his route). But after that, Eli was a perfect 6-for-6. It’s interesting to note that five of the first eight plays (all against the Bills’ starting defense) were designed quick throws. One-two-three…throw. Two passes were intended for Jernigan, three for Jennings. On the 12-play, 80-yard drive, Eli only threw twice, once to Jernigan for 8 yards (on 3rd-and-5) and once to TE Daniel Fells for 10 yards.

My biggest problem with Eli was his decision-making on the sack-fumble play. Both tackles gave up some heat, and the not-so-nimble-footed Eli tried to blindly spin-scramble out of trouble. Problem is by scrambling, he ran into a third defender who had gotten away from Geoff Schwartz. The loss of yardage on the sack would have been bad enough, but losing the football was worse. He can’t be that careless. This play was somewhat reminiscent of his happy feet in the pocket in 2013. Hopefully, this is not a developing trend in his game as he ages.

Ryan Nassib came into the game at the start of the second quarter and played until the beginning of the fourth quarter. He finished the night 7-of-12 for 139 yards, although 73 of those yards came on the one play to Corey Washington. Nassib had two drives in the first half, with mostly second teamers. He was 5-of-8 for 49 yards on those two drives. He showed good mobility and accuracy on a rollout pass to TE Larry Donnell and found WR Marcus Harris for a 25-yard strike over the middle on a strong throw. Pressure in his face caused an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-7 to end his first drive. After completing three short passes on his second drive, he just missed WR Julian Talley deep down the middle (the pass was a tad too high). His 3rd-and-14 incomplete throw to Harris looked on the mark, but it was tough to tell without instant replay.

With a step down in surrounding talent (more third-stringers), the third quarter was not as kind to Nassib. He had two more drives. After completing one short pass that was called back due to offensive pass interference, Nassib threw his worst pass of the night. With pressure in his face, he tried to force the ball to a well-covered Adrien Robinson, not seeing a second defender just sitting in the throwing lane and easily picking off the pass. Luckily for Nassib, a roughing-the-passer penalty erased the interception. Two plays later, however, on a naked boot to the left, the defender on that side didn’t bite on the play-action and was immediately in Nassib’s face. Again, Nassib panicked a bit, throwing the ball into the turf despite not being outside of the pocket. Intentional grounding was correctly called. On the second drive, Nassib completed a 17-yard pass to Mario Manningham, but was sacked two plays later (a penalty on the Bills erased the sack). After two runs, Nassib couldn’t connect with Marcus Harris after a blitzing linebacker got in his face. Nassib’s final throw of the night was his slightly under thrown long ball to Corey Washington for the go-ahead (and game-winning) touchdown.

Curtis Painter (3-of-3 for 26 yards) came into the game with less than 11 minutes to play. He looked respectable.

Andre Williams, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

RUNNING BACKS - by Eric Kennedy

I liked what I saw from Rashad Jennings (7 carries for 23 yards, 3 catches for 20 yards) and Andre Williams (7 carries for 48 yards) when given an opportunity by the blocking up front. Both are bigger, more physical backs. Both seem more “Giant-like” to me. Jennings has very natural hands and I think he is going put up big reception total numbers in this offense. Eli trusts him. Nice job by Jennings to pick up 5 yards after the catch on 3rd-and-2. Williams demonstrated surprising agility and quickness for a big man, and his 3-yard goal-line touchdown was a no-nonsense effort. Both were helped on the third drive by some very good lead blocking from FB Henry Hynoski. On that drive, 10 of the 12 plays were running plays to Jennings and Williams, gaining 62 of the 80 yards on the possession. I don’t know what was going on with John Conner, but he didn’t look as focused and physical as he did last year. Hynoski out-played him in round one of the FB battle.

With David Wilson done, the drop off from #1 and #2 running back to #3 is pretty big right now. Peyton Hillis (7 carries for 36 yards) can block, catch, and run with some power, but he isn’t very quick or fast, as demonstrated by his 7-yard run on 3rd-and-12 where he made a really nice cut, but couldn’t outrace the defense to the sticks. Kendall Gaskins (5 carries for 5 yards) didn’t have much room to operate behind the third-team line, but he didn’t flash any special qualities either. He also could not sustain his block on a blitzing linebacker that led to an incomplete 3rd down pass.

I was more impressed with Michael Cox (9 carries for 3 yards) despite what the horrendous stats indicate. When given a chance, like his back-to-back 9- and 7-yard runs, he demonstrated better acceleration and quickness than Hillis and Gaskins. Cox stood out on the middle screen play where he expertly chipped a blitzer who could have blown up the entire play, made the one-handed reception, and then ran tough for the first down on 3rd-and-8.

WIDE RECEIVERS - by Eric Kennedy

Oddly, no passes thrown in the direct of Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle. Jerrel Jernigan was the only wide receiver targeted by Eli, catching two of three passes thrown in his direction. Randle did a nice job of run blocking on Williams’ 21-yard run.

Marcus Harris flashed in the third quarter with the second team, especially on his fearless 25 catch-and-run over the middle. He finished the night with 4 catches for 49 yards. He might have had a bigger night had he been able to come down with a 3rd-and-14 throw by Nassib that looked on the mark. Good effort by him on his run blocks as well.

Mario Manningham caught one pass for 17 yards. Corey Washington stood out with his very nice leaping catch where he out-fought the Bills’ defensive back for the ball and a 73-yard score. Julian Talley was flagged for offensive pass interference.

TIGHT ENDS - by Eric Kennedy

Larry Donnell was the #1 tight end in this game. I spotted him getting stymied in the hole as a lead blocker from the fullback position on the first possession. On the second possession, as he was blocking down on DE Mario Williams, Williams squeezed inside to stuff Jennings for a 1-yard loss on 2nd-and-1. But what was weird on this play was that LG Geoff Schwartz ran past Williams to pull around Donnell, as if the running play was supposed to go behind Schwartz and not to the inside where Williams made the play. In other words, I’m not sure Donnell was at fault here.

After this, I thought Donnell did a nice job as a run blocker from the traditional down position, including on the long touchdown drive. He looked good catching a 13-yard pass on a QB rollout in the second quarter. Daniel Fells caught a 10-yard pass before he suffered a knee injury in the second quarter and was forced to leave the game. His blocking looked solid. Right now, Donnell and Fells appear to be the top two tight ends on the depth chart.

Adrien Robinson seemed to be the next guy off the bench, followed by Kellen Davis. Robinson didn’t impress me with his blocking, particularly as a move tight end. He was flailing around out there at times.

Bottom line, the Giants may have a developing player in Donnell and a somewhat serviceable journeyman in Fells, but not much else. Robinson still looks like he isn’t developing and the fact that Davis appeared to be #4 on the depth chart is not a good sign for him. Hello waiver wire come cut-down time. Not good for a Ben McAdoo offense that relies so heavily on tight ends.

OFFENSIVE LINE - by Eric Kennedy

Starting were Charles Brown (LT), Geoff Schwartz (LG), J.D. Walton (C), Brandon Mosley (RG), and Justin Pugh (RT). I was more down on this group when I originally watched the game, less so when looking at the game film a second time. Simply put, there were not enough snaps to adequately judge the starting group.

On the first two drives against the Bills’ formidable starting defensive line, five of the eight plays were very quick (and designed to be quick) throws to Jernigan and Jennings. Given the quick set up and throws, the line was easily able to keep heat off of Eli on these five plays. On the play before the sack-fumble, the offensive line had formed a perfect pocket on the 5-yard completion to Jernigan. The problems were on the other three plays: two runs and one pass. On the first run, as mentioned above, Donnell got stood up in the hole by the linebacker. On the second run, as mentioned, Mario Williams defeated an oddly-designed or executed short-yardage play, leading to a 1-yard loss. On the one passing play where Eli didn’t quickly throw the ball, both Pugh and Charles Brown gave up some pressure (Pugh also was flagged with holding on this play). Eli decided to blindly scramble away from it with a spin move. Geoff Schwartz’s man then broke free to sack Manning. Tough to judge Schwartz here as he probably was surprised by Manning’s move away from the pocket. That said, Schwartz does not look very athletic to me. He lumbers in the open field (he looked really out of place on a screen play). Interesting note is that Mark Asper played tight end on Andre Williams’ goal-line touchdown play.

On the third drive, the first-string offensive line – as one would hope – began to exert itself against the second-team defensive line of the Bills. The Giants ran the ball 10 times for 62 yards; both passes were completed for another 18 yards.

James Brewer, New York Giants (January 30, 2012)

James Brewer – © USA TODAY Sports Images

In the second quarter, the fourth drive started off with Brown (LT), Weston Richburg (LG), Dallas Reynolds (61), Mosley (RG), and Pugh (67). On this drive, James Brewer came in for Pugh at right tackle. Brown was a bit shaky at times throughout the game, including against the backups. During his rookie season in 2011, Brewer was tasked with carrying the team’s lucky teddy bear on road trips. The problem with Brewer – who is a huge athlete – is he plays like a teddy bear. He rarely delivers the punch – a guy that big and strong and nimble shouldn’t be getting pushed back by smaller defenders. Reynolds looked decent at times, but also blew a block on a running play that went nowhere. On the last drive in the second quarter, John Jerry came in for Mosley. He did not look good.

In the third quarter, the line started off as Brewer (LT), Richburg (LG), Reynolds (C), Jerry (RG), and Rogers Gaines (RT). Jerry and Gaines were the obvious weak links on this line. Perhaps Jerry still is fighting his way back from the offseason knee surgery that caused him to miss the OTAs. Or perhaps he simply stinks. But for a big guy, he doesn’t get any movement on his run blocks and he was getting bull-rushed on passing plays. It was his man who got in the face of Nassib on Nassib’s worst throw of the night. Gaines had problems in pass protection a number of times, and both Jerry and Gaines gave up a 3rd quarter sack. In the fourth quarter, John “the human turnstile” Sullen came in at right guard. He was dreadful.

On the last real drive of the game, the line had Brewer (LT), Jamaal Johnson-Webb (LG), Richburg (C), Sullen (RG), and Gaines (RT). Interestingly, I thought Richburg looked shakiest here at his “natural” center position. His man badly disrupted one running play. On this possession, and a few other times at left guard earlier in the game, Richburg was pushed back. He needs to get bigger and stronger. I don’t see the player yet who everyone is excited about.

My overall impression of the offensive line as a unit? The Giants desperately need Will Beatty back at left tackle. I think Schwartz-Walton-Mosley-Pugh will be serviceable, but this is not a physically-imposing line. Richburg needs to play stronger, but he does have good agility. I don’t like the depth situation at all outside Richburg and maybe Brown. Jerry doesn’t look good at all. Brewer is very versatile, but he’s a soft player. When Dallas Reynolds looks like one of the better backups, you know you are in trouble. The rest of the guys – quite frankly – don’t look very good. Sullen and Gaines were terrible. I didn’t seen enough of Johnson-Webb.

Cullen Jenkins and Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Cullen Jenkins and Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

DEFENSIVE OVERVIEW - by Connor Hughes

The following players did not play for the Giants on defense after not making the trip to Canton: Trumaine McBride, Bennett Jackson, Travis Howard, Jon Beason, Spencer Paysinger, Robert Ayers and Mike Patterson. 

After watching the game live, I came away being very impressed with the overall play of the Giants’ starting defensive players and reserves. There was pressure on the quarterback, little room for the running backs to run and some tight, physical coverage from the cornerbacks.

The secondary made plays, the defensive line got after the quarterback and the linebackers did a phenomenal job of filling any holes the running backs attempted to escape through. Granted, the offense is not the strength of the Buffalo Bills, but it was still encouraging to see.

Being put in tough positions twice, the Giants’ defense held. Once, coming up with an interception following a blocked punt, and a second time holding the Bills to a field goal following Manning’s fumble. The Giants did allow one touchdown drive, a 15-play, 80-yard possession, that was aided by two penalties. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie committed defensive holding and Prince Amukamara illegal contact.

When all was said and done, the Giants’ defense allowed 246 yards (94 rushing, 152 passing). The Bills went 4-for-13 on third downs, 2-for-3 on fourth downs and were 1-for-3 in the red zone.

I had high expectations for the defense. They met them against a subpar Bills’ offense. This Saturday’s test against the Pittsburgh Steelers should be a good one and provide a larger challenge.

THE DEFENSIVE LINE - By Connor Hughes

Johnathan Hankins was one of the guys I was very interested in taking a look at. For the first time in his career, Hankins was the No. 1 defensive tackle from the start. He wasn’t used in only ‘certain’ packages. He was in them all. He impressed me against the Bills. Hankins shed blocks very well, wasn’t easily moved and found himself in on just about every running play. On the first series of the game, Bills’ running back Fred Jackson attempted to run one up the middle, Hankins stuffed the intended gap and made Jackson bounce it outside. On the second drive, Hankins mauled Chris Williams to make a play on the running back for no gain.

Damontre Moore, New York Giants (September 29, 2013)

Damontre Moore – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Another player I kept an eye on for the defensive line was Damontre Moore, and in particular, Damontre Moore against the run. Sure, his pass rushing skills have been well documented, but can he play the run? Moore showed on two separate occasions that he has improved himself against the run. Both times standing his blocker up, shedding him and then moving down the line in an attempt to bring down the ball carrier. While he did get fooled very badly on the read option, he learned. A series or two later, Moore was unblocked on a running play. Instead of crashing down, he held his ground, waited for the quarterback to commit to the running back, then came down and made the play.

As a pass rusher? Well, Moore was as good as advertised. I had three counts of pressure on the quarterback where he just out-played Cyrus Kouandjio. If both parts of his game come together, he’s gonna be a very, very good player.

While watching the game, I was impressed with Jay Bromley. After watching the film, I’m still impressed with Jay Bromley.  The rookie was strong against the run, got a few pressures and attacked with great leverage.

LINEBACKERS - By Connor Hughes

With all of the talk and praise the Giants’ coaches have given Jacquian Williams, I wanted to keep an extra eye on him. He didn’t flash too much, aside from the bat down, when watching live, so I figured I’d scope him out a bit on tape.

There was one play, on the third series, where the Bills again went deep in Amukamara’s direction. Williams went hard in one gap, there was nothing there, so he bounced around and found another opening. He used his speed to chase the Jeff Tuel down and got in his face, not allowing the quarterback to unload the ball. Williams on the blitz isn’t something that’s been seen a lot in the past, but may be featured more now.

One play, above anything else, stood out to me on the progress Williams has made. On a screen pass to Anthony Dixon, Williams fought through two oncoming linemen, split them both and made the play after only a two-yard gain. If Williams didn’t make it, it was looking like a big play for Dixon.

I read a few people that said Devon Kennard didn’t live up to the ‘hype’ that surrounded him coming form training camp. I disagree. Aside from making a few solid tackles, he made one ‘wow’ play during the game. Near the goal line, Kennard came in on a blitz and ran through Bills’ guard Chris Williams. Kennard knocked Williams back while never losing balance himself, then made the tackle on Anthony Dixon. It was impressive.

THE SECONDARY - By Connor Hughes

When Stevie Brown was appointed the Giants’ starting safety opposite Antrel Rolle, there was talk on how he’d be able to handle the run game. During is first year with the Giants, prior to injuring his knee, Brown essentially just played center field and waited to run wherever the ball was thrown. On the first play of the game, he showed he is a bit physical, too.

Brown started at the safety position, starting moving closer to the box before going on a dead sprint when the play was snapped. Brown shot through the heart of the offensive line and tackled C.J. Spiller for no gain. It was a very, very solid play against the run.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The secondary, by the way, is much, much more physical this year and in-your-face. In the past, the Giants liked to hold their corners 8-10 yards back from the wide receivers. Not any more. I just saw a couple plays where the corners didn’t line up directly over the receiver. Every now and then one corner would be up, one would be back. But nearly every play had at least one up in the face of an opponent’s wideout.

I was a little weary of Walter Thurmond III during the game as I saw him get beat a few times. After watching the film, he played much better than I originally expected. On his first completion, Jeff Tuel put a perfect pass to Rob Woods that few could have defended. On a second completion given up, a slant, Woods ran directly into Thurmond causing him to lose balance. That play could have been offensive pass interference. He played well, much better than I originally thought.

Tuesday, the Giants’ secondary coach Dave Merritt called rookie Nat Berhe ‘The Missile.’ After watching the film, I know why. On the first play he came in, Berhe ran full speed into a Bills’ offensive lineman, bounced off and continued to chance down the running back. On his forced fumble, Berhe saw Chris Gragg being brought down by a teammate. Instead of just trying to put Gragg on the ground, Berhe put his helmet on the ball and forced a fumble.

(Boxscore – New York Giants vs Buffalo Bills, August 3, 2014)
Aug 062014
 
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Marcus Harris and Michael Strahan, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Marcus Harris and Michael Strahan – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 6, 2014 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
It was the Marcus ‘Soup’ Harris show at Giants’ training camp on Wednesday. The wide receiver caught pass, after pass after pass. He was roughly two receptions away from hearing ‘Soup’ bellow down from the crowd in attendance.

In all seriousness, though, the second-year pro is having a very nice camp. Below you will find the complete practice report from Aug. 6.

Mike Patterson (93) and Kelcy Quarles (97), New York Giants (June 5, 2014)

Mike Patterson (93) and Kelcy Quarles (97) – Photo by Connor Hughes

THE WALKING WOUNDED…
A couple new faces were added to the injury report and sat out today. Geoff Schwartz (knee) and Jerrel Jernigan (knee) did not practice. Trindon Holliday remains out with a hamstring, along with Odell Beckham Jr. and Xavier Grimble. Mike Patterson sat out with his shoulder injury, Robert Ayers Jr. returned. Peyton Hillis did not practice with his sprained ankle.

During practice, Kelcy Quarles was carted off the field with what the team later called a “sprained ankle.” He will get x-rays tomorrow. David Wilson took in practice from the sidelines.

SPECIAL TEAMS…
This section is going to be a little shorter than usual. When Quarles went down, the Giants practiced the majority of their kick return and field goal unit on the far side of the field and it was difficult to tell exactly what was happening.

  • With David Wilson and Trindon Holliday out, the following worked as kick returners: Quintin Demps, Michael Cox, Marcus Harris, Preston Parker. Cox got a lot of looks as a returner.
  • From what I gathered, the kicker who kicked went 4-for-4. Because McManus kicked yesterday, it was probably Josh Brown. Again, don’t quote me.

INDIVIDUAL/ONE-ON-ONE…
Not too much happened between the individual portion of practice and the one-on-one section, thus, we’re combining it into one. Aside from working through individuals, the Giants’ ran a 9-on-7 running drill (defensive line/linebackers vs offensive line/backs) as the quarterbacks, wide receivers and defensive backs did a one-on-one coverage drill.

  • Andre Williams, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

    Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

    It really is painful watching Andre Williams try to catch the ball. He’s attempting to use his hands more, but I guess instincts kicks in, and instead he does this half hands/half body grab. It’s ugly looking. He tried to go all hands on a swing route with no defense and the ball sailed right through. It’s a work in progress with the rookie.

  • Little trend that started here and continued throughout practice: Every single time the offense stepped on the field, it was Adrien Robinson at tight end and Andre Williams at running back. Also, with Geoff Schwartz and Jerrel Jernigan out, Weston Richburg and Marcus Harris stepped in.
  • In one-on-one’s, Rueben Randle beat Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a come-back, back-shoulder throw about 10 yards down the field from Manning. Rodgers-Cromartie had good coverage, but it was a perfect pass from Manning. Good timing between the two.
  • Travis Harvey  made a really nice toe-tapping grab on the sideline. BBI’s instagram account got the video. Be sure to give it a follow, too

  • Right around the time when Kelcy Quarles went down (it was during the defenses portion of this practice) Jayron Hosley intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown. Didn’t see the quarterback, but it was Hosley’s first interception of camp.

QUARTERBACK NET DRILL…
The Giants used to do this drill with Kevin Gilbride all the time in Albany. The offensive coaches set up three bags laying on the ground and a giant net with three holes and three different colored circles set up above the holes. The quarterbacks then need to move in and out of the bags, the coach calls a color and the quarterback needs to throw the ball into the corresponding net hole color.

  • By my count, Curtis Painter won. Score read as follows: Painter- 3, Eli Manning- 2, Ryan Nassib-2.

TWO-MINUTE DRILL…
Giants first team-oriented drill was again the hurry-up, two-minute drill. This was the first time Marcus Harris really began to shine. While the offense started strong, things went south down pretty quick.

  • On four of the Giants first five plays, Marcus Harris hauled in three receptions. There was one on a corner route to the outside, one on a post and one toe-tapping grab on the sideline off a tipped ball. He continues to shine.
  • Ugly screen pass from Eli Manning. Threw it, bounced of Henry Hynoski’s butt and into the hands of Cullen Jenkins. Just as a foreshadowing, I had four interceptions tallied for the defense today.
  • Manning didn’t have his best practice. He overshot an open Victor Cruz on a play that could have been a touchdown. Then, near the goal line, Eli bounced one to Cruz. He did hit Rueben Randle for a touchdown later in practice. More on that below.
  • Chandler Fenner, who the Giants signed on Friday, had a pretty nice practice. He had perfect coverage on Rueben Randle on a fade route from Manning. Then, later in practice, he intercepted Curtis Painter.

SEVEN-ON-SEVEN…
I’m beginning to pick something up on Larry Donnell: Every time he catches the ball, he falls down. He’s perfected it in a sense, making it look graceful at times. But seriously, every time he catches…he falls. Here’s your highlights from seven-on-seven’s.

  • As I said above, Larry Donnell made a nice catch on a drag…then fell down. I had him with two falls today.
  • Really, really nice coverage by the Giants starting unit. When working in seven-on-seven, after a few seconds the quarterback almost always finds someone to at least check the ball down to. On this particular play, Manning had to throw it away.
  • There was a lot of praise thrown Corey Washington’s way after his 73-yard touchdown on Sunday. With that being said, he’s still on the roster bubble and can’t afford drops in camp. He got past Ross Weaver and Curtis Painter hit him perfectly in stride. The issue? Washington dropped the ball.

ELEVEN-ON-ELEVEN…
It’s still a little difficult to tell the difference between the 11-on-11 and two-minute drill the Giants go with first, partially because of the pace the offense is run at. From what I gather, 11-on-11 always starts with the starters versus the starters.

  • Mathias Kiwanuka continues to have a very nice training camp. On a run to Rashad Jennings, Kiwanuka beat Justin Pugh off the line and practically took the handoff.
  • While it wasn’t his best day, Eli Manning threw a beautiful deep touchdown pass to Rueben Randle down the right sideline. On a roll out, Manning threw it deep to Randle who had gained a few steps on Jayron Hosley.
  • The offense, by my count, had two “Delay of Game” penalties.
  • Henry Hynoski, New York Giants (July 28, 2013)

    Henry Hynoski – © USA TODAY Sports Images

    Devon Kennard came storming in from the linebacker position and got past Henry Hynoski to make the ‘tackle’ in the backfield. The miss by Hynoski caught the eye of Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin, who began yelling. A few plays later, Hynoski rocked Spencer Adkins. Coughlin again was yelling with a slightly different tone that time.

  • Will Beatty continues to be limited. He’ll play a few series, then get a few off. The first play I saw Charles Brown come in was the first time I saw Jason Pierre Paul get to the quarterback. Big burst off the line.
  • In training camp, whenever the running back gets a handoff, he normally runs to the endzone. After he gets past the safeties, the defense just lets him go. Kendal Gaskins, who took this route, was jogging to the end zone when Nat Berhe came running in from behind and punched the ball out.
  • Chandler Fenner picked off his first pass on one from Curtis Painter. He jumped the route. Nice day for Fenner at practice.
  • Prince Amukamara and John Conner got into a little bit of a yelling and shouting match. Didn’t escalate past that, though.

SECOND-TEAM HURRY UP DRILL…
The Giants’ ran a second-team versus second-team, two-minute drill with running clock to end practice. Nassib got his team down the field and into field goal range, but couldn’t get the final spike off in time as the clock expired. I guess that means the defense won practice. Oh, the last play the offense ran before the spike was a pass to Donnell. He fell down in bounds after grabbing it.