Dec 192015
 
Share Button
Bronson Kaufusi, BYU Cougars (October 2, 2015)

Bronson Kaufusi – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2016 NFL Draft Prospects: December 19, 2015 Bowl Games (Early Games)

by BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Sy’56

ARIZONA

#77 RT Lane Maiava – 6’5/301

Fifth year senior. Torn ACL in 2012. Played both guard spots in 2014 for half the season. Starting RT in 2015. Strong upper body and can control guys when his hands are inside. But he plays really high and I’ve seen him against 3 NFL prospect caliber DL and he was outclassed strength wise. So a guy that plays high and lacks staying presence, I tend to steer clear of them. Late rounder at best.

#4 WR David Richards – 6’4/213

Fifth year senior. 2+ year starter that never really developed in to what they were hoping for. Tough for WRs in that kind of scheme though, especially guys that need to get downfield to show their worth. Nice height and length and a good catcher of the ball that lacks quick twitch and acceleration. UDFA type.

*#33 LB Scooby Wright – Arizona – 6’1/246

Junior that has not yet declared and I don’t think he will. He had one of the best seasons ever in 2014 production wise and cleaned up at the College Football Awards night, including the award given to the nation’s top defensive player. 2015 has been a nightmare, though. He tweaked his knee week 1, then had a regular season ending foot injury 2 weeks later against UCLA. He is telling people he’ll be back for the Bowl Game, we’ll see. I’m not as in to him as some are. The scheme is really set up for him to produce. He gets credit for getting it done but looking at the movement and power presence, he’ll have a hard time in the NFL meeting expectations. Solid mid round prospect if he comes out but I wouldn’t be comfortable drafting him early especially after the injuries.

#11 S William Parks – 6’1/194

Has played both the bandit and spur position in their 3-3-5, both vital components to their scheme. Parks is probably the highest upside draft guy in this game because he can do a lot of things. He can be physical, tackles well, has the movement ability to cover. The length and versatility are always sought after by NFL teams late in drafts. That is where I think he goes.

#8 DE Reggie Gilbert – 6’4/262

Fifth year senior. Consistent 4 year starter that has seen time at DT and DE in their hybrid scheme. Most likely a 4-3 DE in the NFL. There isn’t much to brag about here other than he can bend well and plays hard. He doesn’t get off blocks and he won’t beat anyone off the edge with speed. Priority UDFA type.

NEW MEXICO

#6 RB Jhurell Pressley – 5’10/203

Fifth year senior. Has averaged almost 7 yards per carry for his career, which is ridiculous. He’s the kind of guy that you say if he was another 10-15 pounds heavier, we are talking about a potential 1st or 2 rounder. His slight frame has to worry you a little, he is a slight 203 pounds. Very loose hips and each change of direction with nice top end speed make him a fun watch. At the end of the day though I think he will struggle with ball security and pass protection in the league. That is enough to not even consider him for some teams. Late rounder at best.

***************************

BYU

#10 WR Mitch Matthews – 6’5/210

Intriguing guy to some people. Long strider with the obvious size advantage. Caught a lot of passes and TDs over the past two years (125 and 20 respectively). I don’t see the quick twitch and I think he will get beat up in the NFL. His size doesn’t play to his advantage as much as I want. Late rounder, maybe a UDFA.

#72 LT Ryker Matthews – 6’6/322

Lethargic pass blocker with bad footwork. He can catch your eye as a run blocker though with some strong leg drive and effective hands. I think he makes a move to guard at the next level but won’t be drafted. UDFA type.

#90 DE Bronson Kaufusi – 6’8/280

Four year contributor, played in all but 2 games over his career. I really like this guy. Initially I thought he was unathletic and too big for his own good, but the more I watch the more I am intrigued. He is a guy that you really need to watch from start to finish in a few games to understand and appreciate his game. Realtive to his level of competition, Kaufusi can dominate a game much like JJ Watt. He is moved all over the point of attack. He is so big and so long but has enough mobility and quick reaction to exploit one on one matchups a variety of ways. He has the NFL body already and I think he can start in the NFL right away. What is his true position? I think 4-3 DE is best but like Watt, he would probably work in a role where he can be moved around between the C and A gaps. If he can test well at the combine I think he can be a 2nd rounder.

UTAH

#23 RB Devontae Booker – 5’11/212

*Will miss the game after a meniscus surgery he had a couple weeks ago. Unfortunate. Some think he is a top 3 back in this class.

#2 WR Scott, Kenneth – 6’3/208

6th year senior that has lost two seasons to injuries (ankle and knee). I haven’t see him jump off the screen yet but a few people say his upside is much higher than what you would initially think. Long strider with strong hands. Does some little things well like route running, selling double routes, blocking, consistently catching with hands. I would like to see him beat guys one on one more though. Late rounder but if he can test well he could sneak in to the middle rounds.

#60 C Siaosi Aiono – 6’2/310

Fifth year senior with experience at RT and C. Leader of the OL. Has the feet and short area quickness to play against speed. Even for a shorter guy I catch him playing too high often. Doesn’t play the power game as well as I want out of an inside guy. Solid college guy but don’t think he can hack it as a starter or even a primary backup. UDFA type.

#7 QB Travis Wilson – 6’7/233

4 year starrer and will leave Utah with a few career passing records. People were real excited about him after his freshman year. Had an unusual combination of size, speed, and arm strength. Real tough kid but he’s battled injuries throughout his career. His tools are enticing but he never took the step up to the next level. He’s real inconsistent and doesn’t have that feel or clock in the pocket. I could see him getting drafted late based on tools but I don’t think he has it.

#41 LB Jared Norris – 6’2/240

Fifth year senior. One of the best linebackers in the Pac 12, fought some nagging injuries this season but still played well. He is old school. Tough and gritty, can smash blockers and ball carriers in the mouth. Enforcer in the middle of the field. Probably won’t test well athletically but he has average to above average game speed. He can be moved around, productive blitzer off the edge. I like his feel for the game but I do think he will be limited speed wise. 4th/5th rounder that could start right away in a few schemes.

#51 DE Jason Fanaika – 6’3/270

Will be a 24 year old rookie. Spent 2 years at Utah State before leaving school to aid his family while his father had Cancer. Played at Utah past two years and became one of their top pass rushers. He isn’t quick or fast, but he gets a lot of production from consistent hustle and grit. Strong guy. Not sure he has the tools to play DE in the NFL but he’ll get a shot. Late rounder or priority UDFA.

#13 LB Gionni Paul – 5’10/225

Started off at Miami in 2011 and 2012. Actually showed some big time playmaking ability in 2012, earning a couple of weekly awards. He transferred and sat out in 2013. Started for a couple seasons at Utah and he jumps off the screen at times. Real quick and shifty. Hard guy for blockers to get a hold of. He has made some crazy-athletic plays. He has a lot going against him, namely his lack of size, but he plays hard and knows where to be and how to get there. He is a guy I am looking for in late rounds or UDFA period. I think he can surprise.

Other Notables:

#9 S Tevin Carter – 6’1/215
#53 LB Jason Whittingham – 6’2/245
#34 RB Bubba Poole – 6’1/197

Oct 072015
 
Share Button
Emlen Tunnell (45), New York Giants (October 22, 1950)

Emlen Tunnell (45), New York Giants (October 22, 1950)

Emlen Tunnell and Roosevelt Brown were the first and second African-American players of the New York Football Giants franchise, respectively. They arrived from obscurity – Tunnell as a free agent who walked in off of the street and asked for a job, and Brown as a 27th round draft pick chosen on a whim when his name happened to be noticed on a newspaper clipping. Despite their humble beginnings, both men became deeply rooted in the Giants family and remained fulltime members of the organization for the remainders of their lives.

Professional football was an integrated sport in the 1910s and continued to be so when the American Professional Football Association (APFA) formed in 1920. That circuit is known to have employed at least 13 African-American players between the years of 1920 through 1933, although none participated during the 1927 season. Most were members of the small-town teams like Akron, Rock Island, Hammond, Dayton and Canton. The one with the highest profile was Fritz Pollard, an extremely talented tailback who played with five teams from 1920 through 1925, including the APFA Champion Akron Pros in 1920 (which he also coached). Pollard was posthumously enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

The only big-city team to have African-Americans on their roster for a significant length of time was the Chicago Cardinals who had three during their early years. They included the excellent tackle Duke Slater from 1926 through 1931 and halfback Joe Lillard who led the team in scoring in 1933. Lillard was released after that season, as was tackle Ray Kemp from the Pittsburgh Pirates, initiating a 12-year span where the NFL was an all-white league.

Although no official ban of African-American players has never been proven to have existed, it would be ludicrous to entertain the belief their exclusion was mere coincidence or happenstance. Some theorists believe, though it has never been proven, influential Washington Redskins owner George Preston Marshall, who entered the league in 1932 and became infamous two decades later for his all-white roster, was significant in convincing the other owners to eliminate black players from their rosters.

Possible motivation for an all-white league was marketing preference. Pro football at the time was desperately trying to climb the ladder of popularity in the 1920s and 1930s and tried to emulate baseball, which had been segregated since the 1880’s, in many ways organizationally. It would have been in line with the beliefs of the times that a league of white, college-educated players would be more appealing to prospective ticket buyers.

The league slowly and incrementally bolstered its fan base through the Great Depression and World War II years, but it likely had nothing to do with all-white rosters. Rather, it was accomplished by intelligent organization, the institution of an annual championship game and rules changes that improved the way the game was played on the field.

As a result of the ban, many talented black players, who professional football fans surely would have embraced and appreciated on a grander stage, languished in obscurity in semi-pro leagues. That is exactly what happened in 1946, one year before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball’s color barrier. The impetus for integration was inspired by expansion, relocation and the threat from a rival league.

No Longer Separate, but Not Exactly Equal

Cleveland Rams owner Dan Reeves (no relation to the Dallas player of the 1960s who also coached the Broncos, Giants and Falcons in the 1980s and 1990s) had his eyes on the untapped market of the West Coast for a number of years, but his requests to move his franchise had been voted down. That all changed with the surplus of players who became available after the conclusion of World War II in 1945. Prospective owners who had unsuccessfully attempted join the NFL via expansion formed their own league, the All American Football Conference (AAFC), to begin play in 1946. The new league announced they would not only have a franchise located in Los Angeles, but also San Francisco. The NFL, which did not have a franchise further west than Green Bay, realized their tactical error and finally granted Reeves’ wish to move his team to avoid giving the AAFC exclusivity on the West Coast.

As Reeves negotiated to have the Rams play at the expansive Los Angeles Coliseum, he was told they would not be allowed to do so unless they had at least one black player on the team. Reeves responded by signing two former UCLA stars from the independent pro team Hollywood Bears, Kenny Washington on March 9, 1946 and Woody Strode shortly thereafter. Coincidentally, both players were college teammates of Jackie Robinson at UCLA.

Nearly simultaneously, Paul Brown was in Cleveland assembling the team that would dominate the AAFC and push the NFL into the future. Brown had known nothing but success everywhere he went, achieving legendary status as a high school coach at Massillon, OH, won a national title at Ohio State in 1942 and had his 1944 team at the Great Lakes Naval Station finish in the Top 20. Two of Brown’s hallmarks were having the best players he could find on his roster, and not tolerating racism. Despite there being no apparent color line in the AAFC, Brown signed the league’s first two African-Americans in August 1946, Marion Motley, who had played for Brown at Great Lakes, and Bill Willis, who played for Brown at Ohio State. Brown said years later, “I didn’t care about a man’s color or his ancestry, I just wanted to win football games with the best possible people.”

Despite these four men having integrated professional football a year ahead of Robinson and Major League Baseball, without receiving little fanfare, their perseverance was no less significant. Comparatively, the apparent indifferent public response was more indicative of pro football’s subordinate status at the time. Regardless, their contributions remain irrefutable as they opened the doors for many others to follow. They endured numerous hardships, including sometimes brutal physical and verbal abuse from opponents.

Motley said in their first few seasons officials turned a blind eye to late contact and dirty play, including elbows to the face (in an era where facemasks were still rare) and said he had several fingers broken by the opposition deliberately stepping on his hands. “Of course, the opposing players called us ‘nigger’ and all kinds of names like that. This went on for about two or three years until they found out that Willis and I were ballplayers.” Occasionally their teammates took policing action into their own hands and would call a “bootsie” play directed at an offending player where justice would be meted out at the bottom of the pile.

Off of the field, slights were commonplace. African-American players were often not welcome at the same hotels where their teams stayed, and regularly ate at separate restaurants. During the 1946 season, Brown left Motley and Willis behind on a road trip to Miami to play the Seahawks because he feared for his players’ safety. He assured them that Miami would not be in the league the next season, and true to his word, the franchise was rescinded and a new one arose in Baltimore.

Strode and Washington were both already past their primes when they joined the Rams and had brief stays in the NFL. Willis and Motley were magnificent performers, won multiple championships, and are both enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Hitching a Ride to the Big Time

The floodgates didn’t exactly open after 1946. The flow of African Americans into professional football was more like a trickle. The AAFC bolstered their African-American population at a slightly quicker rate than the NFL. Most notable of the 1947 additions were Cleveland’s end and punter Horace Gillom and the New York Yankees dynamic halfback and returner Buddy Young. Detroit was the second NFL team to employ African Americans when they signed halfback Mel Groomes on April 17, 1948 and end Bob Mann one week later.

Tunnell still had a year of college eligibility left in 1948 after missing his senior year at Iowa with an eye injury, but wanted to give pro ball a try. He hitchhiked from Garret Hill, PA to Manhattan. Tunnell recalled, “I was just about to forget it and go home when I got a ride from a West Indian guy in a banana truck who took me all the way to the Lincoln Tunnel.”

He made his way to the Giants offices at Columbus Circle and asked to speak with Coach Steve Owen. After Owen told Tunnell he’d never heard of him, General Manager Ray Walsh recognized Tunnell’s name from his time at Iowa, and brought him to meet owner Tim Mara. The owner was impressed enough with the player’s positive attitude and self-confidence to allow him a try out. It did not take long for Tunnell to prove himself worthy to Owen on the field and be offered a contract, officially making him the Football Giants first African-American player. The New York Times printed a three paragraphs documenting the Giants signing of the “Negro back” on July 25.

Tunnell and Tim Mara forged a bond that lasted until the owner’s passing in 1959. Tunnell said, “During that very first morning in the office, Mr. Mara gave me the feeling that I had found a friend in New York. He impressed me as a man who believed in his judgement. He stood on his own two feet and expected you to do the same. He was one of the finest men I’ve met. It wasn’t that he was a financial friend, although he certainly was that, but a personal friend.”

To survive physical practices designed to test the efficacy of newcomers, Tunnell befriended the Giants other African-American employee, trainer Charlie Porter. After being rousted by Owen from the cold tub after a brutal practice, Porter reinforced the coach’s fundamental beliefs while offering compassion to the bruised player who was questioning his confidence, “I let you come in here because I know he wouldn’t give permission to a rookie. Steve always says this game has to be played down in the dirt. He knows you’re physically tough enough to get down in the dirt. But in this league you have to be mentally tough, too, and some guys just aren’t.” Tunnell took Porter’s message to heart, and would ultimately set the NFL standard for most consecutive games started with 143 [since broken] before his playing days in New York were finished.

After learning the rigors of the trade at camp in Pearl River, New York, a battle-hardened Tunnell returned to New York and faced a host of off-field challenges. He was nearly arrested attempting to cash his first paycheck from the Giants when the teller and security guard had believed it was stolen. Lacking a driver’s license, Walsh had to come to the bank to vouch for Tunnell. He also experienced difficulty finding himself welcome at Manhattan Hotels, until he found the Henry Hudson, which Tunnell described as “a white hotel” and stayed there for eleven years. He also found himself late for a team meeting when a cab driver refused to bring him to the Polo Grounds. After being turned away at many restaurants, Tunnell alternately invited teammates to his favorite establishments in Harlem.

Tunnell had no such difficulty being welcomed in the locker room. His first and longest-lasting friendship was with another newcomer in 1948, quarterback Charlie Conerly. “I consider Charlie Conerly to be one of the best friends I have in the world, and I have reason to believe that he feels the same way about me. We hit it off right from the start. Charlie was a war veteran like myself…another thing we had in common was neither of us carried our race on our sleeve. We judged one another as football players and guys.”

Emlen Tunnell, New York Giants (1948)

Emlen Tunnell, New York Giants (1948)

During his first regular season game, Tunnell was concerned about what the fans thought of him, and it caused him a deep conflict because his resolution conflicted with his coach’s orders. After taking several hard hits on punt returns, Owen told Tunnell to signal for a fair catch for the sake of his own safety. Tunnell said, “Like a good little rookie, I signaled for a fair catch on the next punt. As I ran off the field I heard some boos…There was another punt; another fair catch and a lot of boos. That tore it. When I got back to the bench, my neck was no longer brown. It was red. No player worth his salary reacts favorably to boos, and in my case there was something behind those boos that I didn’t like. I was sure that some of those people were booing because they thought to themselves, ‘The nigger is afraid to run with the ball.’ This was one of the few times in all my years in sports when I have been insubordinate to my coaches. ‘To hell with those fair catches,’ I snapped. ‘If you want somebody to make a fair catch, put another guy in there. I’m not going to have those people think I’m gutless.’ That moment of decision grooved me for the future. If I had been willing to go for the fair catch or if Steve had been unwilling to let me play it my way, I would not have been the player I turned out to be.”

Tunnell went on to set NFL single-season and franchise records for punt returns and punt return yards that lasted over a decade.

Tunnell struggled with more than punt returns his rookie season. He was unsure of his assignments, and accrued a large number of defensive holding penalties as he repeatedly was fooled in one-on-one coverage situations in pass defense and also never quite found a defined role on the team as he played sporadically on offense.

The turning point came on November 21st against the Packers in Milwaukee when Tunnell intercepted three passes (the first of four three-interception games of his career) and returned one 43 yards for his first touchdown as a professional. Tunnell said, “I was making the ping-pong transition from a guy who thought he was a great pass defense man to a guy who realized he didn’t know anything about pass defense to a guy who was learning a little about pass defense.” His renewed confidence was expressed with exuberant tackling. Tunnell knocked Green Bay back Jack Jacobs from the game.

Tunnell, who had also knocked out Philadelphia’s All-Pro halfback Steve Van Buren earlier in the season, relished the physicality of tackling as much as he enjoyed making a play with the ball in his hands: “I could make tackles until I’m 50. Your body may go, but your heart doesn’t.”

Influential Impact

The following offseason George Taliaferro, a multi-purpose back from Indiana, became the first African-American selected in the NFL draft. He passed up the opportunity to play with the Chicago Bears and instead chose to play with the Los Angeles Dons of the AAFC. At the conclusion of the 1949 season, six of the AAFC’s eight teams had at least one black player, while only three of ten NFL teams had one (the Rams, Lions and Giants.)

In 1949 Tunnell returned two of his then-franchise record 10 interceptions for touchdowns, as well as his first punt return for a score. The 10 interceptions is quite remarkable when considering the NFL played a 12-game season and teams only threw the ball approximately 41% of the time. [In 2014, NFL teams threw the ball nearly 57% of the time during a 16-game season.] Over the first 10 years of his career, Tunnell never registered fewer than six interceptions.

His most significant contribution to the Giants came in 1950 as a key cog in Owen’s Umbrella Defense, which was designed specifically to slow down the dynamic and explosive Cleveland offense. Tunnell said, “Steve Owen had a fine football mind, and he used it to concentrate upon the problems presented by the Browns…Otto Graham often sent out four potential receivers against the opposition’s three deep backs. When Cleveland’s great ends, Mac Speedie and Dante Lavelli, ran hook patterns that took them toward the middle of the secondary, the Browns halfbacks, Dub Jones and Rex Baumgartner or Ken Carpenter, would double flare, a maneuver that took them outside and deep. As an alternate to this, Speedie or Lavelli, or both, would run down and out to the sideline. The sideline pass was Graham’s bread-and-butter play.”

Emlen Tunnell (45), Tom Landry (49); New York Giants at Cleveland Browns (October 1, 1950)

Emlen Tunnell (45), Tom Landry (49); New York Giants at Cleveland Browns (October 1, 1950)

Owen’s concept was to congest the traffic along the sidelines. After lining up in a six-man line, the ends would drop back into coverage, leaving the interior four to rush. The two safeties covered the deep middle while the two defensive halfbacks covered the area between the ends and safeties. The single linebacker keyed on fullback Marion Motley. Looking at the scheme on a blackboard, the defense resembled an opened umbrella.

The defense performed like an umbrella as well. In their first meeting, New York upset the Browns in Cleveland 6-0, the first shutout in the Browns’ history. Graham threw three interceptions and did not complete a single pass through the first half. It was the perfect answer for the quickly evolving T-Formation offense that had taken pro football by storm after World War II. The umbrella would be further refined by Tom Landry later in the decade as the 4-3 defense. The four defensive backs, operated intuitively with one another, passing off receivers and covering the field with an intricacy never before seen.

Tunnell said that 6-0 victory was so enjoyable that he never felt the urge to play on offense again. “I guess I got sold on defense when I teamed up with Tom Landry, Harman Rowe and Otto Schnellbacher in 1950. That was the best-tackling backfield I ever saw. Everyone knew what the other fellow was going to do and that’s what made it such fun. After that I never wanted to play offense again.”

Emlen Tunnell, New York Giants; New York Giants at Cleveland Browns (December 17, 1950)

Emlen Tunnell, New York Giants; New York Giants at Cleveland Browns (December 17, 1950)

Tunnell reemphasized his passion for physical play when he reacquainted himself with Van Buren late in the season finale, which New York needed to win to maintain a tie in the standings with Cleveland. New York held a 9-7 lead on a snow-covered field when the Philadelphia back turned the corner and appeared headed for a long gain until Tunnell came across the field and stopped Van Buren dead in his tracks with a thunderous hit. The drive stalled and the Giants held on for the win. After the game Van Buren said, “I’ve been hit hard, but never that hard.”

After the 1950 season, Detroit released its two African-American players, Bob Mann and Wally Triplett and did not have another black player on the team until 1958, a span that covered the entire coaching tenure of head coach Bubby Parker. After 1952, 10 of the NFL’s 12 teams had at least one black player, the exceptions being the Lions and Redskins. Washington owner Marshall infamously stated during the period, “We’ll start signing Negroes when the Harlem Globetrotters start signing whites.”

Tunnell set an NFL record in 1951 with 34 punt returns, three of which were run back for touchdowns. He also took place in a unique occurrence in pro football history on November 4, 1951. Against the New York Yanks at the Polo Grounds, Tunnell combined with Buddy Young, to record the first back-to-back kickoff return touchdowns in NFL history. Tunnell’s covered 100 yards for his and Young’s 90.

1952 was the season that Tunnell earned the moniker “Offense on Defense” as he was a big play waiting to happen when he got his hands on the ball. His seven interceptions for 149 yards, 30 punt returns for 411 yards and 15 kick returns for 364 yards totaled 924, more than the NFL’s leading rusher, African-American back “Deacon” Dan Towler of Los Angeles who gained 894 yards.

Quotas, Stacking and Skill Positions

African-American players were often relegated to positions that allegedly required less intelligence, which gave birth to the term “skill positions.” Black players found themselves grouped at such positions as halfback and safety on defense and backs and ends on offense. This tactic became known as “stacking”, which limited the number of African-American players who could make their respective team as they were competing against one another for the same roster spots. There were also implications that some teams may have had a quota in place for African-American players.

Hall of Fame receiver Raymond Berry, however, saw beyond common perception, and complemented Tunnell for more than his athleticism: “He had brains. He knew what was going on out there. He could cover, tackle, do it all. He was so knowledgeable about the position and the defensive schemes he played in.”

The position that proved to be the most difficult for black players to assume was quarterback. The first black quarterback since Pollard in the 1920’s was Willie Thrower in 1953. His experience was limited to two appearances, and eight pass attempts for the Chicago Bears. Thrower was released after the season and was not signed by any other teams. Tunnell reset the record for punt returns that same year with 38, and would stand until 1965.

Still, Tunnell is remembered by those closest to him for his physical style of play. Teammate Sam Huff recalled, “He was the hardest hitting guy in the league. He would hit people so hard they’d be afraid to catch a pass in front of him; catch a pass in front of Emlen Tunnell and usually you don’t finish the game.”  Hall of Fame back Lenny Moore said Tunnell was the second-best tackler he faced after Dick “Night Train” Lane.

The Sleeper Pick

The Giants added their second African-American player, tackle Roosevelt Brown, in the 27th round of the 1953 draft. A member of the Giants staff saw his name mentioned on a black all-American team in the Pittsburgh Courier [a black newspaper] and during a moment of indecision when the Giants were on the clock, he suggested Brown as the team’s choice.

Brown was a unique physical specimen. He was a sculpted 245 pounds his rookie season with a 29-inch waist. In addition, he was one of the fastest players on the team, and would always be considered the fastest lineman in the NFL his entire career. Dedicated to physical conditioning, he was noted for routinely staying on the field after practices to run extra laps on his own.

Roosevelt Brown. New York Giants (1953)

Roosevelt Brown. New York Giants (1953)

Like Tunnell before him, Brown’s mettle was tested right away in training camp. Coach Owen lined Brown up across from ferocious All-Pro defensive tackle Arnie Weinmeister in drills. Brown was beaten repeatedly and finished the day physically battered, but Owen was impressed with the young player’s resolve.

Brown ascended from the bottom of the depth chart and was New York’s starting left tackle on opening day in September as a rookie. His transition to New York was made easier by the now-established veteran Tunnell. Brown, who roomed with Tunnell in 1953, said, “Within two months, Emlen had introduced me to every cabby, maître d’hôtel, barber, teammate, cop or politician I needed to know in New York. There was no fuss to it. They were Emlen’s friends.”

While New York had a dismal season in 1953, Brown proved to be a bright spot and someone the new coaching staff could build around. Brown proved to be an instinctive pass blocker early on, exhibiting patience that belied his experience as he held his ground while defenders tried to maneuver around him. On running plays, Brown dominated the point-of-attack and pierced the front wall of the opposition’s defense creating running lanes. Beginning in 1954, offensive coach Vince Lombardi turned Brown into pro football’s first pulling tackle on his signature play: the power sweep.

Brown regularly logged the most minutes played for the Giants the first 10 years of his career. In the days of small rosters (teams carried 33 active players in 1953, expanded to 35 in 1957, 36 in 1959 and did not reach 40 until 1964), versatility and endurance were highly valued. Brown was a mainstay in New York’s goal-line and short-yardage defenses, and regularly lined up over the center in the middle guard position.

While being a generally quiet man who chose not to draw attention to himself, his former teammates were not at all reticent to describe his play and importance to the Giants. “As far as I’m concerned, Rosie was the best offensive tackle ever to play,” said Frank Gifford. “We knew the moment we saw him that this was one of the great physical specimens, eventually rounding out at about six-feet-five and 270 pounds. But nobody imagined his incredible athletic ability. Rosie was so fast he could have played running back and would have made a great tight end.

“Rosie and I teamed up on one of Lombardi’s most effective plays, the 48 Option. It was a quick pitch to me, and I either ran the ball around the left end or threw it, depending on what the defensive cornerback did…Rosie just loved to annihilate those little cornerbacks. There’d be nothing but grease spots left of them when he got up. In the huddle he’d practically froth when they called the 48 Option. It gave me my longest career run from scrimmage [79 yards, November 29, 1959 vs. Washington]. On that one, Rosie creamed the cornerback, got up to chase after me, and wiped out another defensive back nearly 40 yards downfield.”

There was no coincidence that in 1956 when Brown was named the NFL’s Lineman of the Year, Gifford was also voted the NFL’s MVP. “I wouldn’t be in the Hall of Fame if it weren’t for him,” said Gifford.

Roosevelt Brown, New York Giants (1956)

Roosevelt Brown, New York Giants (1956)

Sam Huff said, “Our MVP lineman had to be Roosevelt Brown. He was nothing but muscle, a bigger version of Jimmy Brown, and he was all heart. He was so valuable to our team he even played some defense. Rosie also played on all the special teams.”

Opponent, peer and Hall of Fame Baltimore guard Jim Parker said, “Rosie never did the same things twice. He was incredible. He was my favorite, my idol. Everything I learned I picked up from him. I wanted to be just like him.”

Refuting the perception that black players lacked intelligence, longtime New York coach Allie Sherman regarded Brown as being an “extra coach” on the field for his team. He said Brown often alerted teammates to changes in the opposition’s sets. And he also marveled at Browns’ athletic gifts. “Nobody could do the things he could do,” said Sherman. “He was so quick that on an end run, in the time it took a quarterback to lay the ball in the runner’s belly, he could slide all the way down the line in the direction of the play, get there before the ball carrier and join in the run block with the two guards at the point-of-attack.”

Roosevelt Brown, New York Giants (1958)

Roosevelt Brown, New York Giants (1958)

Brown received numerous accolades from his peers and football personnel, who voted him to nine Pro Bowls and named him All Pro six times over his career.

Progress

As more black players made their mark in professional football, more joined the ranks. In the 1953 and 1954 seasons, African-American Joe Perry of San Francisco became the first player with back-to-back 1,000 yard rushing seasons.

Emlen Tunnell (45), New York Giants (November 28, 1954)

Emlen Tunnell (45), New York Giants (November 28, 1954)

In 1954, the Giants added end-kicker Haldo Norman and fullback Bobby Epps, which doubled the number of African-Americans on the team. Norman injured himself mowing his lawn shortly before training camp and only appeared in the preseason. Epps had a productive three-year tenure in New York and started 21 games over the 1954 and 1955 seasons.

Two cornerstones of the great Giant teams to come arrived in 1955, defensive tackle Roosevelt Grier and fullback Mel Triplett. Their transition was made easier by the men who preceded them. Giant captain Andy Robustelli reflected years later: “One of the reasons we never had problems was because of Em Tunnell. Emlen was good to all people. He was a hell of a decent person who meant a lot to young ballplayers.”

While the NFL’s African-American population gradually increased during the 1950’s and locker rooms appeared to be harmonious, there were still uncomfortable encounters on the field of play. Gifford recalled: “Perhaps because Rosie was so talented, some of the clowns we played against gave him a real racist initiation. He’d hear, ‘you black motherf—–,’ and a lot worse. When he’d come back to the huddle, I’d be as embarrassed as he was.”

Emlen Tunnell, New York Giants (1955)

Emlen Tunnell, New York Giants (1955)

Tunnell was perceived as pleasant, friendly and easy going without a care in the world. But he often confided his worries and frustrations with his close friend Conerly. Conerly told Tunnell one evening in the early 1950’s, “Time will heal everything. Just like you came here to play. You were the first colored guy and since then there have been more and more. That’s how it will be in everything else.”

While the social pressures were tremendous, there also happened to be an unforeseen positive consequence – a little freedom from the coaches and bed checks while on the road. When the team stayed in white-only hotels, alternate arrangements were made for Tunnell, Brown and the other black players on the team. Brown said, “Wellington Mara always took care of it, and the people we stayed with were always nice people with nice homes, and we loved it. We didn’t have any curfew like the other guys, and we could do anything we wanted – drink beer and party – with no coaches checking up on us. Sometimes Charlie Conerly, Frank Gifford and Alex Webster would come over where we were staying, and once Frank said, ‘Hell, you guys got the best of two worlds.’ It actually upset me when the segregations arrangements ended, and we had to stay with the rest of the players.”

Bill Svoboda (30), Emlen Tunnell (middle), Alex Webster (29); New York Giants, (December 30, 1956)

Bill Svoboda (30), Emlen Tunnell (middle), Alex Webster (29); (December 30, 1956)

By the decade’s end however, many players had had enough and stood up for change. Rosey Grier remembered an exhibition trip to Dallas with the Colts in 1959. “We black players knew what going to Dallas meant: the white players would stay in one hotel and we would be housed in another one that was presumably more suited to our race. It was always that way in the South. It was awkward, because we had to take a bus to the hotel where the white coaching staff and players were staying for meetings and the like. But, when it came time to eat, we had to get back in the bus and go someplace where it was okay for blacks to eat.

“But, in 1959 in Dallas, we had a change of heart. It may have been provoked by the promotional nature of the trip that called for all the players to attend a pre-game party downtown where we could be gazed at by local businessmen who might be interested in backing an NFL franchise for Dallas.”

Grier, Brown, Triplett and the black players from the Colts, including Lenny Moore, discussed boycotting the pre-game event as a form of protest. When Grier and the others refused to board the Giants bus to the pre-game party, Coach Jim Lee Howell became alarmed. Wellington Mara had overheard the discussion and intervened, “We didn’t know you felt like this, and I promise you in the future we won’t go anywhere we can’t stay together.” All the Giants attended the party, but the African-American players from Baltimore refrained. Although Grier questioned whether they had given in too easily at first, Mara proved true to his word and New York never again patronized a segregated establishment.

Breaking Barriers off the Field

Tunnell’s final game in a Giants uniform took place on December 28, 1958 against Baltimore in the “Greatest Game Ever Played.” Tunnell was believed to have slowed down with age. He had his return duties reduced and occasionally chafed with defensive coach Tom Landry, and was released after the season. He played three more years in Green Bay, and his final game was the 1961 NFL Championship Game against the Giants, where he intercepted a Y.A. Tittle pass during the Packers 37-0 victory.

Tunnell spent the 1962 season in the unusual capacity of serving as a freelance scout for both New York and Green Bay. The Giants were impressed with Tunnell’s insightful work and hired him as a full-time assistant coach in 1963, the first African-American to serve in such a capacity. Lowell Perry of the Steelers served as an assistant coach in 1957 after having his pelvis fractured and hip dislocated by Grier and Bill Svoboda of the Giants in 1956, then was a part time scout for Pittsburgh in 1958 before moving into private business.

Roosevelt Brown, New York Giants (1962)

Roosevelt Brown, New York Giants (1962)

Brown was forced into retirement by a chronic phlebitis condition after the 1965 season and joined Tunnell on New York’s coaching staff in 1966. Both men cherished working with young players and reflected on how pro football had changed dramatically in the time since they had entered the league.

Tunnell said: “You knock people down, you stop people from scoring – there’s no difference. The only difference is that there are more players and there’s more money…I think the quality is different simply because there’s more teams…I think the desire is gone because I’ve had players say to me, ‘There are 26 teams, I’ll get a job.’ And it’s true…It doesn’t bother me, ‘cause it’s their money. There are a lot of guys making money who don’t put out and that bothers me more than anything. I don’t understand it, because when they go out to work they can’t make the same kind of money they’re making playing pro football. They don’t stay after practice. They don’t enjoy themselves. The Kyle Rotes, the Giffords, the Tunnells, the Rosie Browns, the Robustellis – they stayed out every day on their own time. I used to run up to 10 punts every day, 75-80 yards, up until I got too old. I did it because I enjoyed it.”

That love poured over into his coaching as well. Tunnell once reprimanded a player he had personally scouted and brought to the Giants, Carl “Spider” Lockhart, during a contract dispute. Tunnell told Lockhart playing for the Giants was a privilege, “You should be paying them. Sign that contract!”

Tunnell said of the changes since he became one of the first African-Americans to play professionally in 1948, “There are more black players now. They’re playing because they’re good enough to play, not because they’re black.”

Joe Green (#33), Willie Williams (#41), Coach Emlen Tunnell, Carl "Spider" Lockhart (#43) at practice in 1971

Joe Green (#33), Willie Williams (#41), Coach Emlen Tunnell, Carl “Spider” Lockhart (#43) at practice in 1971

While coaching the Giants group of defensive backs, known as “Emlen’s Gremlins”, Tunnell received pro football’s highest individual honor, enshrinement into the Hall of Fame in 1967. Tunnell is not only the first African-American member in Canton, but also the first player recognized as a defensive specialist from the two-platoon era (though his punt and kick return accomplishments were certainly considered.) During his brief acceptance speech, he thanked his coaches, the Maras and the driver of the banana truck who picked him up hitchhiking to the Giants offices.

During this time, Marlin Briscoe became the first African-American to assume the role of a regular starting quarterback for a pro football team. Briscoe started 11 games in 1968 for Denver of the AFL. He spent most of his career traveling and started 66 games for six different teams over the course of his nine-year career and played in the 1970 Pro Bowl.

Tunnell coached through 1973 and returned to scouting the following year. He served in that capacity until his death at training camp in 1975. John Mara said, “It’s fair to say that Emlen was the most beloved member of our organization, perhaps in its history.”

Brown coached through 1970 and returned to scouting in 1971, when he found a little-known defensive tackle named John Mendenhall who became a stalwart for the Giants defense through the decade. Brown was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1975, and was the second player selected strictly on the merits of line-play (Parker was the first in 1973).

Brown remained with the Giants for the remainder of his days until 2004, an uninterrupted span of 51 years, and was ever-present around the offensive line drills during every training camp. Brown said in 1972, “I am very fortunate to have been with the Giant organization. I have never had to look over my shoulder…the organization, the coaches, they all had faith in me and I had faith in them. Even though we weren’t winning my first years with the Giants, there was a tradition of winning. The Maras were fine people and they know how to treat people right. The only thing for me was to do my best in return.”

Brown shared Tunnell’s view of the modern ballplayer, “Right now, I think we have too many average players. Too many ballplayers are thinking about Wall Street…A good player wants to win. For him this is it. Winning is the name of the game. I don’t think many of today’s players are as dedicated as they should be…[There is] no difference in the game itself. I think there is a difference in the money structure, which tends to lead a number of players the wrong way.”

Wellington Mara said Brown was the best lineman ever to perform for the team “Rosie was a great Giant. He was with this organization for more than 50 years as a player, coach and scout. He excelled in every area and he was always a gentleman.”

Both Brown and Tunnell combined to play in 17 pro bowls and were honored with 10 All-Pro selections during their careers in New York (Tunnell also participated in the 1959 Pro Bowl with Green Bay). Both men were selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as members of the All-1950’s Team. When Tunnell was named to the NFL’s 50th Anniversary team in 1969 it was a unique honor, as he was the only safety chosen. He was essentially declared to be the best safety in pro football’s history at the time. Brown was named to the NFL’s 75th Anniversary team in 1994, along with Forrest Gregg and Anthony Munoz at the tackle position.

At the time of the 1970 AFL-NFL merger, approximately 30% of all players were African-American. That number rose to 68% for the 2014 season. More than just numbers, the modern era of professional football displays the talents of African-American performers on the grandest of stages. Doug Williams became the first black quarterback to win a Super Bowl in 1987. Tony Dungy, who played on the 1978 Super Bowl champion Steelers, won a Super Bowl as a head coach with Indianapolis in 2006. The Giants have won two Super Bowl titles under the watch of general manager Jerry Reece.

Professional football advanced exponentially after the inclusion of African-Americans in 1946, and its popularity today reinforces the importance of the sacrifices endured by the pioneers who stepped forth during a time when they received no recognition. The game that is enjoyed by millions of fans today is better because of their contributions.

most non offensive TDs cET RB decorations

********************************************

SOURCES:

  • New York Football Giants 1954 Press, Radio and Television Guide, Robert Daley, 1954, New York Football Giants, Inc.
  • New York Football Giants 1957 Press, Radio and Television Guide, Robert Daley, 1957, New York Football Giants, Inc.
  • The Giants of New York: The History Of Professional Football’s Most Fabulous Dynasty, Barry Gottehrer, 1963, Putnam
  • Footsteps of a Giant, Emlen Tunnell with William Gleason, 1966, Doubleday & Company, Inc.
  • The First 50 Seasons, Bob Oates Jr., 1969, Ridge Press
  • New York Giants: Great Teams’ Great Years, Jim Terzian, 1973, Macmillan Publishing Co.
  • There Were Giants In Those Days, Gerald Eskanazi, 1976, Prentice Hall Press
  • Rosey: An Autobiography, Roosevelt Grier with Dennis Baker, 1986, Honor Books
  • Tuff Stuff, Sam Huff, 1988, St. Martins Press
  • The Whole Ten Yards, Frank Gifford with Harry Waters, 1993, Giff & Golda Productions
  • Pigskin: The Early Years Of Pro Football, Robert W. Peterson, 1997, Oxford University Press
  • The National Forgotten League, Dan Daly, 2012, University Of Nebraska Press
  • 2015 New York Giants Information Guide, Michael Eisen, DeAndre Phillips, Corry Rush, 2015, New York Football Giants, Inc.
  • 2015 Official NFL Record & Fact Book, Brenden Lee, Jacob Gellerman and Robert King, 2015, National Football League
  • Historical New York Times searchable archive (via ProQuest)
Aug 272015
 
Share Button
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: [What about] Nat Berhe?

A: Berhe re-injured his calf.

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

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

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

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

Q: How bad is Marshall Newhouse?

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

Q: He should be able to play?

A: I think so.

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

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

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

A: Let’s not go there.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Is Jayron Hosley okay?

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

Q: You said he was doing some things before…

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

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

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

Q: Victor is not going to play, correct?

A: He’s not going to play, no.

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

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

Q: Is it possible he plays then on Saturday?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Will Landon Collins play?

A: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

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

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

Preston Parker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 26, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their second-to-last training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

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

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

Cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion) returned to practice.

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

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

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

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

Q: How is Rueben Randle doing today?

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

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

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

Q: Will Weston Richburg go today?

A: No.

Q: Is that concerning?

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

Q: What is it? Tendinitis?

A: It is his knee, yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What was he like to coach?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Anything new with Cruz since yesterday?

A: No.

Q: So he won’t practice again today?

A: No, he won’t.

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The last training camp practice for the Giants this summer is on Thursday, but the practice is not open to the public.

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

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wide receiver Julian Talley (toe) returned to practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: He’ll go full today?

A: He’ll go limited.

Q: What about some of the other guys?

A: What about them?

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

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

Q: Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe?

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

Q: Any better idea on Jon Beason?

A: No. Nope.

Q: Are you concerned about Victor at all?

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

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

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

Q: It’s not the knee right?

A: No, it’s not the knee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: He hasn’t told you?

A: He hasn’t told me.

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

A: No.

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The last two training camp practices for the Giants this summer are on Wednesday and Thursday, but neither is open to the public.

Aug 202015
 
Share Button
Dwayne Harris, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Probably not.

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

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

Q: Is [Rueben] Randle still out?

A: As of now, he is.

Q: Odell will be back today?

A: Today he’s going to work, yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: At both spots maybe?

A: We’ll see. Possibly.

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

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

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

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

Q: So how much will he play Saturday?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Improvement. Improvement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How did Akeem Hunt look kick returning?

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

Q: How has Geremy Davis been progressing so far?

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

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

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

Q: Where do you see him? Gunner?

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

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

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

Q: How much of a loss is Mykelle Thompson?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: So that is what the focus is on?

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

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

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will hold a walk-thru on Friday before Saturday’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only one remaining training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

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

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 19, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pads be poppin during run drills #giants

A video posted by Jordan Raanan (@jraanan) on

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

Q: Can you update us on George Selvie?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: But you started him at guard.

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

Q: Did Orleans Darkwa impress you the other night?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: No.

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

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

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

A: Yes. Yes. How’s that?

Q: Why?

A: Because we got a lot out of it.

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

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

Q: Has the starting offense made progress this week?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Where does Geoff Schwartz stand?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Absolutely.

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

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

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

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

Q: How do you view that WR position?

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

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

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

Q: You would take ten if you could?

A: If we could.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

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

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

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Can’t seem to have corrected?

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

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

Q: Did you have to say something to him?

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

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

A: How does he fit in?

Q: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: He’s practicing today.

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

A: Definitely. Definitely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: First time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What do you guys like about Brandon Meriweather?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How much do you miss JPP?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What’s your impression of Damontre Moore?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How do you see using Devon Kennard?

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players are off on Tuesday. The next training camp practice will be held on Wednesday. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only three remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 162015
 
Share Button
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 122015
 
Share Button
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