Jun 142016
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (June 6, 2016)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 14, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The first day of the New York Giants mandatory 3-day mini-camp was held on Tuesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The mini-camp will continue with practices on Wednesday and Thursday.

INJURY REPORT – VICTOR CRUZ PRACTICES…
Running back Orleans Darkwa (fractured leg), tight end Matt LaCosse (lower leg), offensive guard Ryan Seymour (torn ligament in hand), offensive tackle Byron Stingily (unknown), defensive tackle Montari Hughes (lower leg), linebacker J.T. Thomas (lower leg), safety Cooper Taylor (sports hernia), and safety Mykkele Thompson (lower leg) did not practice.

“J.T. has a lower leg injury,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “It is something that we feel he will be ready for camp.”

When McAdoo was asked about LaCosse, Hughes, and Thompson, he replied, “No, same thing, we are going to hold onto those guys until camp…We expect (Thompson) to be ready to go for training camp.”

Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) took part in individual drills and some walk-thru team drills. It was the first time he has practiced since August 2015 when he suffered a calf injury that later required surgery. “It was good to have Victor back in the fold,” said McAdoo. “(It was) another small step today. We felt it was time to take the next step…He ran a couple routes versus air, versus man to man, stuck his foot in the ground and looked like he could get some separation.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The starting safeties were Landon Collins and Darian Thompson. The second-team safeties were Nat Berhe and Andrew Adams. The third team safeties were Bennett Jackson and Justin Currie.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade lined up as the starting nickel cornerback.
  • Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie played the slot cornerback position some with Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins outside.
  • Running back Shane Vereen beat safety Landon Collins for a big gain down the left sideline.
  • Linebacker Jonathan Casillas dropped an interception on an underneath pass from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Tight end Ryan Malleck made a leaping grab against defensive end/linebacker Brad Bars. Malleck later ripped down a pass away from cornerback Matt Smalley.
  • Wide receiver Sterling Shepard made a nice sliding catch on a comeback route against cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Shepard also caught a touchdown pass from Manning in the red zone on a dig route.
  • Wide receiver Myles White beat cornerback Eli Apple on a slant in the endzone for a touchdown. Apple later broke up another pass intended for White.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade ripped the ball away from wide receiver Sterling Shepard and returned it for a touchdown.
  • Wide receiver Tavarres King caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib.
  • Giants.com top plays (VIDEO).
  • Giants.com wide receiver Victor Cruz highlights (VIDEO).

HEAD COACH BEN MCADOO…
The transcript of Ben McAdoo’s press conference on Tuesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
Transcripts and video clips of the media sessions with the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

NY POST Q&A WITH FB/TE WILL JOHNSON…
Giants FB Will Johnson on working 3 jobs, becoming a dad and ‘loaded’ team by Steve Serby of The New York Post

ARTICLES…

May 262016
 
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Sterling Shepard, New York Giants (May 6, 2016)

Sterling Shepard – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS OTA VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS…
The Giants have completed three of their ten organized team activity (OTA) practices (May 23-24, 26). No live contact is permitted during OTAs, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are allowed. There was no media access for the practices on May 24 and May 26, but Giants.com made available the following highlights:

  • May 24 OTA Practice Highlights (Video)
  • Inside the Huddle: D-Line (Video)

Giants.com also identified “5 things we learned” and “standout players” from the two practices:

The seven remaining OTA practices will be held June 1-3, June 6-7, and June 9-10. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 14-16.

GIANTS.COM PLAYER INTERVIEWS…
Video clips of recent Giants.com “insider” interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • WR Geremy Davis (Video)
  • DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Video)
  • S Bennett Jackson (Video)

ARTICLES…

Apr 112016
 
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Byron Stingily, Tennessee Titans (December 18, 2014)

Byron Stingily – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN BYRON STINGILY…
The New York Giants have officially signed unrestricted free agent offensive tackles Byron Stingily (Pittsburgh Steelers). Following up on yesterday’s updates, the Giants have also officially confirmed the signing of unrestricted free agent running back Bobby Rainey (Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and unrestricted free agent linebacker Kelvin Sheppard (Miami Dolphins).

The 27-year old, 6’5”, 318-pound Stingily was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. The Titans waived him in September 2015 and he then signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers in October 2015. In five seasons, Stingily has played in 20 regular-season games with nine starts (eight at right tackle and one at tight end). Stingily is an athletic lineman with good size. He plays more of a finesse, positional game. A better pass protector than run blocker, Stingily is not a physical player.

ARTICLES…

Apr 042016
 
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Will Johnson, Pittsburgh Steelers (August 29, 2015)

Will Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS SIGN WILL JOHNSON…
ESPN reports that the New York Giants are signing unrestricted free agent H-Back/fullback Will Johnson (Pittsburgh Steelers) to a 2-year contract.

The 27-year old, 6’2”, 240-pound Johnson was not drafted and signed with the Steelers in 2012. In four seasons with the Steelers, Johnson only missed one regular-season game, and started 20 contests. He has 31 career receptions for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson is versatile with the ability to play H-Back, tight end, and fullback. He is a good lead blocker who can also catch the football. Johnson is a solid special teams player.

Johnson will likely compete with Nikita Whitlock for the team’s sole fullback spot.

ARTICLES…

Mar 092016
 
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Janoris Jenkins, St. Louis Rams (November 15, 2015)

Janoris Jenkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS AGREE TO TERMS WITH JANORIS JENKINS…
According to multiple media reports, the New York Giants have agree to terms with unrestricted free agent cornerback Janoris Jenkins (Los Angeles Rams). Early reports indicate that the deal could be worth as much or more than $70 million and average $12 million per year or more. The Rams were very interested in re-signing Jenkins and he was being heavily pursued by the Raiders and other teams.

The 27-year old Jenkins was originally drafted in the 2nd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Rams. In his four seasons with the Rams, Jenkins played in 60 regular-season games with 58 starts. He has 49 career pass breakups and 10 interceptions, five of which he has returned for touchdowns. Jenkins is an average-sized corner with excellent speed and quickness. He is an instinctive coverman who has gotten better each year. Jenkins plays well in both man and zone coverage. Jenkins makes plays on the football, but is known as a bit of a gambler and will also give up the big play. He is not a physical run defender or strong tackler. Jenkins plays with a cocky swagger, but there are also some character concerns, including a drug charge in college.

MARCH 9, 2016 NEW YORK GIANTS FREE AGENT NEWS AND RUMORS…
March 9th marks the official beginning of free agency as teams can begin to sign free agents of other teams at 4:00 PM. Here is the latest:

  • Multiple media sources are reporting that the New York Giants are interested in unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Damon Harrison (New York Jets). The 27-year old Harrison was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. In the last three years, Harrison has started every regular-season game for the Jets. In 2015, he accrued 72 tackles and 0.5 sacks. The 6’4”, 350-pound Harrison is one of the NFL’s best run-stuffing nose tackles. He does not get much heat on the passer.
  • NJ.com reports that unrestricted free agent defensive end Olivier Vernon (Miami Dolphins) is now the top free agent priority for the New York Giants. The Dolphins removed their transition tag from Vernon on Wednesday, making him free to sign with any team without the right to match an offer. The cash-rich Jacksonville Jaguars are said to be very interested in Vernon. The 25-year old Vernon was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Dolphins. In the last three seasons, he has played in every regular-season game with 46 starts, averaging 55 tackles and 8.5 sacks per year.
  • NJ.com is reporting that the New York Giants had interest in unrestricted free agent wide receiver Marvin Jones (Cincinnati Bengals). However, Jones is signing with the Detroit Lions. The 25-year old Jones was drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Bengals. Jones played in 16 regular-season games with 13 starts in 2015 and finished the year with 65 catches for 816 yards and four touchdowns.
  • The New York Daily News reports that the New York Giants had expressed interest in unrestricted free agent cornerback Sean Smith (Kansas City Chiefs). The 28-year old Smith has played for both the Dolphins (2009-2012) and Chiefs (2013-2015). Last season, he started all 13 games he played in and accrued 45 tackles, 12 pass defenses, and two interceptions. The signing of Janoris Jenkins may now mean the Giants are no longer interested.
  • Free agent defensive end Charles Johnson, who met with the New York Giants on Sunday and Monday, is re-signing with the Carolina Panthers. The contract is reportedly a 1-year, $3 million deal. He supposedly turned down $6 million from other teams. Johnson said he almost signed with the Giants. “I came pretty close, but ultimately my heart is in Carolina,” said Johnson. “It’s not about the money. Carolina is home and I wouldn’t have been happy if I went somewhere else. The Giants are a first class organization, but now I have one more year to get back where I want to be, at home.”
  • Despite initial reports of mutual interest and a possible visit, free agent defensive end Mario Williams signed a 2-year contract with the Miami Dolphins.

GIANTS RE-SIGN SAFETY BENNETT JACKSON…
According to the NFL Player Associations website, New York Giants exclusive rights free agent safety/cornerback Bennett Jackson has signed his 1-year, $450,000 tender.

Jackson was placed on Injured Reserve before the season started in September 2015 after tearing the ACL in his right knee in the second preseason game. The Giants drafted Jackson in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. During his rookie season, he was waived, signed to the Practice Squad, and then placed on the Practice Squad/Injured List with cartilage damage to his left knee injury that required microfracture surgery. Jackson converted to cornerback from wide receiver at Notre Dame. The Giants shifted him to safety during the 2015 offseason. Jackson is a bit of a corner/safety ‘tweener. While he he has good speed and coverage skills for a safety, he lacks ideal size and physicality for the position. Before he was injured, Jackson was receiving first team reps at safety and as the team’s nickel corner.

ARTICLES…

Mar 042016
 
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Will Tye, New York Giants (January 3, 2016)

Will Tye – © USA TODAY Sports Images

GIANTS TENDER SEVEN EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS…
The New York Daily News is reporting that the New York Giants have tendered seven of the eight players on their roster who were eligible to be tendered as exclusive rights free agents. The players tendered cannot sign with any team other than the Giants, thus guaranteeing their return unless the tender is revoked. The seven players are:

  • RB Orleans Darkwa
  • WR Myles White
  • TE Will Tye
  • TE Jerome Cunningham
  • OG Adam Gettis
  • S Bennett Jackson
  • P Brad Wing

The player not tendered was wide receiver Marcus Harris. Scouting reports on these players are available in the Scouting Reports section of the website.

VICTOR CRUZ STARTS RUNNING…
New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz revealed on Thursday that he has begun running as part of his rehab process recovering from calf surgery. Cruz did not play in any preseason or regular-season games in 2015. Cruz was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2015 due to a left calf injury suffered in August that never healed and required surgery. It is the third leg injury that Cruz has suffered since signing his big 6-year contract in July 2013, including arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in 2013 and career-threatening patellar tendon surgery on his right knee in 2014.

“I’ve been making a lot of progress,” Cruz said in a BleacherReport.com video. “The calf is feeling really, really good. I’m excited about the progress, I’m excited for what’s to come… I have a long journey ahead of me. I’m pretty much starting from scratch, building my legs up from scratch, which is what I want to do. Making sure they’re stronger than they were and they stay that way. No more setbacks.”

Cruz is currently set to count $9.9 million against the team’s 2016 NFL cap, the second most by a player after quarterback Eli Manning. It has been speculated that if Cruz does not accept a pay cut, he may be released from the Giants. Cruz recently said that he believed there was an “80 percent” chance he would return to Giants.

“I really feel like it’s paying dividends. The strength in my calf is starting to come back,” said Cruz. “Everything’s starting to come around. I’m excited to go out there with my teammates again. I’m excited to see Odell and those guys, I’m excited to play again. But I know I have a long journey ahead of me. I have some significant gains to make in terms of where I’m at with my calf, and things like that. I’m excited.”

ARTICLES…

Sep 012015
 
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Brandon Mosley, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Brandon Mosley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants made 14 roster moves on Tuesday in order reduce the roster to 74 players – one below the NFL requirement of 75. The final roster cuts to achieve the 53-man regular-season roster must be made by Saturday, September 5th.

The Giants waived or released the following players:

  • RB Akeem Hunt (waived/injured – hamstring)
  • WR Jurion Criner
  • WR Derrick Johnson
  • TE Will Tye
  • OL Brandon Mosley (waived/injured – back)
  • OL Eric Herman
  • OL Michael Bamiro
  • DE Jordan Stanton
  • DT Jimmy Staten
  • S Justin Halley
  • P Robert Malone

Mosley (2012/4th round) and Herman (2013/7th round) were former draft picks.

The Giants placed the following players on season-ending Injured Reserve:

  • S Bennett Jackson (knee)
  • CB Josh Gordy (hip)

The Giants also put offensive tackle Will Beatty on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. Beatty, who is rehabbing after surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in May, was placed on the Active/PUP at the start of training camp. This new designation means he must sit out at least the Giants first six games of the regular season.

Because of these moves, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

Aug 232015
 
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Bennett Jackson Has Torn ACL, Jon Beason Sprained Knee: As feared, New York Giants safety Bennett Jackson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the closing minutes of Saturday night’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jackson, who started the game at safety and who had a legitimate shot to start at the position on opening day, will now be lost for the season. Jackson had microfracture surgery last year on his left knee after being signed to the Practice Squad.

“Bennett had been a guy that we had grabbed and he worked very, very hard at that job trying to give us another option there,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “It’s just a sad thing to see it happen, because it’s difficult. He’s tackling a tight end and they get all twisted up on the bottom of a pile. He ends up underneath the tight end, and if you just watch him grimace, it comes when he’s on the ground. So I don’t know exactly what happened.”

The Giants also announced that safety Justin Currie fractured both his right fibula and ankle in the game. He will also be lost for the season.

With the loss of Jackson, Currie, and Mykkele Thompson (who ruptured his right Achilles’ tendon in the first preseason game), the Giants are once again very thin at the safety position. Landon Collins (knee), Nat Berhe (calf), and Cooper Taylor (toe) all missed the game on Saturday but are expected to return soon.

Meanwhile, linebacker Jon Beason suffered a sprained knee and is now considered “week-to-week” on when he might return. That time frame puts into doubt his availability for the season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys on September 13.

Linebacker Mark Herzlich suffered a concussion in the game; no word yet on when he might return. Linebacker Tony Johnson suffered a knee sprain and is “day-to-day.”

August 23, 2015 Head Coach Tom Coughlin Conference Call: Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Sunday afternoon:

You know obviously we took some hits last night and we had some injuries and we are trying to decide in the next hour or so what we have and what we are going to do in terms of practice and what our needs might be just in preparing for this next game. I think that there is some information I can give you if you want to ask me specifically about certain people, that is fine but I don’t have the full collection of it and we do have everyone in here today since this is our normal day after the game. This will be an in-season type of a preparation this week so we are trying to make it as structured as much as possible according to what they can look forward to coming into the regular season, so we are doing that.

Having said that, there is no question that we did some things better last night. We were more aggressive, we were more physical, it was a good game. Both teams played a relatively clean game. We were plus-one (in turnovers), the defenses on both sides of the ball forced field goals throughout the majority of the night [and] as I said, there are some teaching issues here because in the one regard, we are lining up to kick a field goal, which would have been just another field goal. They jump offside and because it is less than five yards — we get a new set of downs and that is the series we score the only touchdown of the night, so that was something that certainly our players need to be very much aware of. The other thing I thought that was interesting from the standpoint of situations was we took the ball over on the minus-12, I believe it was a minus-12, with 1:25 to go in the game with one timeout, so we subsequently ran 12 plays and used up our timeout in a sack situation and we were at the 38-yard line for literally four straight snaps knowing full well that in that particular area and I’m talking about say from the 32-yard line beyond the 40-yard line, you’ve got a very important part of the field where decisions are made —difficult decisions are made whether to go for the long field goal, which obviously at stake is field position, whether to try to make a makeable third down and I’m saying something reasonable, or whether to have to pull back and even punt the ball, meaning that you have to have a very good…a punter that has the ability to place the ball in such a situation where you are not going to get a touchback because obviously that is not the circumstance.

Later on in the game when Ryan Nassib was in the game and he pulled the ball down in the second half and ran from the plus-37 to the plus-35, he gave us literally a chance to kick a 53-yard field. Now if we had thrown an incomplete pass or something from that standpoint and the ball would have stayed at the 37, there is no way we were going to kick a field goal even though it was only two more yards or 55 yards and you stretch yourself out a little bit, particularly if there is any kind of wind even kicking a 53-yarder, which the week before we had missed a long field goal and gave Cincinnati outstanding field position, so there were things like that, that came up all night. There was a couple of challenges that we utilized that proved to be good, that we were right. You aren’t always right. In that case, we were and again lots of people had a chance to play [and] lots of people did many, many different things.

We threw the ball probably a little bit more than I would have wanted to throw it, but we had 77 snaps in the game, which was good. We build up some snaps and play time but we still didn’t win possession by very much when you really look at it, not quite two minutes, so there were a bunch of things that happened in the game that were good for us to teach from. There were some outstanding aggressive special teams plays, there were tackles inside the 20, there was a long field goal, we had some very good individual plays on offense, the bench route to James Jones from Nassib which put us down in the 38-yard line and gave us a chance to even think before the half of having an opportunity to score a field goal where it was going to end up being a short gain with a clock play or getting it out of bounds. We had that circumstance, had a couple of decent runs by (Orleans) Darkwa, had a good run by Andre Williams, young Geremy Davis caught a nice ball on the sidelines and turned and tried to make it into more, which was very good. Dwayne Harris got the only touchdown of the night with a low…Ryan put it down low where the draped-over-his-back corner couldn’t get to the ball and Dwayne went down and made that difficult catch and gave us the score there on first and goal from the eight. We had Damontre Moore had a nice sack and forced fumble that we weren’t able to recover. We had the nice knockdown of the pass to the running back Robinson from Beason early in the game. Wade made a deep ball, knocked the ball away from the receiver on the deep post ball. Bromley and Kennard made a very nice stop, Unga made a nice tackle, Moore had a nice sack of Tuel, so there were plays like that that we can look at and say, ‘You know, those are outstanding plays’ and then of course there were plays that weren’t so good and that is what you have to concentrate on trying to improve upon.

Q: Do you have any updates on the health of Bennett Jackson and Jon Beason?

A: Bennett Jackson has an ACL and Jon Beason has a sprained knee.

Q: Is there a timetable for Beason with the sprain and how do you sort of progress from there with that one?

A: That is a tough one, you know. These things are all different. For me, without some doctor or expert telling me what to think in terms of the amount of time out, I’m not going to speculate but all these things end up being week to week and sometimes in these cases, it is longer than you think.

Q: Do you have to prepare now as if you will be without him for week one?

A: I don’t know. I’m not going to speculate on that probably until we see how this week goes and how the doctors have a chance to work with him a few days and maybe then they will have a better opinion about that.

Q: In the case that that does happen, this would be the reason that you have Jameel [McClain], correct? How much does that sort of help to have a veteran at least behind him. That was, I assume the plan or the reason to have a veteran like that around?

A: Well, all those things are true — you answered your own question there. We do have the benefit of a guy that’s played a lot of football and is very good in the huddle — does all those things extremely well. So you hate to think in terms of anything that stretches your depth right at this point in time, but it’s a reality in our league.

Q: With another injury there to a safety, where do things stand with [Nat] Berhe and Landon Collins?

A: Well, we think [Nat] Behre and [Landon] Collins are coming back this week. We hope Cooper Taylor comes back this week as well. Hopefully we’ll get some of those guys back.

Q: Obviously Bennett Jackson played with the first team yesterday. It’s not like you had a lot of first teamers out there late in the fourth quarter; what played into the decision to leave Jackson out there?

A: Well, that’s a good question. The problem is there were two safeties gone in the game as well, so what you were dealing with was very few people left that play the position. You know, Bennett had been a guy that we had grabbed and he worked very, very hard at that job trying to give us another option there, and it’s just a sad thing to see it happen, because it’s difficult. He’s tackling a tight end and they get all twisted up on the bottom of a pile — he ends up underneath the tight end, and if you just watch him grimace, it comes when he’s on the ground. So I don’t know exactly what happened — I haven’t been able to talk to him about that, but what went into it was the numbers situation and unfortunately that… you know, however it works, you can explain it all you want, but we were in a game where there was a forced opportunity more than anything else to have your numbers affected, but when we look at it from any number of players that were in the game that got a lot of snaps, whether it was planned or not, it was good for them. I can tell you that right now. As much as I said going in that we needed to play more, that we needed to see more of a lot of people working together — you know we certainly did get that chance last night.

Q: Where do you move forward now at safety… and cornerback?

A: We just got done saying that three of them are coming back, so that’s where we move forward. We have [Brandon] Meriweather here, we have three guys that we think are going to be able to practice and come back. So that’s where we are. There hasn’t been a lot of numbers available at any time. For whatever reason, there always seems to have been one or two of these guys that’s not able to practice. So in reality, it looks as if we’ll have four [safeties]. Maybe, and again I’m just speculating because we’re going to have roughly two days to try to figure out who can practice and what we can do, so that’s where we are, guys. Don’t ask me something that I can’t answer. I’m trying to do the best I can for you, and this is what it is.

Q: What have you seen from [Brandon] Meriweather? He got about 30 snaps last night — any sense on what he is right now?

A: Well, he’s a veteran safety that we know the style of play that he is best utilized in. He got his feet wet last night and I think he’ll improve and be better the next week.

Q: Justin Halley only played seven snaps there — is he injured as well?

A: No, no he wasn’t.

Q: What did you see from Uani Unga last night?

A: Aggressive, very good on special teams. Made a couple of nice plays at the mike backer position, and he seems to be a physical player.

Q: After looking at the tape, how did the offensive line, and in particular Ereck Flowers, come out of last night?

A: We thought he played well technically. Very sound, and he is improving. If you watch some of the run game, you see him move people off the ball. He did a nice job of that. He and [Justin] Pugh got involved in a couple of nice twist exchanges where we picked up in pass protection. You saw him aggressively go back and recover that ball on the ground, I know he’s listening because we’ve been harping on that. Let the officials tell you that it was an incomplete pass, and don’t let it lay on the ground. We’ve shown examples of that, so I think that there’s no doubt that each one of these experiences he’s grown and benefited from.

Q: How about [Geoff] Schwartz? What have you seen from him?

A: He played pretty well when he was playing at the guard spot — I don’t think quite as good at the tackle spot, but it was his first time out and he did get a lot of snaps, so it had to help him.

Q: Do you expect [Victor] Cruz and [Rueben] Randle back this week?

A: I really don’t know. The thing with Rueben has really confused me — he’s been able to handle this so well over the years, and yet this circumstance has been bothersome. There was so much speculation going in about having these people work together. We haven’t really seen them work together yet and we’re this far into camp, so… and the same thing with Victor. We’re just going to have to — when they tell us they can go, they can go.

Q: It’s still just tendinitis for Rueben [Randle] or are they worried it’s something else?

A: Nope. That’s basically what I’m being told.

Q: What’s the plan going forward here with [Geoff] Schwartz and the offensive line?

A: Keep playing them all. Keep playing them all. Watch, watch. I’m not going to verbally give you any… what’s the plan? The plan is to let them play and practice and see where we can go and figure out exactly who are the best five. That’s the plan.

Q: What have you seen from Markus Kuhn so far in these first two preseason games? We’ve seen him with the first team almost all summer. What has he done to earn that trust in you guys?

A: Well, he’s a big, strong guy. We’ve talked an awful lot about stopping the run, and he can hold the point in there, which he’s done over and over. He’s very smart, and so we look at him as a guy that can anchor down in there and can knock back off the ball. And he’s pretty much done that.

August 23, 2015 Player Media Q&As: Transcripts of media conference calls with the following players are available on BigBlueInteractive.com:

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Jason Pierre-Paul could still help Giants pass rush by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Aug 172015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Can’t seem to have corrected?

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

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

Q: Did you have to say something to him?

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

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

A: How does he fit in?

Q: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: He’s practicing today.

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

A: Definitely. Definitely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: First time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What do you guys like about Brandon Meriweather?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How much do you miss JPP?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What’s your impression of Damontre Moore?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How do you see using Devon Kennard?

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

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

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

Brandon Meriweather – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How did Jon Beason look to you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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