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:

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 022015
 
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Geremy Davis and Jayron Hosley, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Geremy Davis and Jayron Hosley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 1, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their second summer training camp practice on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

JAMES JONES OFFICIALLY SIGNED, MATT LaCOSSE AND BRAD HARRAH WAIVED…
The Giants have officially announced the signing of unrestricted free agent wide receiver James Jones.  Jones will wear #89. The Giants have waived/injured tight end Matt LaCosse (hamstring) and defensive end Brad Harrah (quad).

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Offensive tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery) did not practice.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham (hamstring), wide receiver Victor Cruz (recovering from knee surgery), safety Nat Berhe (calf), and safety Mykkele Thompson (hamstring) were held to a limited number of snaps. The Giants want to work them back in slowly. Offensive guard John Jerry (sick) was limited.

Tight end Jerome Cunningham and wide receiver Preston Parker had to leave practice early with cramps.

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (hand/arm) still has not signed his 1-year Franchise tender and has not reported to training camp.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Jerome Cunningham (now wearing #86) for a touchdown.
  • Owamagbe Odighizuwa saw some first-team reps at defensive end with Robert Ayers.
  • The defense performed well on Saturday with cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, safety Landon Collins, and safety Bennett Jackson each making a couple of pass break-ups.
  • Tight end Adrien Robinson made a nice catch.
  • Safety Nat Berhe saw some time with the second-team defense.
  • Cornerback Jayron Hosley had a good practice.
  • Wide receiver Geremy Davis made another nice reception and has looked good early.
  • Running back Andre Williams has looked quicker than last year and has received some first-team reps in practice.

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

Q: Did you get word on what happened to Preston Parker yet?

A: Cramp.

Q: I just saw Jerome Cunningham go off on a cart…

A: Cramp.

Q: Are you going to be in some kind of pads tomorrow?

A: Uppers, yes.

Q: You had two guys with cramps here, a guy with a hamstring injury. Does that concern you? You wanted guys to arrive in shape.

A: They’re in shape. Evidently, they didn’t hydrate well enough. One guy had had the runs, one of those deals. So, try as you might, you’re still going to get these things. No matter who you try to blame, it’s going to happen. It’s 90 degrees.

Q: Has Cunningham shown you a little bit?

A: Yesterday he did well. I didn’t think too many people on offense showed me anything today. He did a few good things yesterday.

Q: We hear a lot of the players saying “be where your feet are.” Where does that come from?

A: Mindfulness. Mindfulness. If you’re going to be in the gym, be in the gym. Be where your feet are. Stay in the moment. Take care of one moment at a time. While you’re here, you deal with your football, deal with your job. It’s all the same type of theme.

Q: Who came up with that? Where was it discovered?

A: Well, we studied it this offseason as a staff. We’ve always had lots of statements about things of that nature. It’s just been reinforced more heavily, to the point where the guys are repeating it.

Q: Did James Jones come in as advertised?

A: Yes. Seemed like he was in good shape. Took some snaps today.

Q: Do you think he will acclimate more quickly. He thinks the offense is very similar to Green Bay.

A: The terminology, yes.

Q: Is his ability to do things in the red zone something that you liked?

A: Well, we’ll see. Hopefully it’s that, and in the field as well. It doesn’t have to be just the red zone.

Q: What have you seen from Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins? The two rookies starting right from the get-go.

A: I haven’t seen anything particularly good or bad just yet. It’s very early. They’re both working hard.

Q: Any word from JPP yet?

A: Not to my knowledge, no.

Q: Is Larry Donnell over the Achilles tendinitis from the spring?

A: He’s practiced and he’s done well with that.

Q: I haven’t seen John Jerry that much. Does he have something?

A: He was sick yesterday, and kind of sick today but he kept going. He took some reps today.

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 third training camp practice will be held on Sunday from 2:30-4:30PM. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only seven remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Sunday, August 2: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Monday, August 3: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Thursday, August 6: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Jul 202015
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul (90), Justin Tuck (91), New York Giants (January 22, 2012)

Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Justin Tuck Comments on Jason Pierre-Paul: There has not been much word on New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul since the immediate aftermath of the July 4th fireworks accident that severely injured his right hand and arm. There is still no concrete information on the true extent of Pierre-Paul’s injuries which are believed to include a right index finger amputation (including knuckle), fractured right thumb (requiring pins), skin grafts to his lower right arm, and possibly additional finger and hand fractures. It is believed that Pierre-Paul has still not allowed Giants officials to meet with or examine him.

Former Giants teammate defensive end Justin Tuck, who is currently with the Oakland Raiders, told the press on Monday that he has been in regular contact with Pierre-Paul since the injury.

“I’ve been in constant conversation with JPP,” said Tuck. “He is (in good spirits). He’ll be the first one to tell you he made a mistake. He’s fine. He’s going to have a great year.”

“I think he will be (the same player),” said Tuck. “Once he gets used to playing again, you can’t deny his athletic ability. He’s a terror to block. Hopefully everything else gets healthy around him and if that is the case, I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be the JPP of the second half of the season like he was last year.”

Tuck did not seem overly concerned about the loss of Pierre-Paul’s right index finger on his overall game. “Honestly, the (three-point) stance is the only thing I think would be new (to him),” Tuck said. “JPP’s got huge hands. So I think he’ll make up for it.”

Giants.com Q&A with WR Corey Washington: The video of a Giants.com interview with wide receiver Corey Washington is available at Giants.com.

Article on RB Shane Vereen: Giants new running back Shane Vereen: Underrated, overrated or as expected? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Marquee Man Starring Odell Beckham Jr. by Kimberly Jones of NFL.com

Article on OG Geoff Schwartz: Giants’ Geoff Schwartz eager to put 2014 in his rearview mirror by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: David Diehl says Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul faces ‘an uphill battle’ after finger amputation by Christian Red of The New York Daily News

Article on S Jeromy Miles: Former Baltimore Ravens safety Jeromy Miles a no-risk signing for Giants by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Jul 092015
 
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Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW: The overall play of the New York Giants offensive line improved in 2014 from its dreadful performance in 2013 but the unit was still sub par. The Giants were tied for 28th in the NFL with only 3.6 yards per rushing attempt. Pass protection was better as the Giants gave up 30 sacks on the season, which was 9th-best in the NFL. But that figure is a bit misleading given the offense’s new emphasis on getting rid of the ball quickly (West Coast Offense) and quarterback Eli Manning’s long-established tendency to get rid of the ball quickly and not take the sack (which he probably actually should do more often when under duress).

The improvement that did take place not only had to do with the individual components playing better, but the Giants had greater cohesion up front due to far fewer injuries. In 2013, the Giants used seven different starting offensive line combinations, the second-highest total in the NFL that season. In 2014, the same players started all 16 games at left tackle (Will Beatty), center (J.D. Walton), and right guard (John Jerry). Weston Richburg started 15 games at left guard and Justin Pugh started 14 games at right tackle.

That all said, it is widely-recognized that the offensive line was once again a sore spot in 2014. Chris Snee retired before training camp. The Giants counted on high-priced free agent acquisition Geoff Schwartz to be a major building block, but Schwartz only played in two games due to injuries. Beatty had a decent year, but Walton and Jerry really struggled at times. Pugh regressed after a strong rookie season and Richburg experienced the expected growing pains, especially since he was playing out of position. Overall, the line was more finesse than power, which usually is not good for any offense, but especially so for one predicated on balance and the ability to run the football.

Another issue was the overall poor depth situation. James Brewer, Brandon Mosley, Eric Herman, Dallas Reynolds, and Adam Snyder were complete non factors and did not push the weaker links on the line. Adam Gettis was signed late in the season from the Steelers practice squad and ex-Eagle Michael Bamiro was signed to the Giants practice squad.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants released center J.D. Walton in March. Tackle James Brewer signed with the Jets in free agency and the Giants have made no effort to re-sign guard Adam Snyder. The Giants signed CFL All-Star center Brett Jones and street free agent tackle Emmett Cleary early in the offseason and then signed unrestricted free agent tackle Marshall Newhouse from the Bengals.The Giants drafted tackle Ereck Flowers in the first round and guard Bobby Hart in the seventh round. The team also signed rookie free agent tackle Sean Donnelly.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The Giants will enter training camp with no 2014 starter remaining at the same position. Will Beatty tore his pectoral muscle in an offseason weight-lifting accident and will probably miss at least half of the regular season. Because of that, the Giants are starting Ereck Flowers at left tackle at least one year sooner than they anticipated (post-draft comments by Giants officials made it clear that they saw Flowers as Beatty’s eventual replacement). Flowers had been penciled in at right tackle but now Marshall Newhouse – a player benched by the Packers and Bengals – gets first crack at the position. Weston Richburg moves to his more natural position of center. Justin Pugh has shifted from right tackle to left guard. Geoff Schwartz moves from left guard to his more natural right guard position.

The Giants have now invested two first-round draft picks (Pugh and Flowers), two second-round draft picks (Beatty and Richburg), and a high-priced free agent (Schwartz) on the offensive line. Even though Beatty is out, much improvement is expected. On paper, the Giants look strong inside (Pugh-Richburg-Schwartz) with significant question marks at tackle (Flowers and Newhouse). Flowers should eventually excel, but growing pains should be expected. Newhouse’s track record during the last few years has not been good and he appears to be the obvious weak link. The Giants may be forced to move Schwartz to right tackle and start John Jerry at right guard if Newhouse can’t handle the position. The situation should improve when Beatty returns mid-season, but long-term, Beatty may have sealed his fate with the team, especially if Flowers shows steady improvement at left tackle.

Another area of focus is the depth situation and if one of the younger players could possibly surprise and push for a starting job. Brandon Mosley apparently had a good spring as he received some first-team reps during OTAs. The Giants have some very big, young tackles including Michael Bamiro (6’8”, 340lbs), Emmett Cleary (6’7”, 324lbs), and Sean Donnelly (6’7”, 333lbs). The team drafted guard Bobby Hart (6’4”, 334lbs). Brett Jones was a CFL All-Star who is now adjusting to the NFL game.

Overall, the Giants need the line to become a much more physical and intimidating presence. Flowers has a reputation as a bad ass and should help. Pugh and Richburg worked hard in the offseason to get bigger and stronger. The Giants need Schwartz to rebound from a serious ankle injury and be a tough veteran inside.

ON THE BUBBLE: The Giants will probably carry nine offensive linemen. Beatty will probably start the season on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List and not count against the 53-man roster limit. Flowers, Pugh, Richburg, and Schwartz are the locks. Newhouse and Jerry are on shaky ground, but one will likely start and the other will likely provide veteran depth. The other nine offensive linemen will probably be fighting for three spots. Those linemen include Mosley, Bamiro, Cleary, Donnelly, Hart, Jones, Dallas Reynolds, Eric Herman, and Adam Gettis. Troy Kropog is also currently on a PUP List.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Pat Flaherty on Weston Richburg: “Right now the progress is good, it really is. He learned an awful lot last year but I knew that he was going to be a player for a very long time and I know I’m using that, but I believe it because he likes the game of football. He really has embraced the center position because you are the voice of everybody to start out and the quarterback may change things, but you are telling everyone what to do. I think that Weston has a little bit of bossman in him and he likes that.”

Flaherty on Michael Bamiro: “I’ll tell you he is the Kevin Garnett of the football players, that guy is huge. He is a good worker, he really is. He has some position versatility from being a tackle to a guard and we worked out with him. We have to really find out a little more about him when we get on pads, but I like his attitude.”

Flaherty on Justin Pugh: “I think that he likes playing and I love guys who like playing. I think any position that you put him at, he would play it. He would like to be a guy that is settled in one position. Most guys are that way. I think you probably get that feeling from him more than anything. He would only get better at the tackle position for us. Is he a better guard than tackle? He is going to be a good football player…Justin has very good feet, he is a very good athlete, has tremendous lower body strength and when you get closer to the ball at the guard position, you are going to be blocking bigger people, so I think that is going to be an advantage for us. He will be able to block those people.”

Flaherty on Geoff Schwartz: “Geoff wants to do it and he has worked awful hard to get back from his injury and he just needs to have the good luck charm on his side for once. Once he is able to do that, here is a guy that can be in the next half dozen years and have a tremendous finish to his career.”

PREDICTIONS: While there will be growing pains with Ereck Flowers, 4/5ths of the Giants offensive line could be set for a few years provided there are no more injuries and Schwartz recovers well from his ankle injury. Flowers will bring much-needed toughness and physicality to the line. Richburg seems primed to develop into a good one at center and the Giants seem to think Pugh will excel at left guard. In fact, these three players could not only be solid, but very good.

“We like (Flowers) as a future left tackle of the New York Giants. I am very comfortable with him being out there right now,” said Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo during the mini-camp.

“(Pugh) is a football-smart guy,” said McAdoo. “He is a hard worker. He brings a nice level of physicality that we like. Some grit to the position right there. It is probably a position that doesn’t get as much glamor as a tackle, but when you are on the left side, it is important position to protect the backside of the quarterback away from his vision. The left guard position is especially important because a lot goes on there on the inside. When one becomes two and two becomes three and when zero becomes one and all the movement happens, you have to make quick decisions and we feel Justin can do that.”

“Weston is a natural center,” said McAdoo. “I am excited for him. I am excited for the offense. I think he brings some energy to the position and to the offense. He’s a guy who likes to have control of things and likes to have his hand on the football. He works very hard at it. I like Weston.”

The obvious question mark is Newhouse at right tackle. He could be the Achilles’ heel for the entire line. Given his struggles in the league the last few years, it’s hard to imagine him being the answer. If he has problems early, the Giants may have to pull the plug and scramble to fill the position. While fans knock John Jerry, he may be an important piece of the short-term puzzle. The pie-in-the-sky hope is that someone like Mosley or Bamiro presses for starting time.

“Marshall has played a little bit of everywhere,” said McAdoo. “I was with him in the past when he first got into the league. He has played just about every position. I believe he even snapped the ball at one point. He is a smart guy. He gets the game. He is very nimble-footed. We need to get some pads on and get out there and get a look at him with the defense moving and be physical. He has done it before and he has done it at a high level before and he will have an opportunity to be a major contributor this year.”

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Flowers, Pugh, Richburg, Schwartz, Newhouse, Jerry, Mosley, Hart, and Jones.

May 272015
 
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Ryan Nassib (9) and Eli Manning (10), New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Ryan Nassib and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MAY 27, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…

Phase Three (Weeks 6-9) of the New York Giants voluntary nine-week offseason program started this week. During Phase Three of offseason programs, NFL teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activities, or “OTAs”. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The OTA practices will be held May 27-29, June 1-2, June 4, June 8-9, and June 11-12. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 16-18.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…

Linebacker Devon Kennard (ankle) and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice. Head Coach Tom Coughlin indicated that neither injury was serious.

Wide receiver Victor Cruz (knee) did not practice but worked on the side. “(Things) are going well,” Cruz said. “I moved into running more routes and running some more patterns. Feeling more confident in that regard. It is feeling really good right now. I think the guys are just going to take it slow. I think I am going to do some individuals later on. I think sometime in June and then we will take it from there.”

Offensive guard Geoff Schwartz (still recovering from ankle surgery) was limited, but practiced.

Defensive end Robert Ayers left practice early with injuries to his left ankle and knee. “He hurt his ankle and his knee,” said Coughlin. “We don’t know too much about it, except it seems like the ankle right now…It was the first play and he, for some reason, went low and got pushed down into the ground. How he did that, I am not exactly sure. This is a time when if you really understand what phase three is, which they have been told there is not any live contact and they have to play with their hands and their feet. I am disappointed in that, but I am hoping what it turns out to be is not serious.”

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has yet to sign his Franchise tender, did not make an appearance today and is not expected to participate in the voluntary OTA workouts. Punter Steve Weatherford, whose wife is expecting, also did not attend.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The initial first-team offensive line was LT Ereck Flowers, LG Justin Pugh, OC Weston Richburg, RG John Jerry, and RT Marshall Newhouse. Geoff Schwartz also got some work at right guard.
  • Second-team offensive line was LT Michael Bamiro, OG Brandon Mosley, OC Dallas Reynolds, RG Adam Gettis, and RT Emmett Cleary.
  • First-team safeties on defense were Landon Collins and Cooper Taylor. Bennett Jackson also received some first-team reps.
  • Giants nickel defense had Collins and Taylor at safety, Jon Beason and J.T. Thomas at linebacker, Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie at corner, and Trumaine McBride at the slot corner position.
  • “With [Devon] Kennard sidelined, I thought it was interesting that the coaches had Jonathan Casillas line up at the SAM instead of Jameel McClain, who lined up as the Mike with the second-string unit. Anyway, the rest of the first-team linebackers were J.T. Thomas at the WIL, and Jon Beason in the middle.” (InsideFootball.com)
  • Wide receiver Corey Washington made two nice goal-line touchdown catches against cornerback Prince Amukamara.
  • “Tight end Adrien Robinson got into the mix throughout practice, catching a touchdown in the right corner of the end zone from Manning to end the first period of team drills.” (Giants.com)

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

Q: What does the Will Beatty news from last week do to your offensive line?

A: Obviously it is a loss for our team in terms of the quality of player being available for us, but we just have to move on. Our plans are to continue to try to figure out how this line is going to fall out, who is going to be where. We will probably try some different combinations to get there. Hopefully, it has to happen…if a team is going to make a move, perhaps somebody that we didn’t really count on originally, because of the number of reps they are going to get, will benefit from that.

Q: What do you think of Ereck Flowers at left tackle?

A: I thought he was heck of a football player or he wouldn’t be here. Outstanding feet, nifty for a big man. Yes, all the above.

Q: Many people said in time he might be a left tackle, but not right now… Your thoughts about that?

A: I don’t subscribe to that – what people, what they say – he is our kid. He is an outstanding young player. He is going to do nothing but get better. Sure, there are going to be things that happen to him that haven’t happened before. We knew there were a couple of things we need to clarify and work on him, but he will work.

Q: Re: Robert Ayers Jr. leaving practice?

A: He hurt his ankle and his knee. We don’t know too much about it, except it seems like the ankle right now. I wouldn’t say anything…

Q: Three of the last four years you have had a serious injury in the spring practice period. Have you adjusted anything for that?

A: When you take the field, just like when you walk across the street, you don’t expect anything to happen. It is under control. There are no pads on. It was the first play and he, for some reason, went low and got pushed down into the ground. How he did that, I am not exactly sure. This is a time when if you really understand what phase three is, which they have been told there is not any live contact and they have to play with their hands and their feet. I am disappointed in that, but I am hoping what it turns out to be is not serious.

Q: What about weight room injuries? Are those things that are just going to happen some times?

A: He (Beatty) was trying to get better. What he was trying to do was get strong, which I think our team has to do and I have said that. He was working with ‘x’ amount of weight. I am not going to tell you what it was, and he was in the middle of his second rep when this unfortunate thing happened. Why did it happen? Who knows, but it is most unfortunate.

Q: Did you look into the Beatty injury the same way you have studied other injuries?

A: Yeah, we can do that. We have talked about that and made some adjustments.

Q: How would you characterize [Justin] Pugh at guard, an experiment or something permanent?

A: I think it is an attempt to take advantage of a very versatile, gifted athlete. I guess ‘experiment’ would be a word you could say because he hasn’t played there. We moved him there with the full intent that he would be able to play there. Do we have to take another look? Perhaps.

Q: Was Pugh moved to guard prior to Will Beatty’s injury?

A: Yeah, sure. He was out there and he was playing it.

Q: What do you say to the notion that the only thing holding back your offense from being explosive is the play of the offensive line?

A: Having said that, I don’t think that would be the case. 28 sacks – if that is the case, then we will coach them up and they will play and they will play well. I really believe that. There are a lot of pieces that you well know. There is nothing to be assumed about anything. A lot of things have to happen to get right back where or above where we played last year. It wasn’t good enough.

Q: Is there something with Devon Kennard?

A: A little bit of an ankle.

Q: What about Nat Berhe?

A: He was out here a week ago and he had a knot in his calf that came about after his work, so [medical] is just holding him.

Q: Has anyone communicated with [Jason Pierre-Paul]?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you anticipate him for the mandatory mini-camp?

A: I do.

Q: How about Victor Cruz?

A: He has progressed. He is beyond the straight-ahead stuff. He has started to maneuver and cut. He has come along well.

Q: Are you hopeful JPP will be here or has he communicated that he will be?

A: The question that was asked of me was do I expect him to be here and I said, ‘Yes.’  It is not hopeful. It is I expect him to be here. Could it be that he won’t be here? That could happen, sure.

Q: What is the goal on the defensive side here in terms of what you are trying to do with installing the new defense?

A: The goal is to – what new terminology there is, what new identifications, whatever aspect of the defense that may be something that we have done before, but that name may have been changed. We introduced all of these things to [the players] to allow for [Defensive Coordinator] Steve [Spagnuolo] to get to work with all these players and have good impact in how we use them. It is a good period of time for Steve to get to know our players and for our players to be introduced to the terminology that we will use this year.

Q: Do you see any similarities from last year when you put in a new offense in terms of having to install a new defensive system?

A: You have to start somewhere and we are introducing as much as we can in the spring. In the fall we will continue to come back with a microscope this time and add whatever we think we need to go out and defend.

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

QB Eli Manning on his second offseason in Ben McAdoo’s offense: “It was big. It was important having this last month – watching the film, talking a lot about the mechanics, the footwork, being able to go outside with him and working on a lot of drill work. A lot of it is stuff I wasn’t able to do last year. I was coming off the ankle surgery, I had a new offense – of lot of things going through the mind, trying to figure out concepts. This year, I understand the concepts. I’m still working on it, but I’m concentrating on the footwork and the mechanics and the timing of everything. It was great to have that this year and kind of get back to the basics of everything. I feel comfortable, I feel real good right now.”

OL Justin Pugh on why he likes playing guard: “Having the ability to get free shots on guys, going up to the linebackers, I can utilize my ability to pull. I am embracing it. I am going to be the best left guard that I can be and help produce for this team. We have to run the ball and we have to be stout…My left tackle is going to love playing next to me.”

OL Weston Richburg on playing center: “Today felt right. I like center because it gives me a little more control, per se. I am directing the offensive line. I like that leadership role. I really enjoyed being there today and being in charge of making those calls and communicating with Eli. It was fun.”

OL Marshall Newhouse on the team’s offensive line: “This is a strong group. It is just a smart, tough group that is very gritty and ready to fight. I have definitely seen that and I only expect that to get better.”

RELATED ARTICLES…

Apr 232015
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 21, 2015)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jerry Reese’s 2015 Pre-Draft Press Conference: New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese held his annual pre-draft press conference today. The following is the transcript from the event (video is also available courtesy of Giants.com):

Q: Who are you picking?

A: A good player at nine.

Q: In a year like this and with some of the things that went on last year in the NFL, how much more important or different is the way you look at a player’s character and behavior when you are assessing them? Has that changed?

A: I think we are always mindful of a player’s character and background. That always goes into the equation. It is not really anything new for us. Obviously, like all teams, we have taken some guys on the back end of the roster, more risk-reward kind of situations on the back end of the roster. We are very conscious and have been for a long time about backgrounds and character.

Q: That seems to have changed last year when you guys wanted a lot of clean players… Whereas in the past you would have taken…?

A: The thing you have to think about when you are thinking about these young players is that they are young. They do young kid stuff. You can’t just absolutely kill them. You wouldn’t have anyone to draft. Kids do kid things and do college things and it happens. If a guy has a long list of issues, that is when you have to throw the red flag in there. Is this guy going to stop? If you have a couple things that college kids do, you can’t just throw it away.

Q: Is there anything concrete you do with that or is it just an eyeball test?

A: We do all the background checks and our scouts go out and dig the information that we can. We interview them and try to put it all together and make a decision on it.

Q: Is it kind of three strikes and you are out?

A: Not necessarily, it depends on how egregious the off-field issues are, more than anything else probably.

Q: Last year you seemed to have a guy pegged or a couple guys you thought would be available… Is it more unpredictable being at nine?

A: I think you always have a good idea, but it is always unpredictable. You never know what is going to happen. You can look up and some of those quarterbacks they think are going to be in the first couple picks could be – not off the board until 15 or 20. You never know. I learned that a long time ago in the draft. Funny things can happen, so expect everything to happen.

Q: Last year the wide receiver corps turned out to be a really good group… There are a lot of thoughts that this wide receiving corps could be just as good… Thoughts?

A: I think there are good receivers, just as there were last year. I think that is every year. I think there are good players at every position every year. I don’t know if that is a good answer or not, but I think there are good wide receivers…I think there are good players at every position.

Q: Given you have a lot of depth at receiver, would you have any qualms about drafting another receiver?

A: First of all, as soon as you say you have a lot of depth at any position, you don’t have depth. I know better than to say that. We will draft the best player available for us. It really doesn’t matter what position it is.

Q: How do you look at your offensive line at this point? Do you look at it saying you need to supplement it at least during one day of the draft?

A: Every position. We want to try and upgrade every position as best we can every opportunity we get. Offensive line won’t be excluded from that as well.

Q: In your mind right now, what does your offensive line look like? Is Justin Pugh still at right tackle?

A: That is something for Tom. You have to talk to Tom about that. Obviously Pugh has been a starter and is going to be a starter somewhere more than likely. [Geoff] Schwartz is coming back from injury. Hopefully he can fit in there somewhere. What we want to do is get as many good players as we can and create as much competition as we can in the offensive line.

Q: When you are picking as high as you are, is there a sense of a guy having to fit in at a premium position? In the past, you wouldn’t have drafted linebacker in the first round, but guys like defensive backs, wide receivers and left tackles… Is that part of your thinking when you are as high as you are?

A: If you draft at nine, whoever it is, is a premium position, regardless of the position that he is. If you draft at nine, it is a premium position, regardless of what it is. It doesn’t matter what position. If you draft him at nine, he is a guy you expect to come in and play and play quickly.

Q: Has the profile of offensive linemen changed at all in the last decade at all?

A: We just look for good players. Good profiles. Good players. Strong. Big, strong, fast and smart.

Q: The big lineman from Iowa is a guy everyone seems to love as a guard prospect… What do you see from him?

A: I think he can play both. I think he can play tackle and he can play guard. I think he can play somewhere.

Q: Where do you see him?

A: The coaches will have to figure that out.

Q: How do you look at this group of pass rushers?

A: There are some good pass rushers and edge rushers available.  Are you asking me to stack them or something like that? I can’t do that, but I do think there are some good pass rushers in this draft.

Q: You haven’t made a ton of trades as compared to other teams throughout the years… How do you explain that? Is that the way things worked out?

A: We will keep all of our options open on the draft. We can trade up and we can trade down. That doesn’t change. We are not looking to trade just to try to be cute to trade up or down. If we think we have an opportunity to move up, then we will move up. If we have an opportunity to move back, then we will do that as well.

Q: Back around the combine, in regards to Victor Cruz, you said you couldn’t think of him as a sure thing… Have you seen anything from him where you can have some kind of certainty of how he will be when he comes back?

A: I don’t think you can have certainty. [Cruz] looks good. He is running pretty good right now. He is scheduled to be back for the opener for us, but until you get out there and turn it loose, you never know what a guy is going to do. He looks great right now.

Q: Are you still approaching whatever he can give you guys next year as a ‘bonus?’

A: I am not counting it as a bonus, but I want to be prepared if he is not here.

Q: Is there any change in your perspective in the preparation on your part when you pick ninth instead of 12th like last year and going back to the Super Bowl when you picked last?

A: We just stack the board. Whoever we think the best player is in the first row, it doesn’t matter what position, which is how we do it. We stack them the same way. If you pick inside 12 picks, you should get a good football player.

Q: Does the expectation change as far as impact goes?

A: The higher you pick – that is how the system is. If you pick high in the draft – that is the way the whole system is built. If you pick high in the draft, you are supposed to get better players to help you have a better football team. If you are picking last in the draft, you get penalized for being successful. You get penalized, so you get lesser players. Whoever you pick at nine should be a better player than you pick at 32. That is the way the system is and obviously we are picking nine and expect to get a good player.  A really good player.

Q: Another general manager said there were eight to ten players who were real difference makers above other guys… Do you have a point in your estimation of how many guys are at a higher level than the rest of the group?

A: I think there is always a break. Everyone in the first row – that is why we call them rows; they are not first round picks. There are natural breaks. There may be eight and then there may be five more players, then there is another break. There are always breaks in the first row where you stack them, but you have to have 32 players in the first round.

Q: Where is that first break?

A: We’ll see.

Q: How are you looking at your safety position right now? Do you think it is a position of need?

A: We are not going to make do, just like any position, we are going to try to upgrade that position. Just like the rest of the positions. We are not going to make do. We have some young players that we think have some talent, but we are going to continue to try and upgrade that position as well.

Q: Last year we were saying you needed to get a tight end and you felt confident with some of the young guys… Is it the same thing now?

A: Every position we want to upgrade. We want to upgrade safety. We want to have competition at that position like we want to have at every position and we will try to do that.

Q: Tom talked about the possibility of converting Chykie Brown or Bennett Jackson to safety… Is that realistic in your mind and what goes into that?

A: It happens all the time. One of the best players we tried to get in free agency was the corner from New England. He was a corner and played safety. You see those conversions. That is not new to see something like that happen. That is a possibility as well.

Q: Are [Brown and Jackson] guys who could possibly convert in your eyes?

A: I think so. You never know. You have to experiment in the spring. Obviously you would like to get a guy who has played there and done the job, but you have to be creative in this day and age with your personnel.

Q: You went after [Devin] McCourty, so you wanted to upgrade that position… What happened after that? Do you look at Josh Gordy as a safety?

A: That is what he plays.

Q: What was the plan at that position after McCourty?

A: We thought he was the best player in free agency [at his position] and after that we thought there was a drop off and that is what happened.

Q: Now that Eli is back in the building and he said his attitude is to play the year and go from there… What is your thought on his contract?

A: It is inappropriate to talk about a contract right now. Eli is back in the building. He looks great. He is happy to be back. We are glad he is back. We will address that when it is appropriate.

Q: Do you sense that this a real opportunity for Eli this offseason, given that he is not coming off ankle surgery and he has already been in this offense for a year?

A: Yeah, I am excited. It should be a big year for him. He is not learning the offense. A lot of the players were in the offense last year. He’ll get another piece back hopefully with Victor Cruz coming back. The tight ends will have a little bit more experience. I hope the offense – we got [Shane] Vereen, who we think is a good piece to help our offense as well. I think our offense should be a pretty good offense.

Q: Re: Thought process in the signings of Vereen, [Dwayne] Harris, [J.T.] Thomas… What were you after?

A: We were trying to upgrade some positions that we already had. We knew we were going to lose some players. We felt Vereen was a really nice piece. Everyone knows what he does as a receiver out of the backfield, he can run the ball. He is a professional football player back there. He is really good on third down. Really good on any down, to be honest. We thought he would be a nice piece. Went after him and the two linebackers. We thought they were upgrades. They will battle for starting positions. Dwayne Harris, we thought the guy was kind of a four to five tool type player for us. We thought we were getting a lot of players out of one position. We played against him for a long time and he has been a good player for [Dallas]. Hopefully he will bring it over here to us and he will play for us in those capacities.

Q: Where do you view J.T. Thomas’s best position?

A: I don’t know. It is up to the coaches. He looked like a WILL linebacker to me, but that is up to the coaches.

Q: Are you still hoping to get Stevie Brown back?

A: We are going to keep all our options open.

Q: As one of the teams in the league that isn’t quarterback-needy, do you even look at those top two guys?

A: We look at everybody. You never say you aren’t quarterback-needy. You can’t say those kinds of things. Ralph just said we were deep at receiver and you are saying we don’t need a quarterback. I know better than to say something like that.

Q: What is your take on the two quarterbacks at the top of the draft?

A: They are good players. They are both good players. They are both different, but I think they are both, in what they do, I think they are both good players.

Q: Is your expectation that they are going to go one and two?

A: I don’t expect anything. Expect the unexpected in the draft. They may not go until 15, who knows?

Q: You have gone offense the last three years in the first round… Does that go into any decision making?

A: I didn’t even know that. Whoever the best player is at nine – we are going to pick them.

Q: Do you have any concern over Jason Pierre-Paul not being here for the offseason program and not signing the tender yet?

A: It is voluntary and it is inappropriate to talk about player contracts at this point in time. It is not mandatory that he should be here.

Q: After you get an Odell [Beckham Jr.]  and everything that he did in his first season and now you are picking at nine, are there heightened expectations?

A: You always want to get good players in the draft. Sometimes you hit on a guy like Odell and he is a terrific player, but the higher you pick, the better the player should be. When you are picking on the back end, it is obviously not the same caliber.

Q: When you look back at last year’s draft, from top to bottom, how do you evaluate it?

A: We don’t really look back on that draft that much. We draft them and that draft is over. We are moving on to this draft and we are excited about the players in this draft. We go back after two or three years and look and see why a guy made it or why a guy didn’t make it. After one year, it is really hard to evaluate.

Q: Was the approach different in the past two drafts?

A: No.

Q: This week, have you checked in with Odell and how his hamstring is feeling?

A: I just saw Odell a couple of minutes ago down in the weight room. He looks great and he didn’t say a word about his hamstring.

Q: Do you have any injuries that are long-term concerns?

A: There will be a couple guys we have concerns with, but we feel good about the vast majority of our players being ready to go for training camp.

New York Giants Player Q&As: Video clips of Thursday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Apr 152015
 
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New York Giants Helmets (August 10, 2013)

© USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants have announced that they have signed street free agent linebacker Ryan Jones. The team also confirmed that they have signed unrestricted free agent defensive back Josh Gordy (Indianapolis Colts), which we reported on yesterday.

Jones was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2014 NFL Draft, but he was waived/injured less than a month later with a foot injury. Jones has a nice combination of size (6’4”, 245 pounds) and athleticism (4.68 40-yard dash at his pro day last offseason). But he is raw, having played two years at Montana Tech.

For an overview of the teams’ offseason free agent activity, see the 2015 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

Giants.com Video on Offensive Lineman Geoff Schwartz: A video on offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz’s offseason workout/rehab is available at Giants.com.

Article on Defensive Back Chykie Brown: Chykie Brown has begun preparing for move to safety with Giants by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on the New York Giants Wide Receivers and the 2015 NFL Draft: On Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants’ wide receiver depth chart by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Mar 182015
 
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Geoff Schwartz, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Geoff Schwartz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Geoff Schwartz’s Contract Re-Structured by Giants: According to NFL Player Association records, the contract of offensive guard Geoff Schwartz has been re-structured. Schwartz’s 2015 base salary of $3,675,000 was reduced to $1,675,000. NJ.com is reporting that Schwartz can earn $1,500,000 back in per game roster bonuses and that he had $500,000 of his 2016 salary guaranteed.

According to NJ.com, the net result is Schwartz’s 2015 cap number will be reduced from $4,975,000 to $2,845,000, “saving” the team $2,130,000 against the 2015 cap. But this re-structure should not be considered a “pay cut.” Assuming Schwartz does not get hurt, he should be able to recover all of that money and the Giants cap hit will be larger in 2016.

The Giants signed Schwartz as an unrestricted free agent from the Kansas City Chiefs to 4-Years, $16.8 million contract in March 2014. In his first season with the Giants, Schwartz suffered through an injury-plagued season that saw him play in only two games at right tackle because of serious toe and ankle injuries that both required surgery. He missed both the first 10 and last four games of the season, ending up on Injured Reserve in December. Schwartz was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He has spent time with the Panthers (2008-10), Vikings (2012), and Chiefs (2013).

The New York Daily News and NJ.com are reporting that the Giants now $9,157,931 under the 2015 NFL salary cap.

Article on S Nat Berhe: Meet the one Giant who is glad the team is short at safety by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on New York Giants Ticket Prices: Giants change ticket pricing for season ticket holders by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Jan 192015
 
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John Jerry and J.D. Walton, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Two Shaky Offensive Line Components – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The overall play of the New York Giants offensive line improved in 2014 from its dreadful performance in 2013 but the unit was still sub par. The Giants were tied for 28th in the NFL with only 3.6 yards per rushing attempt. Pass protection was better as the Giants gave up 30 sacks on the season, which was 9th-best in the NFL. But that figure is a bit misleading given the offense’s new emphasis on getting rid of the ball quickly (West Coast Offense) and quarterback Eli Manning’s long-established tendency to get rid of the ball quickly not take the sack, which he probably actually should do more often when under duress.

The improvement that did take place not only had to do with the individual components playing better, but the Giants had greater cohesion up front due to far fewer injuries. In 2013, the Giants used seven different starting offensive line combinations, the second-highest total in the NFL that season. In 2014, the same players started all 16 games at left tackle (Will Beatty), center (J.D. Walton), and right guard (John Jerry). Weston Richburg started 15 games at left guard and Justin Pugh started 14 games at right tackle. In 2013, not only were the Giants continually shifting players around due to an inordinate number of injuries to starters, but they were sometimes relying on third-stringers as backups were also getting injured.

That all said, it is widely-recognized that the offensive line was once again a sore spot in 2014. The Giants counted on high-priced free agent acquisition Geoff Schwartz to be a major building block, but Schwartz only played in two games due to injuries. Chris Snee, who the Giants never really counted on, retired before training camp. Overall, the line is more finesse than power, which usually is not good for any offense, but especially so for one predicated on balance and the ability to run the football.

Another issue is the poor overall depth situation. For years now, the Giants have not had quality up-and-coming reserves waiting in the wings in case the starters faltered or got hurt. Questionable free agent decisions and shoddy drafting have been the primary culprits. Most of the offensive linemen drafted in recent years have not developed, including Mitch Petrus, James Brewer, Brandon Mosley, and Eric Herman.

THE STARTERS

Will Beatty, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Will Beatty – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Will Beatty started all 16 games at left tackle. He rebounded from a terribly inconsistent 2013 and a fractured tibia that he suffered in the regular-season finale at the end of that year to have a mostly positive performance in 2014. Since Beatty was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Giants, Beatty has had issues staying healthy, including a broken foot in 2010, a detached retina in 2011, a back injury that caused him to miss offseason work in 2012, and the broken leg in 2013. Beatty is a big lineman with long arms and a very good athlete. When on top of his game, Beatty can mirror and slide with the best pass rushers, and is athletic enough to pull and engage defenders at the second level in the run game. However, Beatty is more of a finesse player. He does not play with a lot of strength and power and he is not a very physical or aggressive blocker. Beatty still has consistency issues.

The Giants drafted Weston Richburg, a 4-year starter at center in college, in the 2nd round of the 2014 NFL Draft. Most of his practice reps with the Giants came at guard in training camp and when Geoff Schwartz suffered a preseason toe injury, Richburg became the starter at left guard. He started 15 games at the position, being benched for one game in November. Richburg had an inconsistent year as a rookie as both a run and pass blocker. Richburg is a good athlete with decent size, but he needs to get bigger and stronger. He is not a mauling type of lineman, but he plays with good leverage and tenacity. Mobile and agile, Richburg, can block at the second level and pull on outside runs. He is smart, tough, and aggressive. His best position is most likely center though he is obviously versatile enough to play guard.

J.D. Walton started all 16 games at center for the Giants in 2014, but his play was sub par. Walton was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He started 32 regular-season games in 2010 and 20011 and the first four games of 2012 until he missed the rest of the season with a severe left ankle injury that required surgery. Walton had a setback on the ankle during the following offseason and underwent a second surgery in June 2013. He missed all of training camp and the preseason and was placed on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. The Broncos waived him in December 2013 and Walton was then claimed off of waivers by the Redskins. The Giants signed him in March 2014. Walton has average size and athletic ability for a center. He does not generate much movement in his run blocks and can be physically overpowered by bigger, stronger linemen. Walton is a better pass protector but he is vulnerable to powerful or quicker linemen in that area as well. The strength of Walton’s game is his intelligence, scrappiness, and effort. The Giants were comfortable with him making all of the offensive line calls.

John Jerry started all 16 games at right guard for the Giants in 2014. He was a wildly inconsistent player who alternated far too much between solid and poor play. Jerry was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Dolphins where he started 45 games in his first four seasons in the NFL. The Giants signed Jerry as an unrestricted free agent in March 2014. Jerry looks the part with very good size and long arms, and he flashes both as a run and pass blocker. But he simply is not consistently reliable, technique-oriented, and physical enough blocking for both the run and the pass. Simply put, Jerry needs to work harder at keeping his opponent from making the play. He also seemed to struggle at times mentally with recognizing stunts and blitzes in pass protection.

Justin Pugh, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Justin Pugh – © USA TODAY Sports Images

In his second season with the Giants after being drafted in the 1st round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Justin Pugh regressed a bit and had an inconsistent season at right tackle. Sporting a brace on his left elbow, Pugh struggled in the first half of the season and then missed two games with a quadriceps injury in November. He played much better in the final four games in December. In 2013, Pugh started all 16 games at right tackle and was voted to the Pro Football Writers All-Rookie Team for his performance. Pugh doesn’t look the part as he lacks ideal size and has short arms for a tackle. But he is a good athlete who plays with fine strength, technique, and leverage. Pugh is smart, aggressive, and tenacious. Though not a mauler, he can get movement on his run blocks and he has the agility to do well in pass protection, though he needs to become more consistent in that area. He can pull and block defenders at the second level. Versatile, the Giants think he can play both tackle spots, guard, and possibly even center.

THE INJURED STARTER

In his first season with the Giants, Geoff Schwartz suffered through an injury-plagued season that saw him play in two games at right tackle because of serious toe and ankle injuries that both required surgery. He missed both the first 10 and last four games of the season, ending up on Injured Reserve in December. Schwartz was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Carolina Panthers. He has spent time with the Panthers (2008-10), Vikings (2012), and Chiefs (2013). He signed with the Giants as a free agent in March 2014. Schwartz has excellent size and can maul people as a run blocker. He is very solid in pass protection. Schwartz is versatile – he is able to play guard or right tackle.

THE RESERVES

James Brewer simply has not developed as a player since being drafted in the 4th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Giants. A year after playing in all 16 games with eight starts, Brewer only played in two games in November before being placed on injured reserve in December with a concussion. Brewer has a nice combination of size and athleticism. He can play both tackle and guard spots. However, he has not proven to be a very tough or physical lineman.

Adam Snyder was signed by the Giants in September 2014. He played in four games with one start at left guard in Week 12 before leaving that game with the knee issue that caused him to be placed on Injured Reserve in December. Snyder was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers. During his career, he’s played eight seasons with the 49ers (2005-11, 2013) and one with the Arizona Cardinals (2012). Snyder is extremely versatile, having starting experience at all five offensive line positions. He has started 88 regular-season games in 10 NFL seasons. However, despite having very good size, Snyder was considered the weak link of the starting units in San Francisco and Arizona in recent years.

Brandon Mosley has not developed since he was drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft. He missed his entire rookie season with an ankle injury. Mosley was active for 22 games the last two seasons, including nine in 2014. His only start came late in the 2013 season. Mosley has good size and athletic ability. He is also versatile, having experience at both guard and tackle. But on a weak offensive line, he has not been able to gain any serious playing time.

Dallas Reynolds was active as a reserve linemen in 15 games in 2014, but he did not start. Reynolds was originally signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2009 NFL Draft. He spent time on the Eagles’ Practice Squad from 2009-11. In 2012, Reynolds played in 16 regular-season games with 14 starts. The Eagles waived him August 2013 and he was signed by the Giants in October of that year. A limited athlete with good size, Reynolds is smart and tries hard. He has experience at both center and guard, but he has struggled when called upon to play.

Eric Herman added to the 53-man roster in December 2014 from the Practice Squad, where he spent the bulk of the season. He was also suspended for the first two games of the 2014 season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Herman was drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Giants. He spent most of his rookie season on the Practice Squad until being also added to the roster in December 2013. Herman is a big, strong mauler who struggled with quickness and speed at the collegiate level. Herman needs to develop as a pass blocker in order to make it in the NFL.

Adam Gettis was signed to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad of the Pittsburgh Steelers in December 2014. Gettis was originally drafted in the 5th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins. The Redskins waived Gettis in August 2014 and he was signed the Steelers’ Practice Squad in October. Gettis lacks ideal size, but he is athletic.

INJURED RESERVE

Rogers Gaines was waived/injured and then placed on Injured Reserve with a shoulder injury in August 2014. Gaines was originally signed by the Baltimore Ravens as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. The Ravens waived him in August 2013. The Bears signed him to their Practice Squad in September 2013. The Giants claimed Rogers Gaines off of waivers from the Chicago Bears in May 2014. Gaines has excellent size and long arms. He is a good athlete for his size. He improved throughout the 2014 preseason at right tackle for the Giants.

Troy Kropog was placed on Injured Reserve in August 2014 with a foot injury that he suffered in training camp. Kropog was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Tennessee Titans. The Titans waived him in September 2012 and he then spent time with the Jaguars (2012), Vikings (2012-13) and Redskins (2013). The Giants signed Kropog to a reserve/future contract in January 2014. Kropog has a decent combination of size and athleticism, and he is a hard worker. Versatile, he can play both tackle and guard. But it hasn’t come together for Kropog at the NFL level and he has never started a regular-season game.

PRACTICE SQUAD

Michael Bamiro was signed to the Practice Squad in November 2014. Bamiro was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2013 NFL Draft. He spent the 2013 season on the Eagles’ Practice Squad before being waived in August 2014. Bamiro is a very raw player with an intriguing combiation of size (6’8”, 340 pounds) and overall athleticism.