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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: No, no he wasn’t.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Can’t seem to have corrected?

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

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

Q: Did you have to say something to him?

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

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

A: How does he fit in?

Q: Yeah.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: He’s practicing today.

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

A: Definitely. Definitely.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: First time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What do you guys like about Brandon Meriweather?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How much do you miss JPP?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What’s your impression of Damontre Moore?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How do you see using Devon Kennard?

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

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

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

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: No, there was none of that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: …

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re: benefits of joint practices in player evaluation

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

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

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

Q: Have you gotten an update on Chykie Brown?

A: No, not really.

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

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

The next training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be held on Sunday, August 16th from 5:50-7:50PM. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only four remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

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

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

Q: What happened to Jameel McClain out there?

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

Q: What about Weston Richburg?

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

Q: Tendinitis in what?

A: Knee.

Q: How about Prince?

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

Q: Are you expecting Ereck Flowers back pretty soon?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Just practice.

Q: Pads?

A: Pads.

Q: Uppers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: I may have wanted to move it up.

Q: It was the crossbar not the upright?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: So nothing you saw today?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Do you still have that book?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Because of the Achilles?

A: Yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What has Jerome Cunningham shown you?

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

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

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

Q: He got knocked head over heels a lot?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

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

  • Thursday, August 6: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Jul 302015
 
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James Jones, Oakland Raiders (December 21, 2014)

James Jones – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Agree to Terms with James Jones as Players Report to Training Camp: All New York Giants players under contract reported to summer training camp on Thursday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. As expected, the only no-show was defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered serious hand and arm injuries from a July 4th fireworks accident and who has yet to sign his 1-year Franchise tender.

According to press reports, the Giants have agreed to terms on a 1-year deal with unrestricted free agent wide receiver James Jones. The 31-year old Jones has played eight seasons in the NFL, seven with the Green Bay Packers (2007-2013) and one with the Oakland Raiders (2014). He has 383 career regular-season receptions for 4,971 yards and 43 touchdowns. Last season, Jones caught 73 passes for 666 yards and six touchdowns.

The first training camp practice will be held on Friday 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 nine training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Friday, July 31: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Saturday, August 1: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • 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

Giants Place Two Players on PUP List: The Giants have placed offensive tackle Will Beatty (recovering from torn pectoral muscle) and wide receiver Ben Edwards (hamstring) on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

July 30, 2015 Giants President/CEO John Mara Press Conference: Giants President/CEO John Mara addressed the media on Thursday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: Obviously Jason Pierre-Paul is not here, and I would imagine you’re not too thrilled with the circumstances. Can you just give us your feelings on that?

A: I’m disappointed he’s not here. I think this would be the best place for him to be for a number of different reasons. He would have the opportunity to learn the defense, but more importantly, we have the best training staff in the league here. We have access to some of the best doctors in the world, and I think it would be in his best interest to be here for those reasons. As I said the other day, it’s unfortunate he’s not here. I don’t think he’s receiving the best advice. That’s sad as far as I am concerned.

Q: Do you know exactly what his condition is. Have you been allowed to examine him?

A: None of our people have been able to see him or examine him, so we have no idea what type of condition he is in. All we know is what some of his people have told us, but until we see him for ourselves, that doesn’t give us any comfort.

Q: Have you been told that he has an amputated finger?

A: We have been told exactly what you have been told. We don’t know anything more than you know.

Q: The people who you are talking about, is that the agent?

A: I assume that’s the people he is listening to, but I am not sure.

Q: I mean the people that have been in communication with the organization.

A: Yes, that’s correct.

Q: Has anybody spoken to him, or has the conversation all been exchanged via text message?

A: I believe Ronnie (Barnes) spoke with him on the phone. I have exchanged text messages with him. I know Robert Nunn has exchanged texts with him. I don’t know if he has spoken to him personally or not. Tom [Coughlin] (sent) texts, Jerry [Reese], but it has predominantly been text messages.

Q: John, do you have any idea when he will show up here?

A: None.

Q: How unusual is this?

A: It is pretty unusual. I think, again, I have a lot confidence in our medical staff and our training staff here. I just don’t know why you wouldn’t take advantage of that.

Q: Could he or his camp play his way into you rescinding the tender? By play, I mean not communicating.

A: I don’t think we are going to do anything until we actually see what type of condition he is in.

Q: What makes you believe that he could be worth 15 million dollars for this season considering the physical damage that has been done?

A: He has obviously played at a very high level in the past. He is a rare athlete. Again, until we see him, and see the damage, we are just not going to know that.

Q: John, have you ever been in this situation before. Does this feel different for even you?

A: I can’t recall being in a similar situation.

Q: Do you think it would color your impressions of dealing with him going forward in negotiations?

A: I don’t think so. Listen, he is a great kid, and we love having him around here. He fits in very well, he’s very cooperative. I just don’t know what is going on here. Again, I can only surmise that he is not receiving very good advice.

Q: How do go about planning with so much uncertainty? Do you just have to assume that he is not going to be a part of this team?

A: I think we have to plan on moving ahead without him at this point. Until we see him and make some sort of determination on the condition he is in, I don’t see how we can count on him, certainly not for the opening of the season.

Q: I guess when we looked into how this could possibly play out, apparently at some point you can negotiate the terms of a franchise tag and agree not to put him on NFI [Non-Football Injury]. Has there been any approach by them. Have they said “can we talk” or anything?

A: No. We have no idea what their intention is at this point.

Q: Well, I assume you would be open to–

A: We would be open to discussing anything, but we first need to see him.

Q: Have you guys done any research on this kind of injury, and how do you prepare? You guys obviously have to do what you can to get ready when he comes.

A: You say ‘this kind of injury.’ we don’t how extensive the damage is—that’s the problem. I don’t know how many fingers he has. We know what we have read and what we have been told, but until we actually see the extent of the damage, it is hard to make any type of prediction as to what type of condition he is going to be in.

Q: Have they told you why you can’t get in there to see him?

A: Not as far as I know.

Q: It has got to be all financial, right? He doesn’t have a contract. There has got to be some negotiations going on here. He is a guy without a contract right now.

A: I don’t know, there have been no negotiations with us since this happened, so I don’t know what their thinking is.

Q: Was there an offer on the table beforehand? Is that no longer available to him at this point?

A: We had made an offer to him some time ago, which we never really got a response to. Obviously, that is not on the table right now. Nothing is on the table until we see him.

Q: There is some suggestion that he would be worried about signing the tender and then being put on NFI and being docked pay. Would you be willing to say “show up, and we will pay you”?

A: All of that is negotiable, depending on what the condition of his hand is.

Q: Do you hope that they [Pierre-Paul’s representatives] are hearing what you are saying here since you do not seem to have any other avenue of communication?

A: Yes. Those are the reasons that I am here, other than the fact that I have missed all you so much.

Q: How much does the timing of this hurt you? It was in July. The fact that free agency, there are not those guys out there. How much does it limit what your options are here?

A: It was 14.8 million dollars or whatever it is. It could have arguably been used elsewhere. But listen, our priority and our hope is still that he is going to be able to play, and we will spend that money on him. That is our first wish.

Q: Has it been exclusively Jerry Reese talking to the agent?

A: I believe so. Kevin Abrams may have spoken to him at some point, I’m not sure. It has been mostly Jerry.

Q: Would ownership ever get involved? Would you ever reach out?

A: Possibly, at some point, but I have not done that yet. Jerry has been carrying the message for us.

Q: Have you done that in the past yourself in any other contract situations?

A: Probably on a few occasions, yes.

Q: Have you had any personal contact with Jason?

A: I exchanged texts with him, I would say, within a few days after the accident. I just asked him how he was doing, is there anything we can do for you? He responded almost immediately and said that he is going to be fine. I think the term he used was that it is just a little bump in the road and I will be back as good as ever. He even put a smiley face on there.

Q: Have you expressed your disappointment to him that he hasn’t been here?

A: I have not personally expressed that to him. Our first concern is for his well-being. Is he getting the right amount of medical care and proper therapy? I know he will get that here. I assume he is getting it down there, but I don’t know that for sure.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about the commissioner’s ruling on [Tom] Brady, and that it was upheld. What are your thoughts on the whole thing?

A: I am saddened that it has come to this. We went the two weeks going into the Super Bowl, all we talked about was Deflategate. Now coming into training camp, it is all we are talking about. The commissioner had a very difficult job to do here. At the end of the day, I think he made a decision based on the evidence and the facts that were put before him and without regard to the profile of the player or his personal relationship with the owner. That is what he is paid to do. He did his job here, and you can argue about whether it was fair or unfair, but he had to make a very tough decision under very difficult circumstances and he did it. That is what he is paid to do.

Q: Do you support the commissioner in this?

A: Yes. I have been around him enough to know that his intention is always to try and do the right thing. I don’t always agree with the decisions that he makes, but I know that he tries to do the right thing. I know this was a very unpleasant situation for him here. You are dealing with the best player in the league, you are dealing with an owner who has been as good as any other owner in the league and somebody that he has a close personal relationship with. He had to make a tough decision.Q: And the fact that this player is suing the league has got to be difficult for all the owners.

A: Well, it is. It is just going to drag this thing out into the fall, and that is not good for anybody.

Q: Were you as taken aback as the public was over that particular phrase “I was wrong to put my faith in the league”?

A: I have nothing but the utmost respect for Robert Kraft. I understand he is very emotional about this, and he feels very strongly about it. He is trying to protect his player, and I get that. As I said, I am saddened that it has come to this.

Q: Is it concerning that almost every decision the commissioner has made in the last year has been challenged in federal court?

A: It is. I don’t recall it ever being that way in prior years, but it seems like we’ve come to that now, but so be it.

Q: Have the expectations for this team been altered with injuries to two starters?

A: We’ve lost two starters and we’re not in training camp yet and I don’t remember being in that situation before. I do think we have enough talent here to have a team that can be in the playoffs and we can contend for a championship. That’s what I still believe and that’s what my expectations are.

Q: Do you still believe this is a “win or else” season?

A: You can make that statement every year, this is the NFL. People have expectations, our fans have expectations, and I have expectations. We’ve been out of the playoffs three years in a row, and it’s time to put stop to it.

Q: Has your level of optimism changed in regards to an extension for QB Eli Manning?

A: I think we’ll get it done at some point in time. We’re just going through the usual things that you go through. The agent asks for the moon, we make a reasonable offer, and at some point he’ll come to his senses and we’ll reach an agreement. There’s nothing unusual about this.

Q: Is there any concern from your perspective about getting a Manning deal done before the season starts?

A: I think ideally we would like to have that done, but if it doesn’t, I don’t think that’s going to affect our relationship with him or the fact that we will eventually get it done.

Q: Does it make a difference if the Manning deal doesn’t get done before the season ends?

A: We’d like to have it done before the season is over, but if it doesn’t happen, then I ‘m still confident it’ll get done at some point. We want him to be here and finish his career as a Giant. I’m sure he wants the same thing.

Q: Can you characterize your level of hope for WR Odell Beckham and WR Victor Cruz being healthy?

A: That obviously is an exciting prospect and something we haven’t been able to witness really to a great degree. Victor looks good and I’m hoping that he adds something to this offense and Beckham, the sky’s the limit for him.

Q: Several of your players live in south Florida. With them reporting today, have you been made aware of any having contact with Pierre-Paul?

A: Not to my knowledge.

Q: Do you have any worries about the maturity of Beckham?

A: I think he’s going to be fine. In fact, I understand that he addressed all of our (training camp operations) interns today, so that was a very positive step on his part. He and Victor both did, and I think he’s going to be fine. He’s had a lot of success very early on, so sometimes that does give you cause for concern, but I think he’s smart enough and mature enough to handle it.

Q: Did he address the interns?

A: That’s what I understand. He talked with our (camp operations) interns.

Q: Is there a level of anticipation for you to see Cruz?

A: Sure, I mean you never know for sure until he gets out on the field, and he’s running full speed, and there’s a little bit of contact involved. So yeah, there’s always going to be that but I know he’s very confident in our medical team, he’s very confident about them,  so I think he’s going to be back good as ever.

Q: How much have past injuries played a part into you looking at medical advancements and have you done any research?

A: I’ve certainly voiced my concern about the fact that we led the league in injuries the last two years. Nobody likes that around here and we’ve made some adjustments to the off-season program. We’ve got these GPS trackers now.  We’re trying to pay as much attention to that as possible, Tom has made certain adjustments to his schedule, and we’ve made some adjustments to the weight room and what they’re doing in there. Hopefully all that will pay off, but we’ll have to see.

Q: Does Coach Coughlin still embrace the old school way of coaching and not sports science?

A: I don’t really think that’s true. I think he’ll be able to tell you more specifically than I can. We have made changes. Tom does see we need to do that. I think in a perfect world for him, we’d be back to two-a-days and all sorts of contact, and everything, but that was a different world back then. We’re not in that world anymore. I believe he has embraced that and does see that we need to make changes going forward, because he’s not happy about the fact that we had so many injuries the last two years.

Q: Do you view your recent changes with sports science as catching up to the competition because some teams may have gone to it earlier?

A: I don’t know how much earlier, maybe a few teams may have done that. One thing about Tom is that he is more flexible than he’s given credit for. When he see’s something that’s out there that’s working, he wants to investigate it. Again, nobody is happy about the number of injuries that we’ve had, and we’re trying to do something to stop it. I think some of it has been bad luck with the broken bones and things. I don’t know what you do to prevent that, but sometimes injuries are going to happen in this sport. Some of the soft tissue injuries that I think that maybe are a little more avoidable, we’ve taken some steps to address that. We’ll see if they work or not.

Q: If you could boil your message down to one thing to Jason Pierre-Paul, what would it be?

A: Come home. We miss you.

July 30, 2015 Head Coach Tom Coughlin Press Conference: Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Thursday (video is available at Giants.com):

Coughlin: Welcome to camp. Some of you don’t look in as good of shape as you should be. We’ll take care of that as we go along.

Q: No fines, I hope?

A: There will be. Shortly.

Q: Assume all your guys did alright in the conditioning test?

A: Their body weights were good and this test, which was simply to make sure that they had been doing what they were supposed to be doing. They looked fine.

Q: Was everybody here other than Jason Pierre-Paul?

A: Yes.

Q: Looks like you changed up the conditioning drill this year.

A: We did.

Q: Was that part of the studies that they did?

A: That and a little bit more teeth into the drill. Little more emphasis on the conditioning part of it coming back.

Q: John Mara stated that the message he wants to send to Jason Pierre-Paul is ‘come home. We miss you.’ Do you echo his statement?

A: That’s been the message all along, really. It’s hard to believe that he couldn’t get here and take care of an awful lot of issues rather than what they’re doing. But, again, I’ve not spoken with him and very few people here have.

Q: Have you texted JPP?

A: I did. Right away, I did.

Q: Have you texted JPP recently?

A: Right away, I did.

Q: Could you right away and recently, also?

A: But I didn’t do it recently, I did it right away.

Q: Is there still no response?

A: No, there is no response.

Q: Has any of this—the injury or the aftermath—soured your relationship with JPP or will he be welcomed back if he ever does choose to return?

A: Well, I hope he chooses to return. Hey, we’re all concerned about the young man, first and foremost, but it is difficult to extend this concern when we feel like he should be here. But as far as souring, that’s not going to sour anything. I am concerned about him as a young man and anxious to know exactly what he’s dealing with, and then we will know what we’re dealing with.

Q: Other than Will Beatty, do you have anyone else going on PUP?

A: I think (Ben) Edwards, the young receiver, will have to go on.

Q: Victor Cruz does not?

A: No.

Q: What kind of green light does Cruz have tomorrow?

A: I’m sure we will have to limit and build him up, but he’ll be out there.

Q: How about Odell Beckham Jr. in the same respect?

A: Same idea. Yep.

Q: What is your level of expectation for his team this year?

A: I expect them to work hard. I expect them to compete like heck. Hopefully, we will remain intact and be able to put on the field the team that we have assembled right now, and then if we can get everybody to buy into the team concept, and we can progress along those lines. I feel good about today, but we take it one day at a time.

Q: Will Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz be (limited) for all of training camp or do you need to see where they are and gauge before you have a plan?

A: I hope they can practice all the time. I’m sure there may be some time when they have to have some recognition in terms of number of snaps, but that’s probably going to be the way it goes anyways. We’ll monitor all the players under the existing system that we have and try to get a gauge on exactly where they should be for each style of practice that we present.

Q: Walter Thurmond commented that, ‘Tom Coughlin may not be as into sport science.’ What is your reaction to that?

A: I have no comment.

Q: Have you made any changes this year?

A: Sure, we have.

Q: Anything in particular?

A: You’ll see.

Q: Is the recovery stretch still something that we will see or the intermissions?

A: Sure. Recovery stretch, you’ll see.

Q: Were those changes hard to make given that you only have them on the field for a certain amount of minutes a day?

A: No. Again, coming from where I’m coming from, it’s not a question anymore about what we used to do. It has to be what’s best for the current times, and this seems the way to go.

Q: You brought in Jake Long recently for a second visit. What was your impression and where do you stand on that?

A: Well, he is obviously a player coming off of a very serious injury. He’s made progress and that’s where it stands

Q: Do you feel like you still need to make a move there?

A: We’re going to check every player that is available that may, in any way, help our team. Will be evaluated and, if so, brought in and given a physical and worked out. For every player that comes along that we think can help us, that would be the case.

Q: Marshall Newhouse played right tackle in the spring. Do you expect to see that here and moving forward?

A: Well, sure. To start out, for sure. Then see how the progress goes on his part and the other linemen that we have assembled.

July 30, 2015 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at BigBlueInteractive.com or Giants.com:

Jul 262015
 
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NY Post Q&A with LB Beason: Giants’ Jon Beason on grueling comeback, new D-coordinator and JPP by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on the 2015 New York Giants:

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Inside Beckham’s aftershocks from the catch that shook the world by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on OT Marshall Newhouse: Giants’ Marshall Newhouse grades out as ‘overrated’ by Jordan Rannan for NJ.com

Articles on DE Jason Pierre-Paul:

Article on DT Markus Kuhn: With JPP in doubt, this must be unconventional Kuhn’s year by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Jul 232015
 
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Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Re-Sign Safety Justin Currie: The New York Giants have announced that they have re-signed rookie free agent safety Justin Currie (Western Michigan) a week after they waived him. Because of this move, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

Giants.com Q&A with CB Chykie Brown: The video of a Giants.com interview with cornerback Chykie Brown is available at Giants.com.

Article on QB Eli Manning: Giants’ Eli Manning finishes 12th in ESPN QB rankings, called an ‘interception machine’ by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on WR Odell Beckham:

Article on the New York Giants Defense: What is one key stat the Giants defense is aiming to reduce? by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on DE Robert Ayers: Giants need this one veteran to step up in JPP’s absence by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Articles on New York Giants Linebackers:

Kevin Gilbride and Shaun O’Hara Discuss Super Bowl XLII: Shaun O’Hara and Kevin Gilbride dissect the “Helmet Catch” by Dan Salomone of Giants.com.

Jun 302015
 
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Jon Beason, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Jon Beason – © 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: Linebackers

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW: As was the case with every other area of the defense, the linebackers were a disappointment in 2014. It was expected that Jon Beason would headline and lead an improved linebacking corps. But Beason broke his foot during June OTA’s and never recovered. The 2011 rookie class of linebackers – Jacquian Williams, Spencer Paysinger, and Mark Herzlich – continued to largely disappoint in their fourth season together. Jameel McClain was a decent free agent addition and led the team in tackles. Rookie 5th round draft pick Devon Kennard flashed in the second-half of the season. In the end, the Giants finished 30th in the NFL against the run and dead-last in the NFL in yards-per-rush defense.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: There were significant changes made at linebacker. The Giants said good-bye to Jacquian Williams (still unsigned) and Spencer Paysinger (signed with Dolphins) in free agency. The team signed J.T. Thomas (3-years, $10 million) from the Jaguars and Jonathan Casillas (3-years, $8 million) from the Patriots. The Giants also signed street free agent Victor Butler and rookie free agents Cole Farrand and Tony Johnson.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The primary focus at linebacker in training camp is can Jon Beason stay healthy? Beason was a major shot in the arm for the entire defense when he joined the team during the 2013 season, but the injury-prone linebacker missed almost all of the 2014 season with a foot injury. Not only is Beason a good run defender, he is an intelligent, inspirational leader who is needed to help orchestrate Steve Spagnulo’s new complicated defense on the field. The complexion of the entire defense changes with Beason in or out of the lineup. The good news? Beason made it through the OTAs and mini-camp this year, something he didn’t do last year.

Assuming Beason can stay healthy, the main story lines will be who mans the two outside linebacker spots, and how well do they perform? It is assumed J.T. Thomas will start at one position. But Devon Kennard and Jonathan Casillas may split snaps at the other spot depending on the opponent, in-game down-and-distance situations, and who has the hot hand. Kennard’s strength is attacking the line of scrimage and rushing the passer while Casillas is better in pass coverage. The Giants seem to be higher on Thomas and Casillas than their former teams, whose coaching staffs saw them more as back-up types. It remains to be seen if the Giants made the right decision to spend $18 million over three years on both. Where Jameel McClain – a respected team leader but castoff from the Ravens – fits in remains to be seen as well.

It’s important to note that Linebackers Coach Jim Herrmann says this is the most talented group of linebackers he has had with the Giants since he joined the team in 2009.

ON THE BUBBLE: The Giants will probably keep six linebackers and assuming everyone stays healthy, the six will probably be Beason, Thomas, Kennard, Casillas, McClain, and Herzlich. The one most vulnerable could be Herzlich. Herzlich had his best pro season in 2014 and appears to remain a Tom Coughlin favorite and decent special teams player. But he’s not the most athletic guy in the world and has only performed so-so or worse when called upon to start. That said, it’s not likely that one of the lesser known players such as Victor Butler, Uani Unga, Cole Farrand, or Troy Johnson would surpass Herzlich on the depth chart. Butler has talent, but a 4-game PED suspension hurts his cause. Farrand looks like he needs work in the weight room.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Jim Herrmann on J.T. Thomas: “He is very athletic. That is what I like about him. He will be a great addition to our (special) teams. Special teams and athletically as a linebacker he can cover. He is tough. He is going to fill that role, both in base and in sub. We can do a lot of different things with him…In our base, he is an outside linebacker and in sub, we play him some in the middle. It is a very fluid deal in sub defense, so he can play in or out.”

Herrmann on Thomas and Jonathan Casillas: “They are both very athletic guys. They are different kinds of players, but they are both very athletic and can move well. You like that. It is hard right now for me because you don’t have pads on. You will find out a lot more once the pads go on. With their body of work in the NFL, they are both tough guys who can play.”

Herrmann on Devon Kennard: “I think number one, he is more confident in himself as a player. He knows now he can play in the league. That takes you a long way. Just refining his technique and his footwork and trying to get the best of both worlds.”

Herrmann on Jameel McClain: “I think Jameel is versatile enough. He has played all three positions, so he can play in and out. He is a tough guy, which is good, so you want him in there in the run game. He is athletic enough to play in subs. It gives us a big luxury because we have a lot of guys that have played NFL snaps and to me as a coach, that is luxury to have because a lot of times you don’t have that as a linebacker coach. It is nice to have them where you can do anything.”

Herrmann on Jon Beason: “Yeah, he is a born leader. He has always been that way since the day he got into the league. Since he was at Miami, he was a leader. I think he likes that role and he wants that role. You want a guy like that.”

PREDICTIONS: I am going to go out on a limb and say Beason stays healthy and Thomas has a break-out season as a respectable three-down NFL starter. Fans will push for more playing time for Kennard but much will depend on the opponent and in-game match-ups. Casillas may be a better option at times against teams that throw the ball more to the backs and tight ends. Spagnuolo will use Kennard far more imaginatively than Perry Fewell did, having him rush the quarterback from a variety of spots. Contrary to popular belief, this unit could be one of the better ones in the NFL if Beason stays healthy and Kennard develops.

“I can’t praise Kennard enough,” said Beason. “He prepared better than any rookie I’ve ever seen, and that’s including myself. He just really wants it. He gets it. He understands it…The thing I’ve noticed the most this offseason, he’s a step or two faster. He’s quicker. He’s not afraid anymore.”

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Barring injury, Beason, Thomas, Kennard, Casillas, McClain, and Herzlich.

Jun 162015
 
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Owamagbe Odighizuwa, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 16, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The first day of the New York Giants three-day mini-camp was held on Tuesday. Like the Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices, no live contact is allowed, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…

Wide receiver Odell Beckham (hamstring), wide receiver Victor Cruz (recovering from knee surgery), tight end Larry Donnell (Achilles tendinitis, still in walking boot), offensive tackle Will Beatty (recovering from pectoral surgery), DE Robert Ayers (sprained ankle), DE Damontre Moore (recovering from shoulder surgery), LB Devon Kennard (hamstring), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice or fully practice.

Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

As expected, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has yet to sign his Franchise tender, was a no-show. Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn said that he has met with Pierre-Paul a number of times this offseason. “I have been in touch with him and he came up here and we met with him for a few days,” said Nunn. “We have been in touch with him throughout… I have fed him some of the stuff as we’ve gone and progressed through and he was here and I met with him probably four or five times, maybe even six or seven times. We kind of implemented some of the stuff and how it is going to be introduced when we get to training camp. I thought he had a very good grasp of it when he left… All of my contact with JPP has been positive… He seems to be in a very good place mentally and working out and keeping in very good shape.”

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The first-team offensive line remained LT Ereck Flowers, LG Justin Pugh, OC Weston Richburg, RG Geoff Schwartz, and RT Marshall Newhouse.
  • Brandon Mosley saw some reps at right tackle with the second team.
  • First-team defensive ends remained George Selvie and Cullen Jenkins.
  • Kerry Wynn, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, and Jordan Stanton saw reps at defensive end with the second team.
  • Johnathan Hankins and Markus Kuhn remained the first-team defensive tackles.
  • The starting linebacking corps was J.T. Thomas, Jon Beason, and Jonathan Casillas.
  • Landon Collins and Cooper Taylor remained the first-team safeties.
  • QB Eli Manning hit TE Daniel Fells for a touchdown on a seam pass, beating S Landon Collins. (Video)
  • Manning then found RB Shane Vereen for a short touchdown reception.
  • RB Andre Williams looked good catching a pass out of the backfield from QB Ryan Nassib. (Video)
  • LB Uani’ Unga intercepted a tipped throw from QB Ryan Nassib.
  • WR Corey Washington made a one-handed reception on a deep throw over CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
  • CB Prince Amukamara had good coverage on a deep sideline throw to WR Geremy Davis.
  • S Justin Currie tipped a pass intended for WR Marcus Harris and S Mykkele Thompson intercepted the deflected ball.
  • QB Eli Manning hit WR Preston Parker down the middle of the field for a touchdown.
  • On the next play, CB Prince Amukamara intercepted Manning. (Video)

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

Q: Any difference for you for what you do in OTAs versus mini-camp?

A: Not really. What you do is you have a 10-day series of objectives and you get to the camp and you revitalize your objectives. Present it as we did this morning to the players and talk about how important these three days are and what they lead up to. Set a theme whereby you jump on that again on Thursday afternoon.

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

Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Q: It looked like the defense was playing a lot better today… Are they progressing according to schedule or is there even a schedule?

A: Sure, there is a schedule. They have had a whole lot thrown at them and they have done decently with it. They worked didn’t work as good as at the end of last week and that is probably why you saw better here today.

Q: Is Odell [Beckham Jr.] just not going to do anything this week?

A: I don’t think so, but he was running around on the field out there. He seemed to be doing okay.

Q: Is it hard to get a bead on what you have here with three of your best players not participating with Odell, Victor Cruz and Jason Pierre-Paul?

A: Is that one of those rhetorical questions? Yes. I mean, I can see what we can do. At least I got to see Odell for a while, but there is no doubt. You have a lot of timing involved. You have a two-minute drill you are trying to time things up. You are trying to create some – ball gets out the quarterback hands quickly. I don’t know exactly what the issue was here today, but the offense wasn’t very good in the two minutes.

Q: Do you play it safer with Odell for the purpose of this being a June mini-camp?

A: No, whatever the medical people tell me is what we do. If he could go, he would be out there.

Q: [Defensive Line Coach Robert] Nunn was saying he has had contact with JPP and senses he is up to speed as much as he can be without being here… Do you have a sense of security…?

A: All I know is that he is not here. That is all I know. He has been here for a couple of days. He spent a couple days in the classroom. He seemed to do well with the information that was given up to that point, but since he has left, he obviously has received nothing. All I know is that he is not here.

Q: Can you comment on the Stony Brook guys?

A: They are no doubt happy to be here. They are working hard. There is an awful lot of stuff. Michael [Bamiro] has been around a little bit, so he has grasped what we are doing a little quicker. We are getting some things done with the other guy. Will [Tye] is doing okay.

Q: You had Bamiro at guard a little bit today?

A: He has been playing some guard. Either way.

Q: You have been moving the linemen around whether it is between guard or tackle?

A: Normal for this time of year. Probably for training camp, too.

Q: Is it just to see what the best fit for guys is?

A:  [It is to] make sure they well versed in playing whatever position we put them at. We are looking for versatility. We are looking for combinations.

Q: What is Devon Kennard’s status?

A: He warmed up and did some things. It is a hamstring.

Q: Having gone through the hamstring with Odell, does it change at all? Are you doing anything differently?

A: We approach it the same way, but we don’t have our head in the sand. We know the guy has an issue. I think the training room is well aware of that.

Q: Why not keep him inside? What is the thinking behind that?

A: He works with the trainers. He does some work on the side. He jumps over there and gets on the JUGS machine. Plus, why have him inside when the football is out here. He can absorb information based on the fact that he knows the play. Sees the coverage, knows what the reaction should be and benefits from the corrections. That is why he is out here.

Steve Spagnuolo, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

It has been great to be here. I can’t remember the last time we spoke. It might have been during Phase 2 or OTA’s, but it is great to get out on the field with the guys. That is when you get a true feel for what you have, where you are at and where you are going. We are in the middle of that and I look forward to continuing it. The way Coach has it structured the next three days I think will be exciting for us and hopefully when it is all said and done, we feel real good.

Q: Do you have a better handle on what your roster is and the talent on it?

A: I think better than when we began. I think I have mentioned this before; it won’t be until we get to the third day of training camp that we play real football. We can tell a certain number of things to a certain point in these practices. Certainly from the chin to the hairline if people are getting it. We say we are evaluating everybody on their ability to learn, which we can get a feel for that. Footwork you can get a feel for and hand placement and things like that defensively. I was talking about this with the D-line this morning – footwork is different when you don’t have any protection and pads on than when you are pressing up against people and doing the things you need to do when you have pads on. It is an ebb and flow. It is a 50/50, but do I have a better feel than I did two months ago, yeah. The answer to that would be yes.

Q: Have you had much contact with Jason [Pierre-Paul]?

A: Yeah. Not as much contact as I would like, but he is doing well. What is really hard when you come in new and you have a player in that situation is you want to start a rapport and a relationship, coach-player, and friendship. It makes it a little bit difficult, but we have all been through this. It is part of the league. We will just keep grinding away.

Q: How much will JPP’s absence put him behind?

A: He is going to be behind because there is a lot we are doing right now, but he had been around for a period of time. He did a little bit of the mental work, which I greatly appreciated. I thought that spoke volumes to who he is and what he is about and how important it is to him. Because it is new – terminology is big in this league on both sides of the ball. Hopefully he is up to that challenge and we can get up to speed real quick.

Q: Do you consider JPP an elite pass rusher?

A: He looks pretty elite to me. The simple answer to that would be yes. Anybody can put a highlight film together and make a play look great. If you just watch tape with JPP out there, it is evident to me that he is an elite defensive end and fits a 4-3 system, which is exciting.

Q: Would you like this to be a more aggressive Giants defense than what you have seen in previous years?

A: I am not going back or passing judgment on any years. I think we all can agree in here that if you are going to be good on defense, it needs to be aggressive. If you look around the league – I was very fortunate to be a part of one the past two years down south on I-95 [Baltimore Ravens] that is aggressive and physical. I think all good defenses in this league function that way. We would like to get to that point as well. How and when and where we will get with all that, we will see as we go. It is pretty tough to stress physical when you can’t really do physical out on the field. I think the mindset is there, but we will just see where we are at when we get to training camp.

Q: What did the experience in Baltimore do for you?

A: That could take a long time, and I say that in a positive way. Early on it was a rough period for me, but it was great that first year to just sit back and communicate with [Ravens Head Coach] John [Harbaugh] on head coaching things, work with the defense, see things from just sitting back and not being involved in a lot other then recommendations. The second year being back as a position coach, sometimes I think that is good for head coaches and coordinators to do periodically. You grow to appreciate the job a position coach has to do. Being around that system, which really is pretty different than what I had been used to with [former Eagles Defensive Coordinator] Jim Johnson, here in New York, what we took to St. Louis and New Orleans, etcetera, it was nice to get a new perspective on scheme. I am talking more about base defense than sub-defense. [Baltimore] is in what they say is a 3-4, but it is more of an under scheme. We will pick apart what we think are the meat and the good things from that and try to add them in. If you try to do too much, it won’t be any good. I thought it was very valuable. I am indebted and thankful to the people there. [Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti, [Ravens General Manager] Ozzie [Newsome] and certainly John, who is a close friend of mine.

Q: Do you take anything from the 2007 Giants defense when guys didn’t have the light go off in regards to your system until the third game and can you apply that to this team?

A:  Definitely. It is a little bit of force-feeding right now. I do think it is important to be multiple in this league because offenses are multiple and you have to have an answer for certain things. There will come a point as we get closer to that first game when we are going to have to make a decision and say, ‘This is it.’ If we do too much, we become less as a unit. You are always weighing that out on either side of the ball in anything you do in this league, is the too much, ‘don’t let their mind clutter up their feet’ is one of the sayings. I will always go back on that. I did even the other places I went to. We will be careful of that. I think our guys are handling it right now. There is a ways to go. We are going to make those kinds of decisions as we go along the way here. That is why we are fortunate that we still have four preseason games. Thank God. I wish we had another one to figure all that out. That will be an important piece of it, especially early.

Q: Was that a lesson you learned in 2007 about installing a new defense?

A: No, we had used that a lot before. Going back to that, I will tell you this, I am not sure we had as much in then as we might have now or we did in after that. Obviously at that particular time – the one little element, I know you all remember this, my friend Michael [Strahan] wasn’t here for most of that. He was an integral part of the whole thing. [Strahan] and I have talked about that. It took a little while for him to get going, and yet when all the pieces fell together, I think we did pretty good.

Q: How much do you feel like you have grown since the last time you were a defensive coordinator?

A: The hope is, and I think I have said this before, we grow more in anything. It doesn’t matter whether it is coaching or life, we always grow more in adversity than we do in the good times. I believe that. Especially if you go through the right way and look back and use it the right way. I think sometimes I probably had too much experience. I had too much defense. You can have too much of that, too, so I am always careful of that. My hope is that I am better at this position than I was the first time. I guess we will find out.

Q: A lot of people in your position use the word ‘humbled’ … Do you think that is appropriate for you or is there another word?

A: I am probably not the right one to ask. This is how I feel about everything I have been through, especially being in this league. To me, this profession I am in and the ability to have been in is a blessing to me. I have never taken it for granted. I never thought I was anything better than just a normal person trying to work hard at a job, so I hope the ups and downs that I had been through weren’t what I needed to be humbled. That would be my hope. Whether it is true or not, I don’t know, but I do know it opens your eyes. It reveals who you are and what you are made of and the people you are around and what they mean to you and what they are able to give you through the tough times. I don’t know if humbling is the right word or not. It is an education if you use it the right way. I have spoken to people before about the past and I know this much, when you are in the middle of it, you have two choices: you can either be bitter or you can get better. I made a conscious decision in my mind to get better. I hope I have done that.

Q: How do you feel about the safeties on the roster and the progress the younger guys have made?

A: Young. There is youth and inexperience there. It doesn’t matter what system you are in, in my opinion, defensively, those two particular guys [at the safety spots] are really important. Everyone else relies on them. The quicker we can get to the other nine trusting them, the better off we will be. I am not sure we are there yet. I think it is going to be a work in progress, but we will get there. Guys can do it. That is why I wish we had another 10 OTAs. The players don’t want to hear me say that, but it would be helpful.

Q: Do you feel any better about the safety position now as compared to how you did heading into the offseason program?

A: Right now it is a challenge. Challenge is probably the best word. It is a challenge for our patience and our trust in them. Everyday it gets better, I can tell you that. I do think everyday there is a trust gained there from linebackers to corners and back to the safeties. Those are the guys that really need them. I think our other guys who, the non-safeties that rely on them, are doing a good job being patient and letting them try to work through it, rather than trying to overstate them or jump the gun and make the call, so to speak. I have asked them to do that and I think that is important. We have a long ways to go in my opinion.

Q: What can we expect from the Giants defense this year?

A: I will let you know in a couple of months. I know where you are going with it, but I am not a predication guy. I don’t make those kind of bold statements. I will say this, I believe we are getting everything out of them right now. I have no qualms with the effort and the attendance has been great. I know we are working through one issue. That part of it has been great and that is all you can ask for right now. I think I mentioned this to you before that the main focus, one of the first things I said in the meetings, was to make sure the number one goal is that we are better today than we were yesterday. I think if we live by that and able to accomplish part of that, then we will be okay.

Q: Are you starting to see the identity of the defense take place after showing them the past great Giants defenses and defenders?

A: A little bit. It is hard to see it until you are competing against somebody else. The idea there was that if they could embrace the tradition, the great tradition of New York Giants defense, then they could be proud of it. If you are proud of something, then you tend to protect it. It has been fun working through that. We showed, since we last talked, I can’t remember the timing of it all, but one day we did the 1986 NFC Championship Game. Then we have some other games. We were talking about this two days ago. I have saved some for training camp. We have some players we still need to put up there. To me, it is fun; look, we are all rallying around together as a unit learning things. I test them every once in a while to see if they remember. They don’t always remember. They are getting the point. They like it, too.

Q: Who are your best students?

A: Mark Herzlich was outstanding. I think he had typed up, ready to go the next day. I had to make sure he didn’t tell anybody else because he made it easy. He had his cheat notes and he was ready to roll. Mark was great.

Q: How much of the emphasis is on stopping the run before pressure defense?

A: It always comes before, in my opinion. Now we do have run-pressures, which I hope help. When you are talking about stopping the run, it does come back to the guys up front. It doesn’t matter what you draw up on the board, in my opinion. Guys up front have to do it first, then the second level behind them have to do it next, then when all else fails, you have to have guys in a position that those plays don’t become big plays. I totally understand what you are saying. It is not all about pressure and blitzing. That is not necessarily the answer. It is about fundamentals and playing good, strong, solid, physical football up front to stop the run. That will be a focus. Tough to do now when all you have protection-wise is a helmet.

DEFENSIVE LINE COACH ROBERT NUNN…
Robert Nunn addressed the media before the afternoon practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: What have you seen or heard from JPP?

A: Well, obviously he is not here but I have been in touch with him and he came up here and we met with him for a few days. He has got a start of what is going to be expected when he gets here in the beginning of it and we have been in touch with him throughout and that is really all I have to say about it. Obviously we’d like to have him here, but I don’t get involved in that, but he has got some of the stuff that we dished to him when he gets back.

Q: So he has a playbook and can go over it?

A: Not all of it, but I have fed him some of the stuff as we’ve gone and progressed through and he was here and I met with him probably four or five times, maybe even six or seven times. We kind of implemented some of the stuff and how it is going to be introduced when we get to training camp. I thought he had a very good grasp of it when he left and when he gets here we’ll start and that is where we’ll begin.

Q: Was that all at the beginning of the offseason program when you met with him? Or was it something recent with him coming into town?

A: Yeah, it was right near the beginning.

Q: Do you expect him to pick up sort of where he left off? At the end of the year he was playing at that JPP level.

A: Yeah, you would hope so. His numbers increased there at the end. I thought he did some good things throughout but just didn’t have the numbers to show for it, and I have said that over and over, sacks are a little overrated, but his quarterback hits and his pressures, he was doing some good things. They were counting for him in a lot of different ways and he took advantage of some opportunities there at the end and got his numbers up. His tackles had to be up there in the top of the league. I don’t know where he was, but he had to be top two or three as far as the production and as far as in the run game and his pass production there at the end. I think it is just coming in healthy and in the right frame of mind and getting ready to start, he is going to be behind but that is where we will start.

Q: Do you get the sense that he is going to come in with the right frame of mind?

A: All of my contact with JPP has been positive. It is what it is; I don’t get involved with the business side of it. He seems to be in a very good place mentally and working out and keeping in very good shape. His weight was in a good place and so we’ll see when we begin.

Q: How hard is this defense to pick up? Is that really the part that he is missing now?

A: Yeah, there are wrinkles that you have got to be here to pick up and he has got to take it from the classroom to the field, but those things, we will begin in training camp and we will make it work.

Q: Is there still ample time with training camp in your mind?

A: Yes, if he comes in with the right frame of mind and in good shape, he will be ready to go.

Q: When you are evaluating the defensive front, if it were a lesser player, it would be easy to kind of put that player out of your mind. But I would imagine when you are evaluating right now, it is the opposite; it is imagining what it will be like when he is there. Is that fair?

A: Yeah, there is some of that. When we have a player that is as talented as him, he is not out there right now but the guys that are here are doing a hell of a job. They are doing exactly what we have asked them to do. Coaches told them and I have told them that we can’t get caught up in that; we don’t have anything to do with that. Who is here is going to work and they have done a good job with that.

Q: When Steve Spagnuolo was here the first time, he had a heavy rotation of defensive ends that could sack the quarterback; he had Strahan, Tuck and Osi. Beyond JPP, what do you have and what do you like about what you have?

A: The one issue is that some of the guys are limited right now because of injury so they haven’t been out there. We haven’t been able to evaluate that yet because some of them are not out there. The ones that are out there are doing what we ask them to do and some of that stuff that you are talking about will all take care of itself once we get into training camp, once we start out there with live bullets flying and then that will settle and take care of itself as far as the rotation and how we rotate people.

Q: Where do you see Cullen Jenkins fitting in? Is he a tackle, an end or is he both?

A: I think he can help us in a lot of different [ways], it all depends. We are letting him work more at end for one reason, because of numbers, but I can see him doing some more work for us out there. At his age and stage in his career, we have to take care of him and move him around a little bit. I have been very impressed with him at this point. He got the calf last year and was off to a good start but he never was the same after the calf injury. He has come in here healthy, good frame of mind and we have moved him around a little bit and will continue the next three days to move him around a little bit. We will try to take care of him during training camp and get ready to go.

Q: What have you seen from some of the new guys?

A: Selvie is solid, he is a solid pro. He played well last year in Dallas and he has been steady. Some of the other guys, Jay Bromley has got to continue to improve with technique, Kenrick Ellis has got to continue to improve and I think they have made the effort to do that and we have to continue that.

Markus Kuhn, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Markus Kuhn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Q: What does Markus Kuhn need to prove to you guys?

A: He has got to continue to do what he is doing. He has given us some quality reps last year and I have been very impressed with him during the OTAs. The thing he has got to do is produce when we get in pads and that is the same way with Jay, Kenrick and that group right there. When we get in pads and, like I said earlier, when the live bullets start being fired, production is going to tell us a lot about who is going to be playing and how the rotation is going to work.

Q: Has that been the thing with him? You have seen it maybe on the practice field but it hasn’t always translated to the live bullets?

A: He needs to increase his production but we all need to do that. He is a steady hand and a very good leader in the classroom, very good leader in our room. He is a quality guy and he has got it in front of him this year, this will be a big year for him.

Q: How high is the ceiling for Johnathan Hankins?

A: He really surprised a lot of people with his pass rush. Everybody thought that he was a run stopper coming out but those sacks were legit. He had some legit numbers and a lot of quarterback hits and pressures, came up big in some key situations and I really like where Hank is. He has got to continue to improve with technique. That is where his big improvement has got to be going into training camp but I think that it is a very good situation. He has got a chance to be a solid player for a very long time in this league.

Q: Is that pass rushing ability of his something that just happens when he sees an opportunity or more when you free him up?

A: I think that people underestimate him as a pass rusher. He wasn’t a great pass rusher coming out but he has really worked on a few things that have really made him effective. When they left him one on one the guy took advantage of it. When those guards have to block him one on one, he is powerful and deceivingly quick. He has got better speed and quickness than what people thing he does.

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

Q: What have you seen so far from J.T. Thomas?

A: He is very athletic. That is what I like about him. He will be a great addition to our teams. Special teams and athletically as a linebacker he can cover. He is tough. He is going to fill that role, both in base and in sub. We can do a lot of different things with him.

Q: Do you see him getting any time at the middle linebacker spot or mostly weak side?

A: In our base, he is an outside linebacker and in sub, we play him some in the middle. It is a very fluid deal in sub defense, so he can play in or out.

Q: What kind of improvement has Devon Kennard shown from his rookie year up until now?

A: I think number one, he is more confident in himself as a player. He knows now he can play in the league. That takes you a long way. Just refining his technique and his footwork and trying to get the best of both worlds.

Q: Where do you see Jameel McClain fitting in?

A: I think Jameel is versatile enough. He has played all three positions, so he can play in and out. He is a tough guy, which is good, so you want him in there in the run game. He is athletic enough to play in subs. It gives us a big luxury because we have a lot of guys that have played NFL snaps and to me as a coach, that is luxury to have because a lot of times you don’t have that as a linebacker coach. It is nice to have them where you can do anything.

Q: Is it possible that your three best guys might be Jon Beason, Jameel McClain and Devon Kennard, but they might not be the three best guys to have on the field at the same time?

A: I think to me, when you go out, you are going to put the three best people on the field. Why would you have the best guys standing next to you? Whatever the position is… Who are the best guys? Those are the guys that are going to play. That is what the players are striving to be. They are striving to be the best three linebackers, the best four linebackers. To me, that has always been true, ever since I started coaching. The best guys are going to play, especially at the linebacker position, since they are all very similar.

Q: Do you feel like the talent you have top to bottom in your group is the best you have had since you have been here?

A: That is a true statement. Nothing against those other guys. I don’t want them to feel bad. Talent-wise, yes.

Q: Because you can do so many things?

A: Yeah, they are versatile guys and what is really nice is they are veteran guys. They have played NFL snaps. You have a lot of guys who have played a lot of snaps in football, in real games. That is good to have.

Q: Without Antrel Rolle, many people are expecting Beason to be the leader of the entire defense… Do you think he is capable of doing that?

A: Yeah, he is a born leader. He has always been that way since the day he got into the league. Since he was at Miami, he was a leader. I think he likes that role and he wants that role. You want a guy like that.

Q: Are J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas similar to you?

A: They are both very athletic guys. They are different kinds of players, but they are both very athletic and can move well. You like that. It is hard right now for me because you don’t have pads on. You will find out a lot more once the pads go on. With their body of work in the NFL, they are both tough guys who can play.

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

Q: How physical do the corners have to be in this defense?

A: Well, it all depends on the coverage situation but what we try to preach is we want guys to be able to tackle [and] we need guys to be able to tackle. This league is about finding matchups and they will try and go after the weak links and guys that don’t do it, so we try to preach that we are going to have all our guys solid at tackling and being physical and getting off blocks and doing all the fundamental things that come with football, we have to get that down.

Q: We know from years ago when Steve Spagnuolo was here that he has a very aggressive defense up front. Are they aggressive in the secondary, too, in a way that the corners try to attack the receivers?

A: Yeah, that is the thing. The guys like it and it is fun for them to get a chance. You know how it goes, you either apply pressure or you feel it. Steve has done a great job with a history of doing things and the guys here have embraced it, they love the system and they love what he is doing. As a coach, I try to make sure that I rely on the message and rely on the techniques and be his voice of making sure we get done on the backend what he needs to get done for the defense to be successful.

Q: It does seem that the more you attack and apply pressure, the more defensive players are happy?

A: Yeah, and now we’ve just got to be good at executing things. Whatever he calls, that is the job on the backend. You are usually dealing with four, a lot of times five or six DBs, on the field at one time, so that is a big number of guys, so we have to be on the same page and the cohesiveness and the chemistry and all that stuff is critical to our development and our success.

Q: One of the guys the last couple years has been Jayron Hosley that just seems like they are constantly trying to bring his talent out. What have you seen from Jayron?

A: He has it, he has the talent. The thing we talk about is confidence. We have to make sure the confidence is there and the consistency is there and all of those things, so that the talent is showing on a daily basis. We don’t want to be up and down with it, so that is the thing we talk about and we work on, is trying to be consistent with it and getting confidence so you can play at a level that you would like to play at on a daily basis.

Q: Was he a guy that you felt like you had to break down a little bit once you got here to kind of get him back to where he felt like he was on a level playing field?

A: Well, everybody for me started in the same boat because they are all new to me. Even the guys that had been here and had been playing a lot, it was a new situation, there were going to be some changes and some differences on how things were. That relationship was starting from the communication and what we expect and the approach we are going to take was kind of done with everybody but with him, I know he has that talent and it was more of confidence and being able to be consistent so that we know what we are getting everyday from his body of work.

Q: Do you see him as a guy who can play inside in the nickel or is he mostly an outside guy?

A: He would probably be outside right now. Who knows what he may end up doing, but right now, to get confidence, you also want to start at one spot and kind of go from there and grow with it. You don’t want to throw a ton on his plate, start with one thing, let’s do that well and we’ll progress from there.

Q: What about Prince can he still improve?

A: Oh yeah, he definitely can improve just in techniques in general. When we play press technique, that is always a constant thing because with his talent, he is going to see different guys, he is going to see smaller receivers and bigger receivers, and you have to be able to change that up based on the guys you see and be effective with it. Also just on his ability to play fast and trying to show him to be able to see formations, see tendencies, see splits and being able to let that put you in the right position and be able to play up to his maximum potential all the time. That has a lot to do with the understanding of the situations, of formation or splits and things like that, because he has played a lot of football so he understands and those are the things that can help him grow so he can play fast all the time because he has some real talent.

Q: A year ago DRC came here and the idea was he was an elite corner who would be following the best receiver. In year two, what do you sense from DRC where he is and what you guys want out of him?

A: Yeah, well, he definitely has to be that guy. The thing about it that we feel good about is hopefully we have two guys that can be that and that is the confidence and level of expectation that we have is that he definitely will be that guy and a guy that has that ability, and we need to build on a consistent basis. We also feel that Prince has the ability to do that, also, and that is where we become better as a football team where we can have that with both guys because that gives you the ability that you can handle the matchups.

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

Q: How is Landon Collins coming along?

A: Good. The rookie pitfalls that they all fall into, which is thinking you can come in here and that you know it all. Then you find out you don’t know much of anything and he has a situation now that he feels the pressure. He has to make the calls and get everyone lined up and he talked a good game as far as what he had to do at Alabama and I believe that. Now when you are trying to line up grown men who have wives and children at home and they need that call from you, it is a little different than lining up a freshman. The call has to be right. Right now, he is slow to go, which was expected, but he has to pick it up quickly for us to be successful.

Q: How hard is it at that position to come in as a rookie and start right away?

A: I think it is extremely hard. You are the ‘the extension of the defensive coordinator.’ Whatever call comes in, you need to be able to hear the call, accept the call and then spit it back out to your fellow teammates. For a rookie to come in and have that pressure, to be the extension of the defensive coordinator, I know we have the right one doing it, but it is extremely difficult.

Q: From what you have seen early on, do you think he is capable of doing that?

A: I do, I really do. He is starting to realize that these missed alignments and the minus plays, I have to cut those out of my game in order for the guys around me to trust me. That is what he wants to be. He wants to be a leader. Okay, we are putting him out there. I think he is going to be ready to go, definitely, for Dallas.

Q: How has Cooper Taylor come along after missing the year?

A: Cooper is coming along well. Mentally, I never doubted Cooper would be able to pick up the defense. It is just now getting Cooper’s body to move in the proper direction once he receives the call and allows himself to line up and just see what is happening in front of him. The mental part, Cooper is fine, but it is now the physical part. We have to make sure the durability factor – he has to be durable for us because he has missed the past two seasons. Mentally, I am not concerned about him. Physically hoping that he will be able to step up and be durable for us.

Q: How much has it hurt Nat Berhe not being able to get on the field?

A: That hurts tremendously because all the reps that Cooper and Landon and Mykkele [Thompson] and some of the other guys have taken, Nat would have been right in there with all the other guys. By him standing on the sideline and taking mental reps – I understand you are taking mental reps, but it is different. It is not the same as putting your body through the motions and making your body react to different movements that the receivers are stemming at you. It is going to definitely hurt him and set him back a little bit, but hopefully he can come back at training camp and be ready to fight for a starting job.

Q: How is Mykkele Thompson coming along?

A: Mykkele, I knew was a smart kid. He came here and he is a cerebral kid, that is for sure. He is going to take what I say literally and take my word for it and go out and try to execute it. Now I am starting to see that the kid actually has some football awareness, where I didn’t think he had much of it when we first started off. The [missed alignments] that started at the beginning of rookie mini-camp and OTAs have drastically gone down. Mentally, he has excelled past my expectations.

Q: Are you eager to see how he holds up physically?

A: Absolutely. Long arms. We did a drill the other day where he was having to punch a bag and escape from the blocker and to see his arms and the extension of his arms, that was good to see. I am definitely interested to see him in the pads.

Q: How has Bennett Jackson handled the moved from corner to safety?

A: It has been good. You are going from the outside where you are playing on an island and then all of sudden, you go to a back end position where you have to see the formation and play, the moving parts, and put people in the right position. Jackson, in his situation right now, there has been a learning curve for him, which has been hard for him. It has been a struggle at first, but out of all the guys, that is one kid that when he puts his foot in the ground, he can go. He can go. I am looking forward to seeing Bennett at camp with pads on because I truly believe he will hit as well.

Q: Has anyone else caught your eye here in the spring?

A: To be honest, the guys that you just named are the ones that I am focusing on. Justin Currie has done a great job, as well, our free agent. Big kid, as well. I am interested to see what he can do once the pads are on his shoulders and hopefully he will be able to be a thumper for us. Those are our crew. Those are our guys.

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

Dwayne Harris, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Q: Have you seen enough from Dwayne Harris to get an idea of how he is going to fit for you?

A: I had really a good idea before he came in, having faced him for so many years. He has done a nice job assimilating himself and getting the returns down, so we have seen enough, we are pleased.

Q: Do you envision returning kicks and punts being his primary duty?

A: He is going to be a ‘big four’ player, so he will be on all four of the teams and he will make a very good contribution. His coverage skills are equal to his return skills, so that is the nice thing about getting this kind of player.

Q: Do you feel that you have a little deeper of a candidate pool for the return jobs?

A: Well, we always want a deep pool because you know at any time one of those guys can get hurt and we need to put someone else in, so we are always trying to develop depth.

Q: Any of the young guys in particular jumping out at you?

A: As far as coverage guys or return guys?

Q: Return guys

A: Odell has caught punts before but hasn’t done much the last couple of weeks. Edwards, an undrafted player, is starting to make some strides, but we will see once the pads come on and when we go in preseason games.

Q: What do you see from Corey Washington?

A: We just need him to get better so he can contribute on all four. Right now he is a two-team player but we would like to see him on all four so you maximize that roster space and that if he is dressed on game day.

Q: Are the two you are talking about the return games?

A: Yeah, he has primarily been on punt return and kick off return. We would like to develop some of his coverage skills on punt and kickoff.

Q: Still the middle of June, but how do you feel about your overall group?

A: I feel good about them right now. We got some new acquisitions at the linebacker spot and we got some safeties in, which are nice, and getting Bennett Jackson back has been pleasing. The young kid from Texas, Thompson, has done some good things; he is long and has real good speed, so I think he can be pretty versatile for us. Obviously Landon (Collins) has done a nice job in what he have asked him to do, so [I] am pleased with the overall group.

Q: With the change in the extra point kick, will that change the way the kickers are going to be working in training camp?

A: We have always done it. We had two games with it in the preseason last year, so we are well versed in it. We start them at the 15 and then move back from there. It is something that we are used to and it will not be a problem at all.

Q: This isn’t something the linemen seem to excited about. Do you sense that at all?

A: The field goal protection, there are some violent hits that occur. The ante will be raised with the rule and the way that it is written. Points are points, so the guys will be eager to get out there and to get points.

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

  • QB Eli Manning on TE Will Tye: “I think Will, he catches the ball very well, that is always a good thing for a tight end. He seems to be running good routes. He is still getting a feel for the offense and all the ins and outs and going through what a lot of rookies go through in learning a new offense and a lot thrown at them. You see him working every day and in there and competing and making some plays, so that is good.”
  • Will Beatty on his pectoral injury: “It was a freak accident. It wasn’t, I mean I was lifting heavy, but it wasn’t my max. It was just something like, ‘What happened?’ I just don’t really know what happened. I know that I got to go into the recovery looking towards the future rather than the past.”

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JUNE 12, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…

The New York Giants completed their tenth and final Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Friday. The Friday session was not open to the media, but Giants.com did report some of the following tidbits:

  • Wide receiver Preston Parker had a good practice, including making a long completion from quarterback Eli Manning down the right sideline against cornerback Trumaine McBride (video). Parker also caught a short touchdown pass on a ball that was batted around a few times.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning found tight end Jerome Cunningham “a few times for big gains.”
  • Quarterback Ryan Nassib hit wide receiver Dwayne Harris a few times, including a one-handed reception by Harris. Nassib also threw two completions to wide receiver Geremy Davis during the two-minute drill (video).
  • Cornerbacks Chykie Brown and Chandler Fenner each made nice plays in pass defense.

The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on next week on June 16-18.

Articles on the New York Giants Offensive Line:

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Why Jason Pierre-Paul can skip Giants ‘mandatory’ minicamp and not get fined by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on LB Devon Kennard: How Giants’ Kennard battles weakness that could hurt playing time by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on LB Jon Beason: Why Jon Beason is more important to the New York Giants than you think by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

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