Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images
AUGUST 20, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held another training camp practice on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.
Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf strain), wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis), wide receiver Julian Talley (toe – boot on left foot), right tackle Brandon Mosley (back), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), defensive end George Selvie (knee), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion), and safety Cooper Taylor (toe) did not practice.
“It’s feeling better than yesterday,” Cruz said of his calf strain. “They didn’t give me a timetable, but I know how it feels for me right now [compared to] how it did when it first happened. It feels light years better than it did then. I doubt Coach will let me play this weekend, but we’ll see.” Cruz said the calf strain was on a different leg than his knee injury.
Safety Landon Collins (knee sprain) participated in individual drills. Safety Nat Berhe (calf strain) participated in a few practice snaps and did much of the scout team work. He reported no soreness in his calf. Berhe will not play on Saturday against the Jaguars, but he expects to fully practice next week.
“It’s been so long that getting back out there made me realize how much I’ve really, really missed it,” said Berhe. “It was one thing to say I missed it, but to actually get out there on the field, I’m like, ‘Man, this is where I belong.’ So it was good. I got a lot of reps today on scout, and on (special) teams. I was able to get in a couple toward the end of team, I was able to get thrown in for two, three plays. I was good. Just trying to make sure I ran to everything so I can get my cardio back, and just trying to get in shape at this point.
“Everything is really big. You can play your technique no matter what coverage you’re in, or whatever they put you in on the paper. So I just try to make sure I get to the ball and go through my progressions and stuff like that. Just try to keep sharpening.”
Cornerback Chandler Fenner left practice early with a possible hamstring issue.
Wide receiver Odell Beckham (dental work) and left guard Justin Pugh (dental work) returned to practice.
Giants practiced in “uppers” (shoulder pads, but not full pads) this evening. It was a pretty uneventful practice as there was not much contact and the Giants were doing a lot of scout-team work. Some snippets from various media sources:
- Bennett Jackson and Jeromy Miles were once again the first-team safeties.
- James Jones, Dwayne Harris, Corey Washington, and Geremy Davis received first-team reps at wide receiver in 11-on-11 drills.
- Jerome Cunningham saw first-team reps at tight end.
- Geoff Schwartz received second- and then first-team reps at right guard, but John Jerry remained with the first-team offense at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.
- Linebacker Jon Beason picked off a pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib. (Video)
- Wide receiver Corey Washington dropped a pass.
- Quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Jerome Cunningham for a touchdown.
- Wide receiver James Jones caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib. (Video)
- Quarterback Ricky Stanzi hit wide receiver Geremy Davis for a touchdown.
- The Giants ran a wide receiver screen to wide receiver Odell Beckham.
- Tight end Larry Donnell had two catches during the two-minute drill.
HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media in the early afternoon before the evening practice (video is available at Giants.com):
Q: When you bring guys like [Shane] Vereen and James Jones in, is there something beyond what they can do on the field that’s part of the equation?
A: Well, there always is— every opportunity to evaluate is taken, and there’s always thought given to, normal circumstances, to how people are going to fit in and how they’ll not only help us as a team but obviously in representing the Giants, so I would say yes.
Q: With regard to [Shane] Vereen, you haven’t had a lot of pass-catching backs here for a couple of years. How good is he out of the backfield?
A: Well, he had an exceptional year a year ago. In certain situations, he was dominant because people played certain coverages and [Tom] Brady dropped the ball off. The catch and the run were a huge part of their [the New England Patriots’] offense, and we felt like that ingredient, in addition to some of the other people that we would pose as threats, would really do a good job of accommodating the rest of our offense.
Q: Is Victor [Cruz] going to play this week?
A: Probably not.
Q: What have you seen offensively and defensively in terms of your team responding after Friday?
A: I would say it’s been a good week of practice— certainly last night was very spirited. The first night of the week, Sunday night, was when you saw all the offensive production with Odell [Beckham Jr.] and Victor [Cruz] and Larry [Donnell] getting involved, and Eli throwing the ball down the field— he threw the ball down the field again last night, which was good— but I’ll continue to say what I said yesterday. They have to practice for us to advance in terms of the passing game— the timing, the significance of knowing exactly when people are reacting to coverage and adjusting their routes, etc. That all has to be seen through the eyes of the quarterback, and it’s been very rare that we’ve had the whole group out there to practice with. But there are some other guys that are getting a lot of time and will get a lot of time this weekend, and in the long run, it’s going to be good for our team.
Q: Is [Rueben] Randle still out?
A: As of now, he is.
Q: Odell will be back today?
A: Today he’s going to work, yes.
Q: Is there anyone else besides Victor [Cruz] that you know you’re not going to play in the game on Saturday? Rueben [Randle], I assume, at this point?
A: Well, we’ll see about all of that. I’m not going to project anything just yet. We’ve had some guys that have been out that are going to remain out.
Q: You have a ton of playmakers on offense— what’s your confidence level in your defense right now?
A: My confidence level is growing, but we’ve got to, again, test ourselves in these preseason games. This weekend will be an outstanding test because you have a team that’s trying to be very physical and wants to run the ball, has a good run defense, so it’ll be a good test.
Q: Who will start on the right side of your offensive line Saturday?
A: In all likelihood, J.J. [John Jerry] and Marshall [Newhouse]. Same combination, but obviously [Geoff] Schwartz is going to get his opportunity to play in there.
Q: At both spots maybe?
A: We’ll see. Possibly.
Q: How are Prince [Amukamara] and Nat Berhe coming along?
A: Prince practiced yesterday. Prince had about 15 plays yesterday, which was good to see. Hopefully he’ll be able to do some more. [Nat] Berhe does nothing but individual.
Q: What have you seen from [Brandon] Meriweather?
A: He’s trying to understand what we want of him and understand the terminology as best he can. He starts to grasp it— yesterday was a little bit better than the day before.
Q: So how much will he play Saturday?
A: Probably a limited amount, since he’s been here a very short time and this will be his first experience.
Q: Who do you likely expect to start in that secondary in this preseason game? Do you want to shuffle them?
A: You’ll see. I mean, it’s not going to be anything complicated. I’ll let you know that.
Q: With the new extra point rules, have you spent any extra time thinking about what your strategy will be?
A: Well, I have. As you see, many people came out last weekend and just went for two, but the advantage there is no different than it ever was. I think it’s just as important to kick extra points from 33 yards as it is to go for two. I think the real interesting concept there is a defensive penalty. A defensive penalty puts a ball at the one, so most people are going to go for the two points then.
Q: So the fact that statistically it makes sense that there will be more extra points missed, so that difference… wouldn’t it affect your thinking?
A: Well, as I’ve said before, the old extra point circumstance was 99 point something, and a 33-yard field goal was 94 something— so in between there, yeah it’s something. But still, I don’t think until late— you know, you’re talking maybe after November, after Thanksgiving, in December before any of those issues, I think, come up. I’m hoping that our percentages, in terms of 33-yard extra points, are going to be 100 percent— just like I always think.
Q: So, let’s say it’s a bad day in December here [MetLife Stadium]. Would you literally be in touch with the kicker as to what he thinks about kicking a 33-yard field goal and trying for an extra point at that point in the game?
A: Not necessarily at that point in the game, but obviously pregame, we’d go through all that and it would be part of the questions that I always ask. You know, ‘How far— what’s the distance like today from both ends?’ I get a feel for what the wind is, now that the wind is an issue during the course of the game, and you have to revisit it, so it’s a constant.
Q: Any projection on how deep your first teamers are going to go on Saturday night?
A: Play a little more probably than they did the other day.
Q: What are you looking to see from them in general?
A: Improvement. Improvement.
SPECIAL TEAMS COORDINATOR TOM QUINN…
Tom Quinn addressed the media on Thursday (video is available at Giants.com):
Q: Josh Brown’s leg has gotten stronger on kickoffs in the last couple of years. Have you seen that and is that rare to happen for a player in that stage of his career?
A: I don’t think so. I think they’re obviously learning about their bodies and nutrition and training and taking care of their bodies and managing their kicks. They are pretty serious about how many kicks we do in a week and in a day, so we don’t try and kick our leg out. It’s a long season and a long process, so we try and keep him fresh but then he also does a lot of work in the weight room, which is showing up.
Q: When Dwayne Harris was signed, he was supposedly for special teams [or] wherever you wanted to put him. Is that still the case?
A: Yeah, I hope so. If he is a receiver and he can play on all the big four teams, he can be the returner, the gunner, the kickoff coverage, so we are excited about him going forward.
Q: Is he the primary kickoff and punt returner at this point?
A: Yeah, I mean at this point in the preseason, we are trying to get as many guys opportunities to see what they can do, so we will roll a lot of different guys back there to see what we have.
Q: How did Akeem Hunt look kick returning?
A: He looked fast. There was a big hole. I hoped he would have finished it off more and not gotten nudged out of bounds, dive in there and keep scrambling and trying to cutback and trying to score, but he has got quickness, so, so far so good with him.
Q: How has Geremy Davis been progressing so far?
A: He’s progressing. He really works hard at it [and] he really has a lot of upside. He didn’t do a lot of it in college, so a lot of it is new to him, but he has really taken to the coaching and he tries hard and works hard, so we’ve been pleased with him.
Q: Is it almost like working with a blank canvas with him?
A: A little bit. I was trying to tell these guys to use your skill set and we will put you in the right position, so if you are a receiver, be a receiver. If you are good at avoiding guys, that is how you cover a kick, so you keep it simple for them and he has done that.
Q: Where do you see him? Gunner?
A: That is [where] we are starting him out. We are starting him out there and he will play all four teams, which he did last week, and try and give him enough reps to show what he can do.
Q: You kind of alluded to it. How different is it to get off the line as a wide receiver as opposed to a gunner?
A: Well, a lot of times as a gunner you have two guys standing in front of you, so you have to pick one and make that the battle…there are limitations on being able to go out of bounds and come back in and all those things and the rules they have to understand. It is just a mentality, it is hard. You talk to David Tyree and you have to earn your money out there and a lot of young guys, it is a whole new experience and they really don’t do that much in college the way college is played, so it is a little bit of a transition.
Q: How much of a loss is Mykelle Thompson?
A: We were really excited for him. He is a guy that [had] shown in the spring and the start of training camp that he could really add some value. He is smart, got great speed, had some size to him, so that will be a loss. It is too bad for him.
Q: Do you do anything different extra-point wise?
A: No, we had the two or three preseason games with it last year. I think three because we had the Hall of Fame game and if we kick our field goals, we start at the 15. We always kick a PAT first and then go from there. I think you will get more pressure, more of a chance to block it, so you will have to be ready to anchor down and treat them just like a field goal.
Q: Offensive linemen don’t seem to be that much for it?
A: Well, they better be for points. I understand, but that play has always been a violent play and they have done some things to make it safer, but I think if they use good technique, they will be all right.
Q: You always look at Zak DeOssie for his reliability with snapping but when you see him make that tackle in Cincinnati, can you just talk about the contributions he makes on special teams?
A: He is a great leader in the room. We have grown up with him from when he was a rookie to the point he is at now and he does have the ability to cover and tackle. When he first came into the league, he was a little bit rare but now with the rules of not being able to line up over the center and some different things, more and more guys are starting to become more athletic like he is but he does add great value because he is a football player, he isn’t just a specialist who snaps. He was brought here as a linebacker, played some linebacker early and then had to become a snapper.
Q: What are the goals for the special teams for you in particular?
A: Obviously, the net punt and the punt return. We want to make a big difference on the opponent’s punts and our punts. We need to see a big swing there; we spent some money with bringing guys in to get that done.
Q: So that is what the focus is on?
A: Yeah, I mean you focus on all of them. You don’t neglect one or the other but kickoff and kickoff return nowadays, half of the kicks are returned and half of them are covered, but all the punts and punt returns and that is the biggest impact nowadays, so we have to really make that go with a lot of time and effort.
Q: Have you shifted the time you spend on those two?
A: A little bit. We’ve always spent a lot of time on punt, obviously, and then [we] spend a little more time on punt return than we normally do.
THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video clips of player media Q&As are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:
WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants will hold a walk-thru on Friday before Saturday’s preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only one remaining training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:
- Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM