Sep 162015
 
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INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injuries were WR Victor Cruz (calf), TE Daniel Fells (foot), LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP), DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (foot), DT Markus Kuhn (knee), and LB Jon Beason (knee).

LT Ereck Flowers (ankle) and LB Uani’ Unga (knee) practiced on a limited basis.

ELI MANNING CONTRACT DETAILS…
The New York Daily News provided the following summary on quarterback Eli Manning’s contract extension.

  • Total contract (last year plus 4-year extension): 5 years, $101.5 million
  • Signing Bonus: $31 million
  • Guaranteed Money: $65 million
  • 2015: $5.5 million salary, $500,000 workout bonus, total cap number $14.45 million
  • 2016: $17.5 million salary, $500,000 workout bonus, total cap number $24.2 million
  • 2017: $13 million salary, $500,000 workout bonus, total cap number $19.7 million
  • 2018: $10.5 million salary, $5 million roster bonus, $500,000 workout bonus, total cap number $22.2 million
  • 2019: $11.5 million salary, $5 million roster bonus, $500,000 workout bonus, total cap number $23.2 million

The new contract provides the Giants with $5.25 million in cap savings against the 2015 salary cap. Right now, including DE Jason Pierre-Paul’s Franchise tender, the Giants are $14,127,537 under the cap. They will gain an additional $871,352 for each week Pierre-Paul does not play. Any unspent money can be rolled over to next year’s cap.

PRACTICE SQUAD MOVES…
The New York Giants have signed guard Vinston Painter, linebacker James Morris, and cornerback Tramain Jacobs to the Practice Squad.

Painter was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He spent the 2013 regular season on Denver’s Practice Squad and was added to the Practice Squad again in 2014. The Cleveland Browns signed Painter to their active roster in September 2014, but he was only active for three games. The Brown waived him in September 2015. Painter converted to offensive line from defensive tackle and only started one season in college. He has a nice combination of size and athletic ability, but he is still learning the game. Right now, he looks better than he plays.

Morris was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New England Patriots after the 2014 NFL Draft. The Patriots placed him on Injured Reserve in August 2014 after tearing an ACL in the final preseason game against the Giants. Morris lacks ideal size and overall athleticism, but he is instinctive, tough, hard working, and competitive.

Jacobs was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in three games as rookie after spending nine weeks on Baltimore’s Practice Squad. Jacobs finished the season on Injured Reserve with a thigh injury. The Ravens waived him in August 2015. Jacobs is an average-sized corner with good speed and quickness. He is also instinctive and competitive.

The team has also terminated the Practice Squad contracts of quarterback G.J. Kinne, linebacker Gerald Rivers, and safety C.J.  Conway.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
The transcript of Tom Coughlin’s press conference on Wednesday is available in The Corner Forum while the video is available at Giants.com.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following transcripts and video of player media sessions on Wednesday are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

ARTICLES

GIANTS-COWBOYS: SIGHTS AND SOUNDS…
A sights and sounds video from the Giants’ 27-26 loss to the Dallas Cowboys is now available at Giants.com.

NOTES…
QB Eli Manning started his 168th consecutive regular-season game in Dallas. DT Johnathan Hankins has the team’s second-longest starting streak at 17 games.

Manning’s 193 passing yards in Dallas increased his career total to 39,948. He needs 52 yards against Atlanta on Sunday to become the 15th quarterback in NFL history with at least 40,000 passing yards.

Manning threw neither a touchdown pass nor an interception vs. the Cowboys. That’s just the eighth time that’s happened in his 168 starts. The Giants are 4-4 in those games. It was the 29th time he didn’t throw a touchdown pass. The Giants are 9-20 when Manning does not throw for a score.

When Sam Bradford lined up under center for Philadelphia last night, he became the 29th different quarterback to start for the other three NFC East teams since Manning’s starting debut on Nov. 21, 2004. The Eagles lead the pack with 11 quarterbacks, followed by Washington (10) and Dallas (9). Donovan McNabb started for both Philadelphia and Washington. He counts in each team’s total, but just once in the division total.

Left tackle Ereck Flowers and safety Landon Collins, the Giants’ first two selections in this year’s NFL Draft, each started in Dallas. It was the first time the Giants’ first and second-round draft choices started the season opener as rookies since Aug. 31, 1997, when wide receiver Ike Hilliard (first round) and running back Tiki Barber (second) started in a victory over Philadelphia.

The Cowboys scored the game-winning points on an 11-yard pass from Tony Romo to Jason Witten with seven seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it is the first time a Giants opponent scored a go-ahead, game-winning touchdown with seven or fewer seconds remaining in the Super Bowl era (now in its 50th season).

The Giants had not lost a game with a turnover differential of plus-3 or better since Nov. 29, 1987 at Washington, where four takeaways and just one turnover couldn’t prevent a 23-19 defeat.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and hold physical recovery cycles on Friday in advance of Sunday’s home opener against the Atlanta Falcons.

Sep 092015
 
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TOM COUGHLIN COMMENTS ON JASON PIERRE-PAUL…
Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the situation with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul on Wednesday. Pierre-Paul remains an unsigned Franchise player due to the serious hand injuries he suffered from a July 4th fireworks accident.

“As you know, JPP was here for a couple of days,” said Coughlin. “Went through all the medical. Was in an outstanding frame of mind. Was not ready to play, returned to South Florida. Optimistic about going forward and feeling better, and continuing to work towards being able to come back. So we’ll monitor that, and I don’t have anything further to add.

“He’s worked pretty hard. We actually saw a tape that showed him working. He’s done a lot of conditioning type work. So I don’t think there’s anything to worry about there. Obviously, it’d be great if he was all healed and ready to go, but he’s not.”

ANOTHER REPORT SAYS GIANTS AND ELI MANNING NEARING DEAL…
Supporting NJ.com’s earlier report that the New York Giants and Eli Manning are nearing a new contract, NFL.com is reporting that there is “significant progress on a long-term extension” and that there is “confidence it gets done before Sunday.” Manning is entering the final year of the 6-year contract he signed in August 2009.

MORE PRACTICE SQUAD SIGNINGS…
The Giants have signed quarterback G.J. Kinne and linebacker Gerald Rivers to the Practice Squad. These moves complete the team’s 10-man squad.

Kinne was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New York Jets after the 2012 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Jets (2012), UFL – Omaha Nighthawks (2012), AFL – Antonio Talons (2013), and Philadelphia Eagles (2013-15). After spending two years on Philadelphia’s Practice Squad in 2013-14, the Eagles converted him from quarterback to wide receiver and running back. Kinne lacks ideal size for a quarterback but he is a very good athlete with a decent arm. Tough, hard working, and competitive. While the Giants list him as a quarterback, he did line up at safety at practice on Wednesday.

Rivers was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the St. Louis Rams after the 2013 NFL Draft. Since then, he has spent time with the Rams (2013), Jacksonville Jaguars (2013), Miami Dolphins (2014), and Denver Broncos (2014-15). Rivers has only played in two NFL games – both in 2013 with the Rams. He has one career tackle. A former defensive end, Rivers has a nice combination of size and athletic ability.

INJURY REPORT…
Not practicing on Wednesday due to injuries were WR Victor Cruz (calf) and LT Will Beatty (pectoral – on PUP).

“Nothing has come across my desk to indicate that (Cruz’s status has changed),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Obviously, if this was strictly the knee or whatever, I think he’d be out there. The calf is what set him back. It’s not the knee, it’s the calf. There’s been some communication around the league with other clubs. For whatever reason, these things are very, very hard to get over. And we’ve experienced it before, obviously (Nat) Berhe is a great example of that.”

DE/DT Cullen Jenkins (hamstring), LB Jon Beason (knee), and LB Jonathan Casillas (neck) practiced on a limited basis.

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

Good morning. Two things quickly right off the bat. As you know, JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] was here for a couple of days. Went through all the medical. Was in an outstanding frame of mind. Was not ready to play, returned to South Florida. Optimistic about going forward and feeling better, and continuing to work towards being able to come back. So we’ll monitor that, and I don’t have anything further to add.

The second thing is the shock of the death of Tyler Sash. I haven’t seen Tyler in a couple of years. But one of the players texted me yesterday afternoon, and I didn’t see that coming, obviously. I know a lot of our players have responded. It’s very sad. Most difficult to try and understand. But nevertheless, our condolences go out to his family and his friends, and all those that cared for him. He was an outstanding teammate, now. During the time he was here, the players really enjoyed Tyler Sash. So I’m dumbfounded by this, and I’m very sad.

Having said that, the start of the 2015 season. We’re excited to go on the field this afternoon, or late-morning here, and prepare for the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys, having won our division a year ago, an outstanding football team. A strong team in a lot of categories. So we’ve got our work cut out for us.

Q: Have you spoken to or are you planning on speaking to the team about Tyler?

A: I did not mention that this morning. There were a couple players around yesterday. Eli was around. I spoke to him about it. He was taken aback as well.

Q: Everyone was so excited to see Jason Pierre-Paul on Monday. Do you have to worry about a dip in the morale?

A: No, I don’t think so. I don’t think so. I think the fact that he came in the way he did, Mr. Personality, was there and he felt good about himself, obviously, and where he’s been. He’s worked pretty hard. We actually saw a tape that showed him working. He’s done a lot of conditioning type work. So I don’t think there’s anything to worry about there. Obviously, it’d be great if he was all healed and ready to go, but he’s not.

Q: So it was his hand or his conditioning that won’t allow him to play?

A: The thing that had to be evaluated was his hand, yes.

Q: You said you have a plan for everything. How do you plan for that situation going forward?

A: Keep going, right where we are. Nothing’s changed. We’ve taken this path and we’re on it, and we’ll stay on it. Hopefully at some point in time, Jason will be ready to play, and we’ll get the green light. If that doesn’t happen, we’ll stay where we are.

Q: Did you get any sense of how close he is in terms of weeks?

A: I wouldn’t put any kind of time frame on it. It’s not going to be something that I have anything to say about anyways. It’s going to be the medical people.

Q: Has Victor Cruz’s status changed at all?

A: Nothing has come across my desk to indicate that.

Q: So he won’t be out there today?

A: [Shakes head no]

Q: You’ve been through your share of season openers as head coach here.

A: And everywhere else.

Q: Do they feel any different?

A: No, not at all. Just as excited, just as nervous, just as anxious to get started. Just as anxious to see our team on the field. So, no, nothing, no emotion. All the same.

Q: Are there specific areas or things with this team that you are particularly excited about?

A: Well, I’m excited to see how they respond, obviously, to going to Dallas and opening the season there. There’s a few guys that have been through that experience when it was a positive thing, a plus. But basically, it’s seeing our team come together, seeing us pull together now that we’re at 53, plus the 10 practice squad kids. I’m looking forward to that part of it.

Q: You added Jasper Brinkley to the roster. What kind of role do you see for him? Inside, outside, both?

A: Well, probably inside to start with. But I’m sure he’ll learn to play more than one, perhaps all three [linebacker positions].

Q: Is this at all a reflection on Jon Beason’s availability?

A: No, but we thought it was a necessity.

Q: Is Beason ready?

A: He’s going to practice today.

Q: What about Jonathan Casillas?

A: He’s going to practice. He practices today.

Q: Is he cleared to play, though? We didn’t see him the last three preseason games.

A: He practices today.

Q: Is he cleared to play in a game though?

A: He practices today. He’ll have a helmet on, and shoulder pads, those things.

Q: The last several weeks he’s practiced, but he’s been limited. You’ve kept him out of contact, so obviously there’s a concern there. Is there still a concern there?

A: I hope not, but we’ll see.

Q: Has Dallas changed much?

A: Well, in preseason you don’t see a whole lot. But the playoff games were, obviously, very good football. I don’t see any real radical change in the way that their approach is. Some of the names have changed.

Q: When did you start studying them?

A: 2014.

Q: How do you do it when they have such a big change in their backfield? How do you study that?

A: Well, there’s no doubt that they talk mostly about their offensive line, and the strength of their offensive line. I think that’s where you start. You start on their offensive line, and their defensive line. And there hasn’t been any real changes there.

Q: What’s the challenge with the safeties on the road in Dallas?

A: Communication. Communication. That’ll be a concern. We’ll have noise today. We’ll have officials today. We’ll do that for a couple days. Hopefully that will help focus in on the hand signals and the things of that nature that they have to utilize to communicate even though they’re perhaps a few yards apart.

Q: You’re aware the team hasn’t won an opener the past few years. How much does that put you behind? You come out the first week, lose that first game.

A: I don’t know. I don’t want to go there. We’re trying to win. We’re looking forward to the opener. I don’t remember a loss. We won a few, too. I don’t know, Paul. I’m not interested in that part of it right now. All I’m interested in is getting these people ready to play. I’m excited about playing, and let’s go see what we’ve got.

Q: Do you remember coming into a season with so many unanswered questions in your mind on what you have, what you are?

A: I don’t know, I don’t keep track of the count. There are some areas where we expect some people to step up and gain significant recognition in terms of the quality of their play. We look forward to working with those guys. So we have a few things, obviously, that need to be ironed out and need to be clarified. Hopefully that’s what will happen right here.

Q: For a long time, Victor was so optimistic on playing the first game. I don’t know if you’ve ruled anything out. I don’t know if that’s accurate. But has his situation unfolded the way you expected, or have there been frustrations on your part? Is this what you expected?

A: Oh, no. Obviously, if this was strictly the knee or whatever, I think he’d be out there. The calf is what set him back. It’s not the knee, it’s the calf. There’s been some communication around the league with other clubs. For whatever reason, these things are very, very hard to get over. And we’ve experienced it before, obviously [Nat] Berhe is a great example of that. But that’s what is holding him back, not the other.

Q: You’re a little thin at defensive tackle, obviously you expected Louis Nix to be here. Do you expect to add another body in there?

A: Yeah, we will. But don’t forget, we’ve worked some other people in there. [Kerry] Wynn has worked in there, for example, to give us another athlete that can certainly play in there on second and long and third down.

Q: Will Cullen Jenkins go back in there as well?

A: Cullen plays in there—in and out, in and out. He can certainly play in there.

Q: How’s he doing physically?

A: Okay. We’ll see what he does today on the field.

Q: You spent a lot of time and energy this offseason in rebuilding the offensive line. Where do you stand going into the season, and what are your expectations for that group?

A: I expect us to improve throughout the entire season. Not only for the young guy that’s in there in the new position etc… Westy [Weston Richburg] being in there at center. I think we’re going to improve and get better each time we play. We hopefully have got some things solved, and others to come. I do expect that we will have a starting point and get better from there.

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

ARTICLES

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The Giants practice on Thursday and hold physical recovery cycles on Friday in advance of Sunday night’s game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Sep 042015
 
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Steve Weatherford, New York Giants (January 22, 2012)

Steve Weatherford – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Cut Steve Weatherford, Trade for Brad Wing: The New York Giants have released punter Steve Weatherford and acquired punter Brad Wing by trade from the Pittsburgh Steelers for a conditional 7th round draft pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

Weatherford signed with the Giants in 2011 after spending time with the Saints, Chiefs, Jaguars, and Jets. Weatherford tore ligaments in his left ankle last September and was hobbled with the injury for much of the 2014 season. He finished 18th in the NFL in punting average (45.5 yards per punt) and 25th in net punting average (38.6). The Giants were concerned with Weatherford’s declining directional punting, which remained an issue in the preseason.

An Australian, the left-footed Wing was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2013 NFL Draft. He did not make the team but he made the Steelers roster in 2014. He finished that season with a 43.7 yards per punt average (38.8 net). Wing averaged 48.2 yards per punt (39.3 net) in the 2015 preseason. Twenty of his 61 punts in 2014 were downed inside the 20-yard line. Wing also held for field goals and place kicks for the Steelers.

Weatherford’s base salary in 2015 would have been $2.175 million and he would have counted $3.075 million against the cap. Wing is scheduled to make $510,000 in salary in 2015. By releasing Weatherford, the Giants are hit by $900,000 in dead money against the 2015 cap.

September 4, 2015 New York Giants Injury Update: Center Brett Jones, who left the preseason finale with a knee injury, has a MCL sprain.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin was also asked about the two players who were late scratches, cornerback Trevin Wade (back) and wide receiver Corey Washington (shoulder). “They are doing okay now,” said Coughlin.

Coughlin said he had no update on the status of wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) and his availability for the season opener.

September 4, 2015 Head Coach Tom Coughlin Conference Call: Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Friday afternoon:

Let me start off by saying how difficult it was today to say goodbye to Steve Weatherford, who has been just an exceptional, exceptional human being, if I can put it that way, in terms of his – not only what he has contributed to the New York Giants on the football field but what he has done in the community, what he represents, the enthusiasm, the passion [and] the way that he had a unique ability to touch people in all parts of life. Whether it be a sick child, attending a funeral, just speaking to a junior high school group, whatever it might be, Steve had a very unique ability to come in to a room and be the light of the room and get people excited and emotional or speak to them in terms of remarks which showed compassion. When I spoke with Steve today, as he put it, the furthest thing from his mind at that time was to be speaking about football. He was very, very gracious in terms of speaking of his experience here with the New York Giants and what it has meant to he and his family and how he will always cherish his four years that he spent with us.

Q: What went into the decision and what do you like about Brad Wing?

A: Well, you know what, this is Steve’s day and I am going to stay away from talking about Wing or anything else, including the decision. It is not something that is done lightly, there have been evaluations that have gone on from the first day of training camp and the results are what we decided needed to be done at this time, but I am not going down that road today. I am thinking only of Steve Weatherford and what he has contributed here as a Giant.

Q: Do you talk to all players personally when you make these decisions?

A: Absolutely. I speak to every player.

Q:  With Weatherford on the field, everyone always talks about that Super Bowl run. Is that something that really sticks out to you as well?

A: Oh, no doubt about that part of it. If you remember in San Francisco, for example, when the field goal that was made that sent us to the Super Bowl – do you remember the guy that was going wild on the field? It was Steve. It was an experience unto itself because he was so excited about having that opportunity.

Q: You are going to have a lot of those conversations over this weekend. How hard is that?

A: So is everybody in the league that sits in this chair. It is not an easy thing; it is a most difficult thing. It is emotional in many ways, but every player that comes into the league – every coach understands that this is part of it, and even though it is by far one of the least popular things that has to happen, it still, nevertheless, has to be done, and we would like to think that we choose to do it with dignity.

Q: Any injuries out of last night?

A: Brett Jones had an MCL last night.

Q: Sprain?

A: Yeah.

Q: What happened with Corey Washington and Trevin Wade? You had sent out a list of guys that weren’t going to play. What happened in those last five hours that altered them being able to play and how are they doing now?

A: They are doing okay now, but there were a couple of events that came up that put it into a little different category, so they were held out of the game.

Q: Have you gotten any update on if Victor Cruz is going to be cleared anytime soon?

A: No.

Q: Is there a possibility of keeping multiple fullbacks on the roster? Is that something you have ever done before?

A: Well, first of all, there have been times when teams have kept more than one fullback; that certainly is nothing unusual. Obviously, they were then categorized as worthy in terms of being – whether you rank them 1 through 53 or however, they are worthy of being on the team, so that is not something unusual if in fact those players have fallen into the top part of your evaluation.

Q: How ready do you feel your team is to start the season?

A: Well, we’re going to start the season, so we better be ready. There are certainly many, many areas where we need to improve, and I think we will improve. I thought that there was – for the guys that played in the game last night – I thought they played hard and they competed well, so we certainly can learn something and take something from this. I wasn’t particularly pleased with the execution on offense for most of the night, and I think that an awful lot of that has to improve. I think we have to zoom in on a particular team and see if we can’t clean up our issues in terms of execution and finishing the play and doing the things necessary to be successful. I know everybody probably wants to talk about the green zone, but to me, it’s more than that. There are definite areas everywhere in our game that can be improved upon, but make no doubt about it – the season is underway and we’re going to have to get there in a hurry.

Q: Is there anyone that stood out for you in that game that really sort of helped their cause here maybe moving forward?

A: I thought there was any number of guys who did well and performed well in terms of their own particular game. Particularly, if you just cite individual plays – not necessarily the whole course of the game. Geremy Davis made a couple of plays, no doubt. [Jerome] Cunningham made nice plays. I thought Landon Collins made a couple of plays demonstrating, as I have told you earlier, I wanted to see him have to play the deep ball in the middle of the field and that happened. As a matter of fact, he should’ve had an interception, and he knocked the ball away on a crossing pattern way over near the far sideline, which showed me that his burst was there and he can get after it and knock the ball away. And he also got down close to the line of scrimmage and tackled and did some things of that nature. Certainly, you’d have to say George Selvie played well last night. Damontré [Moore], despite the penalties, came up with certainly a huge play at the end of the game. [Chris] Boswell – how about that kid coming in literally off the street and kicking off as well as he did, driving the ball deep and making four field goals when he hadn’t had really any time to speak of with Steve [Weatherford] as the holder since he’d been back. So there were a lot of individual plays. A lot of people had plays, and it would’ve been nice if [Uani’] Unga went up and had his hands on that ball that he ended up knocking down. You know, I’ve seen people catch that ball, and that would’ve been a nice thing to see. So there were plays throughout the game that were good examples. You had [Kenneth] Harper on the really nice cutback run. You had [Orleans] Darkwa with a couple of penetration runs up front, I thought. We went to kind of a two tight end and two back set in the second half and had some productive running opportunities, so there were plays along the line like that throughout the game.

Q: I know we seem to ask you this every week, but where do you stand now with the safety position? Did Cooper Taylor do anything to sort of solidify himself in that spot? I know he’s been playing with the first team all week.

A: Well, that was his opportunity. That’s basically what it was, and we’ll decide on those things going forward based on merit. Cooper [Taylor] did some good things last night, no doubt, and hopefully will continue.

Q: Can you just talk about your thoughts in opening Sunday night in Dallas in a situation where it’s going to be a pretty charged atmosphere and you seem to have to hit the ground running?

A: Well, it’s the opening game of the 2015 season. Everybody, we’re excited to be playing. We’re playing in the division. We’re playing against a team that was the division champion a year ago, that went deep into the playoffs. So they’re an outstanding team and we’ve been in this format before and we’re excited and look forward to going to Dallas and bringing our A game.

Q: What’s the ideal number of tight ends you’d like to carry on your roster moving forward here? If you had a perfect world and got to choose.

A: Well, if I had a perfect world, I’d… of course you’ve got to have the utilization of the tight ends, and with specific purpose. It’s a difficult position to man today in terms of the versatility that goes along with it. You’d like to have at least one tight end that can accomplish everything, and then others that are very specific, so you could have anywhere from three to four tight ends, and if you were not carrying a fullback, you might even have more depending on how they contribute to special teams.

September 4, 2015 Player Conference Calls: Transcripts of the following player conference calls on Friday afternoon are available on BigBlueInteractive.com:

Articles on DE Jason Pierre-Paul:

Article on FB/DT Nikita Whitlock: Two-way player Whitlock hoping to stick with Giants by Tom Rock of Newsday

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

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Probably not.

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

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

Q: Is [Rueben] Randle still out?

A: As of now, he is.

Q: Odell will be back today?

A: Today he’s going to work, yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: At both spots maybe?

A: We’ll see. Possibly.

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

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

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

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

Q: So how much will he play Saturday?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Improvement. Improvement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How did Akeem Hunt look kick returning?

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

Q: How has Geremy Davis been progressing so far?

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

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

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

Q: Where do you see him? Gunner?

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

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

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

Q: How much of a loss is Mykelle Thompson?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: So that is what the focus is on?

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

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

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

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

  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Aug 132015
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BBI Giants-Bengals Preseason Game Preview: Our preview of Friday’s New York Giants-Cincinnati Bengals preseason game is now available in the Game Previews and Reviews section of the website.

August 13, 2015 New York Giants Player Q&As: The following transcripts and video clips of a player media sessions are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

New York Giants Training Camp Articles:

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Backs:

Giants-Bengals Practice Sights & Sounds: A sights and sounds video of the Giants-Bengals practices is available at Giants.com.

Aug 072015
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 7, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their seventh summer training camp practice on Friday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GIANTS SIGN SAFETY JUSTIN HALLEY, WAIVE CHRIS HARPER…
The New York Giants have signed rookie free agent Justin Halley (Florida International) and waived/injured wide receiver Chris Harper.

INJURY REPORT…
Right guard Geoff Schwartz (coming off of ankle surgery), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked if there was an update on McClain. “No, he will be a while,” responded Coughlin. “He has had some issues in the past and they are trying to rule out a bunch of things. I’m not going to rush a guy back in, forget that stuff. It is just like a head [injury], we aren’t going to rush anyone back in who has an injury like that.”

Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) was limited.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Today’s practice was only a jog-thru. “The purpose is we went two hard [practices] in a row and we have a hard one tomorrow, so this would be the natural down curve and we thought this was the time to go with a mental day, a learning day, rather than anything physical so we can get something done tomorrow,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With Geoff Schwartz out, the starting offensive line was left tackle Ereck Flowers, left guard Justin Pugh, center Weston Richburg, right guard John Jerry, and right tackle Marshall Newhouse.
  • Landon Collins and Jeromy Miles were the starters at safety.
  • Dominique Hamilton received some reps with the first-team at defensive tackle alongside Johnathan Hankins. The first-team defensive ends were Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Robert Ayers.
  • Jordan Stanton also saw some time with the starters at right defensive end and inside as a pass rusher.
  • Shane Vereen and Rashad Jennings worked with first-team today; Andre Williams worked with the second-team.
  • At one point Victor Cruz motioned into the backfield and lined up at tailback.

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

Q: What was purpose of this practice?

A: The purpose is we went two hard [practices] in a row and we have a hard one tomorrow, so this would be the natural down curve and we thought this was the time to go with a mental day, a learning day, rather than anything physical so we can get something done tomorrow.

Q: You’re hurting your reputation a little bit here running games and easing down here?

A: A new, changed scientific approach.

Q: Any updates on Jameel McClain?

A: No, he will be a while.

Q: Is there something structural there? A herniated disk on McClain?

A: No, but he has had some issues in the past and they are trying to rule out a bunch of things. I’m not going to rush a guy back in, forget that stuff. It is just like a head [injury], we aren’t going to rush anyone back in who has an injury like that.

Q: Is it his neck or his back or his spine?

A: It is in that area, I think.

Q: You haven’t been asked in a while. Have you spoken to Jason Pierre-Paul yet?

A: No, but I think I will speak to him [shortly].

Q: Shortly today?

A: I have not talked to him yet, but I am anticipating talking to him perhaps before the end of the week.

Q: What makes you say that?

A: I just have a premonition. So far my premonitions, none of them have worked.

Q: What do you think that conversation will be like?

A: If and when it happens, I am concerned about knowing how he feels. Where is he? How is he coming along? I won’t even ask about the extent of the injuries but I’ll let him tell me. Why isn’t he here?

Q: Richburg and Flowers obviously feeling good enough to be out there today; I know you didn’t go hard. Do you anticipate them being out there tomorrow?

A: I hope so. They are not going to get the full green light. They are going to be restricted, but I’m thinking they will be out there.

Q: I didn’t see Odell out there at all. Was there something to that?

A: No, nothing to that.

Q: What was your reaction to Shaun O’Hara’s comments?

A: I don’t have any reaction. I am not going to comment on that.

Q: Any update on Geoff Schwartz?

A: No.

Q: Will you bring everyone to Cincinnati? Even guys who aren’t going to participate?

A: No, but they have to be ruled out of the game not to go. They may be ‘can’t work today but we’ll see’ kind of people and they will come.

Q: Do you have to prepare any differently even with the practices maybe than you would with the first preseason game because you are going out there and going against a [different] offense or defense?

A: That is the purpose. The purpose is to go and get good, hard work against someone else instead of beating on your own people.

Q: Do you think Victor is a no-go for that first game?

A: Probably, but again — ask me next week in the middle of the preparation for the game.

Q: But he will come with you?

A: Ask me next week after I get there.

OFFENSIVE LINE COACH PAT FLAHERTY…
Pat Flaherty addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com).

Q: I know you really can’t control it, but the level of frustration when you look and see three projected starters on the side yesterday, how frustrating is that?

A: I don’t think it’s frustrating. I probably have my feelings go towards those guys because I think, I believe, they want to be out there and they can’t be out there for various reasons because they’re injured. My feelings of whatever I have is really for those guys that they want to be out there and get better. As a group, we need them out there to get better. There are some things as a coach that you can control, there are some things you can’t control. The one thing that I always want to stay focused on as a coach is do the best job with what we have to work with and what I can control. That’s the players out there practicing at the moment.

Q: But still you can’t build continuity when you have guys coming in and out. How do you comb that over, if you comb that over?

A: You try to do it with the things that those guys can do, whether it’s walk-throughs, in the meetings, trying to keep that continuity. You’re not getting 100 percent, as you mentioned, you just get the best of what you can do, whether it’s sitting in a chair and talking about things and letting them call things out in the meeting rooms. We try to keep that exercise going each and every day.

Q: Where do you stand at right tackle at this point? I saw the other day you rotated Newhouse and Schwartz..

A: We just want to make sure that we get guys working at various positions because if something else happens at a position, you want to be able to say, ‘Okay, we’re going to do this.’ So we’re going to let guys work at positions and see how they do and one of them was Geoff at the time. Now he’s not totally healthy right now so for him to go out there for Marshall really is not the best indication we can get at this point, but we’ll continue to work with that. So right now, Marshall Newhouse is the starting right tackle and we will have other options. I think the more competition you develop, and that’s what we’re trying to do as the New York Giant offensive line, which we’re going to also get a starting five and always have competition right nipping at their heels. I know we’ve used a term here ‘the next guy up’ but, really, what that means is you’re ready to take over because you’re pushing the starter.

Q: Prior to the injury bug starting, Justin (Pugh) and Weston (Richburg) spoke about being tougher, being like that 2008 line. Are you seeing that from them yet?

A: Yeah, I’m seeing that. You can’t—we have a saying in our offensive line room and I’ll share it with you, “We talk with our pads.” I know they are sharing that with you, I heard that before and that’s fine, but it’s not going to get done just verbally talking about it. You have to do it with pads. One thing I have seen each and every day by these guys is they are coming off the ball better with their pads. We always have to work on our leverage on our pads and if we continue to progress like that, we are going to be a good offensive line. We are talented enough. I know sometimes we question that, but we are talented enough. Whether or not we do it, I’m part of that equation as a coach.

Q: How is Brandon Mosley coming along? I see him getting worked into the mix.

A: He is out there at tackle now. We are trying to keep him in one spot. We moved him and worked a couple reps at the guard position and it is a little bit different out there at tackle in terms of the pass protection, so he is getting a feel for that with his technique, he has some work to do.

Q: Missed practices at this time of the year, what do they mean, especially for Flowers?

A: Well, it is critical, it is. It is nothing that you take lightly with a young player. The only guys that you would actually kind of, as a coach, breathe okay with is a guy that is a veteran, a guy that has played year after year after year. A young player needs every snap that he gets, so my job is when he’s not in there, in particular in our jog-throughs and walk-throughs, is he’s right beside me and he’s telling me his assignment so he’s getting mental reps. Mental reps aren’t going to get the job done, you have to get out there and physically do it. Obviously, right now he can’t physically do it, so we’re going to do whatever we can to keep getting him ready to play.

Q: Do you have a sense on when you will get Flowers and Richburg?

A: No, I don’t. I think Ronnie (Barnes) can answer that. If you ask me, I’d say my fingers were crossed for today, but that’s asking me. I have no idea. I’m just hoping that the guys get back sooner than later but when you get them back you don’t want that reoccurring. Ereck is a little different now. He wants to—he’s chomping at the bit, he’s in my ear, and I say, ‘Hey, listen, you’ve got to understand we have the best training staff in the world.’ And I said, ‘They’re going to put you out there when you’re ready so you don’t re-injure it.’ It’s no good to get out there and then go back to square one now. So he’s missing some time now but the objective is when he gets out there, he’s not looking back, he’s going straight ahead. So when that is, I really couldn’t tell you.

Q: Were you aware of the tweets by Shaun O’Hara questioning the offensive linemen?

A: I don’t have one of those accounts. I don’t even know if I can pronounce it but I can’t say. I’m not going to stand before you and say I don’t read your articles because I do when I have time, but when I come in the morning, and whatever time it is right now and whatever day it is, I haven’t done that.

Q: Did you hear about it though?

A: What are you…

Q: He’s basically questioning the toughness, saying offensive linemen shouldn’t be sitting out practice coming off a day off basically.

A: That’s one man’s opinion from that standpoint. When you get into the inner circles and really into our organization and all the discussion we have with Coach Coughlin each and every day from head coach to assistant coach, I don’t question the toughness because I know and I understand what they’re going through. Now I don’t know what Shaun’s saying, but maybe he’s saying, ‘Hey, listen. Sometimes if you have a little bit of soreness, you have to play through it,’ but that’s different. These guys don’t have that, they have an injury and that’s why they’re not practicing. One thing in training camp that I know is in Shaun’s back of the mind because we’ve always talked about it in our room with all those guys, you have to develop the calluses on your hands, you have to develop the soreness with the pads and next is going to be a little stiffness and all those things that come with playing this game that they love to play. If they don’t love to play it, okay we’re missing the boat there somewhere. That’s what you have to be able to do —you do have to work through some hurts and some pains, you do. The injuries, that’s totally different. That’s controlled. So whatever the opinion is, mine is if they’re injured and they’re hurt, my job is to make sure they get the mental reps.

Q: (O’Hara’s) around here a lot, though. How much is he in the guys’ ears in regards to..?

A: That’s a great question. I think all those guys—first of all, whether it’s Shaun or Richie (Seubert) or Chris (Snee), they love the New York Giants. You guys have heard it before, once a Giant, always a Giant and those guys are going to do everything they can to help this organization, whether it’s with players or outside talking to the fans, whatever it is. I’m sure they’re going to—the one thing I’ve always, as a coach, told the younger guys is reach out to the veterans, watch them, absorb everything you can, see what kind of passion they have because the true veterans have been through it. The veterans are going to reach out to the retired guys possibly from that standpoint.

DEFENSIVE LINE COACH ROBERT NUNN…
Robert Nunn addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com).

Q: What kind of correspondence have you had with DE Jason Pierre-Paul?

I’ve spoken to him on the phone. I’ve texted him back and forth and mostly about things other than football. The first thing you know, it’s been talked about before, and it was a tragic thing that happened, major accident. Everybody has their beliefs on what happened, what should have happened, and make of it what they want to, but the guy went through a tough thing. It was a tough situation to be in so when I talk to him we talk more about where he is from a mental standpoint. I texted him back and forth, just to let him know that we’re here for him. Whatever he needs, we’re here for him, and his response has been, “Coach, I’m good, I want to get myself right, and I’ll be back.” That’s kind of where it stands. I don’t know any more than what you guys know from that standpoint. Most of my conversations with him have been about things other than football.

Q: Do you have any idea on when to expect Pierre-Paul?

No. Everybody is guessing. Nobody knows right now, and he texted me just this morning to tell he’s good today. I kind of keep up with him like that. Every day or every other day I’ll shoot something at him with text. Again, it’s all usually about something other than football. We talked about we miss him in meetings and busting his chops in meetings and we kind of laugh about it. That’s kind of where it goes. I don’t know any more than that.

Q: How do you balance the confidentiality established with Pierre-Paul and sharing information with the organization?

Jerry (Reese) and I talk almost daily when I talk to him. If he (Pierre-Paul) asks me not talk about it, I don’t talk about it, but we don’t really get into that. It’s not anything everyone knows, you know. I just want to know where he is from an emotional and mental standpoint, and we’ve told him, everybody in this building has told him, we’re here for him. Whatever you need, just let us know how we can help, and so that’s been the conversation, but there’s really not any more to it other than that. He shoots me a funny text every so often and I’ll shoot one back. Some of the guys have talked to him, I think, and texted him about the meetings and we have some laughs. He’s not here to defend himself when we bust his chops and so we laugh about that. It’s that kind of conversation.

Q: Do you have to prepare as if you have to move on without Pierre-Paul?

We’ve talked about it in our room as far a defensive line room and that’s kind of been how it is. We’re going on and he’ll be here when he’ll be here and those other guys have a great opportunity and we’re going from there.

Q: Are you at the point where you’re sending Pierre-Paul defensive information?

I haven’t lately. We’ve discussed a little bit of that but I haven’t been sending a lot of stuff yet. He’s got up until the accident happened. He’s got most of everything in front of him, so when the time comes, we’ll get on it, and I’ll spend day and night doing that, and getting him ready to go.

Q: Do you get the sense that Pierre-Paul misses being here?

There’s no question, yeah.

Q: Do you know the extent of Pierre-Paul’s injury and if he’ll be as effective as he once was?

I don’t really know any more than what’s been printed. I told him that we’ll just tie one hand behind his back because he’s that kind of player. We joke about it a little bit like that, but I don’t know. I don’t know anything more than you guys know as far as the extent of the injury.

Q: Were you expecting Pierre-Paul to have a big year?

Oh yeah. He’s been an outstanding player. When he’s been healthy, he’s been as good as there is in the league and so we were all looking forward to that. Hey, it was a crazy thing that happened, but it happened. It was an accident, a horrible accident, life-changing experience, and so we’re going to move on from there and make the best of it.

Q: How do you plan moving forward? Do you have to plan as if Pierre-Paul is not going to be here?

Right now that’s what we’re doing as far as a group and everyone. We’re all pulling for him in that room. Everyone in there is very close and stays in touch with each other, and so we’re all pulling for him to be back, but right now we’ve got a job to do and that’s what we’re doing.

Q: How do you see filling that right defensive end spot?

The situation right now, as far as the defensive ends, we’ve got a group of defensive ends that have come in here with the right frame of mind, and I really feel good about the rotation. Right, left, starter, non-starter, we’ve got a good group, and we’re going to keep building every day and stacking successes. Young guys come in and are doing what we ask them to do, and I like where we are. Preseason games will tell us where we stack up as far as against other offenses, but I like where we are going into this practice here Saturday, and going to Cincinnati next week and we’ll see where we stand.

Q: Do you have to tweak the defense because of the absence of Pierre-Paul?

No, not necessarily. Spags (Steve Spagnuolo) has his package and we’re putting it in and we’re putting it in as best we can. We’re going to continue to tweak it and adjust it just like we would if he was here, he’s not here. No we haven’t changed very much.

Q: Have any of the defensive ends jumped out at you?

In certain areas they’ve all jumped out. I really like where Robert Ayers has come in from a mental standpoint. Kerry Wynn, when he got his opportunity, he made the most of it as far as production. Kerry Wynn, when the pads come on, he’s a different player than when the pads are not on, and I’ve coached players like that.

Q: Does Wynn become a different player when the pads are on because of his strength?

Yeah. He’s a strong, young player and they all do some things that the other ones don’t. Owa (Odighizuwa), you know we have to get him in better condition but he’s showed some good things. He’s a strong kid that wants to do what you ask him to do. Damontre (Moore) has come in and done some good things. They all have something that they can do that maybe somebody else doesn’t do. The group of defensive ends, I like where they are. George Selvie is a professional, hard-working, every day he shows up, does what you ask him to do, and that bleeds through that entire room.

Q: Did (Jonathan) Hankins show you enough as a pass-rusher last year?

Oh yeah. He kind of started showing up a year ago, when we would get in one-on-one pass rush, he was doing some good things, and he got his opportunity and took advantage of it. If he’s producing, he’s definitely going to be in there. He’s definitely going to have that opportunity to get in there in some rush situations.

Re: playing Hankins on third down passing situations versus lining up with four defensive ends

A lot of that will be controlled by down and distance. If it’s a truly long yardage situation, then Jonathan probably won’t be in there just because of what you can see. He’ll be in there, he’ll have some opportunities.

Q: Why have the defensive ends been moving inside? Is it because it’s early or do you want to see what guys can do in those spots?

Both, it’s early and you know we can get some of those other guys some opportunities. We’ll continue to tweak that and look at it and give everybody a shot.

Q: Have you seen any early indication that you’ll be better against the run?

It’s hard to tell until you get in real games. When real bullets are fired you is when find out. I know we challenged them, we’ve challenged them to come in here, and we have to be able to stop the run better than we did last year. I like where we are, Hankins has come in here in a great frame of mind, and I can’t say enough positive things about where he is. Markus Kuhn has come in and is ready to give himself a shot. Jay Bromley, the one thing I love about coaching Jay is when you give him something to work on, he works on it every day. He tries to correct it as you talk to him each day, each practice, and Kenrick Ellis, they’ve got their opportunity in front of them, so we’ll see when the real bullets fire.

Q: What is it that you see in Kuhn that is giving him an opportunity?

He’s got himself in that position. Markus didn’t have a lot of production last year but he still did some things that caused production. There are a lot of those times that the defensive tackles, there’s hidden productivity, now there’s also some times he has to make some plays that he should have made. That’s the thing that we talked about in the off-season, he and I did, and it’s some things that you have to improve on. He’s gotten himself ready to have that opportunity going into preseason.

Q: What is different about Kuhn this year?

Foot quickness, I think he’s continuously worked on that, and his agility inside and his balance. He seems to be further along than he’s ever been with the foot speed and the quickness. Markus is another one, you give him something to work on, and he’ll work on it over and over. He’s a lot of fun to coach.

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The eighth training camp practice will be held on Saturday from 2:30-4:30PM but it is not open to the public. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only 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
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 3, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fourth summer 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.

INJURY REPORT…
Left tackle Ereck Flowers (hip flexor) and left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery) did not practice. The Giants say Flowers is “day-to-day.”

“(Flowers) doesn’t seem to be bad,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “It’s a hip flexor issue. This morning he was sore, but by the time I caught him in the meeting room, he was doing this [stretches leg]. Hopefully, it’s just a short amount of time…(It’s something that happened) a couple of days ago…He tried to (play through it).”

Cornerback Chykie Brown left practice early. “I’m not sure what it is,” said Coughlin. “They said something about a foot or possibly a shoe issue or something. Hopefully, that’s it. He’s been doing pretty well, he’s been flashing a lot. I’d like to see him stay with it, he’s very motivated.”

THE JASON PIERRE-PAUL SAGA…

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (hand/arm) still has not signed his 1-year Franchise tender and has not reported to training camp. ESPN is reporting that Pierre-Paul plans to play this season but he will not sign his tender until he is sure he can pass a physical. General Manager Jerry Reese said he had a “great conversation” with Pierre-Paul on Sunday and has also spoken to his agents. He did not offer any details on what was said.

“I don’t want to really talk about it because when you talk about those things the agent listens and he thinks you’re trying to send a message,” Reese said. “So I don’t want to talk about it at all. If I don’t talk about it, there’s no message.”

Pierre-Paul has also spoken to Giants Senior Vice President of Medical Services Ronnie Barnes and Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With Ereck Flowers (hip flexor) out, the starting offensive line was left tackle Justin Pugh, left guard Adam Gettis, center Weston Richburg, right guard Geoff Schwartz, and right tackle Marshall Newhouse. The Giants also worked in John Jerry at right guard, Dallas Reynolds at left guard, and Geoff Schwartz at right tackle.
  • Bennett Jackson and Mykkele Thompson worked as the first-team safeties with Landon Collins and Jeromy Miles working with the second-team.
  • Left tackle Justin Pugh and defensive end Damontre Moore got into a fight.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham got behind cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and safety Mykkele Thompson deep for a touchdown. (Video)
  • Running back Shane Vereen continues to look sharp catching passes out of the backfield.
  • Cornerback Trevin Wade picked off quarterback Ricky Stanzi. (Video)
  • Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record said his three stars of practice were linebacker Devon Kennard, safety Bennett Jackson, and quarterback Eli Manning. He also pointed out that Manning has yet to throw an interception in training camp.

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

Q: Have you ever seen a player change positions the way Bennett Jackson has from corner to safety?

A: Yeah, I think so. Sure. Guys change their position whether it be somewhere in the college ranks or in the pro game. He’s progressing and we hope he continues to because it’s early and there’s a lot to go.

Q: The guys that do it successfully, do you notice a commonality with those guys?

A: Well, basically they have an awareness and the big picture of how to play–what the game is all about. Because they’ve been in the secondary, they listen, they see, they listen to corrections. Whether you’re a corner or a safety and you’re playing a specific coverage and if you listen over and over again to what the important ingredients are to play the coverage well, and then the corrections. He’s a smart kid. I’m sure he adapted some of that, although he may not be able to put his finger on it like I’m saying it. There’s the commonality, I think—you’re a player, you’re a football player.

Q: How bad is Ereck Flowers?

A: He doesn’t seem to be bad. It’s a hip flexor issue. This morning he was sore, but by the time I caught him in the meeting room, he was doing this [stretches leg]. Hopefully, it’s just a short amount of time.

Q: Is it something that happened during the practice yesterday?

A: No, a couple of days ago.

Q: So he played through it for a little bit?

A: He tried to, yeah.

Q: What have you seen out of Robert Ayers and can he be that dynamic presence?

A: Robert has played well. He’s been a really good soldier, he’s been a good teammate. He’s grabbed guys and talked to them, whether it be in the meeting rooms or out here. He’s worked hard. I’ve seen nothing but good things out of him.

Q: Chykie Brown looked like he walked off. Anything on him?

A: I’m not sure what it is. They said something about a foot or possibly a shoe issue or something. Hopefully, that’s it. He’s been doing pretty well, he’s been flashing a lot. I’d like to see him stay with it, he’s very motivated.

Q: Can you talk about Justin Pugh’s versatility and what he brings to the table?

A: Well, he’s obviously played left tackle in college. He came here and played right tackle. In the spring we moved him to left guard knowing full well that he would have to move around. So, we thought today would be a good day to put him at left tackle. [Geoff] Schwartz came back out, so we had Schwartz out there. We had John Jerry out there so that he could do a little something with the right side as well. His versatility—he’s a smart player.

Q: I know he’s only a rookie but how vital is Flowers to your offense at this point because you lost Will Beatty?

A: He’s a first-round draft choice. The left tackle from last year tore a pec, he’s out there trying to learn how to play. He’s important.

Q: You’ve been using Devon Kennard as a pass rusher, do you envision him doing that?

A: I hope so, but he’s playing linebacker. You see the pressure packages, so he comes in the packages.

Q: If you have to replace the sack total from JPP, is he going to add to that?

A: I hope so, I hope there’s lots of guys who will add to it. I hope that we develop more people that are effective as pass rushers, no matter where they come from–secondary, linebacker, up front.

Q: The first skirmish seemed to be heated but quick.

A: That’s the way they usually are.

Q: You have any problem with that one?

A: Oh yeah, I’ve got a problem with all of them because they’re out there swinging. I’ve been hurt firsthand by a guy who broke his hand in a fight.  In the old days they used to wrap it up and play with it, they don’t do that anymore. I was upset about the fight and losing their temper and all that stuff. The bottom line is you can’t afford to do it, to lose a guy.

Q: Did you have to say something or did they self-regulate?

A: I usually say something to everybody.

Q: Gently, right? Nice, calm tone.

A: However it comes out, it comes out. Sometimes not so gentle, sometimes it is.

Q: This morning Jerry Reese said that he spoke to JPP yesterday, have you had that chance to speak to him yet?

A: No.

Q: Is that disappointing that you haven’t had the chance?

A: As long as he’s talking to Jerry [Reese] or somebody in the building, it looks like there’s a chance that the communication thing will open up and when that does, I’ll end up on the phone, I’m sure.

Q: How did Adam Gettis do today?

A: He had a good day yesterday, I’d say so-so today.

Q: Why did you decide to go that direction without Flowers, with Pugh at left tackle and Gettis there?

A: Because Gettis played well yesterday and we thought this would give him a chance. If he was going to catch our eye, this would be a good way to do it.

WIDE RECEIVERS COACH SEAN RYAN…
Sean Ryan addressed the media on Monday (video is available at Giants.com).

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

Q: With Victor and Odell back on the practice field, can that help your group get better? Can everyone make everyone better?

A: Oh, without a doubt, it is a great pleasure to have those guys out there because our guys have to work, they have to be really prepared. Those are two elite receivers in the league that have a lot of credibility, they are very competitive, they have good ball skills, they understand coverages and they know how to run routes, so when you go against them every day, that helps us get better so we can be better prepared for Sundays, going against guys with that experience and that athletic ability.

Q: What tells you that DRC is healthier right now than he was last season?

A: He has been able practice. The thing I look at is for the guys to get better, we have to practice every day. We have to be on the field and guys have been working hard on trying to do that and given the condition to be able handle the games on Sunday, he has taken a great step forward with that.

Q: Prince said he wanted to take a little shot at Odell the other day saying, “I would’ve hit you.”

A: It is good competitive fun, guys are working hard together. That makes both sides of the ball better. You have two experienced guys that understand how to play the game and that makes you go full speed and play with great effort with a great respect for each guy on the other side of the ball.

Q: Tom said yesterday that DRC and Prince really haven’t had a lot of opportunities. There hasn’t been a lot of down field passing in this camp so far. Do you expect that to happen and do you need that to happen?

A: Oh yeah, it will happen. It hasn’t happened against those two guys where they have a lot of opportunities now, but they are going to the fourth day of camp and they will definitely get opportunities to go in. That is what we need to be good at. We have to be good at playing the ball at the top of the route and finishing down field in the pass game, so that is a thing we will get a chance to evaluate and they need that work on it and I’m sure we’ll have plenty of opportunity to get that in.

Q: Tim, I’m curious how does it work as a secondary when the cornerbacks have so much experience, especially the two starters, and the safeties have very little and yet the safeties make the calls?

A: Well, it is a trust factor. Coach Merritt has done a great job with those guys. Those guys are developing and it is a family atmosphere, guys trust each other, guys work together, guys believe in each other and then guys help each other out. We’re doing this thing as a team, so everybody works together and those guys are doing a good job and …communication. You know those guys are growing up fast and they are doing a good job. If we have confidence in them outside so we are good with what they are doing.

Q: I think it was Spags who said he almost asked the cornerback to sort of let [the safeties] do the talking. Are you guys still doing that?

A: Yeah, and they are directing the show and we just communicate with them. They are directing the show and we let them do it to let them get the confidence of doing it. We have the experience outside for those guys but we don’t want them to ever step on their toes or try to do it for them, we want them to develop that communication on their own and we just communicate back with them, not communicating for them.

Q: Is that tough with those guys though?

A: No, [because] we understand leadership. Spags tells us how he wants it done and that is how we are doing it, so it is easy for guys to buy in. That is the thing that is good for the group of guys on defense. Spags sets the tempo of how he wants things done; guys are following it really good so we understand the plan of, “You have to get that development with those guys now so when the time Sunday comes, we are already in a good position with that.”

Q: That is nice to do now on the practice field but come September 13, can you envision that changing a little bit?

A: They will be ready by then. That is why we are doing it now and like you said, communication is a two way street. Obviously if something is going on, those guys have enough experience out there that they know how to help them out if the time comes when it’s needed but for the most part we are trying to let them run the show and they are doing a good job at it and like you said, if we communicate back and forth, we will all be on the same page.

Q: As you get to know Prince and DRC as a combo and I know the nickel is going to come into play, can they be as good as they will need to be in this division and for this defense to do what it’s going to need to do?

A: Yeah, we can be. The thing that we have to do is take it one day at a time. We need to prepare and practice each day to make sure we develop because it is a new system, it is a new scheme, you are playing with new guys, so have to make sure it all blends together and we can be as good as….they are talented guys, they are smart, they understand the game, they have toughness, but each day we come out to the practice field we want to make sure we get better because we are going to be playing against some other good teams and good players out there so we want to make sure we control what we control and that is making sure we get better each day on growing on all the little things we need to do.

Q: DRC said it is a cornerback-friendly defense. My take on that was he probably has the opportunity to make some plays?

A: Yeah, it is a multiple defense. We are going to have opportunities over there to make plays but what happens is, is you have to understand all facets of the defense because when it is your time to cover, we need to be able to do that. When it is time to pressure, when it is time tackle, so it is a deal where they are going to be very involved with the overall scheme with the defense. The thing we stress is being complete football players.

Q: Where do you stand at this point with your slot cornerbacks? Do you feel any closer or better about that spot at this point?

A: We try to have competitions at all positions. It is really early right now, so we have a long time before we play and what we have to do is evaluate the strengths and areas of improvement that each player needs to do. Even at the spots at corner, we try to create competition so we can evaluate. We move guys around so we can evaluate and try to see what works best together, what guys’ strengths and weaknesses are and now you get a chance to see it in live action. In OTAs you are just in shorts, so you can’t really tell what people can do until this time of the year, so we need to just give that process time to develop and get a true evaluation of it.

Q: Jayron Hosley said that when you walked in the door you kind of broke him down and built him back up. What have you thought about his progress since you [arrived]?

A: He is doing good. The thing about it is it starts with confidence and technique and the approach to the game, study habits, so we start from ground zero and go through the steps of getting to be a good player. We just go through each day to make sure we are having building blocks and he is a very coachable kid, he is buying into it, he is working, improving each day and I just try to give daily feedback on what I see. I try to be honest with him and he is taking a good step so far.

Q: Is it even more important for a guy who admits that he kind of lost his way a little bit last year?

A: Well, here is what happened. To go and develop and to go where you want to go, you have to first of all admit where you are. We have to always operate in an honest manner and he has…what he started to do he mentioned that to me. The first thing with that is starting to gain confidence back. But how do we do that? It is about doing all the little things, alignment, communication, study habits, all the little things that prepare you so when you get on the field you are prepared for the things you are going to see and he is doing all the little things to take that approach. I can see a change, I wasn’t here last year but I can see a step forward on his approach.

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

Q: It’s a little early but do you have any more clarity on what you have back there?

A: No. I’ll tell you, you look at these young guys and you’re still trying to make sure you figure out who’s going to be the leader, who’s going to be able to stand back and make the calls and make the adjustments that we need on game day. When you pull your eyes back and you look at it from a depth perspective, we have rookies on the field. I mean, the one guy that we have that is a veteran is Jeromy Miles, and Jeromy just came to us from Baltimore. As far as clarity and who’s going to be the starters right now— right now, it’s still wide open.

Q: How long would you figure that would take to develop organically?

A: We’re going to have to get into some preseason games. When you look at the practices, it’s great going against our guys every day, but once you go into the preseason games, you’re able to play against opponents, and you’re able to go against other offenses that are playing against our first defense– you’ll be able to roll some guys in and out. Then, hopefully it will clear up right away.

Q: Does that become next week in Cincinnati? Does that help you accelerate the process?

A: It does, it does. Always when you’re going against an opponent, that’s going to be a great eye opener for a lot of these young guys that never played in the NFL, such as a Landon Collins and Mykkele Thompson. So, once you go against an opponent, again, that’s going to clear up a lot of things. Not only just the first preseason game. You go into the second, and then hopefully by the time you roll into that second preseason game, going into the third for sure—hopefully you have this thing solidified.

Q: This early in camp, how important was it to have Miles in here, not just a veteran with these young safeties but with Spags’ system. Is he kind of like a coach?

A: He is, but you know what, it’s different. I heard the young man say yesterday, he said “Coach, this defense is different.” It’s because we’re not Baltimore. The thing is that some of the things they did in Baltimore, and coach Spags would be able to talk about that, it is different because Spags wasn’t the [defensive] coordinator. So, when you look at the defense they ran in Baltimore, it’s a completely different defense that we’re running here. For Jeromy, some of the techniques he understands, some of the words, some of the lingo, but as far as overall package– it is completely different.

Q: You said in the spring that you were looking for which guys work well together. Are you starting to get any clarity on pairings or anything like that?

A: Today, for instance, I am going to throw in Bennett Jackson. He is going to be out there with the ones, and then I’m going to try Mykkele Thompson out with the ones. The thing is that when you look at these linebackers and the corners, they need to feel comfortable about who’s going to be back making the calls. So, there’s no one that has a job that it is walking in saying “Hey, this is your starting job”. Even hough a lot of people want to put it on Landon Collins, right now, there is no clarity. I still recall the days of Kenny Phillips, when he was a first-round draft pick. Kenny Phillips had to come in here and had to fight and try to get on the field. As we all that were here understand, you had Michael Johnson and James Butler, a free agent and a seventh-round pick, that started that entire season. I’m still looking for the chemistry and hopefully that will kind of iron itself out over the next few weeks.

Q: Do you look at just chemistry or do you look at abilities and being able to balance each other on the field? Or do you just look at guys who play well together?

A: Of course you have to look at their abilities, but at the same time, I can have a guy who’s out there [that is] big, strong, and fast, but if he’s making mental errors, that’s going to kill you. Versus the guy who may be a little less athletic and who can go out there and make the calls and put himself in the right position. My greatest example is the one that I just gave. You’re talking Kenny Phillips, by far, was a better athlete than James Butler and Michael Johnson. But, when it came to chemistry, who was going to be out there on the field meshing this defense and the guys feel confidence in, it really goes back to two guys working together and therefore being on the same stream, being on the same accord. That’s my greatest example that I draw on as a coach from my own experience.

Q: Do you ask the linebackers and corners about that, who they’re comfortable with?

A: No, I don’t. The corners just go over and just listen to the call. As far as the linebackers, as a former linebacker, I don’t try to bother those guys because they have enough on their plate trying to get the defense and trying to get the front. They just need to make sure that we control the rotation and control what coverage you’re going to be in. So, I don’t ask.

Q: What has Bennett Jackson shown you? Obviously he was out in the spring a lot. What do you like?

A: Bennett, this kid, when he sees the ball—it’s simple: see ball, get ball. When that kid sees the ball, he goes and gets the ball. This kid’s ability to put his toe in the ground and go and burst out of his break, you guys see it out here, he’s able to make plays. He’s making production and production, as Spags has said over and over, production is at the ball. This kid is able to get his hands on a couple of balls and passes already here. By far, more than any other safety I’ve had in camp so far. When you see this kid doing those things, I’ve told them all, I’ve said “Look, the relentless meter and what we preach as far as running to the ball, guys—you have to handle that. I can sit up here and I can try to come out here in a skirt and be your cheerleader and pump you up “let’s run to the ball,” but eventually that has to come from inside of you. Bennett Jackson is one of those guys who’s a self-starter and he’s able to go out there and perform and do the things that we’re asking him to do. On top of that, he’s able to relentlessly run to the ball, which is a plus.

Q: You moved him out of necessity. Do you think he’s better-suited at this position than corner?

A: I do, I do. I think Bennett came in as a corner and then, near the end of camp, we tried to move him in as a nickel last season. He did fairly well in there, as a nickel. The kid can play corner, he played corner at Notre Dame as well. The fact that he’s a big kid and he’s learning the safety position, as we all know, with these safeties—you have to be ready for three safeties to be on the field. This kid who can go down and cover a slot receiver is going to be huge for us, if he’s one of the guys that we decide is going to be in there with the first group. So, it was out of necessity at first moving Bennett. He’s able to pick up the defense and being able to regurgitate it back to us, it’s been a plus for us.

Q: How much of a game of catch-up has it been for Nat Berhe? Over the first few practices, has he made any strides?

A: He’s made some strides. Nat, he missed the OTAs, he missed minicamp. So for him to come back in training camp, it’s just like him starting at the beginning—which it is because he missed so much time in the offseason. So, it is a learning curve for him. You’ll see him out today and running around and he’s picking it up though. But, he’s definitely behind the eight ball right now a little bit.

Q: Is he gaining any ground?

A: Well, you know what? Two practices, three practices—he’s moving slowly. Snail’s pace.

Q: You said you’re going to get Mykkele Thompson with the first group, what are you seeing from him so far?

A: Smart kid. Mykkele is one of those kids that is able to take it from the classroom and it appears, so far, take it to the field. Even with the checks that we have on the backend. With him being able to think and being able to maybe be a quarterback on the field—that’s what I see from him. He’s a smart kid. Hopefully, he’ll be able to control the coverages today and along with the heat, we’ll see if he can think.

Q: It’s very early, but do you see Jackson being a productive member of this secondary and possibly starting?

A: I see him being a productive member of the secondary. As far as starter, again, it’s wide open. There are not starters right now. Giving him an opportunity yesterday, he went with the first group, today he’s going to go with the first group. I told him, “Once you get in there and you’re able to step into a first team role, don’t give it back. Don’t sit up here and have me turn around and throw another guy in there. If you’re in there as a starter with the first group, hold your position.” It’s very early, again, we have no starters, but we have that first team, second team. I told them, “At the end of the day, however Mr. Mara, however Mr. Reese, however many guys that Coach Coughlin decide to keep, if it’s four—you’re all going to be starters. You have to think of yourself that way. You cannot look at yourself as a backup.” So the one thing that I like right now is rotating these guys around because no one has a position locked down.

Q: Will you work Thompson with Jackson today with the ones?

A: Yes sir, that’ll be the group that you’ll see out there today with the ones. Hopefully these kids can go out there and perform and do the duties that we’re asking them to do.

Q: One of the things that we’ve noticed in practice is that you guys run your fits in both first and second groups at the same time. What’s the benefit of that?

A: The benefit of that is when you’re out here and going through jog-through, going through walkthrough and we’re trying to get the guys to have multiple reps in practice. A lot of times its hard having one team out there and sending them through five or six plays then the second unit gets out there for five or six plays. What we do is we stack them, you go out there and stack your position. Therefore, you have the first and second team out there running the same reps that the guys would get if they’re waiting. It’s just a time saver, which has been good.

Q: Physical or mental reps?

A: Both, definitely.

Q: Some guys have said that maybe Landon is a little more advanced because of where he went to college. Do you feel that way?

A: Well, if he had gone to NC State (Merritt’s alma mater), then he would definitely be advanced, but I won’t get into that. As far as Alabama and all the schools, that to me, he’s coming from a good program. Landon has the ability to probably be able to receive more information and to be able to go out and perform it because of the system that he came from Nick Saban, who was a long time NFL coach, so the fact that he had that system down in Alabama, I would probably say that he may be a little more pro-ready than some of the other guys who maybe have come from a smaller school, such as I won’t say that blue school in the state of North Carolina.

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 do not practice on Tuesday. They return to the field on Wednesday but that practice is not open to the public. The next practice open to the public will be 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 092015
 
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Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Offensive Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jul 052015
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul Suffers Hand Injury in Fireworks Accident: According to multiple media reports, New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul suffered a potentially serious hand injury in a fireworks accident during July 4th festivities at his South Florida home on Saturday.

The full extent of the injuries are not yet known. According to ESPN, the palm and the tips of three fingers of one of Pierre-Paul’s hands were severely burned. Doctors are checking to see if one of his fingers suffered nerve damage. However, one source told ESPN that it is believed Pierre-Paul will be fine. Early reports had erroneously stated that Pierre-Paul had lost several fingers.

Pierre-Paul has yet to sign the 1-year, $14.813 million Franchise tender the team tagged him with. It is not yet known how this accident will affect his availability in training camp, the preseason, and/or the regular season.

Article on LG Justin Pugh: Growing up a Giant: Matured Justin Pugh makes changes for bounceback year by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

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