Aug 142017
 
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Odell Beckham, Jr., New York Giants (August 11, 2017)

Odell Beckham, Jr. – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 14, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their thirteenth summer training camp practice on Monday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

ROSTER MOVES…
The New York Giants have waived/injured wide receiver Kevin Norwood (injured hip during practice on Sunday) and tight end Colin Thompson (appendectomy on Saturday). To fill those vacant roster spots, the Giants signed wide receiver Andrew Turzilli and rookie free agent linebacker Chris Casher (Faulkner University).

Turzilli was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Tennessee Titans after the 2015 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Titans (2015), San Francisco 49ers (2015), and Detroit Lions (2016-2017), but he only played in three NFL games. The Lions waived him in May. Turzilli is a tall (6’4”, 195 pounds) wideout with a good catch radius and sneaky deep speed.

Casher was signed by the Oakland Raiders as a rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft. The Raiders waived him in early August. A highly-regarded prospect coming out of high school, Casher has good size (6’4”, 260 pounds). Casher suffered a number of serious knee issues and was involved in off-the-field incidents at Florida State before transferring to Faulkner University.

Norwood was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks. Norwood has spent time with the Seahawks (2014), Carolina Panthers (2014-2015), and San Diego Chargers (2016). The Chargers terminated his Practice Squad contract in November and he was then signed by the Giants to their Practice Squad. Norwood has played in 10 regular-season games with two starts. He has nine career receptions for 102 yards.

Thompson was signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2017 NFL Draft.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), wide receiver Kevin Snead (lower body), linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger), safety Duke Ihenacho (hamstring), and safety Ryan Murphy (lower body) did not practice.

Linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol) and linebacker Devon Kennard (unknown) were limited.

Defensive tackle Corbin Bryant was carted off of the field after suffering a right elbow injury. He appeared to be in a lot of pain.

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Overcast/Cloudy day, very comfortable temperature. Second-to-last day of training camp and it was the sloppiest practice I saw from an execution standpoint. A lot of mental mistakes.

  • Aldrick Rosas got the “live” field goal attempts today, he was perfect until the final attempt where he went wide right. I think it was from roughly 50 yards.

Offense Notes:

  • Got a few looks at the newest O-Lineman, Corin Brooks. He is playing guard and appears to have a solid, developed body. He was beat off the ball by DE Romeo Okwara. He struggled to move laterally with any sort of power presence and was easily pushed back. Training camp body-only I think.
  • This was the worst OL day of camp in my opinion. LT Ereck Flowers was getting beat on what seemed to be literally every play by DE Olivier Vernon. Inside, outside, bull rush, double moves…it didn’t matter. He just didn’t look competitive out there. There was one play where Vernon faked inside, jump-cut outside, and reached Manning without even being touched. He and Bobby Hart were both responsible for false starts within a few plays of each other. Not good.
  • OG D.J. Fluker ended up on the ground one play, clutching his ankle but he limped off and was back out there a little awhile later. He and RT Adam Bisnowaty were beat badly on a stunt by DT Jay Bromley and DE Kerry Wynn. Fluker seems to really struggle with reads and quick decisions while pass blocking. He can be fooled and he doesn’t have the necessary make up speed.
  • OC Brett Jones really struggled. He lost a lot of battles when he was asked to move laterally. The backup C job is his as of now, but I don’t think it is locked up. Adam Gettis is right behind him and brings a bit more versatility.
  • RB Paul Perkins was getting stuffed trying to run inside all day. He also had a bad drop from Manning in the red zone with nobody around him.
  • The backup WRs had a hard time separating from man coverage today. A lot of these backups are physical, solid pass catchers but they don’t have the speed or quick twitch to run themselves open. WR Roger Lewis has the ability, but he is still very rusty when it comes to the nuances of route running. Odell Beckham is constantly in his ear about how to get off the line and away from the CB in small areas.
  • The TE battle is becoming more clear to me. Will Tye will be the odd man out as well as training camp MVP candidate Matt LaCosse. Still have a ways to go though. Tye saw the perfect storm come his way this offseason, a free agent and a 1st round pick were brought in from the outside at his position. In addition, a 2016 draft pick in Jerell Adams was a one- to two-year project upon arrival and, well, time’s up. Adams looks very solid. LaCosse gets the #4 spot if they keep that many, but his main strength is the ability to catch the ball in traffic. Even with that in mind, he won’t be able to get on the field unless guys start getting hurt. Tye had his shot in 2016 to show what he could and he is competing hard here at camp, but I just don’t see how he can make it above the other guys.

Defense Notes:

  • DT Corbin Bryant appeared to be in a ton of pain and was down for awhile with an elbow injury.
  • It may be tough for the offense to play at a high level day in, day out when their opponent can rightfully be considered one of the best in the league. That is where I am labeling NYG at this point.
  • The impact of DT Damon Harrison won’t be recognized by the casual fan that simply follows the ball when they watch. But make no mistake, like I said in mid-July, he is the most important player on this defense. DTs Jay Bromley and Dalvin Tomlinson will benefit greatly from playing next to him. Good to see DT Robert Thomas back out there, getting off the ball well and winning most of his one on one fights. He dominated OC Brett Jones on a couple of occasions.
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul looks like he can do what he wants, when he wants when TEs and FBs try to block him. His reach is so long and powerful, he made FB Shane Smith look like a little kid on one play. Keeping him at bay, then tossing him aside to make a run stop.
  • S Eric Pinkins, whom I have discussed a few times, has a shot at making this team as a special teamer. His safety skill set, however, is still on the uphill climb as he simply doesn’t react well or forecast routes.
  • The backup defensive backs were struggling to be on the same page today. CB DaShaun Amos, S Nat Berhe, and S Andrew Adams in particular. If there is one spot I am most unsure about, it is the spot next to Landon Collins. With how close he plays to the line of scrimmage and how often he is playing down hill, that spot needs to be locked up and reliable.
  • Very curious to see how this LB group shakes out. Keenan Robinson and Mark Herzlich are locks to make this team, so I think just one out of Deontae Skinner, Calvin Munson, and Curtis Grant are going to make it. Munson probably offers more upside based on his instincts and aggression, but Skinner and Grant are much more physical. Grant had a very solid day.

Three Standouts:

  • FB Shane Smith: Not only did he make a couple of solid lane-clearing blocks, he caught a couple balls in team drills and even got a red zone carry. Having a fullback behind Manning that can make the occasional play, especially as a rusher, gives the defense something extra to account for. If they don’t keep the FB and opt for TEs filling that role, it pretty much takes away that rushing possibility. Smith is a very good athlete and it is starting to show as he gets more secure with his assignments.
  • DE Olivier Vernon: I guess it’s not very fair to discuss Flowers’ rough day without giving props to Vernon. OV looks so far developed and after a year of being here with these coaches and surroundings, I think we can plan on a big year from him. He makes himself so low and hard to grab with immense power and quickness. I think he is in line for a big year.
  • WR Jerome Lane: It looks like these bottom-of-the-roster WRs have no shot at making this team unless an injury occurs. However, with the value this coaching staff has on Special Teams and knowing Lane has recent linebacker experience, he could be a surprise make. In addition, Lane has been catching everything in traffic. He is the biggest, strongest WR on the team outside of Brandon Marshall.

Last report coming your way tomorrow. Here is today’s video:

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • In 1-on-1 drills, WR Odell Beckham, Jr. made a one-handed catch for a touchdown over CB Janoris Jenkins. Beckham later made a diving, finger-tip grab of a pass from Manning over Jenkins.
  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas went 3-for-4 on field goal attempts.
  • TE Evan Engram dropped a low pass over the middle from QB Eli Manning.
  • The Giants have been lining up WR Odell Beckham in the backfield quite a bit this summer. On one play, CB Eli Apple did a nice job of staying with him after a double-move coming out of the backfield.
  • CB Valentino Blake broke up a QB Josh Johnson pass intended for TE Evan Engram.
  • RB Wayne Gallman dropped a check-down pass.
  • WR Keeon Johnson dropped a pass over the middle.
  • Josh Johnson was the #2 quarterback during practice.
  • Orleans Darkwa received a few first-team reps at running back.
  • CB Michael Hunter jumped a QB Josh Johnson slant pass to WR Keeon Johnson, but dropped the pick.
  • QB Eli Manning hit TE Evan Engram in the corner of the end zone for a touchdown against S Landon Collins.
  • Curtis Grant received some first-team reps at linebacker in place of Devon Kennard (who was limited).
  • Tight end Jerell Adams dropped a short pass.
  • Running back Paul Perkins dropped a short pass over the middle.
  • QB Eli Manning found WR Brandon Marshall over the middle for a touchdown. Marshall later beat CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for another score.
  • In a 3-TE set, QB Eli Manning hit TE Will Tye over the middle for a touchdown during 7-on-7 drills.
  • WR Dwayne Harris made a leaping TD catch on a pass from QB Josh Johnson against a busted coverage.
  • WR Keeon Johnson scored a touchdown on a pass from QB Geno Smith against a busted coverage. Smith then found TE Will Tye for a touchdown on a fade pass. He also hit WR Andrew Turzelli in the end zone.
  • Offensive tackles Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart were flagged with false starts.
  • In 11-on-11 drills, WR Brandon Marshall beat S Darian Thompson, but he couldn’t come down with a high QB Eli Manning pass.
  • FB Shane Smith scored on a goal-line rushing effort.
  • Calvin Munson received some first-team reps at linebacker.

https://twitter.com/Giants/status/897118004663767042

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The fourteenth and final training camp practice will be held on Tuesday, starting at 10:55AM. But this practice is CLOSED to the public. The players are off on Wednesday before returning to practice on Thursday.

Aug 132017
 
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New York Giants Training Camp (July 28, 2017)

New York Giants Training Camp – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 13, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their twelfth summer training camp practice on Sunday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. “(Draughn is) getting close,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “(Thomas is) getting close.”

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle), wide receiver Kevin Snead (lower body), tight end Colin Thompson (appendectomy on Saturday), safety Duke Ihenacho (hamstring), and safety Ryan Murphy (lower body) did not practice.

Defensive tackle Robert Thomas (soreness) and linebacker Mark Herzlich (stinger) returned to practice. Thomas was limited. Linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol) participated in non-contact drills.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle) fully practiced. “They cut me loose today, so I am back to doing what I do,” Shepard said. “I have been doing stuff leading up to this, so I felt like I was ready for a full practice.”

Wide receiver Kevin Norwood (hip) was carted off of the field during practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Geno Smith was the #2 quarterback at practice on Sunday.
  • TE Matt LaCosse made a leaping sideline reception on a pass from QB Josh Johnson.
  • WR Brandon Marshall made a very nice reception in the left corner of the end zone despite tight coverage from CB Michael Hunter. But Marshall was ruled out-of-bounds.
  • WR Odell Beckham, Jr. dropped a slant pass. He then made a superb 1-handed touchdown catch on a pass from QB Eli Manning, but Manning would have been sacked on the play by DE Olivier Vernon who got past LT Ereck Flowers.
  • CB Donte Deayon picked off QB Eli Manning’s pass intended for WR Sterling Shepard during the 2-minute drill.
  • QB Geno Smith threw a long seam pass to WR Dwayne Harris between CB Valentino Blake and S Andrew Adams. The 2-minute drive ended inside the 10-yard line with Adams knocking the ball incomplete on diving reception attempt by TE Matt LaCosse.
  • Against a busted coverage, QB Josh Johnson hit TE Matt LaCosse on a slant for a long touchdown.
  • PK Mike Nugent was only 2-for-4 on short-field goal attempts.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The thirteenth and final public training camp practice will be held on Monday, starting at 10:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Aug 032017
 
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Landon Collins, New York Giants (July 28, 2017)

Landon Collins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 3, 2017 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their sixth summer training camp practice on Thursday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey.

INJURY REPORT…
Running back Shaun Draughn (ankle) and linebacker J.T. Thomas (knee) remain on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard (ankle), running back Shane Vereen (lower body soreness), offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker (foot), defensive end Devin Taylor (lower body soreness), linebacker Keenan Robinson (concussion protocol), and cornerback Valentino Blake (lower back tightness) did not practice.

“(Shepard) was sore today, was a little stiff when he woke up, but we sent him for an MRI,” said Head Coach Ben McAdoo. “Just to make sure we’re looking at it and doing our due diligence… It looks like a rolled basketball ankle right now.”

“We’re going to start working (Taylor) back in tomorrow,” said McAdoo. “Same (with Vereen). Tomorrow.”

Wide receiver Tavarres King (ankle) and linebacker B.J. Goodson (left foot) left practice early.

“(King) rolled his ankle covering a punt,” said McAdoo.

“B.J. got stepped on,” said McAdoo. “No (concern).”

SY’56 PRACTICE REPORT…
Another picture-perfect, sunny day. Could be me but at the start of practice I thought the energy was a little down. Part of the dog days and with those pads on, the heat has to be intense. Soon after that thought, however, the fights began and it got pretty intense. Guys getting knocked down. Damon Harrison and Justin Pugh are the alpha males in those fights. They are the ones calling the shots and rarely does anyone even try to hold them back when they are involved with another player.

K Aldrick Rosas very impressive today, hit a 56 yarder by a lot. He’s got the power, that’s for sure.

Offense Notes:

  • The OL as a whole came out and competed today, much more than what we have seen to this point. Bobby Hart and Ereck Flowers did a nice job getting their hands inside. Hart was juked out of his shoes a couple times by Jason Pierre-Paul. The question with Hart has nothing to do with effort; he has it. However, the upside/talent gets exposed when a guy like JPP lines up across from him. I think his ceiling is pretty limited. Flowers showed off his immense upper body power on a few occasions today. OGs D.J. Fluker and John Jerry had a good day at the expense of DT Dalvin Tomlinson and veteran Robert Thomas. Excellent run blocking, good enough pass blocking.
  • We know this already, but WR Odell Beckham, Jr. makes me say “wow” about 7 times a day. What he can do in terms of catching the ball with such ease and consistency in addition to his burst, speed, and agility is incredibly rare. Fun kid to watch and he practices hard.
  • QB Davis Webb doesn’t get a ton of reps (if any) during the live 7-on-7/11-on-11 team drills, as this team needs to figure out the Josh Johnson vs. Geno Smith situation. He did get his own little 7-on-7 display at the end of practice. It’s not fair to really evaluate him yet as a physical player; there is so much being thrown at him. He shows the live arm, smooth release, and surprisingly very solid footwork. What I am more impressed by, he is incredibly active when he isn’t the QB that is up. Going through all the signals, helping the coaches get the right groups out there, running from drill to drill while others walk. Those are the little things that are important. He has really put his best foot forward.
  • Nice to see a fade pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Brandon Marshall for a short TD. Eli has been missing the guy to throw that to for a long time now. The Manning/Marshall connection is there, it appears.
  • RB Wayne Gallman is showing some impressive running techniques when moving through traffic. Low pad level, high feet with outstanding agility and burst. I had more of a straight line-mover type view on him coming from Clemson, but he can shake and move laterally better than I thought.
  • WR Kevin Snead got less special team looks today after his nightmare on Tuesday, but he did catch the longest pass of the day from Josh Johnson for a TD. He burned CB Nigel Tribune and S Duke Ihenacho. On the flip side, he was mangled at the line of scrimmage by Tribune earlier. He is a space-only threat right now.
  • TE Will Tye looks quicker than he was last year. Did he lose some weight? Did he work on foot speed? Is he simply more confident in the scheme? Not sure. But he gets in to his routes fast and his head around even faster. He had a nice day catching the ball.
  • TE Matt LaCosse continues to make his argument for making the team among a crowded group. He has shown he can catch the ball on the move, but today he made some physical catches with defenders draped all over him. Catching the ball in traffic like that is very important for a guy like him. His presence as a blocker is less than ideal, but his effort is always there.

Defense Notes:

  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is lining up all over the place. I like the versatility he brings to the table. Such a smooth backpedal and burst out of it. He has a nice feel for what the offense is trying to do, a great weapon to have considering how much they have him roaming.
  • CB Michael Hunter another impressive day. His size and speed in combination with the quick-twitch reactions has to be bumping him up the totem pole. Guys like him are hard to find.
  • DE Owa Odighizuwa is physically impressive. Great body, bends well, has some power to him but there is lot of hesitation to his game. He doesn’t disengage from blockers and has been routinely getting beat.
  • DT Jay Bromley is a name I haven’t discussed too often, but he had a couple nice plays in team drills. He completely schooled OC Weston Richburg on one play that would have resulted in a sack.
  • DT Robert Thomas ended up at Eli Manning’s knee/foot area during live drills, not good. They don’t need to be seeing that.
  • LB B.J. Goodson is playing fast, especially evident when he is pursuing to the sidelines and covering laterally.
  • FS Darian Thompson came down with an easy INT on an overthrow from Manning to RB Orleans Darkwa, but right place/right time is the name of the game for those guys.
  • I don’t want to rank these guys or project final depth chart until the end of the month, but the safeties are really being given opportunities. I think it is completely open behind the starters + Andrew Adams. Eric Pinkins continues to stand out and rookie UDFA Trey Robinson came out of nowhere a couple times to make a play.

Three Standouts:

  • S Landon Collins: Fast. Big. Strong. Powerful. This guy is putting everything on display and when he’s not on the field, he is in the coaches ear. Very into practice. His instincts have been jumping out at me. He is in the right place before the right time almost always.
  • TE Evan Engram: If Sterling Shepard is going to miss any time, look for Engram to see an uptick in snaps. He has WR movement and what I’ve noticed more than anything, the ability to adjust to poorly thrown balls. Yes he is a rookie and there is a lot to take in playbook-wise, but he is too talented to keep on the sidelines. He can be a matchup nightmare.
  • WR Travis Rudolph: Again, as Sterling Shepard misses practice you want to see guys step up and take advantage. Rudolph is getting more and more action each day. He isn’t big or physical, but he knows how to make himself slippery to defenders. He may not be the best athlete, but he is so mechanically sound as a route runner and he sells well. He can run himself open better than I thought and most importantly, he catches EVERYTHING.

Below is our video recap and interview with TE Matt LaCosse.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Place kicker Aldrick Rosas went 4-for-4 on field goal attempts, including one from 56 yards out.
  • For the second day in a row, there was a lot of pushing and shoving between the offense and defense after the play.
  • In run defense drills, defensive tackle Jay Bromley penetrated into the backfield to tackle the back behind the line of scrimmage.
  • Wide receivers Tavarres King and Kevin Norwood caught deep passes in 7-on-7 drills. King beat defensive back Mykkele Thompson on a pass from quarterback Geno Smith.
  • Defensive back Mykkele Thompson broke up a Geno Smith screen pass.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Brandon Marshall, despite being well-covered by cornerback Eli Apple.
  • Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul blew past right tackle Bobby Hart for what would have been a sack. JPP then knocked down a slant pass.
  • Safety Landon Collins put a big hit on running back Paul Perkins after he broke through the line. Collins later broke up a quarterback Eli Manning pass intended for tight end Rhett Ellison.
  • Brett Jones received first-team reps at center.
  • Safety Darian Thompson picked off a pass from quarterback Eli Manning.
  • Quarterback Geno Smith hit wide receiver Kevin Snead deep for a touchdown.
  • Safety Nat Berhe picked off a tipped pass from quarterback Josh Johnson.
  • Linebacker/tight end Mark Herzlich made a diving catch on a pass from quarterback Davis Webb.
  • Safety Trey Robinson picked off a quarterback Davis Webb pass intended for wide receiver Kevin Snead.
  • Tight end Jerell Adams dropped a pass from quarterback Davis Webb.

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

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The seventh training camp practice will be held on Friday, starting at 11:55AM. The training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

Jul 052017
 
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Paul Perkins, New York Giants (October 3, 2016)

Paul Perkins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) 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: Running Backs

2016 YEAR IN REVIEW:  Two years ago – in 2015 – the Giants running backs finished 18th in rushing with 100.6 yards per game and averaging 4.0 yards per rush. The Giants rushed for only five touchdowns. The leading rushers on the team that year were Rashad Jennings (863 yards, three touchdowns), Shane Vereen (260 yards, zero touchdowns), Andre Williams (257 yards, one touchdown), and Orleans Darkwa (153 yards one touchdown). In addition, Vereen proved a significant weapon in the passing game with 59 catches for 494 yards and four touchdowns. Jennings also contributed with 29 catches for 296 yards and one touchdown.

Despite the mediocre rushing numbers, there was optimism entering the 2016 season. Half of Jennings’ 2015 yardage (432 yards) came in the last four games of the season. The ground game – led by Jennings – seemed to peaking behind a young and improving offensive line that would remain intact coming into 2016. In addition, replacing the disappointing Andre Williams with 5th rounder Paul Perkins appeared to an upgrade. Vereen was coming off of his best pro season and expected to continue to serve a duo-purpose threat. And the Giants signed veteran hybrid fullback/tight end Will Johnson to mount a significant challenge to fullback Nikita Whitlock.

The 2016 results were a major disappointment. The Giants ground game not only worsened, but it fell to 29th with a paltry 88.2 yards per game and averaging 3.5 yards per rush. The Giants rushed for only six touchdowns. And pass receptions by running backs fell from 92 catches for 828 yards and five touchdowns in 2015 to 83 catches for 622 yards and one touchdown in 2016.

Why the drop? Inconsistent blocking by the offensive line and tight ends was a factor. The improvement by the line – under new offensive like coach Mike Solari – never occurred. There was not a strong blocking tight end on the team. In addition, both fullbacks were lost to injury for the season before it began and the team carried no fullbacks on the roster. As such, the Giants “bread-and-butter” running play was out of the shotgun formation.

But truth be told, it also became painfully clear that while a good guy and a strong locker room presence, Jennings was no more than an aging, backup-at-best halfback who rarely created yardage on his own either by elusiveness or breaking tackles. Starting 12-of-16 regular-season games, Jennings only averaged 3.3 yards per carry. Vereen missed the bulk of the season with a triceps injury that he also re-injured, and his absence in the passing game was very noticeable. Bobby Rainey replaced him but only had 20 receptions. Orleans Darkwa started two games but only received 30 carries and got hurt again. The only real bright spot was Perkins, but he was not a significant factor until December, gaining 271 of his 456 rushing yards in his last four regular-season games.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants cut Rashad Jennings in February and chose to not re-sign unrestricted free agent Bobby Rainey. It’s telling that both remain unemployed football players. While the Giants did not tender the injury-prone Orleans Darkwa as a restricted free agent, they did somewhat surprisingly re-sign him in March as an unrestricted free agent. The Giants also re-signed RB/FB ‘tweener Jacob Huesman, who the team originally added to the Practice Squad in December 2016.

The new faces include veteran free agent Shaun Draughn, 4th-round draft pick Wayne Gallman, and undrafted rookie free agents Khalid Abdullah and Shane Smith.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Head Coach Ben McAdoo somewhat surprisingly labeled Paul Perkins the starter early in the offseason. It’s his job to lose. But that does not mean there aren’t questions about his pro-level skill-set and durability. Perkins must prove he is a legit NFL starting-caliber running back. Provided he can stay healthy, Shane Vereen should regain the #2 job as the team’s primary 3rd down back. Shaun Draughn – who has a similar skill set to Vereen – was most likely signed as insurance in case the injury-prone Vereen gets hurt again. 2017 may be more of a redshirt year for Wayne Gallman unless he impresses early or someone gets hurt. The wild card is Orleans Darkwa. The coaches seem to like him, but he has not been able to stay healthy.

One of the big question marks will be whether or not McAdoo wants to carry a fullback this year. Unlike last season, the Giants are far more talented at the tight end position and it may be a number’s game in whether or not the team wants to carry an additional tight end or a fullback. Rookie free agent Shane Smith has the look of a traditional fullback while ‘tweener Jacob Huesman is actually a former quarterback.

“Anytime you have a big fullback type in the backfield it adds an element of physicality that is tough to replace when you don’t have it,” McAdoo said in March. “It just didn’t work out last year. It’s not by design… I hear that I don’t want to have a fullback on the roster, and that’s news to me. I think you want the best team you can put out there, but that position has to have special-teams value. I don’t think you just want someone on your roster who plays seven plays a game. They’re not going to play a ton of plays, but the plays they do play are impactful-type plays in the ballgame. But they need to have some value special teams-wise.”

ON THE BUBBLE: Barring injury (with this group, that is more than a passing concern), the locks would appear to be Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, and Wayne Gallman. Everyone else is on the bubble and fighting for a job.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Craig Johnson on Paul Perkins: “He was an effective runner last year. You have to be able to catch the ball. He did a good job in that and you have to be able to block people because they’re going to try you out. I thought that he probably improved the most in that situation. Guys were testing him out to get to the quarterback and he held up very good in protection… (As a runner) he really can cut sharp. He puts his foot in the ground and bursts through the hole. I like that. It helps both in the run and in the pass protection. That really helps his versatility.”

Johnson on Wayne Gallman: “Coming from college, he was a very productive runner. Stats don’t lie. So far what I’ve seen in practice is that he has been effectively able to run the ball in the runs he’s been given. The pass protection, he’s coming along in. He’s certainly made a big improvement in the last week or so. He’s been able to catch the ball effectively. Again, as a young back, he’s trying to figure it all out. The game is a little too fast for him, like they are for every back right now when they’re young. The game starts to slow down and he’s starting to get it. I’ve seen a couple bursts. I think he will continue to get it in the future.”

PREDICTIONS: Other than Shane Vereen as 3rd-down back, this is largely an unproven group. It remains an open question whether or not the Giants have a running back on the roster that will concern opposing defenses. Paul Perkins has to demonstrate that he has the skill set and durability to be a 1,000-yard NFL rusher. As a draft prospect, Wayne Gallman was largely considered a solid, well-rounded back who didn’t excel in any one area. Vereen and Darkwa have proven to be injury-prone players. On paper, at best, this looks like a middle-of-the-pack group. Hopefully, the blocking up front by the line, tight ends, and maybe fullback improves this year. If not, offensively the Giants will remain a finesse passing team.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, Wayne Gallman, Shaun Draughn (no fullback)

May 202017
 
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Adam Bisnowaty, Pittsburgh Panthers (October 8, 2016)

Adam Bisnowaty – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICES BEGIN ON MONDAY…
The four-week “phase three” portion of the New York Giants offseason program begins on Monday with the team’s first organized team activity, or OTA, practice. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTA practices. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The team’s OTAs will be held on May 22-23, May 25, May 30-31, June 2, June 5-6, and June 8-9. A mandatory mini-camp will be held on June 13-15.

Monday’s OTA practice will not be open to the media. The first practice open to the media will be Thursday, May 25th.

The Giants’ nine-week offseason program began on April 18. The first two weeks consisted of activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only. The next three weeks of the program consisted of on-field workouts that included individual player instruction and drills.

GIANTS SIGN ADAM BISNOWATY
NJ.com is reporting that the New York Giants have signed their 6th-round 2017 NFL draft selection, offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty. The Giants signed defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson (2nd round), quarterback Davis Webb (3rd round), and defensive end Avery Moss (5th round) earlier this month.

The only remaining draft picks unsigned are tight end Evan Engram (1st round) and running back Wayne Gallman (4th round).

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

  • QB Davis Webb (Video)
  • RB Wayne Gallman (Video)
  • OL Adam Bisnowaty (Video)
  • DE Avery Moss (Video)
  • DT Dalvin Tomlinson (Video)
  • S Darian Thompson (Video)

ARTICLES…

Apr 022017
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 18, 2016)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ELI MANNING AND BRANDON MARSHALL BEGIN WORKING TOGETHER…
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning will begin his annual unofficial passing camp at Duke University this upcoming week. The Daily News reported on Tuesday that newcomer wide receiver Brandon Marshall will participate. Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. and other Giants receivers have participated in previous years.

The workouts are overseen by current Duke University head football coach David Cutcliffe, who was Eli Manning’s head coach at the University of Mississippi from 2000 to 2003. Cutcliffe uses these workouts to help his friend Manning as well as expose his players to the work ethic of professional football players.

“The benefits for (the Giants players) are great as they come in here and get a great, private opportunity to work,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said Tuesday. “I just enjoy my time with Eli. It’s something that’s celebrating five years of being together in college. At the same time, what a gifted player and person. Not only am I working with Eli and these phenomenal receivers, our players are affected as well. It’s a golden opportunity for us. One of our receivers can ask Odell Beckham questions.”

The program consists of on-field work that lasts two and a half hours per day, split into two sessions. The players will also receive treatment and rehab (if necessary) and do strength and film work. For years, Cutcliffe has coached Manning on his fundamentals, including footwork and throwing motion.

“What those guys are doing is creating the proper chemistry and the proper timing to get more prepared for OTAs (Organized Team Activity practices),” Cutcliffe said. “We work on all types of throws in all areas of the field.”

The New York Giants offseason program begins on April 18 and the first OTA practice will be held on May 22.

“We’re going to throw and watch film,” Marshall said of the Duke University workouts. “It’s just a jump-start on chemistry building and coming together and learning the offense for me. I think for me personally it’s about getting a jump-start on learning the offense and what they are expecting of me.”

ARTICLES…

Mar 092017
 
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Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (November 8, 2015)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NEW YORK GIANTS RE-SIGN ORLEANS DARKWA…
Newsday is reporting that the New York Giants have re-signed free agent running back Orleans Darkwa to a one-year contract. Darkwa was eligible to be a restricted free agent but the Giants chose not to tender him at the $1.797 million original-round level. This in effect made him an unrestricted free agent and allowed the Giants to re-sign him for a cheaper amount.

Darkwa was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2016 with a lower leg injury. Darkwa played in 10 games with two starts for the Giants in 2016. He carries the ball 30 times for 111 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 12 yards.

Darkwa was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him off of Miami’s Practice Squad in November 2014. In 2015 with the Giants, Darkwa carried the ball 36 times for 153 yards and one touchdown.

NEW YORK GIANTS INTERESTED IN RHETT ELLISON…
The NFL Network is reporting that the New York Giants are interested in unrestricted free agent fullback/tight end/H-Back Rhett Ellison (Minnesota Vikings).

The 28-year old Ellison was originally drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Vikings. In five NFL seasons, Ellison has played in 73 regular-season games with 41 starts. He has 51 career receptions for 515 yards and three touchdowns. Ellison suffered a serious patellar tendon injury in Week 17 of 2015. He returned in 2016, but only caught nine passes for 57 yards. Ellison has good size (6’5”, 250 pounds) and is a good blocker. Lacking speed and quickness, he is not much of a threat as a receiver. Ellison is a good special teams player.

REPORT – GIANTS AND JASON-PIERRE-PAUL NOT CLOSE ON NEW DEAL…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants and franchise-player defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul are not close on a new, long-term deal. Pierre-Paul’s franchise tender is currently taking up $16.934 million of the 2017 salary cap.

TERRELL MCCLAIN SIGNS WITH WASHINGTON REDSKINS…
Unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Terrell McClain (Dallas Cowboys) has signed a 4-year, $21 million contract with the Washington Redskins. The New York Giants were reported to have some interest in McClain.

BRANDON MARSHALL ON ESPN RADIO
The audio of Thursday’s ESPN Radio interview of New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall is available at ESPN.com.

ARTICLES…

Mar 062017
 
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Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (October 3, 2016)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

REPORT – NEW YORK GIANTS WILL NOT TENDER ORLEANS DARKWA…
ESPN is reporting that the New York Giants will not tender restricted free agent running back Orleans Darkwa, effectively making him an unrestricted free agent. Darkwa could re-sign with the Giants but the team was not willing to pay the required $1.797 million for an original-round one-year tender.

Darkwa was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2016 with a lower leg injury. Darkwa played in 10 games with two starts for the Giants in 2016. He carries the ball 30 times for 111 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 12 yards.

Darkwa was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him off of Miami’s Practice Squad in November 2014.

The only other potential restricted free agent on the team is defensive end Kerry Wynn, who has not been tendered yet. For a complete listing of Giants free agents, see the 2017 Free Agency Scorecard section of the website.

REPORT – NEW YORK GIANTS INTERESTED IN TERRELLE PRYOR…
Cleveland.com is reporting that the New York Giants are one of several teams to have expressed interest in unrestricted free agent wide receiver Terrelle Pryor (Cleveland Browns). The Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans, and Philadelphia Eagles are also said to be interested. Teams are not allowed to begin talking to players from other teams until noon on Tuesday.

The 27-year old Pryor is a converted quarterback who had a breakout season in 2016 with 77 catches for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. Before 2016, he only had two career receptions. Pryor was originally drafted in the 3rd round of the 2011 NFL Supplemental Draft by the Oakland Raiders. He has spent time with the Raiders (2011-2013), Seattle Seahawks (2014), Kansas City Chiefs (2015), Cincinnati Bengals (2015), and Browns (2015-2016). Pryor has excellent size (6’4”, 223 pounds) and is a good athlete with fine hands.

Feb 072017
 
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Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (November 14, 2016)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants running backs finished the 2015 season 18th in rushing with 100.6 yards per game and averaging 4.0 yards per rush. The Giants rushed for only five touchdowns. The leading rushers on the team that year were Rashad Jennings (863 yards, three touchdowns), Shane Vereen (260 yards, zero touchdowns), Andre Williams (257 yards, one touchdown), and Orleans Darkwa (153 yards one touchdown). In addition, Vereen proved a significant weapon in the passing game with 59 catches for 494 yards and four touchdowns. Jennings also contributed with 29 catches for 296 yards and one touchdown.

Despite the mediocre rushing numbers, there was optimism entering the 2016 season. Half of Jennings’ 2015 yardage (432 yards) came in the last four games of the season. The ground game – led by Jennings – seemed to peaking behind a young and improving offensive line that would remain intact coming into 2016. In addition, replacing the disappointing Andre Williams with 5th rounder Paul Perkins appeared to an upgrade. Vereen was coming off of his best pro season and expected to continue to serve a duo-purpose threat. And the Giants signed veteran hybrid fullback/tight end Will Johnson to mount a significant challenge to fullback Nikita Whitlock.

In reality, the 2016 results were a kick to the nuts. The Giants ground game not only worsened, but it fell to 29th with a paltry 88.2 yards per game and averaging 3.5 yards per rush. The Giants rushed for only six touchdowns. And pass receptions by running backs fell from 92 catches for 828 yards and five touchdowns in 2015 to 83 catches for 622 yards and one touchdown in 2016.

Why the drop? Inconsistent blocking by the offensive line and tight ends was a factor. The improvement by the line – under new offensive like coach Mike Solari – never occurred. There was not a strong blocking tight end on the team. In addition, both fullbacks were lost to injury for the season before it began and the team carried no fullbacks on the roster. As such, the Giants “bread-and-butter” running play was out of the shotgun formation.

But truth be told, it also became painfully clear that while a good guy and a strong locker room presence, Jennings was no more than an aging, backup-at-best halfback who rarely created yardage on his own either by elusiveness or breaking tackles. Starting 12-of-16 regular-season games, Jennings only averaged 3.3 yards per carry. Vereen missed the bulk of the season with a triceps injury that he also re-injured, and his absence in the passing game was very noticeable. Bobby Rainey replaced him but only had 20 receptions. Orleans Darkwa started two games but only received 30 carries and got hurt again. The only real bright spot was Perkins, but he was not a significant factor until December, gaining 271 of his 456 rushing yards in his last four regular-season games.

Yeah, the blocking was a factor, but this was also a very mediocre-at-best group of running backs.

THE STARTER

Rashad Jennings saw his production drop dramatically in 2016 after having his most productive year in the NFL in 2015. Jennings’ rushing yards (from 863 to 593) and yards per carry (from 4.4 to 3.3) fell precipitously with only three rushing touchdowns in each season. Jennings did catch six more passes (from 29 to 35) but his yards per catch dropped nearly in half (from 10.2 to 5.7). Jennings was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. He signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2013 and the Giants in 2014. Jennings missed five games with the Giants in 2014 due to knee and ankle problems. He started all 16 games in 2015, but missed three games in 2016 with a thumb injury. Jennings has good size, but he does not run with much vision, quickness, or power. Jennings does not create much yardage on his own either through elusiveness or tackle-breaking ability. He is a solid pass blocker and has good hands as a receiver. Jennings is a hard worker and a good presence in the locker room. He has had issues staying healthy throughout his career.

THE RESERVES

Paul Perkins was drafted by the Giants in the 5th round of the 2016 NFL Draft. As a rookie, Perkins played in 14 regular-season games with one start (regular-season finale). He also started the playoff game. Perkins finished the regular season with 112 carries for 456 yards (4.1 yards per carry) and 15 catches for 162 yards (10.8 yards per catch). Perkins lacks ideal size and speed but he has good vision, quick feet, and cutting ability. Perkins is a tough runner who plays bigger than his size, but he is not a powerful runner. He catches the ball well.

The Giants signed Bobby Rainey as an unrestricted free agent from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in April 2016.  He played in 15 games with no starts and finished the season with 17 carries for 63 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and 20 catches for 153 yards (7.6 yards per catch). Rainey also returned six punts (6.5 yards per return) and eight kickoffs (25.5 yards per return). Rainey was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Baltimore Ravens after the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Ravens (2012), Cleveland Browns (2013), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2013-2015). Rainey lacks size, but he is a well-built runner with good quickness. He lacks power and has had issues with ball security with 13 career fumbles. Rainey catches the ball well and has experience as a punt and kickoff returner.

Orleans Darkwa was placed on Injured Reserve in November 2016 with a lower leg injury. Darkwa played in 10 games with two starts for the Giants in 2016. He carries the ball 30 times for 111 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 12 yards. Darkwa was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him off of Miami’s Practice Squad in November 2014. Darkwa has average size and overall athletic ability, but he is a very physical, instinctive between-the-tackles runner. He lacks elusiveness and the ability to create on his own. Darkwa has good hands despite having only 10 career receptions.

The Giants signed George Winn to the 53-man roster in late December 2016. Winn was originally signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2013 NFL Draft. He has spent time with the Texans (2013), New England Patriots (2013), Oakland Raiders (2013), Pittsburgh Steelers (2013), Dallas Cowboys (2013), and Detroit Lions (2014–2016). The Giants signed him to their Practice Squad in November 2016 and cut him in mid-December. Winn has played in 19 regular-season games with no starts, accruing just 74 yards on 23 carries (3.2 yards per carry). Winn is a hard-nosed, between-the-tackles runner. Good special teams player.

PRACTICE SQUAD

Jacob Huesman was signed to the Practice Squad in late December 2016. Huesman is a former quarterback who the Giants are converting to running back. He was not drafted in 2016, and not signed after the draft despite working out for the Steelers and Titans. Huesman had a brief stint with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL. He has good size for a running back and was productive in college running with the football as a quarterback.

INJURED RESERVE

Shane Vereen was placed on Injured Reserve (IR) in September 2016 with a triceps injury that required surgery, activated back off of IR in December, and then placed on IR again that same month after re-injuring his triceps and needing surgery again. Vereen was originally selected in the 2nd round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. The Giants signed him as a free agent in March 2015. In 2015, serving as the team’s third-down back and playing in all 16 games with no starts, Vereen had his most productive year in the NFL as a pass receiver. He caught a career-high 59 passes for 495 yards and four touchdowns. It was the most receptions by a Giants running back in a single season since Tiki Barber. Vereen also carried the ball 61 times for 260 yards (4.3 yards per carry). However, Vereen played in just five games in 2016 and finished the season with 33 rushes for 158 yards (4.8 yards per carry) and 11 catches for 94 yards. Vereen lacks ideal size and power, but he is an elusive back with good vision and quickness. Vereen is one of the better pass-catching backs in the NFL as he runs good routes and has good hands. He is also solid in pass protection. Vereen has proven to be somewhat injury prone.

The Giants placed Will Johnson on Injured Reserve in early September 2016 with a burner that he suffered in the first preseason game. The Giants signed Johnson as an unrestricted free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers in April 2016. Johnson was not drafted and signed with the Steelers in 2012. In four seasons with the Steelers, Johnson only missed one regular-season game, and started 20 contests. He has 31 career receptions for 235 yards and two touchdowns. Johnson is versatile with the ability to play H-Back, tight end, and fullback. He is a good lead blocker who can also catch the football. Johnson is a solid special teams player.

The Giants waived/injured Nikita Whitlock in late August 2016 and then placed him on Injured Reserve with a mid-foot sprain (Lisfranc) that required surgery. He was then suspended in September 2016 for 10 games by the NFL for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. Whitlock was originally signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft, but was cut and signed by the Dallas Cowboys to their Practice Squad. The NFL suspended Whitlock in November 2014 for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs and the Cowboys terminated his Practice Squad contract. The Giants signed him to the Practice Squad in December 2014. Whitlock surprisingly beat out fullback Henry Hynoski in training camp in 2015 and ended up playing in 14 games with five starts until he was placed on Injured Reserve in December 2015 with a knee injury. He had no touches as a rusher or receiver. Whitlock has good size for a fullback and is a physical player, but he needs to become a more consistent lead blocker. A collegiate defensive tackle, Whitlock also received a limited number of snaps at defensive tackle in pass rush situations for the Giants in 2015. He finished the season with six tackles and a sack. Although Whitlock is extremely small for a defensive tackle, he gave opposing interior linemen fits at times with his quick pass rush moves. Whitlock is a good special teams player.

Nov 292016
 
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Orleans Darkwa, New York Giants (October 3, 2016)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ORLEANS DARKWA TO IR, ERIC PINKINS TO 53-MAN ROSTER…
The New York Giants have placed running back Orleans Darkwa on Injured Reserve with a lower leg injury. The team filled his roster spot by signing safety/linebacker Eric Pinkins from the Practice Squad.

Darkwa played in 10 games with two starts for the Giants in 2016. He carries the ball 30 times for 111 yards (3.7 yards per carry) and two touchdowns. He also caught two passes for 12 yards. Darkwa was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. The Giants signed him off of Miami’s Practice Squad in November 2014.

Pinkins was signed to the Practice Squad in October 2016. Pinkins was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks, who moved him to linebacker. Pinkins was waived by the Seahawks in September 2016. He has played in six regular-season NFL games with no starts. Pinkins has a nice combination of size and speed, but his instincts have been questioned.

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

ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The players return to practice on Wednesday in preparation for Sunday’s away game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.