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

Owamagbe Odighizuwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…

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

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

Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

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

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

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

Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Can you comment on the Stony Brook guys?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What is Devon Kennard’s status?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Do you consider JPP an elite pass rusher?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Who are your best students?

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

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

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

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

Q: What have you seen or heard from JPP?

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

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

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

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

A: Yeah, it was right near the beginning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Markus Kuhn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

Q: How high is the ceiling for Johnathan Hankins?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Where do you see Jameel McClain fitting in?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Because you can do so many things?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What about Prince can he still improve?

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

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

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

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

Q: How is Landon Collins coming along?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How is Mykkele Thompson coming along?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: As far as coverage guys or return guys?

Q: Return guys

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

Q: What do you see from Corey Washington?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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TD pass to Shane Vereen. Think we'll see that a few times this year #Giants

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May 192015
 
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Tom Quinn, Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (August 29, 2012)

Tom Quinn and Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

For a team that has not fired its head coach since January 2004, there has been a tremendous amount of assistant coach turnover on the New York Giants the last two offseasons. In 2014, the team “retired” their offensive coordinator and fired their running backs and tight ends coaches. The quarterbacks coach was “demoted” to wide receivers coach and the wide receivers coach was “demoted” to tight ends coach. In 2015, the Giants fired their defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach. The quarterbacks coach also left to pursue an opportunity in the collegiate ranks.

In short, the only coaching positions that have not changed in the last two offeasons are head coach, offensive line coach, defensive line coach, linebackers coach, safeties coach, and special teams coordinator. The amount of overall turnover in a two-year period has been remarkable.

Regardless if these coaches are old or new, all are now vulnerable on a team that has missed the playoffs three straight seasons. If the Giants miss the playoffs in 2015, with a schedule that includes only three playoff teams from 2014, there is a good chance the entire staff will be terminated. But let’s assume the Giants show enough progress to improve their overall record to 9-7 but miss the playoffs for a fourth season? Might John Mara and Jerry Reese retain Tom Coughlin and most of the staff for one more chance in 2016? It’s possible. And it’s also possible that they will only do so if other assistant coaches are let go.

In my opinion, there are three coaches on this team who are vulnerable to being released if their respective units do not improve. Each of these units have been very inconsistent in recent years, but the organization has dedicated a tremendous amount of personnel resources into improving the units. Now the pressure is on the coaches to turn these assets into improved results.

If you believe there is no way the entire coaching staff is retained if the team does not make the playoffs, then the work of these three coaches could prove decisive in the team’s overall success.

Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn

Tom Quinn, New York Giants (August 3, 2014)

Tom Quinn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Tom Quinn has been the special teams coach of the New York Giants since 2007. Quinn probably gets more grief than he deserves from fans as his special teams did play an integral role in two NFL Championship runs in 2007 and 2011. In many of the playoff games, special teams were a critical factor in the victories. His units have also performed reasonably well in certain areas when given the tools. That said, special teams has far too often been the Achilles’ heel of the New York Giants.

In the last five seasons, the Giants have finished the regular-season 31st, 20th, 6th, 27th, and 17th in kick return average with only one kick return resulting in a touchdown. They have also finished 31st, 29th, 30th, 26th, and 19th in punt return average with no punt return touchdowns during that five-year span. David Wilson’s tremendous success as a kick returner in 2012 was the lone bright spot in the return game despite the fact the team has drafted prospects and signed free agents who were supposedly good return men. As the stats show, the Giants’ punt return game in particular has been anemic for a long time.

In terms of covering kickoffs, the Giants have finished 4th, 11th, 16th, 9th, and 2nd in the NFL with no kick return touchdowns allowed. In covering punts, the team finished 31st, 17th, 15th, 30th, and 27th with six punt return touchdowns allowed. In other words, kickoff coverage has been satisfactory but punt coverage has been dreadful and very costly at times.

During the last five years, the Giants have blocked two punts and have had two punts blocked. The kicking/punting game with Lawrence Tynes/Josh Brown and Steve Weatherford has been solid.

When taken as a whole, the special teams have been below average. Among fans, Quinn is the least popular coach on the team.

The team has dedicated a number of assets to Quinn this offseason, highlighted by Dwayne Harris, arguably the best all-around special teams player in the game. Harris not only returns punts and kicks, he also excels at covering punts and kicks. Harris was 2nd, 3rd, and 9th in the NFL in punt returns the last three seasons, with two scores. He was also also 2nd and 13th in the NFL in kickoff returns the last two seasons. Harris has been named “NFC Special Teams Player of the Week” three times. He was given an unprecedented 5-year, $17.5 million contract for a special teams player.

But the reinforcements don’t end with Harris. The Giants also signed special teams standout linebackers J.T. Thomas (3 years, $10 million) and Jonathan Casillas (3 years, $8 million) as well as re-signing linebacker Mark Herzlich (2 years, $2.6 million). Draft pick safeties Landon Collins and Mykkele Thompson excelled on special teams in college. The Giants project another draft pick, wideout Geremy Davis, as another special teams asset. And defensive ends Damontre Moore and Owamagbe Odighizuwa; linebacker Devon Kennard; cornerbacks Mike Harris and Chykie Brown; and safeties Nat Berhe, Cooper Taylor and Bennett Jackson should all be core special teamers.

Quinn should be out of excuses. He has a returner, kickers, blockers, and gunners.

Offensive Line Coach Pat Flaherty

Pat Flaherty, New York Giants (July 28, 2013)

Pat Flaherty – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Pat Flaherty has been the offensive line coach of the New York Giants ever since Tom Coughlin became the team’s head coach in 2004. Flaherty helped to construct one of the great offensive lines in team history: left tackle David Diehl, left guard Rich Seubert, center Shaun O’Hara, right guard Chris Snee, and right tackle Kareem McKenzie. This group peaked in 2008 when the Giants led the NFL in rushing. Since then, the line has had its moments but it has declined steadily despite a second NFL title in 2011.

The main problem is that the Giants have not done a good job of adequately replacing the five old foundation members – all of whom are now out of football. They got some solid play out of guard Kevin Boothe and center David Baas, but not much else (and both of those two players are now gone too).

The Giants have drafted a number of offensive linemen who have not performed well for the franchise, including Guy Whimper (4th round), Mitch Petrus (5th round), James Brewer (4th round), Brandon Mosley (4th round), Matt McCants (6th round), and Eric Herman (7th round). They also signed some veteran free agents last offseason who did not pan out: center J.D. Walton, guard John Jerry, and tackle Charles Brown.

Is the lack of development of these players the responsibility of Flaherty? Most likely not, but the team has spent resources to attempt to fix a sore spot that remains a sore spot. That does not help Flaherty’s case. The Giants were tied for 28th in the NFL last season in yards per rush. And while the Giants were 9th best in the NFL in sacks allowed with 30, that stat is misleading as Eli Manning was hit far too often in a West Coast offensive scheme based on a 3-step drop and a quarterback who historically does not take a lot of sacks.

The current Giants offensive line now has two first round draft picks (Ereck Flowers and Justin Pugh), two second round draft picks (Will Beatty and Weston Richburg), and one very expensive free agent acquisition (Geoff Schwartz, 4 years, $16.8 million). The expectation is that not only should the line no longer be one of the worst in the NFL, but it should develop into one of the league’s best. The pressure is on Flaherty for these pricey investments to perform.

Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn

Robert Nunn, New York Giants (August 10, 2013)

Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Robert Nunn has been the defensive line coach of the New York Giants since 2010 when Mike Waufle was fired. His lines have risen and fallen depending on the inconsistent performances of ends Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, Osi Umenyiora, and Mathias Kiwanuka, and steadier performances from tackles Barry Cofield, Linval Joseph, and Chris Canty. In 2014, New York’s run defense was dreadful…dead last in the NFL in terms of yards per rush allowed.

Like Flaherty, a strong argument can be made that the coach has not had much to work with as the key older players have left the team. Gone are Michael Strahan, Tuck, Umenyiora, Kiwanuka, Canty, Cofield, and Joseph. The Giants have not adequately replaced these parts. But in the last two offseasons, significant assets have once again been focused on the line. The team has placed the franchise tag ($14.8 million) on Pierre-Paul. It has spent high draft picks on tackles Johnathan Hankins (2nd round) and Jay Bromley (3rd round) and ends Damontre Moore (3rd round) and Owamagbe Odighizuwa (3rd round). Free agent ends Robert Ayers and George Selvie and tackle Kenrick Ellis have been signed. The expectation is that once again the defensive line will become the foundation of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. The pressure is on for this unit to perform at a high level.

It should be no revelation that two of the coaches in the hot seat are the line coaches. For the decline of the fortunes of the New York Giants since 2011 can be directly traced to the demise of the offensive and defensive lines. The Giants have been getting out-played up front. They have had problems running the football and defending the run. Pass rush and pass protection have been far too inconsistent. The franchise has dedicated a lot of resources to fix these problems. The outcome of the 2015 season will depend on how the lines perform.

Despite some playoff heroics, special teams has been a sore spot for years. Yet somehow Tom Quinn has avoided the executioner. The excuses to retain his services are running out. Ironically, Tom Coughlin’s fate may rest with Quinn. One or two games each year are won or lost because of special teams. Those one or two games could mean the difference between a playoff run or sitting home for the fourth time in a row in January.

Oct 252014
 
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Peter Giunta, New York Giants (November 6, 2011)

Peter Giunta – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants.com Interviews with New York Giants Position Coaches: The video of recent Giants.com interviews with the following team position coaches is available from Giants.com:

  • Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn (Video)
  • Cornerbacks Coach Peter Giunta (Video)

Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Defensive changes on the horizon for the Giants after their bye week by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning has reduced risk and picks, but Giants need to let him take more chances by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham Jr. making most of hitting genetic jackpot by Brian Lewis of The New York Post

Article on New York Giants Tight Ends: This Giants position went from their worst to one of their best by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Article on the Giants-Cowboys Game: Andre Williams’ struggles in Dallas, the lack of blitzing and more in this week’s Giants film review by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on “Finding Giants”: Why John Mara opened the door to his front office/scouting process for ‘Finding Giants’ by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Oct 212014
 
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Robert Nunn, New York Giants (August 10, 2013)

Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

October 21, 2014 New York Giants Position Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video clips of Tuesday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

S Antrel Rolle on WFAN Radio: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at CBS New York.

Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Article on WR Odell Beckham: No time to ease Odell Beckham Jr. into Giants’ offense by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Larry Donnell won’t fumble his wife’s coaching advice by Bob Glauber of Newsday

Article on DE Damontre Moore: Damontre Moore will ‘get more at-bats’ to boost Giants pass rush by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Jul 262014
 
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Cullen Jenkins and Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Cullen Jenkins and Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) Updates: In case you missed it, original-content articles from BBI today:

July 25, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: LB Jon Beason (foot – PUP) and WR Odell Beckham (hamstring) did not practice. 

Beason remains optimistic that he will be ready for the regular-season opener. “There is no reason now to think I won’t be there, based on how I feel and how I’m progressing,” Beason said. “The biggest thing is getting back to football shape. Right now, we’re dotting all the I’s and crossing all the T’s.”

“We’re just being really smart about it,” said Beason. “You have bench marks, like, ‘Hey, we’re going to start doing this at six weeks, get a little more aggressive.’ I think I’m a little superhuman. I heal a little faster. At the end of the day, six weeks, that’s what the timetable calls for so you listen and try to do right.”

Beason said he would like to play in a preseason game. “I would hope so,” said Beason. “Based on how I feel, the way things are going you want to keep making baby steps. If you go too fast, you have a setback and now all of a sudden you’re pushing that timetable of September 8th so we want to be smart about it. Obviously I’m going to do what they tell me, but I would love to get in during the preseason and get some reps.”

When asked about Beckham, Head Coach Tom Coughlin said, “You’ll know before I’ll know, probably. He seems like he’s frisky enough out here. Today he was catching the ball from the machine and seemed to be moving around okay. So hopefully it’s not going to take too long.”

July 25, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Q&As: The transcripts and video from Friday’s press conferences with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

July 25, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

6 takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

New York Giants Practice Reports:

Article on the 2014 New York Giants: Giants Report: The Short Story of Eli’s New Offense by Peter King of SI.com

Article on RB Andre Williams: Budding Author and Inventor Emerges Quickly in Giants’ Backfield by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Articles on WR Rueben Randle:

Articles on the New York Giants Tight Ends:

Articles on the New York Giants Offensive Line:

Article on LT Will Beatty and DE Jason Pierre-Paul: How Jason Pierre-Paul and Will Beatty motivate each other by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Backs:

Jul 112014
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (June 18,2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With the New York Giants reporting to camp in less than two weeks, BigBlueInteractive.com is breaking down each of the team’s positional groups from now until July 21. Today, let’s take a look at this year’s defensive line.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Defensive Line

Mathias Kiwanuka, New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Mathias Kiwanuka – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: The 2013 defensive line performed adequately, helping the New York Giants finish 8th in total defense (10th against the pass and 14th against the run). But those figures may have been inflated by the Giants facing some incredibly poor quarterbacks/passing offenses. The chief problem for the Giants was their best player up front, Jason Pierre-Paul, had his second subpar season in a row. Pierre-Paul had surgery in June 2013 to repair a herniated disc in his lower back and he never seemed to fully rebound from that procedure. He flashed some of his old form in Week 10 but also suffered a shoulder injury in that game which caused him to miss the last five games of the season. He finished 2013 with only 27 tackles and 2 sacks in 11 games. Statistically, the most productive player was Justin Tuck, who rebounded with a strong season (63 tackles, 11 sacks, 1 interception, and 2 forced fumbles) after two down seasons in a row. Mathias Kiwanuka played in all 16 games, with 10 starts at right defensive end. He finished the season with 41 tackles, 6 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. Damontre Moore was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 NFL Draft. However, an early preseason shoulder injury disrupted his development, and while Moore flashed on special teams, he did not make much noise at defensive end when given a limited number of snaps.

The Giants were pretty stout inside with Linval Joseph (59 tackles, 3 sacks, and 1 forced fumble) and Cullen Jenkins (31 tackles, 5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles). Backing them up were Mike Patterson (23 tackles), Shaun Rogers (9 tackles), Johnathan Hankins (16 tackles), and Markus Kuhn (1 tackle). Rogers started two games but was placed on Injured Reserve in November in a move that appeared to be designed to give Hankins more snaps as well as keep Kuhn, who had been on the PUP recovering from an ACL tear he suffered in 2012.

Overall, the slow-but-sure aging and departure of past stalwarts such as Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, and Justin Tuck – combined with two down season by JPP – has largely taken the bite out of the once-formidable outside pass rush. Tuck had 11 sacks in 2013, but six of those came against the Redskins. The other ends combined for only eight sacks on the season while the tackles chipped in with only eight as a unit.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants did not show much interest in re-signing 31-year old Justin Tuck and he is now in Oakland. Gone too is the Giants best defensive tackle of the last couple of seasons, Linval Joseph, who signed a big contract with the Minnesota Vikings. Again, it did not appear that the Giants made much of an effort to re-sign him. The Giants also did not choose to re-sign Shaun Rogers, who remains an unrestricted free agent.

Robert Ayers, New York Giants (June 12, 2014)

Robert Ayers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The main additions are DE Robert Ayers (UFA from Denver Broncos) and DT Jay Bromley (3rd round draft pick). The Giants also have brought in rookie free agents ends Kerry Wynn, Emmanuel Dieke, and Jordan Stanton as well as tackle Kelcy Quarles. Practice Squad DE Kendrick Adams, who has spent time with the Jaguars, Buccaneers, Lions, Browns, and Bengals, was re-signed. DT Everett Dawkins, who has spent time with the Vikings, Cowboys, and Buccaneers, was added as street free agent in June 2014.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Will Jason Pierre-Paul regain his 2011 form? Who will start opposite of him – Mathias Kiwanuka, Robert Ayers, or Damontre Moore? Who will start at defensive tackle with Cullen Jenkins? How many defensive tackles will the Giants keep?

“(Moore) made good, steady progress,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin in June. “He’s, naturally, a year later, a year more into it so he’s more comfortable with what’s going on. It’s not one of those things where you don’t notice that he’s out there because he does have a correction here or there. We like what we see. His continued development in the weight room with just some added muscle and strength, a little bit more size is something that will help a lot.”

ON THE BUBBLE: Barring injury, it would seem that JPP, Kiwanuka, Ayers, and Moore are locks to be the four defensive ends. Jenkins, Hankins, and Bromley are probably sure bets at tackle. Do the Giants keep four or five tackles? It could come down to a serious battle between Markus Kuhn and Mike Patterson.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Robert Nunn on Damontre Moore and Johnathan Hankins:  “I thought Damontre really took a step forward (this offseason) and Hankins really took off at the end of last year and has done a great job in the offseason working out, coming in in really good condition…I like where they are at now.”

Mike Patterson (93) and Kelcy Quarles (97), New York Giants (June 5, 2014)

Mike Patterson (93) and Kelcy Quarles (97) – Photo by Connor Hughes

Nunn on Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson: “They’re solid guys, solid veteran guys. And they understand where they are in this stage of their career and we’ll have to take care of them through training camp. Both of those guys have had outstanding offseasons, I thought Mike came in here in really good shape. Cullen’s always been in good shape ever since I’ve been around him. We’ll see where it goes. Again, it’s so hard to tell, we’re so limited in what we can do in the offseason now but they’re in great shape and a really good frame of mind and have done a really good job with leadership with the younger players. We’ll see where it goes.”

Nunn on Markus Kuhn: “He had an outstanding offseason, really outstanding practices. He and Hankins, they’ll definitely get more reps in training camp than Mike P and Cullen if everything goes as planned. He showed up every day. When we go out there and go in team situations Markus was, there wasn’t a day that went by that we didn’t call his name out in a positive manner.”

Nunn on Jay Bromley: “You know, he’s come in very willing to learn. He’s very green, very raw but hey, he’s got to get started. Those guys are the ones that really suffer as far as how limited we are with what we can do. He needs all the work he can get but he’s shown enough that hey, he’s got to show up when the pads come on. We’ll see when that happens.”

PREDICTIONS:

Eric Kennedy – The Giants will have problems rushing the quarterback. Unless Kiwanuka, Ayers, or Moore can get to the passer on a consistent basis, Jason Pierre-Paul may be in for a rough season. Without a viable threat opposite of him, JPP will be the focal point of other teams’ blocking schemes. Kiwanuka and Ayers have flashed throughout their veteran careers, but they have yet to become (and may never become) guys who the other teams really worry about. To be frank, when Moore played DE last year, he didn’t look good. Perhaps he will show more now that he is healthier and stronger. I think Hankins has the tools to be better than Linval Joseph and if the Giants can get another good, solid season out of Jenkins, they’ll be fine inside. I’d prefer to keep only four defensive tackles, but I think 2014 will be a redshirt season for Bromley and thus the Giants will be forced to keep both Patterson and Kuhn.

Connor Hughes – For all the questions concerning the Giants’ roster heading into training camp, the regular season and beyond, I don’t believe any have as many unknowns as the defensive line. Throughout the course of the offseason, the Giants put their emphasis on the secondary. Gone were the days of loading up on pass rushers. Instead, the team signed and signed again big-name and high profile defenders in the secondary. I agree with the change in philosophy, but I have very little faith in those up front.

Mathias Kiwanuka appears to be in the tail end of his career, who knows what JPP will take the field (if he even gets on it), Cullen Jenkins is older, Johnathan Hankins has yet to be an every-down player and Mike Patterson doesn’t have much ability outside stopping the run. Justin Tuck is in Oakland, Jay Bromley is a rookie. If one or two injuries hit the group…things could get ugly fast.

Granted, things could go the complete other/positive way. Robert Ayers could excel in a new location, JPP could be the Pierre-Paul of 2011, Kiwanuka could revitalize his career, Hankins could be a force and maybe Bromley steps up. I’ve thought long and hard about the positives of the defensive line, and I’ve come up with a bunch, but for every one good there are two negatives. Who knows, maybe the secondary can mask the guys up front. That philosophy certainly worked in the reciprocal fashion over the last seven years.

FINAL DEPTH CHART:

Eric Kennedy – Mathias Kiwanuka (LDE), Johnathan Hankins (LDT), Cullen Jenkins (RDT), and Jason Pierre-Paul (RDE). Reserves: Mike Patterson, Markus Kuhn, Jay Bromley, Robert Ayers, and Damontre Moore.

Connor Hughes – Mathias Kiwanuka (LDE), Johnathan Hankins (LDT), Cullen Jenkins (RDT), Jason Pierre-Paul (RDE). Reserves: Mike Patterson, Markus Kuhn, Jay Bromley, Robert Ayers, and Damontre Moore.

Jun 192014
 
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Odell Beckham (13) and Zack Bowman (31), New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Odell Beckham and Zack Bowman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Mini-Camp Ends: The third and final day of the New York Giants mandatory, 3-day mini-camp was held on Thursday. Practice was called after only a few minutes when rain started to fall. Head Coach Tom Coughlin chose not to continue practice within the team’s indoor facility.

The rookies will spend one more day at Quest Diagnostics Center. Players are off until scheduled to report to Quest Diagnostics Center on July 21 for the start of summer training camp.

For more on today’s practice, see:

For more on Wednesday’s practice, see:

New York Giants Sign OT DeMarcus Love and DT Everett Dawkins: The Giants have signed street free agents OT DeMarcus Love and DT Everett Dawkins. To make room for these two, the Giants waived OT Steven Baker and DT Eathyn Manumaleuna.

BBI scouting report on OT DeMarcus Love:

  • The Giants signed DeMarcus Love as a street free agent in June 2014. Love was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings waived him in October 2013 and he was then picked up by the Jacksonville Jaguars, who waived him in June 2014. Love has a nice combination of size and athleticism. He needs to play with more nastiness and fire. He also needs to improve his overall technique in order to make it at the NFL level.

BBI scouting report on DT Everett Dawkins:

  • The Giants signed Everett Dawkins as a street free agent in June 2014. Dawkins was originally drafted in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. The Dallas Cowboys signed Dawkins off of the Vikings Practice Squad in November 2013, but waived him three weeks later. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers then signed him to their Practice Squad. The Buccaneers waived Dawkins in June 2014. Dawkins is a 3-technique tackle who lacks ideal size, but he is quick and athletic and can be disruptive. He needs to add size and strength. Dawkins is not overly stout against the run. He needs to play with better leaverage.

June 19, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com or BigBlueInteractive.com:

June 19, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Articles on Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo:

Article on Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell: Fewell optimistic about Giants’ D, naturally by Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: NY Giants QB Eli Manning insists he has a lot of good years left by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on the New York Giants Running Backs: Giants’ Backfield Runs Into the Great Wide Open by Alex Raskin of The Wall Street Journal

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Giants: Victor Cruz out to show more by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on WR Corey Washington: Low on Giants’ depth chart, Corey Washington stands tall by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on TE Adrien Robinson: Adrien Robinson the favorite to start for Giants at tight end? Think again by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on DE Robert Ayers and CB Walter Thurmond: Newcomers Ayers, Thurmond getting used to Giants by Jim Hague of The Sacramento Bee

Article on CB Charles James: New and Improved Charles James Flashing with Giants by Connor Hughes of BigBlueInteractive.com

Oct 292013
 
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Jerry Reese and John Mara, New York Giants (October 6, 2013)

Jerry Reese and John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NFL Trading Deadline Passes: The NFL’s trading deadline passed at 4:00PM on Tuesday. The New York Giants did not make any trades before the deadline this week.

General Manager Jerry Reese Addresses the Media: The transcript and video of Tuesday’s media session with General Manager Jerry Reese are available at Giants.com.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin on WFAN: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at CBSNewYork.com

Assistant Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Tuesday’s media sessions with the following assistant coaches are available at Giants.com:

DE Mathias Kiwanuka on ESPN Radio: The audio of Tuesday’s ESPN Radio interview with DE Mathias Kiwanuka is available at ESPN.com.

S Antrel Rolle on WFAN: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at CBSNewYork.com

Sights and Sounds from Giants-Eagles Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Eagles game is available at Giants.com.

Article on the 2013 New York Giants: If Not Yet a Winner, the Giants Are a Different Team by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Giants GM would never get rid of Coughlin by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on General Manager Jerry Reese:

Article on the New York Giants Offense: With More Run and Less Pass, the Giants Go Old-School by Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Giant improvement came when Fewell simplified defense by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on RB Andre Brown: Andre Brown ‘ready’ to start for Giants after bye by Zach Braziller of The New York Post

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: WRs coach: Nicks ready to break out by Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on LB Jon Beason: Giants Spotlight: Middle linebacker Jon Beason lives up to hype vs. Eagles by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Jul 292013
 
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Pat Flaherty, New York Giants (July 28, 2013)

Pat Flaherty – © USA TODAY Sports Images

July 29, 2013 New York Giants Training Camp Reports: The Giants held their third training camp practice on Monday afternoon at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. The next practice is on Tuesday from 1:30-3:45PM. For a complete training camp schedule and Giants.com Q&A guide, see the Training Camp section of the website.

Injury Update: Not practicing on Monday were FB Henry Hynoski (PUP – knee), OG Chris Snee (PUP – hip), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (PUP – back), DT Markus Kuhn (PUP – knee), and CB Terrell Thomas (PUP – knee).

WR Hakeem Nicks (groin) and OC David Baas (still recovering from various and undisclosed offseason surgeries) were limited in practice.

FB Vonta Leach Re-Signs with Ravens: Unrestricted free agent FB Vonta Leach, who the Giants had expressed some interest in, has re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens.

Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Monday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

WFAN Player Interviews: WFAN interviewed the following players from training camp on Monday:

  • RB David Wilson (Audio)
  • RB Andre Brown (Audio)
  • OL Justin Pugh (Audio)
  • DE Justin Tuck (Audio)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (Audio)
  • P Steve Weatherford and S Antrel Rolle (Audio)

WFAN also interviewed Giants’ beat reporter Paul Dottino (audio).

Antonio Pierce Weighs In on 2013 Giants: The video of a Giants.com interview with former Giants’ linebacker Antonio Pierce is now available at Giants.com.

Article on Linebacking Corps: Giants Linebackers Eager for a Chance by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on DT Cullen Jenkins: Jenkins Hopes to Make Big Impact on D by Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on CB Prince Amukamara: For Prince, A Life Lesson by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Tom Coughlin on Bill Parcells: Morning Coffee Run Gave Coughlin Glimpse Into Parcells’ Softer Side by Tom Coughlin for The New York Post

 

Jul 092013
 
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FB Vonta Leach Still in Play for New York Giants: According to The Star-Ledger, FB Vonta Leach, who was released by the Baltimore Ravens last month, is still considering the Giants as a possible place to sign. Leach is receiving interest from a number of teams and it is has long been expected that he will sign with the Miami Dolphins, a team with a lot of salary cap space.

WR Victor Cruz on WFAN: The audio of today’s WFAN interview with WR Victor Cruz is available at CBS New York

Giants.com Q&A With WR Victor Cruz: The video of yesterday’s Giants.com interview with WR Victor Cruz is available at Giants.com.

Giants’ Beat Reporter Paul Dottino Breaks Down Cruz’s Deal: The video of today’s NFL Network interview with Giants’ beat reporter Paul Dottino analyzing WR Victor Cruz’s new contract is available at NFL.com.

Giants.com Q&A With Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn is available at Giants.com.

Star-Ledger Q&A With LB Spencer Paysinger: Giants Summer Questionnaire: Spencer Paysinger by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: Hakeem Nicks Must Prove He’s Worth More Than Victor Cruz for the Giants by Steve Politi of The Star-Ledger

2013 Position Preview – Defensive End:video previewing the Giants’ defensive end position heading into training camp is available at Giants.com.

Quotes: WR Victor Cruz on WR Hakeem Nicks: “Oh, yeah, I’m definitely going to put the pressure on him to come back and see if he wants to play with me for the long haul. We’ll see how it goes, but Hakeem’s his own man, he’s going to make his own decision. But I’m definitely going to see if I can get him to stay with me for a couple years…I’m concerned as a teammate and a friend because I want to see Hakeem around in Giants blue for as long as we’re together in the National Football League. There’s ways to create space, there’s ways to do things. That’s a road the Giants have to cross when they get there.’’