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

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Probably not.

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

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

Q: Is [Rueben] Randle still out?

A: As of now, he is.

Q: Odell will be back today?

A: Today he’s going to work, yes.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: At both spots maybe?

A: We’ll see. Possibly.

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

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

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

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

Q: So how much will he play Saturday?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: Improvement. Improvement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How did Akeem Hunt look kick returning?

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

Q: How has Geremy Davis been progressing so far?

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

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

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

Q: Where do you see him? Gunner?

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

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

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

Q: How much of a loss is Mykelle Thompson?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: So that is what the focus is on?

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

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

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

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

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

  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
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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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.

May 092015
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (September 14, 2014)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

MAY 9, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS ROOKIE MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants three-day rookie mini-camp was held on Saturday. Sixty-six players – draft picks, signed rookie free agents, first-year players who have not completed a season of credited service, and street and rookie free agent tryout players – were in attendance.

NEWLY SIGNED…
The New York Giants announced that they have officially signed WR Geremy Davis, their 6th round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (3rd round), S Mykkele Thompson (5th round), and OG Bobby Hart (7th round) were signed earlier this week. Only OL Ereck Flowers (1st round) and S Landon Collins (2nd round) remain unsigned.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • “Former Illinois TE Matt LaCosse made a few nice catches today during both 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 drills. The top play was his diving grab from ex-Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova on a ball contested by safety Bennett Jackson.” (Giants.com)
  • “Safety Landon Collins, the Giants’ second-round draft pick, moved around a lot as coaches want to see the way he handles the responsibilities they would require of their free safety.” (ESPN.com)
  • “The Giants’ other safety draft pick, fifth rounder Mykkele Thompson, looked pretty good in one-on-one drills, showing off his speed and staying close to the receiver he was covering, but I noticed he had trouble getting his head turned around in time to make a play on the ball. (NJ.com)
  • Michael Bamiro, an offensive lineman who was signed to a reserves/futures contract earlier this year, is an impressive-looking offensive tackle. He stands 6-8 and is listed as 341 pounds and earned himself some “atta-boys” in drills from offensive line coaches Pat Flaherty and Luda Wells.” (InsideFootball.com)

OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR BEN McADOO…
Ben McAdoo addressed the media after the morning practice (video is available at Giants.com).

Q: Is it a night and day type of thing now looking back to this time last year?

A: No, we put a lot of work in. We did a little more this offseason than we did last year because we had the cut-ups to go through. That took us four weeks and change. We went back and retooled the offense a little bit. We spent a lot of time on scheme and tying it into the personnel that we had and some of the new toys that we added. It is not a system anymore, it is our offense. We are excited to get that going.

Q: Where do you stand on Victor Cruz’s status?

A: We are going to take the same approach on offense that we always do. We have a group of guys that we are going to go out and play with. We are pulling for Victor and we hope for the best. He certainly looks good moving around out there right now in rehab. We are going to let Victor take care of what he needs to take care of and come back when he is ready. When he is ready to come back, we will welcome him back.

Q: What does Shane Vereen add to this offense?

A: Vereen is a good player. He is a talented player. Unique skill set. He gets a lot of credit for what he does in the passing game. He is probably underappreciated as a pass protector and as a runner. We are glad to have him.

Q: What are a few things you liked/disliked about your first year?

A: I usually don’t think that way. There isn’t a lot that I look back and I am real happy about. We didn’t win enough ballgames. We don’t like to spend a lot of time talking about that. We like to chase execution. I think the last six games we started to play the way that we wanted to play. We started to execute and produce the way we wanted to produce. The way we completed the ball and the number of plays in a game. We just have to continue to chase execution and start where we left off.

Q: Is it too simple to draw the parallel to those last six games and when Odell [Beckham Jr.] started to take over? Are they one in the same?

A: I think it is a combination of a lot of things. We settled down up front a little bit. I think the quarterback started feeling better about the offense at that point. It takes some time. I think Odell is a unique player and I give him credit for paying attention in meetings and making meetings important so that he can transfer it onto the field, even though when [he] didn’t get reps on your feet, he still gets mental reps. That was a big part of his success last year.

Q: Teams are obviously going to game plan for [Beckham Jr.]… Do you feel like you have to find different ways and move him around even more now?

A: Everyone learns to play everywhere on the perimeter. Whether you are a running back, a tight end or a receiver, you need to learn concepts. You need to be able to execute those concepts. It doesn’t matter if you are a back, a tight end or a receiver, you have to be able to play one, two and three receiver. We ask that of all our guys. Whether we pull that out each week depends on who we are seeing and how we are tailoring our plan.

Q: With [Ereck] Flowers here now, is Justin Pugh a guard?

A: That remains to be seen. Justin Pugh, right now, is the starting right tackle for the Giants.

Q: Where do you see Flowers fitting in?

A: We are going to play our best five and if he is one of them, he will find a spot.

Q: What do you see out of Flowers that you like so far this week?

A: He looks like he likes football, and that is a great place to start. He is a conscientious young man and I look forward to watching him grow.

Q: What have you seen from Gary Nova and what do you look for from the quarterbacks at rookie minicamp?

A: We threw a lot at them. We try not to take it easy on them. We change their fundamentals. We threw a lot at them schematically. They did a nice job bouncing back here the second day and played a little better and a little faster here. They were able to digest the information, take it to the field, adjust their fundamentals and have a chance to execute. That is really what every day boils down to in this league. He did a nice job.

Q: Which side do you figure Flowers will be starting at?

A: That remains to be seen.

Q: Does that mean anything to you that most of the work Flowers has done out here has been on the left side? Do you try to move him around as much as possible?

A: We believe that he has a skill set to play left tackle in this league. We are going to give him opportunities to train out there. We will give him opportunities to train at multiple spots. That doesn’t mean we are going to pencil him in to one spot right now.

Q: Is there any reason why you can’t hit the ground running after the way the offense finished the last six games of last year?

A: It is a loser’s mentality to think you can come in here and not miss a beat and pick up where you left off. Any success in this league is earned. If you come walking in thinking you don’t have to do any work and you can pick up where you left off and we can execute the way we were at the end of the season, that is a loser’s mindset.

Q: What does it mean that it is not a system anymore, it is an offense?

A: That means it is tailored to the players we have in the room. It is about the players, not the plays. We tailored it. You put some stuff out in the storage shed that you may like, but you may not get to because it doesn’t fit with who you are.

Q: How do you feel? More comfortable?

A: I always battle being over-confident. I always battle that. I may hide that sometimes. I have confidence in the guys in the locker room and the guys in the staff room upstairs. We have assembled a good group of men and we are excited about the season.

Q: How much longer until Eli Manning hits that ceiling?

A: Usually when you put in changes or change the system or address fundamentals, it usually shows up in year two. I like the look in his eye. I am excited for what is on the plate this year.

Q: What do you see from a guy like Dwayne Harris?

A: Dwayne is a guy we are going to throw into the mix. We already have right away. He is a guy that brings in a little bit of attitude and a little bit of toughness. I like that.

Q: Is he primarily a guy who will play in the slot?

A: He is another receiver who is going to get opportunities to play all the spots and he will be a big contributor on special teams for us.

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

Q: Was it a hard decision to come back here?

A: Not really. There’s a lot of reason to come back here. There’s a lot of reasons for anybody to come here; the tradition of Giants football, the ownership, the Maras, the Tisches, Coach Coughlin, Jerry Reese… You do the checklist, if I did one at all, which I’m not saying I did. It would be fully loaded on one side. I was at a really good place in Baltimore and I just want to send a shout out to Steve Bisciotti and Ozzie (Newsome) and John (Harbaugh). I loved the two years there. Any time you can go to a different place, you can learn more. A little bit of wisdom was gained. It was terrific to work with such a good friend. John Harbaugh and I were together in Philadelphia for eight years and we had a lot of conversations in those eight years. We could sit and bounce things off as head coach and former head coach and it was a lot of fun, so I enjoyed that.

Q: What’s been your priority here the first couple of months?

A: At the top of the list is the bottom of the foundation. That’s probably the best way I can say it. We’ve got to build this thing gradually and the coaches all believe you can’t do anything until you get all of the basics right. Some of the basics go all the way back to things that have nothing to do with talent, have nothing to do with being out here on the field, but believing in what we’re doing, the character of the guys in unity, integrity and then we go from there. So we started from ground one and began to build it up. We get to a certain point here and we just keep on going, but it’s going to take a little while.

Q: Why is it so important for you to show this team the history of the franchise?

A: Maybe that comes from having been there, but the whole staff just felt like when you understand the tradition of defensive football here at the Giants, you embrace it. When you embrace something you have a little pride in it. If you’ve got a little pride in something like your family, you tend to protect it. The only other thing I added to them was let’s grow our own tradition and history here. We’ve been going back and feeding the guys all the greats here and we’ll eventually start feeding great defensive games. We’ve got some picked out. I think we all should embrace that. There should be a passion about it, and that should carry it out right here on the field. That’s the goal.

Q: Do you sense a different task than when your first time around here?

A: New building. When I ran out there the first day, I was looking for the bubble. I didn’t see a bubble. I just saw a nice indoor facility. What was really nice is when you can step into a building and you know people and they know you. That was really, really comfortable. That doesn’t always happen that way. There were a lot of kinks that were already worked out. It was just comfortable. The New York Giants and the leadership is pretty much the same as when I was here. I certainly knew exactly the type of people and the type of organization I was going to and that’s why I ran here instead of walking.

Q: How about as far as the team goes and the roster?

A: I believe that any year in this business, in the NFL, it’s a different challenge and this one is certainly different than 2007. There were hurdles. There were hurdles then and there will be hurdles now, but that’s a part of coaching. That’s what we embrace. That’s what we enjoy. That’s the challenge of it and if all of us accept it and work together to get over the hump, hopefully we’ll build something successful.

Q: How do you envision your defense schematically compared to when you were here before?

A: We’ve got some tweaks. We’re not going to venture too far personnel-wise because of what we have and try to change things too much, but the good thing about being in a lot of different places, whether it was St. Louis, New Orleans or Baltimore, is you can pick from other places. Nobody in this league is sharing information. So when you try to get little tidbits from other coaches, nobody is giving that info, but if you’re able over the course of whatever it was, five or six years, to come up with some different things, we’ll add those in and hopefully we’ll come up with something really good.

Q: There’s a lot of talk about the personnel you had in ’07 and ’08 and how those guys aren’t here now.

A: Yeah. Everybody gets older. I’ve seen some of them out here. I tried to put a helmet and pads on them.

Q: In terms of the personnel you have now, are there pieces you can identify right now that you’re excited about?

A: Yeah. The challenge for me will be real football doesn’t begin until you put the pads on and you get to training camp. That’s kind of the downside of what we’re going through right now, but as much as we can find out, there’s a lot of things I’m excited about. This may sound minimal to you all, but when I stand in front of that defensive group in the meeting room, I see attentive guys. I see people that want to learn, that are in tune to it, that are passionate about it, and I think it all begins there. Where we take that when we get out here, we’ll wait and see.

Q: Do you see the talent in your room?

A: There’s talent there. There are places where we need to fill some holes, but I think every team has that. That’s why you have a draft and you have free agency and we bring guys in to see what you can come up with.

Q: Was there ever a feeling when you initially left in ’08 to come back again?

A: This isn’t a on and off switch where, boom, all of a sudden we’re back to 2007 and we pick up where we left off. It doesn’t work that way and so to me I treat them differently. It would be no different than if I had left Baltimore and went to another team. It’s a different challenge. It’s a different year. It’s different personnel and we’re talking about all of these things right now. I’m not a magician. No coaches are magicians. Things aren’t going to happen like they may have happened in a different time, but hopefully something exciting will happen. At least that’s the goal.

Q: What did you learn from your experience from New Orleans and what are you taking from that time to do things differently here?

A: I firmly believe you learn more from adverse situations than you do when things just go like that. So there was a tremendous amount of wisdom and knowledge gained from my year in New Orleans. That was a tough year for a lot of different reasons. I’m not going to go back and speculate on why, but what I will do is I’m going to grab the things that we need to from that experience that will help us here. I will fully be doing that. There’s a good notebook about that thick with things I should have done, shouldn’t have done and things I can certainly do better. But that was a growth experience. Life is like that. It’s not just the NFL. I’ve been blessed to suffer in the last couple of years to make me what I am now and hopefully it resonates and it’s something good here.

Q: How do you see Landon Collins fitting in here? What do you want from him?

A: I want him to go to the Pro Bowl. That’s what we want all of our guys to do. I will say this, from practice one yesterday to just this morning, I saw a jump already. They come here initially and they’re feeling their way through. They don’t really want to say anything, but by the time we got to that last team period today, Landon was moving people around and directing, so if he can keep doing that every day, I think we’ll have exactly what we thought we had when we took him.

Q: Does the distinction between free safety and strong safety matter?

A: Right now, it doesn’t. Actually we want to get all of the safeties to learn both so we can figure out where we’ll put people. We’ve just got to line them up left and right for right now. That will probably stay like that for a pretty good duration and then when we feel like maybe we should hone in on a particular spot, we’ll do that, but we’re not going to do that right away.

Q: Jason Pierre-Paul has primarily stayed on the right side of the defensive line and you like to move guys around on the line. Do you plan on using him in different ways?

A: Sure, and Coach Nunn and I have talked about that, but one other thing I do believe in is you get guys in comfortable spots. I haven’t had enough of a long conversation with JPP to know what he’s more comfortable with, but when you’ve got a talented player, you try to put them in places where they can excel and help your defense. We’ll fill that out when he gets here.

Q: What about in terms of leadership? You had Antonio Pierce the first time you were here. Are you still feeling out the guys to see who that next guy will be?

A: That’s going to take a little bit of time. There are guys in that room that we’re working with right now that I know in the past, having listened to other coaches or watching the Giants from afar, that I think there’s some good leaders there and I think you always have got to develop more. Sometimes when leaders leave the program or system, some guys jump up that you would have never expected. Sometimes leadership lids are removed and guys that you never even would have thought would step to the forefront. I’m anxious to see who that might be. I’m just going to add this. Would I like to have AP back? Sure. He ran the show. He was pretty good.

Q: How important is the relationship between the defensive coordinator and the middle linebacker?

A: I think it’s pretty important.

Q: How have you and Jon Beason gotten along?

A: He’s been great. I remember Jon coming out of Miami and I have friends down in Carolina that were with him and I remember talking about Jon Beason before he even became a Giant. Everything was complimentary and you’ve got to love those guys that like the chess game. Jameel McClain is the same guy and I have some experience with him in Baltimore, so it’s nice to have a couple of guys like that and I’m sure there’ll be some other guys.

Q: Even though you weren’t Jameel McClain’s position coach, are you going to count on him maybe a little bit more since he is familiar with you?

A: I think it naturally happens that way and Jameel and I have had a couple of conversations. I was with Chykie Brown last year. You take the good from all of the places and it will be easier if I’m trying to feed something to the guys about maybe something that we did or the way we did it in Baltimore and they could probably back it up and say he knows a little bit about what he’s talking about because we were there, too.

Q: What are your expectations for Damontre Moore?

A: I’m not sure I have any except with all the guys. I said this to the group, that the main objective right now, from now until February, is to be better today than we were yesterday. I know that sounds cliché-ish, but I think that’s where we should be right now.

Q: Do you know anything about Damontre as a player?

A: From what the coaches have fed to me. I have spoken to him. I know he’s getting his degree, which I’m kind of proud of. I would love to have him here because that stuff is important, but we’ll just see where it goes when he gets here.

Q: What would be your definition of New York Giants defense?

A: As you asked that, in my mind, I’m going through what we’ve been watching with the Harry Carsons and the Lawrence Taylors… I’m seeing all of them. I grew up in the northeast, but before they were Patriots fans, they were Giants fans. I can just remember watching Giants football and Giants Stadium. Everybody gets infatuated with offense, but I just remember the linebackers and the D-linemen. That play that Jason Sehorn made against us when Philadelphia played at Giants Stadium with the interception… That was a playoff game. Those things are what resonates. It’s relentless. It’s attacking. Michael Strahan said this in one of the things we were watching. He said when he first got here, they — meaning all of his defensive players — they took pride in living up to the New York Giants defensive tradition. I thought that just spoke volumes. That’s a lot to live up to. So if we can shoot for that and get close to that, I think we’ll be pretty good.

Q: What is your plan for the nickel back position?

A: That’s one we’re trying to feel through, to be honest with you. You’ll probably see as we go through the OTA’s that there’ll be a number of guys working in and out of there. In this league nowadays, there are a lot of three wideout sets. That means you’ve got to match them in a lot of cases and put another DB out there, so I’m not sure I have an answer for that right now. There were some guys that did it a little bit last year and some guys that we added.

Q: Is Trumaine McBride a guy you could put in the nickelback position?

A: I thought he showed a pretty good feel for being there. He’s one of them. Josh Gordy has done it. Mike Harris did it a little bit last year. We’ve got some guys that we can try, but we need to get that solved and we need to identify who the nickel is.

Q: The Giants have used a lot of three-safety looks in the past. Is that something you’d like to use?

A: We’re going to have to work with the ebb and flow and the talent and personnel that we have, but sometimes the offenses force you to go that route and if we have to do that, we’ll do that. I’m going to start finding those people out.

Q: How was the interview process with Tom Coughlin?

A: You go through the process. It was a very comfortable job interview. For the greater part of it, it was being back with an old friend. Tom and I have always stayed in touch the whole time I’ve been gone, but we had to talk about things that related to the job and we did that. It was a little bit of business and it was a lot of just personal getting caught up and I enjoyed it. I’m glad it worked out.

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

Q: What do you expect is going to happen with the extra point?

A: That is a good question. I know they want to do something to it. Probably move it back to where it was in the preseason.

Q: Do you have a preference?

A: I have no preference at all. Whatever they tell us to do, we will do. We handled it well last year. Obviously nothing has been done with later in the year with the wind and cold. That would make it a little bit more challenging in the northeast.

Q: Think it would change much in regards to strategy for you guys?

A: It all depends on the game conditions. That is something [Coach Coughlin] would take care of.

Q: Re: Dwayne Harris?

A: It is good that it is someone we know so well. [He] is someone who we played twice a year against all his time in Dallas. I respected him coming out of college and how he plays and how physical he plays. He will add a good dimension. He is a returner that is also a gunner, so anytime you can get a guy that can do multiple jobs is a nice addition.

Q: Do you look at Harris as a guy who can do both, punt returning and kickoff returns?

A: Yeah, he has done it. It is there on tape. I feel very confident in him picking up those jobs. I think if you look across the league, you need a stable of guys you can rely on.

Q: Would you like to keep Odell [Beckham Jr.] off of punt return this year if you can?

A: That is not my decision. I think he wants to do it. Whatever helps the team. If he is needed, then he is needed.

Q: When you look at the new pieces that have been added to your unit, are you feeling pretty good about where they fit in?

A: Yeah. It is always exciting to add guys that have played at a high level in this league. [Jonathan] Casillas has done that. J.T. Thomas has done that. That is always nice to add them into the mix and get them into our culture and how we want them to do things. Really try to highlight what they do well. That is the fun part about it. It is always changing parts.

Q: How about [Geremy] Davis from UConn?

A: Little bit of an unknown. I know he has good height, weight and speed coming out. He didn’t do a lot of special teams coming out of college, but that is not unusual. We are excited to work with him and see what he can add to the mix.

Q: Who do you view as your core special teamers?

A: You try to, but a lot of times those guys end up starting, so that becomes their role. You just try to have a good, solid room. I think [Mark] Herzlich is a guy that has been a leader in that room. You always have a mix of young guys and old guys and guys that are starting and guys that are not starting. It is a little bit in flux. It is not like you have six to eight guys that you have had for three or four years with how much movement there is now in the league.

Q: What is it about Harris that makes him a good return man?

A: He is decisive. There isn’t a lot of wasted movement. He is physical. He has a good understanding of the return schemes and what is needed for each one. There is no hesitation. If he is catching the ball and you are running it to the right, he is going to get it to the right, which sets up all the blockers for him. They know where he is going to be. A lot of times when you are blocking, [the returner] is supposed to be over here, but the returner is running the wrong direction or in the middle and now your block is not set up for that. He is very decisive. He is a strong runner.

Q: How do you evaluate the overall performance of the special teams last season?

A: I was pleased with some areas of it, but obviously other areas have to get better. I thought Josh [Brown] had a very solid year. One of his better years.  I think his kickoffs continue to get better, which is a positive for him at his age and a tribute to how well he trains. I saw some sparks in the punt return game, especially when Odell got his feet wet and guys did a good job understanding the blocking. Kickoff was very solid. I was very pleased with that. Kickoff return – you are always trying to find some guys up front to block. I think we got better as the year went on. Punt is the one area that we did not meet our goal. You want to have a 40-yard net now and we are under that. We continue to emphasize with the hang time and the location of the punts. Get better at that and get better at covering it. I think we have done that with some of the acquisitions we have made.

Q: How much of the punting issues can be attributed to the fact that Steve Weatherford was hurt for most of the season?

A: He did. He had the ankle and then he had the back. He was banged up all year. It was really unfortunate for how hard he trains. He puts the time in the weight room to stay healthy. I think he might be lifting now as we are talking.

Q: When you say the acquisitions for punt return…?

A: I am talking about punt return and punt. Guys that we have picked up have played at a high level on those teams. Casillas has made a living doing it. J.T. Thomas has done it even though he was starting. He would still cover kicks. Adding those guys with speed and experience is always a positive.

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

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A video posted by Jordan Raanan (@jraanan) on

Jan 052015
 
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Perry Fewell, New York Giants (November 20, 2011)

Perry Fewell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

According to Newsday and The New York Daily News, New York Giants Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell and Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn will likely retain their positions with the team for the 2015 NFL season.

An unidentified source told Newsday that “it appears everyone on the coaching staff is coming back.”

Newsday is reporting that Head Coach Tom Coughlin is “still evaluating, and some changes may still take place at the position or assistant level. But the big decisions regarding the coordinators seem to have been reached.”

Meanwhile, The New York Daily News says two sources have told the paper “it appears (Fewell and Quinn) are coming back.” Like Newsday, The Daily News is reporting that any coaching staff changes will not likely involve the coordinators.

Interestingly, however, The Daily News is also reporting:

According to one team source, in Coughlin’s meetings last week with GM Jerry Reese, co-owner John Mara and others in the organization, the idea of firing Fewell came up and some in management wanted that to happen. Some in the organization had held out hope that Coughlin would turn back to Steve Spagnuolo, his defensive coordinator in 2007-08, who is now the defensive backs coach for the Baltimore Ravens.

Fewell’s defenses have ranked near the bottom of the NFL three of the past four seasons (29th in 2014) and Quinn’s special teams units have been far from special for years.

To date, the only changes to the coaching staff have involved the quarterbacks coach position. Danny Langsdorf, who joined the Giants in January 2014, is returning to the collegiate ranks to become the University of Nebraska’s offensive coordinator. He is being replaced by Mike Sullivan, who was the team’s quarterback coach in 2010-11.

Dec 292014
 
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Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin to Return, But Some Assistants Might Not: According to The New York Daily News and The New York Post, Jerry Reese will not be fired by team ownership and will return as general manager of the New York Giants for the 9th season.

In addition, according to ESPN, The Bergen Record, and The New York Post, Tom Coughlin will not be fired and will return as head coach of the Giants for the 12th season. ESPN is also reporting that Coughlin will meet with team President/CEO John Mara at 3:00PM on Monday to discuss potential coaching staff changes.

Unconfirmed BigBlueInteractive.com sources have said that Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell and Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn will be let go.

December 29, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

Article on Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell: Perry Fewell’s status with the Giants uncertain, but players show support for the defensive coordinator by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Giants’ Eli Manning wants to improve timing with his receivers in second year of new offense by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on RB Andre Williams: Andre Williams thinks the Giants need to pick an identity and run with it by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on OT Justin Pugh: Justin Pugh wants to stay at right tackle for Giants by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on LB Jameel McClain: Jameel McClain believes Giants are positioned to make a run in 2015 by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on the New York Giants Cornerbacks: Giants defensive backs want a chance to gel…and be healthy by Tom Rock of Newsday

Dec 262014
 
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Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants (December 21, 2014)

Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

December 26, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: LB Devon Kennard (toe) did not practice on Friday. He has officially been ruled out of the regular-season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

RB Rashad Jennings (ankle), RB Andre Williams (shoulder), LB Jameel McClain (knee), and DE/LB Paul Hazel were limited. Williams is officially “questionable” for the game while the other three players are “probable.”

December 26, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

Giants.com Q&A with Head Coach Tom Coughlin: The Coughlin Corner: Every game is critical by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

December 26, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

Article on WR Corey Washington: Giants’ Corey Washington frustrated by how his rookie season has played out by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on DE Kerry Wynn: Rookie lineman making some waves by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on the New York Giants and Penalties: For the Giants, fewer penalties don’t equal more wins by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Giants Online – Giants vs. Eagles Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.

Dec 182014
 
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December 18, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice on Thursday. LB Jameel McClain (knee) fully practiced.

December 18, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

December 18, 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 BigBlueInteractive.com and Giants.com:

7 Takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Just hand rookie award to NY Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. now! by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Articles on DE Jason Pierre-Paul:

Article on LB Devon Kennard: Devon Kennard’s future appears to be at outside linebacker by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on S Antrel Rolle: 

Article on the New York Giants Special Teams: What an astonishing stat shows about two NFL opposite coaches by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on the New York Giants and the 2015 NFL Draft: Mulling The Giants Potential 2015 Draft Targets by Curt Macysyn for CBS New York

Article on Former Giant OG Chris Snee: For the Good of the Family, if Not the Giants by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Giants Online – Giants vs. Rams Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.

Dec 112014
 
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December 11, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: OT James Brewer (concussion) and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.

QB Eli Manning (back) practiced officially on a limited basis.

“Eli practiced well and did everything,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “There wasn’t any real restriction on him, so we feel good about that.”

LB Jameel McClain (knee) and LB Mark Herzlich (concussion) fully practiced.

December 11, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

December 11, 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 and BigBlueInteractive.com:

7 Takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese: Why firing general manager Jerry Reese is a tough call for the Giants by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning and the value of perfect attendance by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on WR Rueben Randle: Reuben Randle’s role in Giants offense receding by Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Kennard, Hankins Are The Building Blocks Of 2015 Giants Defense by Curt Macysyn for CBS New York

Articles on the New York Giants Defensive Line:

Article on the Giants-Titans Game: What the Giants rookies did in Tennessee to impress | Film review by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Giants Online – Giants vs. Redskins Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.

Dec 042014
 
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Odell Beckham, New York Giants (November 30, 2014)

Odell Beckham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Odell Beckham Wins NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month Honors: New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. has won “NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month” honors for his performance during the month of November 2014. Last month, in five games, Beckham caught 38 passes for 593 yards and two touchdowns.

The last and only other Giants wide receiver to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Month honors was Hakeem Nicks in October 2009.

December 4, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings (ankle), OT James Brewer (concussion), LB Jacquian Williams (concussion/shoulder), and LB Mark Herzlich (concussion) did not practice on Thursday.

WR Preston Parker (knee), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), LB Jameel McClain (knee), and CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/shoulder) practiced on a limited basis.

OT Justin Pugh (quadriceps) fully practiced.

December 4, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

December 4, 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 and BigBlueInteractive.com:

7 Takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on the New York Giants and the NFL Draft: Poor Drafting At Core Of New York Giants Deficiencies by Curt Macysyn for CBS New York

Article on QB Eli Manning: How will Eli pay for this season? by Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on RB Orleans Darkwa: With Rashad Jennings looking like a long shot, Giants may turn to a ‘different flavor back’ by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on TE Larry Donnell: Are Giants more worried about Larry Donnell fumbling or his health? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on New York Giants Defensive Ends:

Giants Online – Giants vs. Titans Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.