Oct 062014
 
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October 6, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings sprained the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his left knee in the game against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Jennings will not need surgery but he was wearing a knee brace when talking to the press on Monday. It is not clear how much time he will miss.

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Rashad Jennings – © USA TODAY Sports Images

“I am going to go day-to-day,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin of Jennings. “I’m not going to change off of that until I am told differently…We are all hoping that this young man is a fast healer with the way he conditions and takes care of himself. We’ll see.”

Meanwhile, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie underwent a medical exam on Monday to check out a hip/leg issue.

“The word has come back to me that he thinks he can play with it,” said Coughlin. “It is a leg injury, but pinpointing it is not something that I am going to try to do. It starts with an ankle, but I noticed that he has had some issue way up high in the hip area also from time to time. I am just going to stick with the leg right now. We felt that he could work through it on a couple of occasions, but I think (Senior Vice President of Medical Services) Ronnie (Barnes) wanted to shut it down and take a look at whatever was going on there. Hopefully, we can overcome it. He thinks he can play through it as he rehabs and feels better about it…I don’t think this is anything new or different. I think it is an ongoing thing.”

LB Spencer Paysinger suffered a hamstring injury in the game and underwent further testing today. No word yet on his status.  “The severity, I don’t know, we will see,” Coughlin said. “We have a couple of those things at the linebacker level that seem to be forever but shouldn’t be. Hopefully that is not the case with Spencer Paysinger.”

LB Jon Beason (foot/toe) was held out of his third consecutive game on Sunday. “The injury obviously and the projection between the medical people and Jon himself as to how far he could go into the game and where he would be if he were to put another solid week in front of him without any kind of setbacks,” said Coughlin.

RB Michael Cox and CB Jayron Hosley Added to 53-Man Roster: The New York Giants signed RB Michael Cox to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad on Monday. CB Jayron Hosley was also officially added to the roster after his 1-game roster exemption expired following his 4-game NFL suspension for violating the league’s policy on illegal drugs.

To make room for Cox and Hosley, the Giants waived WR Julian Talley and CB Chandler Fenner.

The Giants also waived WR/returner Trindon Holliday (hamstring) off of Injured Reserve with an injury settlement.

Because of these moves, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

October 6, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Monday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

October 6, 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 Giants.com:

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

QB Eli Manning on WFAN: The audio of Monday’s WFAN interview with QB Eli Manning is available at CBS New York

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Tom Coughlin willing to change for good of the organization by Bob Glauber of Newsday

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Article on the Giants-Falcons Game: Giants snap counts vs. Falcons: What they mean for Odell Beckham Jr. and others by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

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

Aug 302014
 
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John Conner, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

John Conner – © USA TODAY Sports Images

The New York Giants made 22 roster moves on Saturday in order reduce the roster to 53 players as required by the NFL.

In addition, the Giants activated linebacker Jon Beason from the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List. Beason passed his physical and can now practice for the first time since injuring his foot on June 12 during an Organized Team Activity (OTA) practice. “He’s ready to practice,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “You need that kind of dynamic leadership. The guy loves the game, he loves to play it. He’ll have the biggest smile on his face come Monday when he trots out there.”

The Giants waived or terminated the contracts of the following players:

  • QB Curtis Painter
  • RB Kendall Gaskins
  • RB Michael Cox
  • FB John Conner
  • WR Julian Talley
  • TE Kellen Davis
  • OL Rogers Gaines (waived/injured)
  • OL Mark Asper
  • OL Jamaal Johnson-Webb
  • OL Adam Gress
  • DE Israel Idonije
  • DE Jordan Stanton
  • DT Kelcy Quarles
  • LB Dan Fox
  • LB Terrell Manning
  • CB Bennett Jackson
  • CB Chandler Fenner
  • S Thomas Gordon

The Giants also placed the following players on season-ending Injured Reserve, although this doesn’t preclude the team from making an injury settlement:

  • WR Trindon Holliday (hamstring)
  • WR Mario Manningham (calf)

The Giants also placed the following players on the Reserve/Suspended List for violating NFL drug policies:

  • OL Eric Herman (4-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs)
  • CB Jayron Hosley (4-game suspension for illegal drugs)

Because of these moves, we have updated the Transactions, Roster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

“There were a lot of good, competitive positions, even going into Thursday night’s game with New England,” Coughlin said. “Many of the young guys were competing, not only for roster spots but for the practice squad. That is an important concept as well. It is in the best interest of the clubs to be able to go to their practice squad, if the need is there, for a player who has been in your meeting rooms the entire summer and fall.”

With Painter being cut, Ryan Nassib will be the only quarterback on the roster behind Eli Manning. “Ryan Nassib made big strides,” Coughlin said. “I think that his third and fourth preseason games were outstanding. You see definite improvement. You see the work that he’s put in. He’s been a very good student and he’s applied that to the field. What I really liked is he did have a poor preseason game and he came back with two good ones. That showed me, he didn’t do it by talking, he did it by working.”

Speaking of the competition at fullback between Conner and Henry Hynoski, Coughlin said, “Two very good players. Both guys can play in this league. Very, very close. Both of them are physical. They’ll knock the heck out of you. Utmost respect for John Conner, I think he’s a heck of a player and a great competitor and a good man. He doesn’t say a word, just goes and does his job. Give me all of those you can find.”

Preston Parker, New York Giants (August 9, 2014)

Preston Parker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Coughlin on WR Preston Parker, who made the team: “Preston’s been around a little bit. Preston also has the punt return/kickoff return ability. Right now that’s very critical for us, because Odell Beckham was going to be the punt returner.”

Coughlin on keeping Kerry Wynn over Israel Idonije at defensive end: “We had tremendous respect for Izzy (Idonije) because of the quality of man he is. He came in here and whatever we asked him to do, he did. He battled, he competed. The other night he played a lot of nice snaps. At this point in time, the idea of developing the young player was first and foremost on your minds as we put the roster together…I like the fact that (Wynn) has very good size and he runs well. He flashed in the preseason and he is a young prospect that works hard, studies hard. We think he has a lot of upside.”

“They’re great stories and that’s what this thing is all about,” Coughlin said. “Your needs are much deeper than seven picks in the draft or sometimes you’re not in position to help yourself in free agency because of the cap, so this is still the source. And when a young guy comes along and they look like they’ve got a high end, you’re excited about it. Especially when they work hard, they study hard, it’s important to them and they have great desire. You can see it on some of these kids’ faces that this means so much to them, and quite frankly it re-energizes me.

“Even on a day like this where I have to let people go, when I see what the game means to certain players and when I see that, then I think there’s hope, to be honest with you. I do. Not just hope here, hope for everybody in this world because we’re not going through the motions. They love it. They love what they’re doing, they love the game. That’s how it all starts. For the normal young person that comes along and plays this game, it started with the love of the game. You compete, it’s about competitors. It’s still about competitors and people who are determined to be the best that they can be at what they do. That’s what reinforces me.”

After noon on Sunday, the Giants can sign 10 players to their Practice Squad, if they are not claimed off of waivers first.

“The practice squad is not taken lightly,” Coughlin said. “There are a lot of things that go into making choices and one of the things that’s really important, that has to be stressed, this summer is that we’ve got it to 10. And that’s a very important thing, the fact that we can have 10 practice squad guys means a lot in terms of your ability to prepare. Because as you go through the season and you have the various nicks that occur during the course of it and players can’t practice, at least you can continue to service your first groups with your practice squad players. That helps tremendously because the drain always comes.

“If a two becomes a one, then who services the other side of the ball? That’s a major concern for us at this level, because you have to continue to improve. People don’t realize that, it is about improvement and it’s not just about games, it’s about improving and your chance to improve on the practice field is so important.”

Article on the 2014 New York Giants: Embarking on a New Path by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

NY Post Q&A with WR Victor Cruz: Serby’s Sunday Q&A with Victor Cruz by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Jul 182014
 
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Trindon Holliday, New York Giants (June 12, 2014)

Trindon Holliday – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With New York Giants training camp beginning next week, BigBlueInteractive.com concludes our break down of each of the team’s positional groups. We finish by looking at this year’s special teams.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Special Teams

2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: For the most part, the specials of the New York Giants in 2013 were quite poor. The exception was PK Josh Brown who made 23-of-26 field goals (88.5 percent) with a long of 52 yards. In addition, half of Brown’s kickoffs (35-of-70) resulted in touchbacks. P Steve Weatherford was inconsistent. He started off poorly but improved as the season wore on. In 2013, Weatherford, averaged 46.9 yards per punt with a net average of 38.2. The usually reliable long-snapper Zak DeOssie had a poor snap against the Eagles that resulted in a touchdown.

Punt coverage was terrible. The Giants were 3rd-worst in the NFL in opposing punt return average (13.6 yards per return) and allowed three punts to be returned for touchdowns.

Kickoff coverage was better as the Giants were 9th-best in the NFL, allowing an average of 21.8 yards per return.

The Giants return game was not good. The Giants were 26th in the NFL in punt returns, averaging only 7.2 yards per return. WR Rueben Randle was the primary punt returner, averaging 8.2 yards per return with a long of 32 yards.

The Giants were 27th in the NFL in kickoff returns, averaging only 21.2 yards per return. The Giants tried a number of players with similar results, including RB Michael Cox (21.8 yards per return) and WR Jerrel JerniganRB David Wilson (24.7) had a bit more success on his limited number of returns.

In sum, the return yardage differential between the Giants and their opponents was too great, making it tougher for the Giants offense and defense and easier for the oppositions’ offense and defense. The Giants also gave up four special teams touchdowns.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The primary punter, kicker, and long snapper all return though it appears that Josh Brown will face a bit of a challenge from strong-legged place kicker Brandon McManus.

On paper, it appears the Giants dramatically improved their stable of returners with the additions of Trindon Holliday, Quintin Demps, and Odell Beckham, Jr.

Holliday has averaged over 27 yards per kickoff return and 9 yards per punt return in his career, including a total of six return touchdowns the last two seasons (three kickoff, three punt). Demps has also averaged over 27 yards per kick return and has two career kickoff return touchdowns. Beckham was a dynamic kickoff and punt returner at LSU.

Who will form the cover teams and blockers on returns remains to be seen. Newcomers CB Zack Bowman (ex-Chicago Bears) and CB Bennett Jackson (Notre Dame) have strong special teams reputations.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Trindon Holliday is a home-run threat every time he touches the football as his six career return touchdowns in the last two seasons indicate, including two returns for touchdowns against the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs. However, he has major fumbling issues (10 lost in the last two seasons). Can the Giants improve his ball security?

David Wilson, New York Giants (December 9, 2012)

David Wilson – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Will David Wilson, if he is medically cleared (neck), be allowed to compete in the kickoff return game? Just two years ago, he set a team record with 1,533 kickoff return yards, averaging 26.9 yards per return. Same question regarding Odell Beckham…will the Giants seriously allow him to compete as a punt returner?

Based on comments from the coaches, Brandon McManus is more than an extra leg so his competition with Josh Brown will be more interesting than usual.

It’s not sexy, but the Giants have to find players who can do a better job of blocking for the returners and covering opposing returners. They need some headhunters out there.

ON THE BUBBLE: Trindon Holliday if he doesn’t fix his fumbling issues or show more than he has to date at wide receiver. There will only be one roster spot for Josh Brown vs. Brandon McManus. Brown is the reliable, experienced veteran, but he’s 35. McManus has the big leg but is a big unknown.

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

Tom Quinn and Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Tom Quinn on the gunners:  “(Zack) Bowman, (Bennett) Jackson, we’re really excited about those two. Charles James continues to do well so it will be exciting to see those guys run down and cover punts.”

Quinn on Trindon Holliday: “His speed’s an asset, that’s for sure. He’s a strong guy for his size, ball security obviously will be his biggest focus once we start putting pads on and start knocking him around a little bit.”

Quinn on Brandon McManus: “I really like McManus, I liked him coming out. He went to Indy for last training camp and preseason and I thought he was really a good kicker coming out of Temple. He’s kicked in the northeast at a high level, he did all three so I think he’s got a real big upside once it all starts clicking for him.”

Quinn on Quintin Demps: “Demps, we’re real excited to have him. He’s been consistent in this league and explosive. He’s a legitimate number one kickoff returner for us. He runs with good size and he has a real good understanding of the schemes. He’s been great with all teams. A real leader, coming in likely to start and he’ll be able to contribute on special teams.”

PREDICTIONS:

Eric Kennedy - I may go down in flames with this prediction but I think Trindon Holliday finds a home with the Giants both a less mistake-prone kickoff/punt returner and factor on offense as a role player. I think the Josh Brown vs. Brandon McManus battle could be very telling in terms of where this team actually thinks it is as viable Super Bowl competitor. If they believe they are rebuilding, the choice may be McManus.

Connor Hughes - It’s hard to think of a unit that was worse than the Giants’ offensive line last year, but the special teams sure give them a run for their money. Truly, things couldn’t have gotten much worse for Tom Quinn’s squad and there is only up to go from here. I’m very, very high on the addition of Trindon Holliday and Quintin Demps. While Demps may not have the touchdown returns, if he’s able to get the Giants the ball on the 30-35 yard line regularly it’ll pay huge dividends. Holliday, meanwhile, is the little spark plug the Giants have never really had on special teams.

During their prime, Willie Ponder and Domenik Hixon each were explosive, but none can match what Holliday can do when he’s ‘on.’ The ex-Bronco and Texan is electric and will take at least one to the house this year. If he can hold on to the ball…he may turn out to be one of the bigger acquisitions the Giants made this offseason.

The Giants’ coverage unit should also see improvements this year. Zack Bowman has excelled in the role throughout his career and Bennett Jackson had similar success in college. Barring injuries, I’m expecting to see vast improvements from the special teams.

FINAL DEPTH CHART:

Eric Kennedy - Trindon Holliday (kickoff and punt returner), Josh Brown (place kicker), Steve Weatherford (punter), Zak DeOssie (long snapper)

Connor Hughes - Quintin Demps (kickoff returner), Trindon Holliday (punt returner), Josh Brown (place kicker), Steve Weatherford (punter), Zak DeOssie (long snapper)

Jul 112014
 
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Video: SI – Top 5 NFL Teams Before Training Camp

Inside Football Q&A with Cornerbacks Coach Peter Giunta: The transcript of a Q&A session with RB Andre Williams is available at InsideFootball.com.

Giants.com Q&A with Safeties Coach David Merritt: The video of a Giants.com Q&A with Safeties Coach David Merritt is available at Giants.com.

Giants.com Player Q&As: Video clips of Giants.com Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • DE Mathias Kiwanuka (Video)
  • LB Devon Kennard (Video)

Article on WR Trindon Holliday: Trindon Holliday film review: Giants return specialist overrated, underrated, as expected? by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on DT Kelcy Quarles: The 10 Giants you’ll know when training camp begins: Kelcy Quarles by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on S Cooper Taylor: 10 Giants you should know when training camp begins: Cooper Taylor by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on the New York Giants Return Game: Fresh legs could bring new life to Giants’ shoddy return game by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Jul 052014
 
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Victor Cruz, New York Giants (June 18, 2014)

Can Victor Cruz excel in Ben McAdoo’s offense? – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Wide Receivers

2013 YEAR IN REVIEW: Well, it certainly wasn’t pretty. What was expected to be the team’s strength quickly turned into a great weakness. The quarterback wasn’t on the same page as the wide receivers, the receivers weren’t on the same page as the quarterback and when the two did mesh the offensive line didn’t Eli Manning enough time to get them the ball. There’s no other way to put it, the season was a complete disaster. Statistically, Victor Cruz (73-998-4), Hakeem Nicks (56-896-0) and Rueben Randle (41-611-6) never all clicked at the same time. One positive though, Jerrel Jernigan showed promise in the final two games of the season.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants added to the receiver meeting room quite a bit, both in free agency and the draft.

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (September 16, 2012)

Hakeem Nicks left via free agency after a disappointing 2013 – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Mario Manningham returns after two years in San Francisco and Trindon Holliday comes over from Denver. Odell Beckham Jr. was drafted in the first round out of LSU. A few names left via free agency, such as Hakeem Nicks (IND) and Louis Murphy (TB).

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: Every wide receiver that played in Kevin Gilbride’s offense last year has said the same thing about new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system this year: Less reads, quick passes. In the past, the Giants’ offense was predicated on stretching the field and going deep. Now, it appears as if those deep posts and streaks are quick slants and screens. It will be interesting to see how Gilbride’s wideouts fit into McAdoo’s offense. Cruz, Manningham and Beckham Jr. (in college) have all displayed the ability to make people miss with the ball in their hands; they may excel with McAdoo more than ever.

The use of Trindon Holliday offensively and the health of Mario Manningham will also be interesting. Throughout the offseason conditioning program, Holliday flashed again…and again…and again. He’s very dangerous in space, but has seldom been used on offense. Can McAdoo find a spot on offense? When healthy, Manningham is a dominant deep threat who can cause people to miss in space. But..is he healthy? The 28-year-0ld didn’t participate in OTAs or mini-camp.

ON THE BUBBLE: There’s the normal candidates who are fighting for a practice squad position (Corey Washington, Julian Talley, Preston Parker, Travis Harvey, Marcus Harris), but one name to keep an eye on as a potential cut is Mario Manningham. If the former second-round pick is finally healthy, he has a home with the Giants. If not? He could be cut in favor of another young target. The Giants have never been a team to give a roster spot to someone based on their name.

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

Odell Beckham and Zack Bowman – © USA TODAY Sports Images

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Sean Ryan on receiver Odell Beckham Jr.: “I think Beckham is a dynamic, dynamic player. I think he can be very good. We’ve got to, again, help him get rid of the mistakes that young guys make, help him to see the different things coverage-wise and disguise-wise that he’ll face in this league that maybe he didn’t get in college, but he’s got the ability to be a very explosive wide receiver.”

PREDICTIONS:
Connor Hughes - I’m very, very intrigued to see what players like Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr., Trindon Holliday, Jerrel Jernigan and Mario Manningham can do in Ben McAdoo’s new offense. Everything we’ve been told and seen throughout the offseason suggest a high-tempo, fast-paced, quick-pass offense that is predicated on getting the receiver the ball in space. We’ve seen Manningham have success in that role, Cruz too. Beckham Jr. did it all throughout college and Holliday as a returner. Gone are the long developing deep passes, I believe this offense fits these receivers perfectly. Then again, if Manning doesn’t have the time to get them the ball…none of it will matter.

Eric Kennedy – Like Connor, I see a group of wide receivers who run well after the catch. The key will be Eli’s ability to accurately hit them in stride in order for them to do damage after the reception. And while fewer reads reduces the mental strain on the quarterback and receivers, it also reduces the mental strain on the defense. Routes will be more predictable and there will be more pressure on receivers to physically beat opposing defensive backs to get open. The top three will undoubtedly be Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham, and Rueben Randle. With defenses focusing on Cruz early, I look for Beckham and Randle to make a lot of big plays. Randle, more than anyone, seems more at peace with the new system. My “wild card” is Holliday. The Texans and Broncos never really used him on offense (two career catches). My gut tells me Ben McAdoo becomes enthralled with his play-making ability in space and designs a handful of plays for him per game.

WHO MAKES THE CUT?:
Connor Hughes - Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Trindon Holliday, Jerrel Jernigan, Mario Manningham, Rueben Randle. (Marcus Harris ends up on practice squad).

Eric Kennedy – Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Trindon Holliday, Jerrel Jernigan, Marcus Harris.

Jun 132014
 
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Trindon Holliday, New York Giants (June 12, 2014)

Trindon Holliday – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Ever since Kevin Gilbride was replaced as offensive coordinator by Ben McAdoo, there has been much media and fan speculation about what the new offense of the New York Giants might look like. When Head Coach Tom Coughlin came to New York in 2004, he brought along a passing game that featured more of a vertical, down-field passing attack. His first offensive coordinator was John Hufnagel, but Hufnagel was fired near the end of the 2006 season and replaced by Gilbride.

Tom Coughlin has always been about offensive balance. He wants a physical running game combined with a big-play passing game. Coach Coughlin does not want to dink-and-dunk the ball down the field, but gain yardage in big chunks. That formula worked well for him both with the Jaguars and Giants when he had the necessary talent. And it helped the New York Giants to win two NFL Championships.

“I have great respect for Kevin Gilbride winning two Super Bowls,” said former Giants quarterback Phil Simms (1979-1993). “He was worried about hitting four of those big passes every game, and I love that about the Giants’ offense. It wasn’t 17 screens every game.”

Based on comments from current players and observations from the three Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices open to the media, the Giants are changing their style. Ben McAdoo’s background is the West Coast Offense. In a nutshell, the Giants will emphasize stretching the field more horizontally instead of vertically. Though the team will still take its shots down the field, there will be more 3-step drops and an effort to get the ball quickly out of quarterback Eli Manning’s hands. The coaches want to get Eli into a comfortable rhythm throwing the football. More passes will be intended for the running backs and tight ends at the possible expense of the wide receivers.

Ben McAdoo’s background is the West Coast Offense, serving as tight ends and later quarterbacks coach under Mike McCarthy with the Green Bay Packers.

“This offense to me, and I’ve run a lot of West Coast with Mike Shanahan in Denver, a lot of stuff is similar,” said RB Peyton Hillis on Thursday.

Hillis might serve in a similar capacity to John Kuhn in Green Bay, not so much from the standpoint of a traditional fullback, but more of a pass-receiving and rushing one-back.

“(The running back catching the ball is) going to be a big part of it,” said Hillis. “The quarterback’s going to be looking for the check down a lot this year so you have to make sure as a back that you get on your route and make sure we expect it.”

Eli Manning, New York Giants (June 12, 2014)

Eli Manning at OTAs – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Making such a drastic change in offensive philosophy and terminology may not be quick and easy. Manning has never played in a West Coast system and neither have most of his offensive teammates.  To date, the strength of Manning’s game has not been the short game, particularly screen and swing passes. And while running backs Rashad Jennings, Peyton Hillis, and David Wilson could thrive as pass receivers in this offense, the Giants lack proven talent at tight end. The interior of the offensive line has been overhauled and there are still huge health and ability question marks at left tackle and right guard.

“(The offensive progress has been) slow, to be honest with you,” said Coughlin on Thursday. “Progress is slow but steady. Some days, of course, are better than others. But, you know, we’re getting there…There’s a lot of things that have to be converted in the guys who have been here, in their minds and the new people who have not been in a system such as this, you’ve got a lot to learn. It’s a work in progress.”

“It’s different,” said Manning. “We haven’t gotten everything down. I’m not 100 percent on everything going on. There are still some learning curves and things I gotta digest and think through…I feel good about what our offense can do and the potential of it. It’s just getting to the point where we have a great mastery of it from the mental capacity.”

So the key question is when will the players become comfortable enough with the new system to where the learning curve does not cost them on the playing field? It could take the entire preseason. Worse, it could take the first half or even a full season of actual game experience.

But once the system is learned, it could make life a lot easier for Eli and his receivers.

“I would think the West Coast Offense and some of (that philosophy) will help (Manning),” said Simms. “Give the quarterback 50 percent of his completions as ‘gimmies.’ There are other times you want to make those four or five special throws.”

In the new system, run-after-the-catch ability will be paramount. The good news is the Giants have some extremely dangerous receivers with the football in their hands, including Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham, Jerrell Jernigan, and Trindon Holliday.

“The ball is coming out quick,” said Manning. “It does fit my style of play, getting in rhythm, knowing where to go, making smart decisions. Getting the ball into receivers’ hands, let them be the athletes. Throw the little 6 or 7 yard pass and let them make big plays.”

While all pro offenses use pre-snap and post-snap reads, based on early comments from the players, there will be fewer reads in this offense. That should make it more likely that quarterback and receivers are on the same page, causing fewer mental mistakes that turn into turnovers for the opposition. In particular, receivers such as Randle and Jernigan, who were very inconsistent in the old Coughlin-Gilbride system, may perform much better with fewer reads.

Jernigan was asked if there were as many reads as under the old system, “Not at all. We’ve got a couple reads but we don’t have that many reads…you can go out and play faster and get the thing going and don’t have to think that much.”

“I’m liking (the new offense), it’s going to be pretty exciting,” said Randle on Thursday. “Coach McAdoo has done a great job putting us in positions to make plays and using our abilities…Everything is pretty much black and white, it’s simple. What you have is what you run. Just take a lot of things off our minds and go out there and play football and just use your ability to get open.”

“(There are) not as many reads,” continued Randle. “When you can go out there and maintain that focus on one specific thing it allows you to go out there and play a lot faster. That’s what we’re doing here. I think that’s going to be key for us pushing forward to make more plays… We just want to make sure we’re all on the same page.”

“(The new offense) frees me up a lot,” said Randle. “Just go out there and do what I do, just create separation and make plays. I had to really focus on reading than looking all over the field, just running routes. I think we’re all happy to be a part of that type of offense.”

Beckham, Jernigan, and Holliday are all particularly dangerous after the catch. Again, the learning curve will be an important factor. Beckham’s growth has been stymied somewhat by an early hamstring injury that caused him to miss most of the OTAs.

“It’s been tough to go from such an easier offense at LSU with the digit system and stuff like that and then going back to the concepts, which I was in my freshman year,” said Beckham. “It’s actually not that bad once you get into it and you break it down by formation and things like that. It’s really not that bad. It’s just a lot of memorization.”

While the West Coast Offense does place more emphasis on throws to the running backs and tight ends, one would think that Coach McAdoo is drawing up plays that would have Randle and Beckham outside with Cruz, Jernigan, and/or Holliday in the slot.

“(The offense is) a lot different but it goes back to some of the same concepts I had in college in the spread (offense) with Troy (University), so it’s going good, just learning different signals and stuff,” said Jernigan. “We used to go five-wide the whole time (at Troy University) so it’s back to what I’m really used to.”

“I think it’s an offense that fits my game and also spreads the ball out to everyone and gives everybody the chance to make plays,” said Jernigan. “Just get the ball to your playmakers and let them do the rest in open space against defenders.”

“(The spread offense) just allows you to use your playmakers instead of just going with your traditional two-wide set,” said Beckham. “You have four receivers on the field and you’re running routes and you’re all working with each other to get each other open. It definitely makes it a lot more fun for us.”

Apr 032014
 
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New York Giants Offseason Workout Program Schedule Set: The dates for the New York Giants offseason program schedule have been announced:

  • April 21: Start of the offseason program.
  • May 28-30: Organized Team Activity (OTA) workouts.
  • June 2-3: OTA workouts.
  • June 5: OTA workout.
  • June 9-10: OTA workouts.
  • June 12-13: OTA workouts.
  • June 17-19: Mandatory, full-team mini-camp.

The Giants will not hold a rookie mini-camp this year because the 2014 NFL Draft is three weeks later than usual.

Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), each club’s official, voluntary nine-week offseason program is conducted in three phases:

  1. Phase One consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
  2. Phase Two consists of the next three weeks of the program. On-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practice conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. team defense drills are permitted.
  3. Phase Three consists of the next four weeks of the program. Teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTA workouts. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.
Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (March 26, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants.com Q&A With Head Coach Tom Coughlin: A lengthy Q&A session with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at Giants.com. Some key points of note:

  • Coughlin on assimilating so many new faces: “Absolutely, it is (a challenge). You’ve got a big part of our football team that has not been through our routine, the way we do things, the presentation of our values and our principles, what we believe in, how we work, how we practice, how they are  to come to work. So we have a lot of basic, fundamental teaching to do. It is definitely a year of transition, no doubt.”
  • Coughlin on the impact all these new faces will have on the team’s culture: “The culture’s going to change, too. The culture will change. Now, the principles and the values will not change, but how we go about our business has to change, because we have so many new people that have to be integrated into the system.”
  • Coughlin on what WR Trindon Holliday brings to the return game: “If we can get somebody who gives us a little bit of the spectacular – I mean, when you sit down and talk about this guy’s track speeds, are you serious? He runs 100 meters in 9.98 (seconds) or whatever the heck he ran. It’s fun to think about. Go ahead, outkick the coverage, please do. Not only for kickoff returns, but for punt returns. What it would mean to us to have some field position, a short field all of a sudden, and take care of the football, play good defense, get turnovers for us on that side of the ball, not beat ourselves, how about that one for a theme? That would be a very nice thing.”
  • Coughlin on RB Rashad Jennings: “I think he’s an all-around back. Whatever question I asked when I was looking at the tape got answered. In other words, he went 80 (yards for a touchdown last season for Oakland in a game at Houston). Is he fast enough? He goes 80. Does he catch it out of the backfield? Yes. Does he run the screens well? Yes. How is he from scrimmage as a runner? Good. First and second down, can he play on third down? Yes, he can. What does he need? Well, he’s 230 pounds with a great attitude. He needs a little work on his pass protection, but I think we can get that done. I think he’s an all-purpose guy that fits us very, very well.”
  • Coughlin on RB David Wilson: “All in due time with David. Just pray, you’re praying that he has a return to excellent health and that the doctors are totally convinced that he is recovered and ready to go. When that time comes, you’ll have another contributor who, if he gets a step, he’s gone…I’m counting on him, but I am not going to put him in any circumstance until it’s an absolute that he’s 100 percent. I’m not going to mess with that one.”
  • Coughlin on WR Mario Manningham: “It was exciting and fun to talk to him, because he’s so pleased to be back. He is more mature, physically and otherwise. He wants to be here, he wants to help us win. He’s more appreciative of his first tenure here and he certainly wants to make it even more productive this next time back – even for a guy who will go down in history as having made one of the greatest catches in Super Bowl history.”
  • Coughlin on DE Robert Ayers: “Sure, he can (play strongside). He’s played right, he’s played left, he’s played inside on third down, he’s played in a lot of spots. He’s a powerful player. He’ll be very, very good against the run. I really, quite frankly  don’t think there are any tight ends that will block him. He’s really got exceptional hand position, does a nice job with that, and he can be used in a versatile manner and he has consistent effort. He’s got the hunger and the desire and he’ll make up for a lot with hustle.”
  • Coughlin on the impact of new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo: “I’ve been in the same system since 1988. We have incorporated whatever we can from our system that we’ve always had here, but there’s a lot of new terminology. There will be lots of new teaching just in terms of the way in which it’s presented, which will force people to study and to learn and to be anxious. When the huddle breaks you’ve got to go do it. They’re going to have to learn it to be able to do it. The plays will become familiar to them once they recognize what the responsibility is. You have to be able to talk it, discuss it and communicate. That’s different.”

Giants.com Interview with DE Robert Ayers: The video of Wednesday’s Giants.com interview with defensive end Robert Ayers is available at Giants.com.

Articles on the New York Giants and 2014 NFL Free Agency:

Mar 262014
 
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Victor Cruz (80), Louis Murphy, Jr. (18), New York Giants (November 24, 2013)

Victor Cruz and Louis Murphy – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Louis Murphy Signs with Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Unrestricted free agent wide receiver Louis Murphy (New York Giants) has signed a 1-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Because of this move, we have updated the New York Giants Free Agent Losses (with scouting report) and New York Giants 2014 Free Agency Scorecard sections of the website.

Former Giants Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride on ESPN Radio: The audio of Wednesday’s ESPN Radio interview with former New York Giants Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride is available at ESPN.com.

Article on WR/Returner Trindon Holliday: Giants free agents 2014: Is Trindon Holliday more than a return man? by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: Giants reveal plans for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Quotes: Head Coach Tom Coughlin on offensive guard Chris Snee: “He’s got the fire, he’s excited, he wants to play, he feels good, he’s worked hard. He is an incredible competitor. He’s a tough, hard-nosed football player who brings a great ingredient to your team and quite frankly we need that…He probably says it best.’Am I the same player I was four or five years ago? Maybe not. But am I good enough to be included in the top guards in the game? Yes.’ I think that’s pretty well-said.”

Coughin on WR Mario Manningham: “As I told him when he was here, if we’re going to be the team that we want to be, he’s got to come back and make a very strong contribution. He’s excited about that chance, that opportunity.”

Mar 182014
 
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Mario Manningham, San Francisco 49ers (August 18, 2012)

Mario Manningham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Mario Manningham Signing Official: The New York Giants have officially confirmed that they have signed unrestricted free agent wide receiver Mario Manningham (San Francisco 49ers). Manningham reportedly signed a 1-year contract.

Manningham was originally drafted by the Giants in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft. After four seasons (2008-11) and a Super Bowl ring, he left the Giants in free agency for the 49ers in 2012.

“I’m happy to be back,” Manningham said. “I’m real excited. It’s just great to see everybody, be around familiar faces, knowing everybody in the past and just being comfortable around everybody. Once a Giant, always a Giant. That’s how I feel. This is a very special place. I wanted to come back.”

Manningham tore both the ACL and PCL in his left knee in December 2012. He was activated off of the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List in November 2013 and played in six regular-season games for the 49ers, catching only nine passes for 85 yards, before he was placed on Injured Reserve again.

“It was frustrating, but it was a learning experience also,” Manningham said. “When I got back I couldn’t do what I wanted to, I knew I needed a little bit more time. It’s coming along and I just have to work on getting stronger and getting my strength back and trusting it more. I’m doing good; it’s getting stronger.”

“If you’re an athlete, you have a chip on your shoulder already, so you’re like, ‘I’m coming back strong this year,’’ Manningham said. “I do believe it. I had a couple people who tore their ACL a couple times who said, ‘Man, you’re not going to get it back that following year, you’re going to get it back the year after that.’ I’m just trying to do what I can do to make a strong impact and win games.”

“(Eli Manning and I) get back out there and see how it goes,” Manningham said. “We haven’t been together in two years, so you can’t do anything but get better.”

“I wanted to come back,” Manningham said. “I’m comfortable around the staff members. There are some different staff members and different players. I just want to get to know them. We’re all in here for one reason and that’s to win. That’s all that matters. I just want come in and do what I’ve got to do to help us win.”

Terrell Thomas Visits Carolina Panthers: According to FOXSports, unrestricted free agent cornerback Terrell Thomas (New York Giants) is meeting with the Carolina Panthers.

Giants.com Interviews: Videos from Tuesday’s Giants.com interviews with the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • WR/Returner Trindon Holliday (Video)
  • WR Mario Manningham (Video)
Mar 182014
 
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Mario Manningham, San Francisco 49ers (November 25, 2012)

Mario Manningham – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Sign Mario Manningham: According to multiple press reports, the New York Giants have signed unrestricted free agent (UFA) wide receiver Mario Manningham (San Francisco 49ers). Manningham was originally drafted by the Giants in the 3rd round of the 2008 NFL Draft and played four seasons (2008-11) with the Giants before spending the past two years with the 49ers.

Because of this move, we have updated the New York Giants Free Agent Signings (with scouting report), New York Giants 2014 Free Agency Scorecard, and Roster sections of the website.

Trindon Holliday Signing Official: The New York Giants have officially confirmed that they have signed unrestricted free agent (UFA) wide receiver/returner Trindon Holliday (Denver Broncos). The contract is reportedly a 1-year, $700,000 deal that includes a $100,000 signing bonus and a $30,000 workout bonus.

“It’s great to get an opportunity to come out and be part of another team,” Holliday said. “I’m signed to do a job and that’s come in and help this team out on special teams as best as possible. I’ll be ready to report. The team’s going in the right direction. The Giants are trying to get back to their winning ways. This offseason has had some good things and I look forward to the rest.”

The 5’5”, 170-pound Holliday is one of the most dynamic kickoff and punt returners in the NFL, having returned three punts and three kickoffs for touchdowns the last two seasons.

“Sometimes, I think my size is an advantage,” Holliday said. “I can field the kicks and hide behind those big linemen when the other guys are coming down. It’s hard for them to see me.”

“(The Giants) told me they expect me to do both (punts and kickoffs),” Holliday said. “I’m going to work my way in and earn the respect from the coaches and the trust that I can get back there and do those things.”

However, Holliday has an issue with ball security, having fumbled 11 times in his career on returns in regular-season games.

“(Tom Coughlin and I) had the discussions already,” Holliday said. “He said him and me were going to get real acquainted with ball security. I don’t have a problem with that. I’ve have had some miscues of handling the ball, but it’s not going to take much for me to fix that.”

Without Pay Cut, Mathias Kiwanunka May Have Been Released:The New York Daily News is reporting that an unidentified source told the paper that if defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka did not accept a pay cut, he would have been have been released. As previously reported, Kiwanuka accepted having his 2014 base salary reduced from $4.375 million to $1.5 million. He also now has a $700,000 roster bonus and could earn another $125,000 in incentives.

More Contract Details on Newly-Signed Cornerbacks: According to RavensInsider, the contract figures on cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie:

  • CB Walter Thurmond: 1-year, $3 million including a $1 million bonus. $1 million of $1.975 million salary guaranteed, up to $500,000 playing-time incentives
  • CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: 5-years, $35 million including $13.98 million guaranteed and $10 million signing bonus. Due $1 million roster bonus on fifth day of 2015 league year.

Louis Murphy Visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers: According to ProFootballTalk, unrestricted free agent wide receiver Louis Murphy (New York Giants) is visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today.