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.”

Jun 112014
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 21, 2012)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Eli Manning Energized by New Offense: New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning was interviewed on SiriusXM NFL Radio on Wednesday. Manning spoke about the impact the new offense under Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo is having on him.

“It is tough, it’s not easy, but it has definitely re-energized me and brought an urgency to this time of year,” Manning said. “It’s definitely challenging. Each night, I’m staying up and preparing, and I feel like I’m in season right now with the amount of preparation I’m trying to put in to get ready for each practice.”

“Each practice is draining on you mentally, you’re thinking so much about everything that has to go on and the different calls,” said Manning. “But it is also exciting. As a football player, as a competitor, you like to be challenged.”

Manning underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle in April. It was originally feared he would miss all of the offseason workouts until training camp. But Manning has been a full participant during the Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices that began in late May.

“This has been huge, just getting in the offense,” Manning said. “It’s one thing to listen to a play being called or watch plays being run — you may think you have a good grasp of it, until you’re out there and you gotta pull the trigger, you gotta make a call, you gotta change a play and you’re doing it live, and with the defense, and make all those little decisions. It was huge.”

Manning suffered the ankle injury during the regular-season finale against the Washington Redskins on December 29. Despite the fact that the injury required him to wear a protective boot for several weeks and did later require surgery, Manning said he might have played if there was another game following the 20-6 win over Washington.

“I was having the conversation with the trainers a little bit,” Manning said. “It would’ve been my instincts to say ‘Yeah, I can play.’ I could’ve muscled through it. It would’ve been a lot of shotgun, I think. The good thing it was my left ankle, it wasn’t my right ankle where you’re planting and pushing off and stuff. But it would’ve been a challenge. It would’ve been interesting to see how it would’ve worked out if we had a game the next week.”

LB Jamal Merrell Works Out for Giants: According to The Star-Ledger, undrafted rookie free agent Jamal Merrell (Rutgers) was scheduled to work out for the New York Giants on Wednesday. The Giants had also worked out Merrell before the 2014 NFL Draft. Merrell was signed by the Tennessee Titans on May 12 after the Draft, but the Titans waived him a week later.

According to The Star-Ledger and NJ.com, the Giants worked out at least 10 free agents on Wednesday, including TE Tom Crabtree (ex-Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and rookie free agent WR Denzell Jones (Central Connecticut State). None of these players have been signed.

CB Victor Hampton Signs with Bengals: As previously reported, rookie free agent CB Victor Hampton (South Carolina) had been scheduled to work out with the Giants this week. However, Hampton signed with the Cincinnati Bengals on Tuesday. NJ.com is reporting that Hampton was schedule to meet with the Giants on Wednesday.

Giants.com Q&A With Safety Nat Berhe: The video of a Giants.com Q&A session with safety Nat Berhe is available at Giants.com.

Articles on QB Eli Manning:

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Victor Cruz prepared for role as one of Giants’ leaders by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on LB Mark Herzlich: Giants LB Mark Herzlich continues to use his magic touch by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Giants.com Videos from New York Giants OTA Practices:

Quotes: WR Victor Cruz on former New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells addressing the team last Tuesday: “It was dope, man. It was cool to see him. I’ve met him on the field briefly but never in that kind of setting to hear what he has to say and talk to him…Just his presence alone, what he brings to the table, it was pretty inspirational to see him and have him there. He still brings the fire. He still has it. It’s pretty cool to see.”

May 292014
 
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Will Beatty, New York Giants (November 10, 2013)

Will Beatty – © USA TODAY Sports Images

May 29, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing at Thursday’s Organized Team Activity (OTA) workout were WR Mario Manningham (knee), LT Will Beatty (leg) and OG John Jerry (knee).

When asked about Beatty and Manningham, Head Coach Tom Coughlin responded, “Supposedly they’ll be ready for the fall.”

Coughlin also revealed that Jerry had arthroscopic knee surgery. “He had a knee, he comes out here and the knee swells,” Coughlin said. “We’ll hold him inside. He had a little procedure (debridement of the knee), a scope, so he might not work this spring but he’s here…He may have a day when he’s a little bit sore and we’ll back off the snaps. Today coming after the first one, he didn’t have any issues at all. We just let him do what he can do.”

RB David Wilson (neck) also did not participate in contact drills as he has not yet been cleared for contact. Wilson said he will have another MRI taken on his neck on June 4. “He is in an area where he’s not supposed to have any contact,” said Coughlin. “He’s out there running and feels good. You’d never know that he’s having issues.”

The good news is that QB Eli Manning, who is coming off of arthroscopic surgery on his left ankle, practiced. “He’s so far ahead,” said Coughlin. “When we started out I didn’t think I would have him for anything (in the spring). We’re about two or three days into phase two (of the offseason program) and he’s running around. I’m trying to slow him down but he feels good.”

RG Chris Snee, who is coming off of offseason hip and elbow surgery, practiced. “He looks good,” said Coughlin. “He looks very good.”

S Stevie Brown, who tore the ACL in his left knee last preseason, also practiced. “Stevie’s had a good winter,” said Coughlin. “He’s been in here rehabbing the whole time. He’s gone through both the first and second phases very well. He’s running very well so we’re very happy with that. He does have some… we’re watching him, let’s put it that way. He is what we call limited but he has been able to demonstrate that he has prepared himself well.”

New York Giants Complete Second OTA Practice: The New York Giants held their second of 10 Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices on Thursday. No live contact is allowed in OTA practices, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) was at Thursday’s OTA practice.  See New York Giants OTA Day 2: Quick Hits and Tidbits.

Giants.com also provided the following two summaries: Giants players that stood out at OTA’s and Five things we learned at OTA practice.

New York Giants OTA practices:

  • May 28-30
  • June 2-3
  • June 5
  • June 9-10
  • June 12-13

The offseason program will culminate on June 17-19 with a mandatory, full-team mini-camp.

May 29, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s press conference on Thursday are available at Giants.com.

May 29, 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:

May 082014
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 22, 2014)

Jerry Reese at the NFL Combine – © USA TODAY Sports Images

2014 NFL Draft Begins Tonight: The 2014 NFL Draft begins tonight at 8:00 PM ET. The three-day schedule:

  • Thursday, starting at 8:00PM: Round 1
  • Friday, starting at 7:00PM: Rounds 2-3
  • Saturday, starting at noon: Rounds 4-7

Barring a trade, the New York Giants will have the following picks:

Round   Choice in Round   Overall
1       12                12
2       11                43
3       10                74
4       13                113
5       12                152
5       34                174
6       11                187

The 174th selection is a compensatory pick due to 2013 NFL Free Agency losses. Compensatory picks cannot be traded. The Giants traded away their 7th round pick last year to the Carolina Panthers for linebacker Jon Beason.

For the first time ever, the Giants will have a camera inside their “war room” during the draft.

Articles on the New York Giants and the 2014 NFL Draft:

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Victor Cruz wants to be a team captain by Mitch Abramson of The New York Daily News

Article on CB Prince Amukamara: Prince Amukamara says he was “relieved” Giants picked up option by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Apr 232014
 
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Campus Insider: The New York Giants Select…

New York Giants 2014 NFL Schedule Announced: The NFL announced the 2014 regular-season schedule for the New York Giants and the other 31 NFL teams on Wednesday. The details are as follows:

Date Day Opponent Time Network
Sep 8 Mon at Detroit 7:10 PM ESPN
Sep 14 Sun Arizona 1:00 PM FOX
Sep 21 Sun Houston 1:00 PM CBS
Sep 25 Thu at Washington 8:25 PM NFLN
Oct 5 Sun Atlanta 1:00 PM* FOX
Oct 12 Sun at Philadelphia 8:30 PM* NBC
Oct 19 Sun at Dallas 4:25 PM* FOX
Bye
Nov 3 Mon Indianapolis 8:30 PM* ESPN
Nov 9 Sun at Seattle 4:25 PM* FOX
Nov 16 Sun San Francisco 1:00 PM* FOX
Nov 23 Sun Dallas 8:30 PM* NBC
Nov 30 Sun at Jacksonville 1:00 PM* FOX
Dec 7 Sun at Tennessee 1:00 PM* FOX
Dec 14 Sun Washington 1:00 PM* FOX
Dec 21 Sun at St. Louis 4:05 PM* FOX
Dec 28 Sun Philadelphia 1:00 PM* FOX

* Times subject to change due to NFL flexible scheduling policy.

“It’s a difficult and challenging schedule, as we knew it would be,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “We play a lot of very good teams. We’re playing some teams that we haven’t played for a while that feature some key, key ingredients, some teams that are building and growing and teams with new coaches, guys I have a lot of respect for.

“We do have any number of outstanding games in a row, because in addition to the NFC East, (we face) the NFC West and the AFC South. The NFC West is a very strong division and certainly continues to be strong. Seattle won the Super Bowl, San Francisco played in the NFC Championship Game, you look at the improvement in the Arizona team and the way they played, particularly toward the end of the year. And the way in which the St. Louis defensive team has played, their quarterback (Sam Bradford) being injured but coming back. That’s a very tough challenge and that’s to say nothing about the fact that we really haven’t been in that AFC South for a while. We played Atlanta a couple years ago. They’ve made drastic changes with their team. You saw Jacksonville improve. Houston has a new coach and with (Bill) O’Brien there and the first pick of the draft…so there are a lot of interesting factors that go into taking a look at this.

“We’re not opening in the division, which is kind of a rarity. We know how talented Detroit is…We’re on our fourth game before we do get a divisional game. I think that’s an interesting thing…The bye, again, is in a good spot for us.”

Some items of note from the schedule:

  • The Giants will play five games against 2013 playoff teams: Philadelphia (twice), San Francisco, Indianapolis, and Seattle.
  • The Giants will play four teams with new head coaches: Washington (Jay Gruden), Houston (Bill O’Brien), Tennessee (Ken Whisenhunt), and Detroit (Jim Caldwell).
  • The Giants will play all three of their NFC East road games – at Washington, Philadelphia, and Dallas – in a four-week span from September 25 to October 19. The Giants’ final three home games are against NFC East foes Dallas, Washington, and Philadelphia.
  • The preseason schedule has also been finalized. For details, see the Schedule section of the website.

Flex scheduling will commence earlier than it has in the past, with modifications. For the first time, flexible scheduling may be applied in Weeks 5-10. During that period, flexible scheduling can be used in no more than two weeks by shifting a Sunday afternoon game into primetime and moving the Sunday night game to an afternoon start time. Also, for the first time, a select number of games are being “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.

“Flexible scheduling” will be used in Weeks 11-17 as it has been in recent years. In Weeks 11-16, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday Night Football on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game would be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday, or Monday nights. A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the Sunday night game will be announced no later than six days prior to December 28. The schedule does not list a Sunday night game in Week 17, but an afternoon game with playoff implications will be moved to that time slot.

Articles on the New York Giants Passing Game:

Article on New York Giants Defensive Backs:

BBI on Giants.com Big Blue Kickoff Live: The audio of Eric Kennedy being interviewed on Giants.com’s Big Blue Kickoff Live podcast on Wednesday is available at Giants.com. Eric joins the show at the 30-minute mark of the broadcast.

Apr 222014
 
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Victor Cruz, New York Giants (April 22, 2014)

Victor Cruz – Photo by Connor Hughes

Day Two of the New York Giants Offseason Program: Tuesday was day two of the New York Giants nine-week offseason workout program. The Giants are currently in “phase one” of the program (April 21 – May 4) with activities limited to voluntary strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation.

BigBlueInteractive.com will soon publish a number of feature articles based on today’s content, but here are some brief highlights:

  • Guard Chris Snee wasted no time before cracking the first joke of the day. When the 32-year-old was asked about all of the new faces, he responded, “I requested a team photo” in order familiarize himself with the team. Snee said the new offense is “different” from what he’s used to. Snee said he has been given no indication that he will be held back as he recovers from offseason hip and elbow surgery. Snee said has no limitations and is 100 percent.
  • Safety Antrel Rolle said he “loved” what has been done with the secondary this offseason and the goal during this portion of the offseason program is to build chemistry. When asked about cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Rolle said he feels that Rodgers-Cromartie, in his seventh year, has matured, and is a huge addition to the defense. With defensive end Justin Tuck in Oakland, Rolle was asked if he will take on any additional leadership roles: “I’m just go out there and play ball. I just know how to be Antrel…I think there should be 53 leaders on this team.”
  • Will Hill, who reportedly will be suspended by the NFL for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing or abusive substances, was was not made available to the media. Several players offered their support to the troubled safety.
  • Defensive end Robert Ayers said one of the main reasons that he decided to come to New York was the tradition and opportunity. Also, his late father, who passed away last year, said he used to wish Ayers would play for the New York Giants. Ayers also said that he plans on playing a bunch of different positions as it is what the management and coaches want. “They ask everyone to do everything….I look forward to doing whatever they ask me to do.”
  • Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul caught the attention of everyone when he alerted the media that he now weighed in at 270 pounds, down from the 285 pounds he played at last season. If you remember, Head Coach Tom Coughlin has made several comments in the past about Pierre-Paul being overweight. “I feel good at that weight,” said Pierre-Paul. After rehabbing his shoulder over the offseason, Pierre-Paul said he’s 100 percent right now and expects no limitations. Also, when asked if his role will change with Tuck in Oakland, Pierre-Paul said, “Not at all.” Pierre-Paul said he “didn’t get the memo” on Will Hill. Pierre-Paul said if Hill misses time, losing Hill would be a blow, but the defense would be “alright.”
  • Quarterback Eli Manning talked to the media in a walking boot. He said the surgery on his ankle went well and things are progressing very quickly. Manning told the media that with this being his first surgery, he’s being smart with it. Manning said when he started his training and running for the season he could tell something wasn’t right. He went for some additional MRI’s and developed a plan to see what was the best way to approach the injury. After consideration, he and the doctors felt surgery was best bet rather than waiting. “This will ensure I’m back at 100 percent for training camp,” said Manning. Prior to his informal workouts at Duke University, Manning had gotten a cortisone shot. He felt that once that wore off the injury and pain would return.
  • Left tackle Will Beatty said that the doctors have all given him positive reports and he’s “out here moving around.” Beatty said that he is hanging on every word from the doctors and doing whatever they say. He said that because the team has not gone full-contact, he hasn’t tested himself in that regard. Beatty said he plans on being 100 percent by the start of the season but was more non-committal about being ready for the start of training camp. Beatty talked about new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, saying he’s very “Energetic” and has “a lot of positive things to add to the team.” Beatty said that McAdoo came in the first day and told the team, “Our goal is to be a top-four offense, have an elite top-four QB, make it to the Super Bowl.”
  • Right tackle Justin Pugh talked to the media and said the new offense is similar to the one he ran in Syracuse and “I’m very comfortable in it.” He said, “It’s up-tempo and we’re going to be moving the ball.” Coughlin had told Pugh that he wanted him heavier, so he gained 10 pounds, he’s up to 315. “I’m stronger than ever,” said Pugh.
  • Cornerback Walter Thurmond III may have brought some of Richard Sherman’s personality with him to New York. The corner said he views himself as “the best slot corner in the league” and said the Giants secondary can be as good, if not better, than Seattle’s “Legion of Boom.”Thurmond says he looks forward to matching up with the Redskins now that they have Desean Jackson. He also said the difference between New York and Seattle: “Guys are a bit older here.” Thurmond got a solid laugh out of the media when asked the similarities between cornerbacks Prince Amukamara and Richard Sherman saying, “They’re a little different,” before bursting into laughter.
  • Wide receiver Rueben Randle has a very, very soft voice, and it was a little tough to make out everything he was saying. What he did say is that his original plan was to attend Duke University with fellow wide receivers Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz, but “something came up.” From listening to Victor Cruz talk later in the day it seemed to be a family issue. He contacted Eli Manning to inform him once he became aware he could not participate in those workouts. Randle also went on to say that he is “ready” to step up as the starter. As far as the offense, Randle does not see much difference aside from the terminology.
  • Linebacker Jon Beason seems very comfortable with the New York media. He stated that he does feel that this is his defense as it “comes with the territory of being the signal caller and mike linebacker.” Beason said that he did his research before representing himself as his own agent in free agency. He said one of the reasons he wanted to be his own agent was he wanted to be “directly involved” and not “a little kid playing telephone.” There were other teams interested in Jon Beason’s services, but the Giants contacted Beason at 3:52 on Tuesday, only minutes before free agency began.
  • Quarterback Josh Freeman talked to the media for an extended period of time. He said he feels great coming in and last year, “Didn’t turn out how I had hoped.” He said he can’t pinpoint what has caused his career to go downhill since being considered one of the best quarterbacks in the league. “A couple things just didn’t go my way.” One of the things that drew Freeman to New York was the history and tradition, but also to learn things from Eli Manning.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz said he enjoys the new offense. It’s a “high-powered offense” and “high octane.” Also, Cruz said the offense in similar with the type of routes and compared it to Green Bay’s offense. Cruz was asked if he could tell at Duke University if Eli was impacted by his ankle injury. He said he could not and “it may have been something he was battling internally.”Cruz said he has taken on a stronger leadership role, including grabbing some of the younger guys, taking them off to the side, and “letting them know how valuable they are to this team and the receiving corp.” Cruz went on to say that the new offense is based less off of body language.
  • Running back David Wilson was excited and as animated as ever. In January, Wilson underwent a surgical procedure to fuse vertebrae to repair a herniated disc in his neck. Wilson said he expects to be cleared for Organized Team Activities (OTAs) but admitted it will come down to the doctors. Wilson said he feels great, and all that is holding him back “is a picture” (MRI) allowing him to resume his football career. Wilson was asked if he sees himself as a No. 1 back and he said he does, but in today’s NFL the feature back doesn’t exist. “Way the game is played today, it’s not gonna be one guy,” said Wilson.
  • Running back Rashaad Jennings said that he thinks the backfield has a lot of talent and potential. He said all are trying to “mesh into the system” and they will “spend a lot of extra time as a unit.”

An “all-access” video of Monday’s activities is available at Giants.com. If you have any follow-up questions on today’s events, ask our camp reporter on Twitter at @92Hughes92.

New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips from Tuesday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on Today’s Offseason Program Media Day: Player interviews: 10 things we learned by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Eli Manning, Giants envision their offense being similar to the Packers by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: QB Eli Manning: I’ll be ready for camp by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on RB David Wilson: David Wilson ‘expects to’ be cleared for OTA’s next month by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on CB Walter Thurmond: Walter Thurmond: Giants secondary can be better than Seahawks ‘Legion of Boom’ by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Apr 212014
 
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Larry Donnell, New York Giants (September 15, 2013)

Larry Donnell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Offseason Workout Program Begins: The New York Giants offseason workout program began on Monday and will continue for the next nine weeks. The offseason program is conducted in three phases:

  1. Phase One (April 21 – May 4):  Consists of the first two weeks of the program with activities limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only.
  2. Phase Two (May 5 – May 26):  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 (see OTA dates below): Consists of the next four weeks of the program. The Giants 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.

Important New York Giants dates of note:

  • 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.

A video of New York Giants players arriving for the offseason program is available at Giants.com.

This year’s offseason program is the most important in recent memory. There are 15 new veteran free agents that need to be assimilated into the New York Giants’ team culture.

“It’s unprecedented, the percentage of change in this locker room,” said defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. “Those of us who are still here are excited for the start of a new season, but obviously it’s changed a lot. A lot of changes needed to be made, but whenever you’re a member of a team, it’s tough to see people go.”

“This is the most change I’ve been part of, for sure,” right guard Chris Snee said. “It’s going to take me a few weeks to learn all these guys’ names…Name tags would be a nice addition.”

“I tried to meet a lot of guys, tried to introduce myself to a lot of guys and start learning a little bit about them – where they’re from, are they married. Just little things like that, so hopefully these next weeks I’ll get to spend more time with each of the players and get to know them on a personal side,” said quarterback Eli Manning, who is coming off of arthroscopic ankle surgery that will sideline him at least six weeks.

The New York Giants’ offensive coaching staff was also revamped in the offseason with a new offensive coordinator (Ben McAdoo), new quarterbacks coach (Danny Langsdorf), and new running backs coach (Craig Johnson). Sean Ryan moved back to coaching wide receivers while Kevin M. Gilbride is now the new tight ends coach. The Giants will also have a brand new offensive scheme for the first time since Tom Coughlin became New York Giants head coach in 2004.

“Sometimes you need change,” said Manning. “We have a new offense, a new quarterback coach, a new offensive coordinator. It’s a learning experience for me, getting adjusted to that, having a lot of new teammates and new faces. There’s a lot of work to be done here, not only learning an offense but getting familiar with your teammates, building relationships there. It also is exciting. I think sometimes you’ve got to mix things up and change things up a little bit in your career. It will be a great challenge, but I’m looking forward to that.”

“I look forward to learning the new offense,” wide receiver Victor Cruz said. “I’m enjoying the fact that I’ve got to really study again, really look into the books again. Before, (Kevin) Gilbride’s offense was so innate for me that I kind of understood it, but this time I’ve really got to hone in and study every night. It’s like I’m back in college, so I’m excited about it. It’s cool. You understand this offseason we made some changes, we got a lot of guys through free agency and we’re looking to kind of change the mold of our team a little bit, at least from a visual standpoint; different guys, different positions. I’m excited. Any time you bring in guys, new energy, new people, it’s always a good thing, so we’re excited.”

Not only do the old Giants need to adjust to change, but so do the 15 new ones.

“It’s an adjustment but not a big one,” said linebacker Jameel McClain. “My personality, I just go with the flow and see how things are done here and fit in as time goes on. But it is different. I’ve been in Baltimore for six years, so that’s a change of scenery for me. Everybody is eager to see how it all falls together. That’s every NFL season. You come into the next year with a different team. There are a lot of moving parts and it’s good to see how it all comes together. So far there are a lot of great personalities, so that’s a winning combination by itself.”

“It’s exciting to finally get here after all of the buildup of signing and everything,” left guard Geoff Schwartz said. “It was great meeting some of the guys and getting going and kind of building toward the future. Right now it’s so early that it’s the getting to know each other phase. As we continue to work and go through stuff, you bring it all together. The guys I’ve met so far today seem to fit that personality of wanting to build chemistry.”

Josh Freeman Signing Now Official: The New York Giants officially announced the signing of unrestricted free agent quarterback Josh Freeman (Minnesota Vikings) on Monday, confirming what had originally been reported last Wednesday.

“I’m definitely excited about being a part of this great organization,” said Freeman. “Obviously, it’s a chance to go play quality football, learn from some great coaches, learn from a great quarterback in Eli (Manning) and just be a part of a great organization. The atmosphere is great here, great facilities. Everyone I’ve met has been awesome. Yeah, I’m definitely looking forward to it.”

“Today, having the opportunity to sit in meetings and be around the guys in the room, from Eli to Curtis (Painter), Ryan (Nassib), it’s a great group of guys,” Freeman said. “I’m excited and am looking forward to learning about everybody and getting to know the team…It’s a big thing, getting on a team and getting in the offseason program, I’m learning the offense, working and trying to fill my role as best I can.”

Article on CB Prince Amukamara: The Prince Amukamara Dilemma: Giants must decide on fifth-year option by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Victor Cruz, one year later by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on the New York Giants and the 2014 NFL Draft: Giants pre-draft visits and workouts by Jordan Raanan and Conor Orr for NJ.com

Articles on the New York Giants and the NFL Draft: 

Mar 242014
 
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Eli Manning and Steve Tisch, New York Giants (October 21, 2013)

Eli Manning and Steve Tisch – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Steve Tisch Comments on the State of the New York Giants: New York Giants Chairman and Executive Vice President Steve Tisch spoke to media on Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Florida. Some tidbits from Tisch:

  • On the team’s approach to the offseason: “When something is a little broken, you have an opportunity to fix it. Everybody at the top levels of ownership, coaching staff and our GM realized we have to go for it. This is an opportunity. Let’s take advantage of it and refocus. Do some restructuring, make changes, some of the changes aren’t always going to be popular, but I think we have created a tremendous sense of excitement and anticipating what this team will be and how well they will perform this season.”
  • On free agency: “I think the way Jerry Reese has performed during free agency is he’s always looking for value. I think he has a great eye for matching free agents, their talent, and the needs of the New York Giants. I think this season has been an unusually strong example of that because of the amount of players we’ve brought in at this point.”
  • On Head Coach Tom Coughlin: “(With) a lot of new faces and a lot of new players and a new locker room, I think Tom Coughlin is the guy to get some rookies and some of our new players to really understand how the New York Giants perform as a team, how he wants his locker room to operate, and I think he is the best guy to accept this challenge.”
  • On what still needs to be done: “With the draft coming up in May, it’s going to be the next wave of how to build the Giants to become even stronger this season and going forward.”
  • On the departure of so many important players from the Super Bowl teams: “It’s the nature of the business. It’s the way business is run and things change, you have to move on, you can’t look back, you have to look forward. I think this is the season we’re certainly doing that.”
  • On DE Justin Tuck, who signed with the Oakland Raiders: “It’s not goodbye, I think, and this is me, I think it’s see you soon. You can’t separate New York from Justin Tuck and I don’t think Justin Tuck will separate Justin Tuck from New York…He will definitely come back to the New York-New Jersey area and I think continue to be involved in football. He’s a great guy. His contributions on and off the field are wonderful. The memories he has of his years at the Giants and that John Mara and I have and all the fans have, all the coaches have, are of an exceptional, exceptional player and human being.”

Article on RB Rashad Jennings: Giants depth chart: Rashad Jennings can be the power back Tom Coughlin wants by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Article on the New York Giants Offensive Line: Offensive line: Have Giants done enough? by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

New York Giants and 2014 Compensatory Picks: Projecting the Giants’ compensatory picks by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on Former Giants Defensive End Justin Tuck: Justin Tuck thanks fans in newspaper ad by Giants.com

Giants.com Inside the Film Room: Video breakdowns of the following Giants players are available at Giants.com:

  • Wide Receiver Victor Cruz (Video)
  • Tight End Bear Pascoe (Video)
Mar 042014
 
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Spencer Paysinger, New York Giants (September 29, 2013)

Spencer Paysinger – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Tender Spencer Paysinger: According to multiple press reports, the New York Giants have tendered restricted restricted free agent Spencer Paysinger at the $1.431 million level. That means the Giants will have the right of first refusal for any team offering Paysinger a contract in free agency. If the Giants do not match that offer, Paysinger would sign with that other team and the Giants would receive no compensation in return.

USA Today is also confirming that guard/center Dallas Reynolds was tendered at the $570,000 level as an exclusive rights free agent. As long as he remains tendered, Reynolds cannot sign with another team.

Because of these moves, we have updated our 2014 Free Agency Scorecard.

New York Giants Wide Receiver Victor Cruz on ESPN Radio: The audio of Tuesday’s ESPN Radio interview with wide receiver Victor Cruz is available at ESPN.com.

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

Article on Wide Receiver Victor Cruz: Victor Cruz wants to try hand at running back under new Giants OC Ben McAdoo by Ebenezer Samuel and Ralph Vacchiano of  The New York Daily News

Mar 032014
 
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Linval Joseph (97), Jason Pierre-Paul (90), New York Giants (October 27, 2013)

Linval Joseph and Jason Pierre-Paul – © USA TODAY Sports Images

March 3, 2014 New York Giants Free Agency News and Rumors: According to NJ.com, the New York Giants are concentrating their efforts to re-sign linebacker Jon Beason before free agency begins on March 11. NJ.com says efforts to re-sign the Giants other unrestricted free agents “have been put on the back burner.”

NJ.com reports the Giants have not yet made an official offer to soon-to-be unrestricted free agent defensive end Justin Tuck. The website also says the Giants believe soon-to-be unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Linval Joseph “will be too costly to keep” and the chances that soon-to-be unrestricted free agent wide receiver Hakeem Nicks re-signing with the team are “close to zero.”

Reports – New York Giants Will Not Tender Henry Hynoski and Jim Cordle: According to ProFootballTalk, the New York Giants will not tender fullback Henry Hynoski, who is eligible to be tendered as a restricted free agent. The website says the Giants would still like to re-sign Hynoski, but at a lower rate than then restricted free agent tender. If Hynoski is not tendered, he will become an unrestricted free agent on March 11 when free agency begins.

The Star-Ledger is reporting that center Jim Cordle will also not be tendered as a restricted free agent.

For a complete listing of New York Giants 2014 free agents, see our 2014 Free Agency Scorecard.

Article on Wide Receivers Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks: Will Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks be Giants teammates still? by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on the New York Giants and Free Agent Running Backs: NFL free agency 2014: Who is the best blocking RB available for Giants by Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger

Articles on the New York Giant and the NFL Combine: