Aug 022015
 
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Geremy Davis and Jayron Hosley, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Geremy Davis and Jayron Hosley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 1, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their second summer training camp practice on Saturday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

JAMES JONES OFFICIALLY SIGNED, MATT LaCOSSE AND BRAD HARRAH WAIVED…
The Giants have officially announced the signing of unrestricted free agent wide receiver James Jones.  Jones will wear #89. The Giants have waived/injured tight end Matt LaCosse (hamstring) and defensive end Brad Harrah (quad).

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Offensive tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery) did not practice.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham (hamstring), wide receiver Victor Cruz (recovering from knee surgery), safety Nat Berhe (calf), and safety Mykkele Thompson (hamstring) were held to a limited number of snaps. The Giants want to work them back in slowly. Offensive guard John Jerry (sick) was limited.

Tight end Jerome Cunningham and wide receiver Preston Parker had to leave practice early with cramps.

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (hand/arm) still has not signed his 1-year Franchise tender and has not reported to training camp.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit tight end Jerome Cunningham (now wearing #86) for a touchdown.
  • Owamagbe Odighizuwa saw some first-team reps at defensive end with Robert Ayers.
  • The defense performed well on Saturday with cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, safety Landon Collins, and safety Bennett Jackson each making a couple of pass break-ups.
  • Tight end Adrien Robinson made a nice catch.
  • Safety Nat Berhe saw some time with the second-team defense.
  • Cornerback Jayron Hosley had a good practice.
  • Wide receiver Geremy Davis made another nice reception and has looked good early.
  • Running back Andre Williams has looked quicker than last year and has received some first-team reps in practice.

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

Q: Did you get word on what happened to Preston Parker yet?

A: Cramp.

Q: I just saw Jerome Cunningham go off on a cart…

A: Cramp.

Q: Are you going to be in some kind of pads tomorrow?

A: Uppers, yes.

Q: You had two guys with cramps here, a guy with a hamstring injury. Does that concern you? You wanted guys to arrive in shape.

A: They’re in shape. Evidently, they didn’t hydrate well enough. One guy had had the runs, one of those deals. So, try as you might, you’re still going to get these things. No matter who you try to blame, it’s going to happen. It’s 90 degrees.

Q: Has Cunningham shown you a little bit?

A: Yesterday he did well. I didn’t think too many people on offense showed me anything today. He did a few good things yesterday.

Q: We hear a lot of the players saying “be where your feet are.” Where does that come from?

A: Mindfulness. Mindfulness. If you’re going to be in the gym, be in the gym. Be where your feet are. Stay in the moment. Take care of one moment at a time. While you’re here, you deal with your football, deal with your job. It’s all the same type of theme.

Q: Who came up with that? Where was it discovered?

A: Well, we studied it this offseason as a staff. We’ve always had lots of statements about things of that nature. It’s just been reinforced more heavily, to the point where the guys are repeating it.

Q: Did James Jones come in as advertised?

A: Yes. Seemed like he was in good shape. Took some snaps today.

Q: Do you think he will acclimate more quickly. He thinks the offense is very similar to Green Bay.

A: The terminology, yes.

Q: Is his ability to do things in the red zone something that you liked?

A: Well, we’ll see. Hopefully it’s that, and in the field as well. It doesn’t have to be just the red zone.

Q: What have you seen from Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins? The two rookies starting right from the get-go.

A: I haven’t seen anything particularly good or bad just yet. It’s very early. They’re both working hard.

Q: Any word from JPP yet?

A: Not to my knowledge, no.

Q: Is Larry Donnell over the Achilles tendinitis from the spring?

A: He’s practiced and he’s done well with that.

Q: I haven’t seen John Jerry that much. Does he have something?

A: He was sick yesterday, and kind of sick today but he kept going. He took some reps today.

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

RELATED ARTICLES…

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
The third training camp practice will be held on Sunday from 2:30-4:30PM. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only seven remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Sunday, August 2: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Monday, August 3: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Thursday, August 6: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM
Jul 302015
 
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James Jones, Oakland Raiders (December 21, 2014)

James Jones – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Agree to Terms with James Jones as Players Report to Training Camp: All New York Giants players under contract reported to summer training camp on Thursday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. As expected, the only no-show was defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered serious hand and arm injuries from a July 4th fireworks accident and who has yet to sign his 1-year Franchise tender.

According to press reports, the Giants have agreed to terms on a 1-year deal with unrestricted free agent wide receiver James Jones. The 31-year old Jones has played eight seasons in the NFL, seven with the Green Bay Packers (2007-2013) and one with the Oakland Raiders (2014). He has 383 career regular-season receptions for 4,971 yards and 43 touchdowns. Last season, Jones caught 73 passes for 666 yards and six touchdowns.

The first training camp practice will be held on Friday from 2:30-4:30PM. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only nine training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Friday, July 31: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Saturday, August 1: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 2: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Monday, August 3: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Thursday, August 6: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM

Giants Place Two Players on PUP List: The Giants have placed offensive tackle Will Beatty (recovering from torn pectoral muscle) and wide receiver Ben Edwards (hamstring) on the Reserve/Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List.

July 30, 2015 Giants President/CEO John Mara Press Conference: Giants President/CEO John Mara addressed the media on Thursday (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: Obviously Jason Pierre-Paul is not here, and I would imagine you’re not too thrilled with the circumstances. Can you just give us your feelings on that?

A: I’m disappointed he’s not here. I think this would be the best place for him to be for a number of different reasons. He would have the opportunity to learn the defense, but more importantly, we have the best training staff in the league here. We have access to some of the best doctors in the world, and I think it would be in his best interest to be here for those reasons. As I said the other day, it’s unfortunate he’s not here. I don’t think he’s receiving the best advice. That’s sad as far as I am concerned.

Q: Do you know exactly what his condition is. Have you been allowed to examine him?

A: None of our people have been able to see him or examine him, so we have no idea what type of condition he is in. All we know is what some of his people have told us, but until we see him for ourselves, that doesn’t give us any comfort.

Q: Have you been told that he has an amputated finger?

A: We have been told exactly what you have been told. We don’t know anything more than you know.

Q: The people who you are talking about, is that the agent?

A: I assume that’s the people he is listening to, but I am not sure.

Q: I mean the people that have been in communication with the organization.

A: Yes, that’s correct.

Q: Has anybody spoken to him, or has the conversation all been exchanged via text message?

A: I believe Ronnie (Barnes) spoke with him on the phone. I have exchanged text messages with him. I know Robert Nunn has exchanged texts with him. I don’t know if he has spoken to him personally or not. Tom [Coughlin] (sent) texts, Jerry [Reese], but it has predominantly been text messages.

Q: John, do you have any idea when he will show up here?

A: None.

Q: How unusual is this?

A: It is pretty unusual. I think, again, I have a lot confidence in our medical staff and our training staff here. I just don’t know why you wouldn’t take advantage of that.

Q: Could he or his camp play his way into you rescinding the tender? By play, I mean not communicating.

A: I don’t think we are going to do anything until we actually see what type of condition he is in.

Q: What makes you believe that he could be worth 15 million dollars for this season considering the physical damage that has been done?

A: He has obviously played at a very high level in the past. He is a rare athlete. Again, until we see him, and see the damage, we are just not going to know that.

Q: John, have you ever been in this situation before. Does this feel different for even you?

A: I can’t recall being in a similar situation.

Q: Do you think it would color your impressions of dealing with him going forward in negotiations?

A: I don’t think so. Listen, he is a great kid, and we love having him around here. He fits in very well, he’s very cooperative. I just don’t know what is going on here. Again, I can only surmise that he is not receiving very good advice.

Q: How do go about planning with so much uncertainty? Do you just have to assume that he is not going to be a part of this team?

A: I think we have to plan on moving ahead without him at this point. Until we see him and make some sort of determination on the condition he is in, I don’t see how we can count on him, certainly not for the opening of the season.

Q: I guess when we looked into how this could possibly play out, apparently at some point you can negotiate the terms of a franchise tag and agree not to put him on NFI [Non-Football Injury]. Has there been any approach by them. Have they said “can we talk” or anything?

A: No. We have no idea what their intention is at this point.

Q: Well, I assume you would be open to–

A: We would be open to discussing anything, but we first need to see him.

Q: Have you guys done any research on this kind of injury, and how do you prepare? You guys obviously have to do what you can to get ready when he comes.

A: You say ‘this kind of injury.’ we don’t how extensive the damage is—that’s the problem. I don’t know how many fingers he has. We know what we have read and what we have been told, but until we actually see the extent of the damage, it is hard to make any type of prediction as to what type of condition he is going to be in.

Q: Have they told you why you can’t get in there to see him?

A: Not as far as I know.

Q: It has got to be all financial, right? He doesn’t have a contract. There has got to be some negotiations going on here. He is a guy without a contract right now.

A: I don’t know, there have been no negotiations with us since this happened, so I don’t know what their thinking is.

Q: Was there an offer on the table beforehand? Is that no longer available to him at this point?

A: We had made an offer to him some time ago, which we never really got a response to. Obviously, that is not on the table right now. Nothing is on the table until we see him.

Q: There is some suggestion that he would be worried about signing the tender and then being put on NFI and being docked pay. Would you be willing to say “show up, and we will pay you”?

A: All of that is negotiable, depending on what the condition of his hand is.

Q: Do you hope that they [Pierre-Paul’s representatives] are hearing what you are saying here since you do not seem to have any other avenue of communication?

A: Yes. Those are the reasons that I am here, other than the fact that I have missed all you so much.

Q: How much does the timing of this hurt you? It was in July. The fact that free agency, there are not those guys out there. How much does it limit what your options are here?

A: It was 14.8 million dollars or whatever it is. It could have arguably been used elsewhere. But listen, our priority and our hope is still that he is going to be able to play, and we will spend that money on him. That is our first wish.

Q: Has it been exclusively Jerry Reese talking to the agent?

A: I believe so. Kevin Abrams may have spoken to him at some point, I’m not sure. It has been mostly Jerry.

Q: Would ownership ever get involved? Would you ever reach out?

A: Possibly, at some point, but I have not done that yet. Jerry has been carrying the message for us.

Q: Have you done that in the past yourself in any other contract situations?

A: Probably on a few occasions, yes.

Q: Have you had any personal contact with Jason?

A: I exchanged texts with him, I would say, within a few days after the accident. I just asked him how he was doing, is there anything we can do for you? He responded almost immediately and said that he is going to be fine. I think the term he used was that it is just a little bump in the road and I will be back as good as ever. He even put a smiley face on there.

Q: Have you expressed your disappointment to him that he hasn’t been here?

A: I have not personally expressed that to him. Our first concern is for his well-being. Is he getting the right amount of medical care and proper therapy? I know he will get that here. I assume he is getting it down there, but I don’t know that for sure.

Q: There has been a lot of talk about the commissioner’s ruling on [Tom] Brady, and that it was upheld. What are your thoughts on the whole thing?

A: I am saddened that it has come to this. We went the two weeks going into the Super Bowl, all we talked about was Deflategate. Now coming into training camp, it is all we are talking about. The commissioner had a very difficult job to do here. At the end of the day, I think he made a decision based on the evidence and the facts that were put before him and without regard to the profile of the player or his personal relationship with the owner. That is what he is paid to do. He did his job here, and you can argue about whether it was fair or unfair, but he had to make a very tough decision under very difficult circumstances and he did it. That is what he is paid to do.

Q: Do you support the commissioner in this?

A: Yes. I have been around him enough to know that his intention is always to try and do the right thing. I don’t always agree with the decisions that he makes, but I know that he tries to do the right thing. I know this was a very unpleasant situation for him here. You are dealing with the best player in the league, you are dealing with an owner who has been as good as any other owner in the league and somebody that he has a close personal relationship with. He had to make a tough decision.Q: And the fact that this player is suing the league has got to be difficult for all the owners.

A: Well, it is. It is just going to drag this thing out into the fall, and that is not good for anybody.

Q: Were you as taken aback as the public was over that particular phrase “I was wrong to put my faith in the league”?

A: I have nothing but the utmost respect for Robert Kraft. I understand he is very emotional about this, and he feels very strongly about it. He is trying to protect his player, and I get that. As I said, I am saddened that it has come to this.

Q: Is it concerning that almost every decision the commissioner has made in the last year has been challenged in federal court?

A: It is. I don’t recall it ever being that way in prior years, but it seems like we’ve come to that now, but so be it.

Q: Have the expectations for this team been altered with injuries to two starters?

A: We’ve lost two starters and we’re not in training camp yet and I don’t remember being in that situation before. I do think we have enough talent here to have a team that can be in the playoffs and we can contend for a championship. That’s what I still believe and that’s what my expectations are.

Q: Do you still believe this is a “win or else” season?

A: You can make that statement every year, this is the NFL. People have expectations, our fans have expectations, and I have expectations. We’ve been out of the playoffs three years in a row, and it’s time to put stop to it.

Q: Has your level of optimism changed in regards to an extension for QB Eli Manning?

A: I think we’ll get it done at some point in time. We’re just going through the usual things that you go through. The agent asks for the moon, we make a reasonable offer, and at some point he’ll come to his senses and we’ll reach an agreement. There’s nothing unusual about this.

Q: Is there any concern from your perspective about getting a Manning deal done before the season starts?

A: I think ideally we would like to have that done, but if it doesn’t, I don’t think that’s going to affect our relationship with him or the fact that we will eventually get it done.

Q: Does it make a difference if the Manning deal doesn’t get done before the season ends?

A: We’d like to have it done before the season is over, but if it doesn’t happen, then I ‘m still confident it’ll get done at some point. We want him to be here and finish his career as a Giant. I’m sure he wants the same thing.

Q: Can you characterize your level of hope for WR Odell Beckham and WR Victor Cruz being healthy?

A: That obviously is an exciting prospect and something we haven’t been able to witness really to a great degree. Victor looks good and I’m hoping that he adds something to this offense and Beckham, the sky’s the limit for him.

Q: Several of your players live in south Florida. With them reporting today, have you been made aware of any having contact with Pierre-Paul?

A: Not to my knowledge.

Q: Do you have any worries about the maturity of Beckham?

A: I think he’s going to be fine. In fact, I understand that he addressed all of our (training camp operations) interns today, so that was a very positive step on his part. He and Victor both did, and I think he’s going to be fine. He’s had a lot of success very early on, so sometimes that does give you cause for concern, but I think he’s smart enough and mature enough to handle it.

Q: Did he address the interns?

A: That’s what I understand. He talked with our (camp operations) interns.

Q: Is there a level of anticipation for you to see Cruz?

A: Sure, I mean you never know for sure until he gets out on the field, and he’s running full speed, and there’s a little bit of contact involved. So yeah, there’s always going to be that but I know he’s very confident in our medical team, he’s very confident about them,  so I think he’s going to be back good as ever.

Q: How much have past injuries played a part into you looking at medical advancements and have you done any research?

A: I’ve certainly voiced my concern about the fact that we led the league in injuries the last two years. Nobody likes that around here and we’ve made some adjustments to the off-season program. We’ve got these GPS trackers now.  We’re trying to pay as much attention to that as possible, Tom has made certain adjustments to his schedule, and we’ve made some adjustments to the weight room and what they’re doing in there. Hopefully all that will pay off, but we’ll have to see.

Q: Does Coach Coughlin still embrace the old school way of coaching and not sports science?

A: I don’t really think that’s true. I think he’ll be able to tell you more specifically than I can. We have made changes. Tom does see we need to do that. I think in a perfect world for him, we’d be back to two-a-days and all sorts of contact, and everything, but that was a different world back then. We’re not in that world anymore. I believe he has embraced that and does see that we need to make changes going forward, because he’s not happy about the fact that we had so many injuries the last two years.

Q: Do you view your recent changes with sports science as catching up to the competition because some teams may have gone to it earlier?

A: I don’t know how much earlier, maybe a few teams may have done that. One thing about Tom is that he is more flexible than he’s given credit for. When he see’s something that’s out there that’s working, he wants to investigate it. Again, nobody is happy about the number of injuries that we’ve had, and we’re trying to do something to stop it. I think some of it has been bad luck with the broken bones and things. I don’t know what you do to prevent that, but sometimes injuries are going to happen in this sport. Some of the soft tissue injuries that I think that maybe are a little more avoidable, we’ve taken some steps to address that. We’ll see if they work or not.

Q: If you could boil your message down to one thing to Jason Pierre-Paul, what would it be?

A: Come home. We miss you.

July 30, 2015 Head Coach Tom Coughlin Press Conference: Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Thursday (video is available at Giants.com):

Coughlin: Welcome to camp. Some of you don’t look in as good of shape as you should be. We’ll take care of that as we go along.

Q: No fines, I hope?

A: There will be. Shortly.

Q: Assume all your guys did alright in the conditioning test?

A: Their body weights were good and this test, which was simply to make sure that they had been doing what they were supposed to be doing. They looked fine.

Q: Was everybody here other than Jason Pierre-Paul?

A: Yes.

Q: Looks like you changed up the conditioning drill this year.

A: We did.

Q: Was that part of the studies that they did?

A: That and a little bit more teeth into the drill. Little more emphasis on the conditioning part of it coming back.

Q: John Mara stated that the message he wants to send to Jason Pierre-Paul is ‘come home. We miss you.’ Do you echo his statement?

A: That’s been the message all along, really. It’s hard to believe that he couldn’t get here and take care of an awful lot of issues rather than what they’re doing. But, again, I’ve not spoken with him and very few people here have.

Q: Have you texted JPP?

A: I did. Right away, I did.

Q: Have you texted JPP recently?

A: Right away, I did.

Q: Could you right away and recently, also?

A: But I didn’t do it recently, I did it right away.

Q: Is there still no response?

A: No, there is no response.

Q: Has any of this—the injury or the aftermath—soured your relationship with JPP or will he be welcomed back if he ever does choose to return?

A: Well, I hope he chooses to return. Hey, we’re all concerned about the young man, first and foremost, but it is difficult to extend this concern when we feel like he should be here. But as far as souring, that’s not going to sour anything. I am concerned about him as a young man and anxious to know exactly what he’s dealing with, and then we will know what we’re dealing with.

Q: Other than Will Beatty, do you have anyone else going on PUP?

A: I think (Ben) Edwards, the young receiver, will have to go on.

Q: Victor Cruz does not?

A: No.

Q: What kind of green light does Cruz have tomorrow?

A: I’m sure we will have to limit and build him up, but he’ll be out there.

Q: How about Odell Beckham Jr. in the same respect?

A: Same idea. Yep.

Q: What is your level of expectation for his team this year?

A: I expect them to work hard. I expect them to compete like heck. Hopefully, we will remain intact and be able to put on the field the team that we have assembled right now, and then if we can get everybody to buy into the team concept, and we can progress along those lines. I feel good about today, but we take it one day at a time.

Q: Will Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz be (limited) for all of training camp or do you need to see where they are and gauge before you have a plan?

A: I hope they can practice all the time. I’m sure there may be some time when they have to have some recognition in terms of number of snaps, but that’s probably going to be the way it goes anyways. We’ll monitor all the players under the existing system that we have and try to get a gauge on exactly where they should be for each style of practice that we present.

Q: Walter Thurmond commented that, ‘Tom Coughlin may not be as into sport science.’ What is your reaction to that?

A: I have no comment.

Q: Have you made any changes this year?

A: Sure, we have.

Q: Anything in particular?

A: You’ll see.

Q: Is the recovery stretch still something that we will see or the intermissions?

A: Sure. Recovery stretch, you’ll see.

Q: Were those changes hard to make given that you only have them on the field for a certain amount of minutes a day?

A: No. Again, coming from where I’m coming from, it’s not a question anymore about what we used to do. It has to be what’s best for the current times, and this seems the way to go.

Q: You brought in Jake Long recently for a second visit. What was your impression and where do you stand on that?

A: Well, he is obviously a player coming off of a very serious injury. He’s made progress and that’s where it stands

Q: Do you feel like you still need to make a move there?

A: We’re going to check every player that is available that may, in any way, help our team. Will be evaluated and, if so, brought in and given a physical and worked out. For every player that comes along that we think can help us, that would be the case.

Q: Marshall Newhouse played right tackle in the spring. Do you expect to see that here and moving forward?

A: Well, sure. To start out, for sure. Then see how the progress goes on his part and the other linemen that we have assembled.

July 30, 2015 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at BigBlueInteractive.com or Giants.com:

Jul 292015
 
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Shane Vereen and Eli Manning, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Shane Vereen and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Report to Training Camp on Thursday: All New York Giants players under contract are required are required to report to summer training camp on Thursday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The only expected no-show is defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered serious hand and arm injuries from a July 4th fireworks accident and who has yet to sign his 1-year Franchise tender.

The first practice will be held on Friday from 2:30-4:30PM. For a complete listing of training camp practices as well as a handy fan Q&A about training camp, see our Training Camp section of the website. Only nine training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • Friday, July 31: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Saturday, August 1: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 2: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Monday, August 3: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Thursday, August 6: 2:30 – 4:30PM
  • Sunday, August 16: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Wednesday, August 19: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Thursday, August 20: 5:50 – 7:50PM
  • Tuesday, August 25: 2:30 – 4:30PM

NY Post Q&A with New York Giants President/CEO John Mara: John Mara on Eli’s contract, Coughlin’s future and all things Giants by Steve Serby of The New York Post

New York Giants Pre-Training Camp Articles:

Article on WR Victor Cruz: Prince Amukamara: Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz looks faster than before the injury by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on OT Ereck Flowers: Giants rookie Ereck Flowers must bloom in a hurry by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on S Landon Collins: Can Landon Collins be the leader Giants are desperate for? by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Jul 162015
 
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Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Wide Receivers Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

With New York Giants training camp beginning in late July, BigBlueInteractive.com breaks down each of the team’s positional groups until the players report at Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

FIND A COMPLETE LIST OF ALL BREAKDOWNS HERE

POSITIONAL BREAKDOWN: Wide Receivers

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW: Perhaps the two biggest story lines of the 2014 season for the New York Giants were at the wide receiver position. First came the devastating knee injury to Victor Cruz in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 5. Cruz was lost for the final 11 games of the season and it remains to be seen if he will ever return to his pre-injury form.

The other major story line was the rapid emergence of Odell Beckham as an NFL superstar. Cruz and Beckham only played in two games together in 2014 before Cruz was lost for the season. Beckham had one of the greatest rookie seasons in NFL history, and he did so in only 12 games after missing most of training camp and all of the preseason. Indeed, Beckham became the only reason many Giants fans looked forward to tuning in in what otherwise was a very disappointing 6-10 season.

Aside from these two headliners, while Rueben Randle came on strong late, he did not have the type of season expected or hoped for, and the former 2nd rounder remains frustratingly inconsistent. Jerrel Jernigan, who came on very strong at the end of the 2013 NFL season, reverted back to his old disappointing form and was placed on IR after only two games. Preston Parker not only surprisingly made the team but became the new #3 receiver after Cruz was lost. Corey Washington was a preseason star who was little-used once the real bullets started flying. Marcus Harris impressed in training camp but missed the season with a hip injury. The Giants signed veteran Kevin Olgree in October, but he did not see much action. Julian Talley, Juron Criner, and Chris Harper were practice squad players.

In the end, it was Beckham and not much else at the crucial wide receiver spot. Other teams knew that too and still could not stop Beckham.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants released Kevin Ogletree in May after re-signing him in February and waived Marcus Harris in July. The team chose not to re-sign Jerrel Jernigan in free agency. The Giants signed Dwayne Harris from the Dallas Cowboys and drafted Geremy Davis in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. They also signed Ben Edwards, who was eligible to play in the NFL in 2014 after graduating from the University of Richmond, but sat out the year recovering from an ACL knee injury.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The two main stories are obviously going to be Beckham and Cruz. Can Beckham make the same impact or better in 2015 or will he regress? How will he handle the attention both on and off the field? How much of an impact will he make on the win-loss record? Beckham was once again nagged by a hamstring issue that caused him to miss most of the spring practices.

The other main story is Cruz. The Giants have repeatedly said that they are optimistic about his return to form, but there are no guarantees that may never be the same player again. If he isn’t the same player, it will be a big hit to the team as Cruz was one of the few impact players on the Giants. Cruz may also not be long for the Giants given his high price tag. But if Cruz does return to form, he and Beckham and Randle could form possibly the best receiving corps in football and help carry the team to the playoffs. So much of the team’s success depends on Beckham and Cruz. It will be interesting to see how much work Cruz gets at training camp and in the preseason. He appears to have made tremendous progress in his rehabilitation.

Randle also will also be under the spotlight. Although he had his best season to date in 2014, he was still inconsistent and was benched twice for disciplinary reasons. But he also exploded in the last two games, catching 12 passes for 290 yards and a touchdown. Plus it’s a contract year for Randle. If he plays like he did in the final two games, that will be a big asset for the Giants.

Corey Washington also made a lot of noise in the spring practices. “He has made some plays and has a better understanding of the offense in his second year and playing faster,” QB Eli Manning said. “I think he has always had the ability to make the great catch and run the go routes and fades but just kind of adding the complete package to his game.”

ON THE BUBBLE: The Giants will probably keep six wide receivers. Barring injury or unforeseen events, Beckham, Cruz, Randle, and special teams extraordinaire Dwayne Harris are the sure bets. That leaves two spots for Parker, Washington, Davis, Edwards, Criner, Talley, and Harper.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Sean Ryan on Odell Beckham: “A lot of different things (make him tick). Certainly going against a great challenge makes him tick. Last year, we would do a thing where every Friday I would give him a listing of the rookie receivers because it was a heck of class of rookie receivers. How many catches and yards and touchdowns they had, and certainly Week 5 he was down at zero and the other guys were up there. I think he thrives on challenges. You go out to Seattle and it is him versus Richard Sherman. I think that is what makes that guy tick. He is a true competitor…I think we were as creative last year as I have ever been and as we have ever been with any player, and certainly a rookie. This guy lined up in the slot, as the number one strong, the number one weak, in the backfield; we would motion him into the backfield, from the backfield. (Opponents) can plan for him, but the first thing is they have to find him.”

Ryan on Rueben Randle: “I thought Rube did a nice job. He is another guy that he is a really intelligent football player. The game makes sense to him, and things happen for him. He processes stuff really quickly and I think the more tape he watches and the more practice snaps he gets, the quicker that stuff happens for him and the quicker reactions he makes and I would say that is really what has shown up to me. The more football he plays, the better he gets. He sees things very quickly.”

Ryan on Corey Washington and Preston Parker: “I thought Corey Washington had an excellent spring. I thought he had an excellent spring in the classroom and in the meetings. His attitude was outstanding. He worked. He got better and we will compile all the catches, but he is right up there. I am not sure if he didn’t lead the pack in catches and productivity for the spring. He certainly stood out to me. I thought Preston made some great strides, in particular playing in the slot. He is seeing things a little bit better. He is seeing defenses, reacting to blitzes better, so I thought Preston did a great job. I think those two guys really stuck out to me.”

PREDICTIONS: Why have the Giants struggled so much since 2011? Because they haven’t had enough top NFL talent. Super Bowl-caliber teams need strong overall rosters but they also need impact players. It’s no accident that there has been a noticeable lack of NYG presence on “Top 100″, All-Star, and Pro Bowl lists. Two guys who can be impact players are Beckham and Cruz. And for the Giants to have any realistic shot at the Super Bowl, these two – along with Eli Manning – must carry the offense similar to what Manning, Cruz, and Hakeem Nicks did in the 2011 regular-season.

Beckham seems “Lawrence Taylor”-like to me. If he can do for the offense what LT did for the defense in the 1980’s, this is going to be a fun. I just hope the limelight doesn’t go to his head because that and injury appear the only things that can derail him.

As for Cruz, in a weird way, the injury may end up positively impacting his career. Since peaking in 2011-12, Cruz wasn’t playing up to the same level before the injury. The contract and limelight may have gotten to his head. Now Cruz will have to fight to prove the doubters wrong. He’s no longer the media darling. Beckham is. If his body doesn’t fail him, Cruz could rebound in a very big way. In the clutch, Eli trusts him. I think Cruz will be ready for opening night.

The Giants are in a catch-22 situation with Randle. If he has a big year, it’s hard to see him wanting to re-sign with the Giants next offseason unless the team decides to part ways with Cruz. On the other hand, if he remains inconsistent, the team may not want to keep him. Regardless, it’s a big year for him financially, and because of that, I expect him to play well.

“This is a big year for me, and I’m looking forward to being the player I know I can be,” said Randle. “I get it now. I know what’s expected of me, and now I’m just going to go out there and prove it every day. That’s my main focus.”

My ultimate prediction is that this trio will combine with Eli Manning to get the team back into the playoffs in 2015. Beckham, Cruz, and Randle have a higher upside than Cruz, Nicks, and Mario Manningham.

One final note. It seems as if the Giants may have an offensive role in mind for Harris too. They may move him around a bit like they do with Beckham to take advantage of his elusiveness with the ball in his hands after the catch.

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Beckham, Cruz, Randle, Harris, Davis, and Washington. The tough call here is on Preston Parker. He could push Davis or Washington.

Jun 272015
 
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Eli Manning, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Eli Manning’s Agent Confident in a New Deal: The agent for New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, Tom Condon, told The New York Daily News that he is confident a new contract will be negotiated that will keep Manning in Giants Blue. Manning is entering the final year of his current contract. He is scheduled to make $17 million in base salary in 2015 and count $19.75 million against the team’s salary cap.

“The interesting part about it is, since 1993, the inception of free agency, has there ever been an elite quarterback hit the open market?” asked Condon. “Peyton (Manning did in 2012), but he had four neck surgeries and no idea if he would ever be well enough to play. Drew Brees, when he went to New Orleans (in 2006), he had 15 studs in his shoulder, in his throwing arm (from a hit he took in the final game of 2005). There’s nobody else that’s ever come up. They just re-do you.”

Condon also pointed to Manning’s reputation off of the field.

“In all the years that he’s been here, has he ever said anything that’s been scandalous in the newspaper?” Condon said. “Nothing. And in this market? He’s a genuinely good guy.”

“The quarterbacks always get done,” Condon said. “And the Giants are not a skittish team. So it’s not one of those things where they get nervous or they jump around or anything like that. You know you’re going to go in and it’s going to get done. I’m sure at the appropriate time it’ll happen.”

Article on Quarterbacks Coach Mike Sullivan: After one-year hiatus, quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan thrilled to be back with Giants, Eli Manning by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Articles on New York Giants Wide Receivers:

Jun 262015
 
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Odell Beckham Victor Cruz, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

  • WR Victor Cruz (Video)
  • DT Johnathan Hankins (Video)

Articles on the 2015 New York Giants:

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham insists: ‘No problem with anybody’ on Giants by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on the New York Giants Tight Ends: What do the Giants think of young tight end Jerome Cummingham, Will Tye and Matt LaCosse? by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on the New York Giants Offensive Line:

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul intent on dropping weight for his contract year by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Article on LB J.T. Thomas: How Giants’ linebacker J.T. Thomas got his football education from his ‘toughest critic’ by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Article on New York Giants Cornerbacks: Sizing up the Giants nickel cornerback position after minicamp and the need to be good blitzers by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Best of New York Giants Mini-Camp Video: A sights and sounds video of the action from New York Giants mini-camp is available at Giants.com.

Jun 192015
 
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Landon Collins Signs: According to multiple press reports, the New York Giants have signed safety Landon Collins, the team’s second-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. Terms of the deal are not yet known but it is expected the contract will be in the 4-year, $6 million range. All of the team’s 2015 NFL Draft picks are now signed.

Eli Manning on WFAN: The audio of Friday’s WFAN interview of quarterback Eli Manning is available at CBS New York. Some of the points raised by Manning:

  • On his contract status: “I never got concerned about contract stuff…I started (with the Giants)…I don’t want to change teams…I want to stay here. Hopefully it works out that way.”
  • On Odell Beckham getting ribbed by teammates for missing practice: “We have a great relationship. You’re not practicing, people will get on you a little bit. It’s usually in fun. I am sure he is sick of it. He wants to be out there practicing…It’s in fun. Guys are not mad at him…Sometimes when things go wrong and you’re not practicing, you just got to sit there and take it, and be a man and learn from it.”
  • On the West Coast Offense: “I like the West Coast (Offense)…It all makes sense. There is a reason for the footwork…It’s quarterback friendly.”
  • On Shane Vereen: “It’s a little different even for (Offensive Coordinator Ben) McAdoo, having a running back with those abilities…we have some stuff where the running back is your first read…sometimes we will have both of them (Vereen and Rashad Jennings) in the game at the same time.”
  • On 2014: “Last year I had so many doubts or unknowns about how I was going to adjust to a new offense…after being in the same offense for 10 years. Now changing all of your footwork…and so many new guys.”

Article on the New York Giants Injury Situation: Giants injury update: Where everyone stands after minicamp and OTAs by Jordan Raanan for NJ.com

Articles on the New York Giants Spring Practices:

Article on the New York Giants Rookies: Ereck Flowers, Landon Collins, Mykkele Thomson could start for New York Giants by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham: Giants’ Victor Cruz takes on role of a mentor by Tara Sullivan of The Bergen Record

Article on Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo: Why Steve Spagnuolo’s reunion may not have fairy tale ending by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on S Landon Collins: Giants’ Landon Collins an eager student by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

New York Giants Spring Practice Videos (Giants.com):

  • All-Access: Coach Coughlin wired during practice (Video)
  • Highlights: Best plays from offseason practices (Video)
Jun 182015
 
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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 18, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The third and final day of the New York Giants three-day mini-camp was held on Thursday. Like the Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices, no live contact was allowed, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills were permitted.

The veterans are now off until training camp begins on July 30. The rookies will have some classwork on Friday before heading off to the NFL Rookie Symposium.

Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

ERECK FLOWERS SIGNS…
The New York Giants have announced that they have signed offensive tackle Ereck Flowers, the team’s 1st round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, to a multi-year contract. Flowers and his father negotiated the contract, eschewing the services of an agent.

Second-round pick safety Landon Collins is now the only unsigned draft pick.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (right foot or toe) left practice for a few snaps but returned. WR Ben Edwards (unknown) was seen limping off of the field after practice.

Wide receiver Odell Beckham (hamstring), wide receiver Victor Cruz (recovering from knee surgery), tight end Larry Donnell (Achilles tendinitis, no longer in walking boot), offensive tackle Will Beatty (recovering from pectoral surgery), safety Nat Berhe (calf), safety Bennett Jackson (unknown), and S Mykkele Thompson (hamstring) did not practice.

DE Damontre Moore (recovering from shoulder surgery) and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring) were limited to individual drills.

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has yet to sign his Franchise tender, skipped the mini-camp.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • For a few plays, Justin Pugh lined up at left tackle and Brandon Mosley lined up at left guard with the starting unit.
  • Once again, Ereck Flowers received snaps with both the first- and second-team units at left tackle.
  • QB Eli Manning hit WR Preston Parker for a big gain down the right sideline in 11-on-11 drills. (VIDEO) Parker also caught a 3rd-down pass for a first down in the two-minute drill.
  • WR Geremy Davis did a nice job of keeping both feet in bounds on a sideline pass from QB Ryan Nassib. (VIDEO)
  • WR Juron Criner made a couple of nice receptions, eluding CB Mike Harris in the flat after one catch.
  • WR Corey Washington made a leaping catch on a pass from QB Ryan Nassib.
  • CB Chykie Brown picked off a pass from QB Ricky Stanzi intended for WR Ben Edwards in the end zone. (VIDEO)
  • In the two-minute drill with the first-string offense against the first-string defense, QB Eli Manning threw a fade pass for a touchdown to WR Rueben Randle against CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. (VIDEO)
  • Practice ended with a dropped pass by TE Adrien Robinson on 4th down in the two-minute drill with the second-teamers facing off.
  • Eli’s father, Archie Manning, watched practice today.

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

Good afternoon. That completes our minicamp, our mandatory minicamp. I thought that we had a lot to learn this spring, obviously, with the defense changing coordinators and having new information to be learned. We had our assessment of last season and what we wanted to be able to take on and try to conquer. We had new people in different positions, some anticipated and some not, and of course a lot of that work had to get done and we started out spring knowing full well that Victor (Cruz) was not going to be able to work but thinking that Odell (Beckham) would and a couple weeks into the running part of it, we had to be able to maneuver with that. I thought the guys did a good job with that. The big thing is we worked hard. We have a long way to go. Our two practices here in this camp were good. They were intense and they worked hard. Sometimes it was a little too physical but that is kind of the way it goes. We have kind of set the tone for when we come back and we look forward to these guys having a little time off and I did caution them on all the things that are normally talked about, the “NY” never comes off and so on and so forth and be careful, etc. I think we look forward to getting back here and getting to work on this upcoming season. I know you have no questions, so I’ll just slide out of here.

Q: As far as you know, is Odell Beckham on track to be back for the start of training camp?

A: That’s the plan.

Q: He said in an interview that he is bothered by all the teammates teasing him about the injury. How do you react to that?

A: Just like he did last year. You worry about things you can control and not about those you can’t. His teammates, there is obviously some mix in there that may have been something serious, but most of it would have been well-intended shots just over the bow. His personality hasn’t let up any because of it, I can you guarantee that.

Q: What is the plan with him health-wise moving forward? Does he continue doing what he is doing here or do you want him to shut it down for a little?

A: No, he just continues to do whatever the plan is for them in the training room. He has been running, but most of it has been straight ahead but he has been doing that. He will maneuver into the cutting and so on and so forth as he goes forward. He feels better, but he needs to feel a whole lot better.

Q: Did you see enough progress from the rookies?

A: We have a good feel for the rookies, we really do. This incident with (Mykkele) Thompson with the slight strain of the ham, he had been doing well and starting to come along and that was a key thing. Getting Owa (Odighizuwa) back out there was big. He only had a couple, three days here but he showed us why he is here, so that was important. With Ereck (Flowers), the more you can throw at him, the better. He just has to get out there and he will make errors and make plays, but he has just got to play and recognize it. (Landon) Collins has done a good job, has gotten better and has really done a good job of starting to direct back there, and I think the coaches are excited about him going forward.

Q: The receivers say that Eli’s arm is stronger, do you see that?

A: Yeah, it is lively, very lively. He has worked hard on that.

Q: Is that because of the springtime or because of the offseason?

A: It is the offseason. Obviously, you see it here, but he has worked hard and has a very nice routine going. He is very comfortable and very confident of his routine.

Q: You mentioned Odell’s personality; how would you describe it?

A: He enjoys the athletic atmosphere, he enjoys his teammates and he doesn’t mind entertaining on occasion if you are not looking.

Q: Do you ever try to curb it?

A: Usually when I show up, I don’t get to listen to some of that.

Q: How does Shane Vereen look?

A: You saw him on the two-minute drill come scooting out the other side, that part of it he has done well.

Q: Are you keeping the rookies an extra couple days?

A: Just until tomorrow and then they will head out because (the drafted rookies) have the rookie symposium.

Q: What is the deal with Bennett Jackson?

A: He just did a little twist thing and they held him out.

Q: Is it the knee he had micro fracture on?

A: No.

Q: Any thoughts on the drone?

A: It is another advancement. The way it was presented to me is, “Is this angle worth looking at?” I am not really ready even to say that because I only saw it one day and saw it in a certain drill. Maybe there are drills where it would help, looking right straight down on an inside play, you have a tendency to speed through it and get to the end zone copy. There may be something to it. I’m not ready to say one way or another. I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of the advancement of technology.

Q: Could you talk about the difference in the offense in the second season?

A: People have more knowledge of what they are doing, especially when we first came back with the veteran guys. I just think that now they have been kind of pounding away at it for a while. I am sure they are ready for a break, but the ability to communicate with one another is something that has been accomplished and the young guys, they have a lot to learn; there is a lot of language here.

Q: Do you think Victor Cruz will be cleared for the start of training camp?

A: It is my understanding that (Cruz) will be ready to participate. How limited, I can’t tell you. We will see. We aren’t going to throw him right out there, I can tell you that.

Q: You don’t think he will be on PUP to start training camp?

A: I’m not going to say. That is not the intent.

Q: Last August, Odell told us he wanted to show you how much he wanted to get on to the field. Now that you have a year under your belt in knowing how much he loves the game, does that allow you to be more understanding and patient?

A: Well, I want him on the field, just like he wants to be on the field. That is where the next level that he can attain is going to be accomplished, by practicing. As demonstrated last year, he can learn. He learns a lot about adjustments and what have you even though he is not out there. When he first came back, we didn’t hesitate to line him up every place under the sun and motion, but he can handle it. He would see it if he were out here, plus he wants to be out there. He is one of those kids that can…you’ve seen him throw the ball, you’ve seen him do all kinds of (things).

Q: What have you learned about your team this spring?

A: I was impressed by the seriousness this spring. I thought that they came here with the idea of what they had to work on and how they needed to accomplish it, but we will see, everything has to connect. What I learned about, we don’t have any pads on and we are playing against each other, so let’s see what we can do when we are playing against somebody else.

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

Q:  What did you get accomplished during the spring?

A: In Phase One, it was good to get here and watch our own tape. Watch our own tape as an offense; go through the cut-ups that way. Phase Two, putting the installs in from install one working your whole way through and then having a chance in OTAs to actually get out there and not do it on air and do it with a defense in front of you. Get the young players incorporated into it, giving them their first taste of the offense there. Finishing up in minicamp, having a chance to go back to the beginning of things and put some earlier stuff back in and get back to the fundamentals.

Q: What are your concerns with possibly having to start a rookie at left tackle?

A: I am excited to have Ereck (Flowers). I think he has done a nice job so far. He is a young player. He is going to grow, but my concerns are we would like to see him get in here in training camp in great condition and ready to go. Get some good defensive ends over there and get some good one-on-one battles going with some pads on. We are excited for that. We are out there running around in our underwear right now, so it is tough to really put a solid foundation or evaluation on these guys at this point up front. They seem to be working well together, Ereck included.

Q: How content are you with having Flowers as the left tackle or would you consider moving people around?

A: We like him as a future left tackle of the New York Giants. I am very comfortable with him being out there right now. Nothing is ever set in stone. We look forward to getting back here in camp and seeing him jump in there right from the beginning and give a run at it.

Q: What do you see from Justin Pugh as a guard and why did you want to move him to that spot?

A: He is a football-smart guy. He is a hard worker. (Pugh) brings a nice level of physicality that we like. Some grit to the position right there. It is probably a position that doesn’t get as much glamor as a tackle, but when you are on the left side, it is important position to protect the backside of the quarterback away from his vision. The left guard position is especially important because a lot goes on there on the inside. When one becomes two and two becomes three and when zero becomes one and all the movement happens, you have to make quick decisions and we feel Justin can do that.

Q: Do you view him as a veteran now or a new guy since he hasn’t played at that position?

A: He has some experience under his belt. I view him as a veteran.

Q: Do you plan for training camp as if you will have Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr. back?

A: We plan for who is going to be out there. Day one right now as we close up shop at this point, if they are there, we will welcome them back with open arms. If not, they need to spend their time in the training room and get healthy. We are going to spend our time focusing on who is out there and who is healthy and we will take it from there.

Q: How is Weston Richburg taking to the responsibilities of center?

A: Weston is a natural center. I am excited for him. I am excited for the offense. I think he brings some energy to the position and to the offense. He’s a guy who likes to have control of things and likes to have his hand on the football. He works very hard at it. I like Weston.

Q: How has Geoff Schwartz looked?

A: Geoff is a guy who is trying to work back into football shape and get healthy. When he comes back to camp, we look forward to him being ready to go. I have to see him with some pads on. It is tough to evaluate those offensive linemen right now when you are running around with just helmets on.

Q: How much do you see a difference between how the offense is running from this time compared to this time last year?

A: You look at the speed of things and the way things get started. Weston does a nice job of getting up and on the ball and getting the party started. Eli is a lot quicker at this point in time in getting everything going and getting everything moving. The receivers, the tight ends, the backs are playing faster on the perimeter. Some young guys have had a nicer opportunity with some injuries to some veterans and they have taken full advantage of those opportunities.

Q: How much of a priority this offseason has it been to get your run game going again?

A: It is hard without the pads on. You are not supposed to technically be competing out there. They are more just fit drills when you are going against the defense. I believe the chemistry with the backs and their courses and the offensive line and the tight ends, that is coming along, but we won’t know that until we get pads on and into training camp and start playing games.

Q: Does Eli Manning’s arm look stronger?

A: Eli has put a lot of time and effort into his footwork and his training there and to his upper body and his strengthening and maintenance in those types of things. I like the look in his eye right now. His offseason has been encouraging.

Q: Were any of those things you asked him to do?

A: He has put a lot of time and effort into it. We had some collaboration before he left, but the credit goes to Eli.

Q: What do you like about Marshall Newhouse that makes you think he could be your right tackle right now?

A: Marshall has played a little bit of everywhere. I was with him in the past when he first got into the league. He has played just about every position. I believe he even snapped the ball at one point. (Newhouse) is a smart guy. He gets the game. He is very nimble-footed. We need to get some pads on and get out there and get a look at him with the defense moving and be physical. He has done it before and he has done it at a high level before and he will have an opportunity to be a major contributor this year.

Q: Did the personnel people come to you and pick your brain about Newhouse since you spent time coaching him before?

A: There are always open lines of communication upstairs.

Q: Do you sense if Eli Manning is energized by the weapons around him?

A: You would have to ask him that. That is a good question for him. A lot of those weapons haven’t been out there in the offseason program and the minicamp. I don’t think it really matters who is on the field. He brings some energy to the game. He does it in his own way.

Q: How would you describe the role Shane Vereen would play?

A: You can see why Shane has had some of the success he has had. (Vereen) can be a quarterback’s best friend in a way in the passing game. Similar to the way tight ends can be. He has great body language coming out of the backfield. He usually does not fool the quarterback and they seem to be on the same page and it happened pretty early.

Q: What do you see in Eli’s eyes that you like?

A: That (he) is excited for training camp.

Q: What does that tell you about him?

A: I think he is gaining confidence in what we have asked him to do fundamentally in the system and in the communication that happens in the meeting rooms and is carried on to the field. He is on the same page with his receivers, his tight ends and his backs. He is working well with the center and the o-line. I think being in the second year of the system helps. The confidence comes from what he put into the time before he got back here. That goes a long way, too.

Q: Do you ever wonder what it is going to take to get similar statistical numbers from Beckham again?

A: I think it is a little too early for that. When Odell gets healthy and gets back out there, we just need to get him and Eli connected and get the chemistry going there. After that, the rest will take care of itself. Last year, he was featured in a lot of ways. This year, there are some more guys in the mix and those opportunities are earned. When he gets back out there and healthy, we look forward to getting the chemistry with the quarterback and being able to spread the ball around.

Q: Is there a way to make up those missed snaps or will those guys have to rely on muscle memory?

A: No. To me, every year is a new year. You have to come in and earn for what is going to take place down the road. It is not like riding a bike. It takes work to get there. As soon as we can get together and get everyone together and on the same page and get that chemistry built, the better.

QUARTERBACKS COACH MIKE SULLIVAN…
Mike Sullivan addressed the media after the morning practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: When you have looked at tape from last season of Eli in this offense, what were some things that you saw?

A: There are so many components, particularly from the timing standpoint and from a footwork standpoint, even just from the initial stance in the shotgun, which were different from what he had done in the previous 10 years of his career. I gained an even greater respect and appreciation for (Manning) to be able to adjust and to be able to have the open mind and embrace a lot of subtleties. It’s still football and it is still about a quarterback making good decisions, being accurate with the football and being a leader, but from a terminology and technique standpoint, I was very impressed with a lot of the things he has been able to adjust to and it has been exciting coming into this offseason with him being healthy and having the opportunity to get the drill work down and taking that drill work into working against the defense in OTAs and minicamp. I hated to see it to end today. We were just having fun. We need a few more of those. It was neat.

Q: Eli has been throwing the ball very well this spring. Did he do something different in how he trained or how you worked with him?

A: I can certainty empathize with a brand new system from the terminology to the footwork to what the pattern concepts are. It is hard to play fast, whether it is running a route for a receiver or a lineman blocking or a quarterback throwing the football, there is a lot that is going through mentally and then there is some injuries that he had where he couldn’t really push off his feet. I think he is a lot more comfortable having that year under his belt and we went through… it’s one thing when you review cut-ups and you are seeing yourself, it is another if you are learning a system and it is another team. He can actually go through and have a good dialogue about the reasons of why this or why that. (He) is a lot more comfortable, perhaps, and certainly healthy and we have had a chance to get rolling, but I agree he is definitely throwing the ball well and it is exciting.

Q: What is the biggest difference when you watch Ryan Nassib on film between last year and this year in spring?

A: He is a guy who is a very hard worker. He is a grinder and he is a gym rat and is someone who is very conscientious. He came from a similar type system in college, so he didn’t really have to unlearn, if you will, as much. I am very impressed with his work ethic, his competitiveness and how intelligent he is. He has been really trying to focus on the little things that can get his release a little faster. He is very conscientious about that, “Hey, I can just keep the ball a little bit higher.” He understands the reasoning and timing behind things in terms of not wanting to be too slow with his feet or having an elongated release and just a very bright and competitive player. In the meeting room, (Nassib) is someone that Eli relies upon. I got the sense early on that those two guys really respect each other and you look at a guy like Ryan and I am excited to see how he is going to perform in these games in the preseason, and he is just a really competitive kid.

Q: How do you expedite getting Odell and Victor caught up on the timing of everything?

A: That is a great question. The concept of the play and what the design of the play, where we want the timing to be ‘X’ and the footwork has to match that and it is all orchestrated. When you have a certain player, like an Odell or a Victor, that can get from point A to point B and his body language and his positioning is different from somebody else, you want that consistency. Even if we are doing it versus air, we were able to get some work with Odell, but unfortunately not with Victor, but even if it is just without a defender out there, to get the timing down is something that we would like to make sure we can do, even if there are limitations with whatever the issues with injuries or anything like that might be. We want those two guys, the quarterback and in this scheme, it is Odell or Victor or Larry Donnell, to be second nature to just see that it is a throw that is a result of a pressure or a hot throw, if you will, and they know exactly where the ball placement is. Regardless of system, that chemistry is important, so I can’t wait to get those guys back out there.

RUNNING BACKS COACH CRAIG JOHNSON…
Craig Johnson addressed the media after the morning practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: So you have had a minicamp in the books, can you talk about the development of your guys? What Shane Vereen brings to the table and what you are seeing from your guys?

Shane Vereen and Eli Manning, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Shane Vereen and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

A: Since you brought up Shane, I will talk about him first. Nice addition to our team, I think he brings a veteran experience. He has obviously been a Super Bowl winning player (and) that helps a lot. He is very versatile; he brings great depth and competition to this spot. He is a very smart player. I kind of figured that was the way he was and the way he played before seeing him on tape. He really picked up our system well, has done a good job of understanding, and has a really good rapport going on with Eli right now, so I really like where he is at and I think he has done a good job. He ended up the spring like I had liked him to.

Rashad Jennings, who obviously had a very good year for us a year ago. He again has continued to develop, he is a great leader, very versatile, can play all the downs and does a good job. I really like what I saw from him this spring and he felt good, is fit and is running around, so I think he brings a lot to the table also.

Andre Williams played a lot of football for us last year, was our leading rusher, had a really good offseason and has worked diligently. A lot of people asked about, what about catching the ball. When he came to us out of Boston College, he didn’t have a catch his last year of playing in college and he has worked diligently at working on his hands and continues to improve dramatically in that area. He can run very well and can block. All three of those guys, I think, have done a really good job.

Orleans Darkwa, who played for us a lot last year, played a lot of teams and has done a good job. (Darkwa) picks up the offense, very smart, very smart player, has very good speed, is good on the edge runs and has done a good job inside. I put him in there in the two-minute situation today and we didn’t miss a beat in the two-minute, so I thought he did a really good job. I have a couple of young players, Akeem Hunt and Ken Harper, are two good young backs that we are looking at that are doing a good job.

(We also) have two good fullbacks: Henry Hynoski, who has played for us for quite a while and continues to thrive in his role and brings a lot to the table for us, and then we have Nikita Whitlock, a player that has played some on offense and defense for various teams. (He) is a very strong player, very low to the ground, has good hands and he has really expressed himself well.

I have a full room (with) eight guys, a lot of depth, a lot of guys that have played well and I think a lot of those guys are getting a deep look on special teams, which makes me proud and makes me happy, because I think it helps our whole team.

Q: Do you have an idea of any specific roles right now?

A: It is fluid. We aren’t really sure because right now what you learn in the spring is getting them acclimated to the system and make sure they can make all the adjustments that we have and see what they bring to the table. I think that as we get closer to games and time for the opener, we will find out more role defining roles for them. Right now, I try to put them in every situation so I can see what they can do. I try not to say, for instance, “Shane is only going to run the ball.” I want to see if Shane can catch the ball. I know he can, but I want to see if he can under pressure situations and vice versa. I do that for all of our guys because that way you can kind of find out what they all can do. A great thing for this room is there is great competition because Rashad watches what Shane does and that makes Rashad play better, and then Andre watches it and so on. It creates great chemistry for the room. I feel good that all of them are pushing each other to really compete and be the best.

Q: Did they come back looking at last year saying, “That is not who we are. That is not what Giants football is about”?

A: Yeah, I think they kind of had that attitude when they came in. I think they know and everybody understands that the running game, like the passing game, is a team-oriented thing. We have to do a better job with our reads. Before you do anything else as a running back, know your system and do a better job with your reads. We have to get fits better with the linemen and timing with them and then obviously you want to put yourself in the best position for all the running game that you can and that is part of what the quarterbacks do such a great job for us for. All those factors matter, but at the end of the day, I tell the backs, “When it is time to run, run and if there is a hole there, that is great, but if there is not a hole there, make a hole and make it happen.”

WIDE RECEIVERS COACH SEAN RYAN…
Sean Ryan addressed the media after the morning practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Odell Beckham Victor Cruz, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Q: How much can you do with Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz when they aren’t practicing?

A: The meetings are where they have to be great. The film study, watching that, catching the coaching points in the meetings and also on the field. It is a challenge for them to stay locked in and, obviously, they are on the field doing a little bit of their own rehab, so they get pulled out of some things. We talk a lot about mental reps. You have to be disciplined to do it, but they have to see what is happening, hear the coaching points. I do think mentally you can get a lot out of it, but you have to be very disciplined to do that. I think they work at it. I think they probably did get quite a bit between the meetings, the mental reps and the field.

Q: Did Beckham prove his ability to do that last season, given how much time he spent with mental reps and meeting time?

A: I think so. He is a really bright football player. Some things come to him and make sense to him. I think that really helps him go through situations like this and get stuff out of it. Innately, he understands the game and understands how things work and that helps him.

Q: Have you sensed that his teammates’ teasing him has bothered him at all?

A: No, those guys get after each other in every type of way possible. They make fun of each other about what they eat for breakfast. I think a comment gets made here or there, but it is all in fun. The atmosphere in that room is a good atmosphere. They certainly have fun with each other. They are a tight knit group of guys. I think that shows up. I think they are just having fun with it a little bit. (Beckham) can handle it. He gives it out as much as he takes it, so don’t feel bad.

Q: Did you like the red spot on his hair?

A: I certainly saw it. I didn’t ask him what it was specifically all about. I’m sure it was some sort of fashion statement, but I didn’t have a chance to ask him about it. It was definitely noticeable. I think he had it since day one when he showed up back here in April.

Q: Is it a particular coaching challenge to coach someone’s abilities and personality, too?

A: Yeah, I think it is with every position group. There are some positions on both sides of the ball that are known a little bit more for having some characters in the room. I enjoy it. I like it. I think it keeps it interesting. I think if you are going to be a good coach in any sport, on any team, any position, you better figure out what makes your guys tick and you better go after it and press the buttons that work. As a coach, I find it is a challenge, but a challenge I like.

Q: What makes Odell tick?

A: A lot of different things. Certainly going against a great challenge makes him tick. Last year, we would do a thing where every Friday I would give him a listing of the rookie receivers because it was a heck of class of rookie receivers. How many catches and yards and touchdowns they had, and certainly Week 5 he was down at zero and the other guys were up there. I think (Beckham) thrives on challenges. You go out to Seattle and it is him versus Richard Sherman. I think that is what makes that guy tick. He is a true competitor.

Q: Have you noticed or talked to Odell about him reigning in his emotions?

A: I will go back to his competitiveness and what he is trying to do. You always have to talk to all the players about you can never put yourself in any way above the rest of the team. You can’t hurt the team. At the same time, you have to walk a fine line with these guys when you go back about what makes him tick. I don’t want him to lose his edge in any way. He is not going to hurt the team. That is clearly stated to him. He understands that. In a lot of ways, that passion and that energy make him special. You have to be very careful not to really put your foot down or squash that because it is an important part of his game.

Q: Have you changed anything in how you deal with that this year?

A: I think you talk to him reasonably. Talk to him man-to-man. When the situations came up during the year, we didn’t wait until the year was over. If there was a flag thrown in St. Louis and it cost us 15 yards for an excessive celebration or something like that, it gets addressed there and it gets addressed the following day on the field. You are making those corrections as it goes along. I haven’t had to in the offseason all of a sudden kick it into gear. It is something that you talk about ongoing as it happens.

Q: How do you match last year’s production with him because teams aren’t going to be caught off guard?

A: I think we were as creative last year as I have ever been and as we have ever been with any player, and certainly a rookie. This guy lined up in the slot, as the number one strong, the number one weak, in the backfield; we would motion him into the backfield, from the backfield. (Opponents) can plan for (Beckham), but the first thing is they have to find him. We will also have some other weapons and other guys who make plays. Whether it be guys in the middle like Larry Donnell or Shane Vereen out of the backfield or certainly Rueben Randle or Victor Cruz or Preston Parker. If (opponents) want to take all their defensive plans and put it around one guy, it is going to lead to some holes for some other talented playmakers and it is going to hurt them. I think a little too much has been made of that because in the NFL, by the time we played these teams in games 12-16, teams knew who he was. He wasn’t catching them by surprise then. His productivity was still outstanding. I don’t worry about it. We will be creative with him and all of our players, like we always are. We will do our best to put them in the best positions in our scheme, and I think a little too much is made of that.

Q: What about the strides Rueben has made out there?

A: I thought Rube did a nice job. (Randle) is another guy that he is a really intelligent football player. The game makes sense to him, and things happen for him. He processes stuff really quickly and I think the more tape he watches and the more practice snaps he gets, the quicker that stuff happens for him and the quicker reactions he makes and I would say that is really what has shown up to me. The more football he plays, the better he gets. He sees things very quickly.

Q: Did anyone other than Randle stand out in the spring?

A: I thought Corey Washington had an excellent spring. I thought he had an excellent spring in the classroom and in the meetings. His attitude was outstanding. He worked. He got better and we will compile all the catches, but he is right up there. I am not sure if he didn’t lead the pack in catches and productivity for the spring. He certainly stood out to me. I thought Preston made some great strides, in particular playing in the slot. He is seeing things a little bit better. He is seeing defenses, reacting to blitzes better, so I thought Preston did a great job. I think those two guys really stuck out to me.

TIGHT ENDS COACH KEVIN M. GILBRIDE…
Kevin M. Gilbride addressed the media after the morning practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: What have you seen in Jerome Cunningham’s transition from last year to now?

A: We never got to see much of him with our offense. It was more – he came on towards the end of training camp and then right into the season when he was on the practice squad. He never really had much work with our offense. The good thing he did was he focused very hard in the meetings. Instead of getting the actual reps in practice, he got all the mental reps. He transitioned well in the spring. He knows the offense very well and he always was a great, great effort player and that is what showed up out here. He still has some technique issues that need to improve, but he improves at it because he works hard at it.

Q: What was it about him that caught your eye?

A: What stands out is (Cunningham’s) effort. He is going to give great effort, no matter what. Whether he knew what he was doing or not, he was going to be going 100 miles per hour, whether he knew what block he was supposed to make or not. He was going to be doing it as well as he could. That gives them a chance. It gives every person who plays this game a chance to be successful, or at least to be noticed as far as staying on the squad in some capacity, which certainly he did. He has carried it over throughout the season and then now through the spring where he has made some good strides.

Q: Do you see an opportunity for guys here to be that complete tight end?

A: No matter where you are at, when you play a position that is as multiple as we ask our tight ends to do, you are going to want guys to do different things. We don’t necessarily need this guy to have this receiving skill, this guy has to have run blocking skill, this pass-protection skill, this speed – they don’t have to have it all, as long as they have a number of attributes that they can use and use well on the field. That is enough for us to be successful. As coaches, we will put them in position to be successful.

Q: Do you think you have a guy that can be all of those categories?

A: I think they can all fit in certain capacities. If you are talking about if we are going to have the best tight end of all time – probably not. We could have guys who excel in a number of different areas, whereas if you look at the statistics, you would say, ‘They were a successful group.’ If you compare the tight end stats, receiving, last year, it is the best that it has been in over 15 years. Whether it be touchdowns or completion percentage when throwing to the tight ends. Just from one year within this offense, this group that we have has been very successful if you knew what you were looking at in the statistics columns.

Q: What did you see from Larry Donnell in his blocking skills last year and how does he go about improving that?

A: It is technique and confidence. Having him miss this offseason was not good for him in that regard. He is going to have to come into training camp and pick up where these other guys have left off in the improvements we have made in that area. We focused on certain things this offseason in the run game. It really started to show towards the end of the spring, which we were happy about. Happy to see. Still have a ways to go overall, but much improved. We were happy with where it went. We just want him to be a part of it.

OFFENSIVE LINE COACH PAT FLAHERTY…
Pat Flaherty addressed the media after the morning practice (video is available at Giants.com):

Q: What have you seen from Ereck Flowers?

A: I really have a positive attitude towards him because he is a guy, from the time we went down to visit with him, he really likes the game of football, he has trained very hard in the weight room and he is a competitor, and when you have those types of elements as a person, you have a chance to develop into a player. It is going to take some development. We all know that because of the injury to William (Beatty) that his development has been escalated, so we (have) to go. I use the term that I really feel and still feel that Ereck is going to be a very good player for the New York Giants for a long time, and I thought in a couple years he would be very good. Well that couple years now is September, so that is where that is at.

Q: Last year when Victor Cruz got hurt Sean Ryan said he told Odell, “Congratulations your rookie year is over” Did you say the same thing to Ereck?

A: I did not. Ereck, from day one before he was drafted before he even took a snap with us, when he was up here, we sat and talked. He was one of the rookies (we visited with before the draft). As I went through a couple of the other guys, one guy asked me, “What are your expectations of me if I get drafted by the Giants?” Ereck never asked me that. Through the conversation, I guess he realized what I was telling him: you were drafted in the ninth pick by the New York Giants for a reason and that reason is that from day one you are going to compete to be a player. I did tell him at that time nobody knows when that day is. It could be the first day, it could be the 25th day (or) it could be the 10th day, but my goal as a coach is to always get you ready to be ready that first day. That is kind of what we talked about. I didn’t tell him his rookie season is over. You are going to be a rookie, they are going to treat you like a rookie, but I think he will grow and mature at a rapid pace.

Q: It had been a while before these last three years that a rookie lineman had started. Has the experience in recent years helped you?

A: Yeah, it probably has. The first big help that I had was when Chris (Snee) was a rookie because he was a guy that was prepared to play in the NFL physically. I don’t know if when you come in if you are prepared to play mentally because it is a whole different type of organization structure and the game is much faster, but in terms of physical, he was well prepared and that helped him a lot. Through his first year it probably helped me that I was around it when Chris Samuels was a rookie with the Redskins in my first year in the NFL. I kind of observed how that went. I think that each year and each guy is different. I learned some things from Justin (Pugh) that helped Weston (Richburg) and learned some things from Weston in combination with Justin that have helped Ereck and through my teaching and everything. The biggest thing with these guys is how much time can you spend with them and just keep giving them the information so they just absorb it and digest it. One thing you find out with the younger players is they have to go out and do it, and they have to do it and do it, the more reps they get. That is what I did in the past and we did in the past. You don’t want to work a guy until he is crawling off the field, but you want to work him to his brink because the more reps he is getting, the better off, and the opportunity to get to teach him on tape and he is experiencing that. Weston did the same thing last year in training camp. He was a center one day, a guard this and back and forth. You guys were probably thinking, “What is wrong with the offensive line coach? He is going nuts, he can’t even find out a position.” What you didn’t know is that he had to be able to play either positon, and as it turned out, he started at left guard.

Q: How is it going with Weston at center at this point?

A: I think it is going. Right now the progress is good, it really is. He learned an awful lot last year but I knew that he was going to be a player for a very long time and I know I’m using that, but I believe it because he likes the game of football. He really has embraced the center position because you are the voice of everybody to start out and the quarterback may change things, but you are telling everyone what to do. I think that Weston has a little bit of bossman in him and he likes that.

Q: What have you seen from Mike Bamiro?

A: Yeah, I’ll tell you (Bamiro) is the Kevin Garnett of the football players, that guy is huge. He is a good worker, he really is. He has some position versatility from being a tackle to a guard and we worked out with him. We have to really find out a little more about him when we get on pads, but I like his attitude.

Q: No one is at the same position this year. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

A: Yeah, it is to a certain extent. These guys have been in this room. This is the second year for the majority of them. In that offensive line room, they have heard the same things. Maybe it was from another position that they played ,so it is more of a step or technique than it is a language and language and communication are so important in the position that I coach. It is different, I don’t know if it is that drastically different. We just have to, as I have mentioned to you in past years, once we get closer to training camp, we have to nail this thing down and say, “Hey, this is the best fit that we have that is going to make our offense successful in 2015.”

Q: Justin Pugh seems to have embraced his change?

A: Yeah, I have heard that from other people. I think that he likes playing and I love guys who like playing. I think any position that you put him at, he would play it. He would like to be a guy that is settled in one position. Most guys are that way. I think you probably get that feeling from him more than anything. He would only get better at the tackle position for us. Is he a better guard than tackle? He is going to be a good football player.

Q: What do you like about him at guard?

A: Well, right now where he is at and who is beside him, being a rookie, that communication and being able to have a couple years under his belt is going to be very vital to him. That is one thing that is going to help an awful lot. Justin has very good feet, he is a very good athlete, has tremendous lower body strength and when you get closer to the ball at the guard position, you are going to be blocking bigger people, so I think that is going to be an advantage for us. He will be able to block those people.

Q: How is getting Geoff Shwartz back going to help the line?

A: Oh yeah, it is exciting. Geoff wants to do it and he has worked awful hard to get back from his injury and he just needs to have the good luck charm on his side for once. Once (Schwartz) is able to do that, here is a guy that can be in the next half dozen years and have a tremendous finish to his career.

THE PLAYERS SPEAK…
The following video clip of a player media Q&A is available at NFL.com:

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Jun 172015
 
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Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (June 8, 2015)

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 17, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS MINI-CAMP REPORT…
The second day of the New York Giants three-day mini-camp was held on Wednesday. Like the Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices, no live contact is allowed, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…

Wide receiver Odell Beckham (hamstring), wide receiver Victor Cruz (recovering from knee surgery), tight end Larry Donnell (Achilles tendinitis, still in walking boot), offensive tackle Will Beatty (recovering from pectoral surgery), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice.

DE Damontre Moore (recovering from shoulder surgery) and LB Devon Kennard (hamstring) were limited to individual drills.

Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who has yet to sign his Franchise tender, is skipping the mini-camp.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

  • First-team defensive line was DE Kerry Wynn, DT Markus Kuhn, DT Johnathan Hankins, and DE Cullen Jenkins.
  • Owamagbe Odighizuwa saw reps at left defensive end.
  • DE Robert Ayers (ankle) returned to team drills.
  • Cooper Taylor and Landon Collins saw snaps at safety with both the first- and second-team units.
  • Justin Currie also saw first-team snaps at safety with Landon Collins.
  • Ereck Flowers continued to receive first- and second-team reps at left tackle.
  • Brandon Mosley continued to see snaps at right tackle with the second-team offensive line. He had a false start during a two-minute drill near the end of practice.
  • RB Andre Williams (on a screen) and WR Preston Parker both dropped passes early in practice.
  • RB Andre Williams broke off a nice run up the left side. “Running back Andre Williams showed his speed and power on a few good runs.” (Source: Giants.com)
  • On a free play where the defense jumped offside, CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie made a one-handed interception on an overthrown pass from QB Eli Manning to WR Rueben Randle. (Video)
  • TE Jerome Cunningham was active catching the ball.
  • WR Rueben Randle turned a short pass into a big gain with some good yards-after-catch elusiveness. (Video)
  • QB Ryan Nassib had some accuracy issues, including overthrowing RB Shane Vereen on a screen pass.
  • CB Prince Amukamara jumped a route and intercepted QB Ryan Nassib as the pocket was breaking down. (Video)
  • LB Uani’ Unga picked off a pass from QB Ryan Nassib.
  • DT Dominique Hamilton and OG Eric Herman got into a scuffle.
  • WR Corey Washington dropped a touchdown pass on a fade from QB Eli Manning with CB Prince Amukamara in coverage.
  • LB J.T. Thomas blitzed and sacked QB Ryan Nassib.
  • The defense stopped the offense during the two-minute drill at the end of practice, forcing an incompletion on 4th down.
  • Former Giants DT Fred Robbins has been working with the defensive line at mini-camp as a temporary assistant defensive line coach under Steve Spagnuolo, his old defensive coordinator.

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

  • OT Ereck Flowers (Video)
  • DE Robert Ayers (Video)
  • CB Prince Amukamara (Video)
  • S Landon Collins (Video)
  • CB Prince Amukamara on the team’s safeties: “They have been doing a great job, especially these last couple of days with Cooper [Taylor] and [Landon] Collins and even [Mykkele] Thompson has been getting a lot of plays and [Justin] Currie made a play yesterday, so they have been doing well. I haven’t seen a lot of [mistakes] and they have been making plays on the ball, so I have been applauding them.”

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

Owamagbe Odighizuwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…

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

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

Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

PRACTICE NOTES…
Some snippets from various media sources:

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

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

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

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

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

Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Can you comment on the Stony Brook guys?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What is Devon Kennard’s status?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Steve Spagnuolo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Do you consider JPP an elite pass rusher?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Who are your best students?

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

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

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

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

Q: What have you seen or heard from JPP?

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

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

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

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

A: Yeah, it was right near the beginning.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Markus Kuhn – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

Q: How high is the ceiling for Johnathan Hankins?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Where do you see Jameel McClain fitting in?

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Because you can do so many things?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: What about Prince can he still improve?

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

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

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

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

Q: How is Landon Collins coming along?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: How is Mykkele Thompson coming along?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dwayne Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A: As far as coverage guys or return guys?

Q: Return guys

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

Q: What do you see from Corey Washington?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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