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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (August 14, 2015)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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AUGUST 27, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants concluded their summer training camp on Thursday with a “recovery cycle” day of yoga, massage, contrast bath (hot and cold tubs), self-massage stuck rollers/bands, functional movement screen exercises, and air compression boots. With preferences based on seniority, players were able to choose from two of these six 15-minute recovery activities.

INJURY REPORT…
The injury that right tackle Marshall Newhouse suffered to his right ankle on Wednesday is apparently not serious. “He is fine. He just got stepped on,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “That is a surface scratch. Someone stepped on his leg when he was on the ground and it was down relatively low and it scared him because of where the step occurred.”

Safety Nat Berhe, who has been sidelined with a calf injury since May, re-aggravated the injury in practice on Tuesday. “He re-injured his calf, that is all I can tell you,” said Coughlin. “Whatever the mechanism, whatever goes on, he had one day of practice, felt really good, came out here and had the same occurrence that happened the last time – occurred this time, so he is re-injured.”

Center Weston Richburg has been bothered by tendinitis in his left knee. “He actually feels pretty good today,” said Coughlin. “We should’ve called a practice for today. We’re going to keep working with him and seeing what the doctors and those people tell me. I don’t have anything new for you right now.” Coughlin would not indicate if Richburg would play on Saturday against the New York Jets.

“A little bit of swelling,” said Richburg. “That was the issue. The swelling can kind of take away from some muscle function. So trying to get that swelling down, get that figured out.”

Linebacker Mark Herzlich is still recovering from a concussion he suffered in the second preseason game. “He was coming along well and just didn’t feel real good yesterday,” said Coughlin. “(He’s) not (doing) as well as I would like.”

Coughlin said receiver Victor Cruz (calf) and linebacker Jon Beason (knee) would not play against the Jets. But he did say safety Landon Collins (knee) and cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion) would play.

Left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – pectoral), defensive end George Selvie (knee), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), and cornerback Chandler Fenner (hamstring) will miss the game.

According to NJ.com, wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis) should play against the Jets. But NJ.com says offensive lineman Brandon Mosley (back) has not practiced all week.

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

A little different week for us. This is what I call the GPS week. We’re following that to a ‘T.’ We’ve had two hard practices, followed by basically meetings, walk-throughs and a recovery cycle. So all three – special teams, defense and offense – had good, long meetings, they had walk-throughs and we finished that up with a recovery cycle. The recovery cycle has basically six elements and, by seniority, they can choose two. It is two fifteen-minute periods and we are currently right toward the end of the second cycle, so it is a unique kind of a day and I am interested in the feedback that I get from our leadership council and also from the assistant coaches as we go through the day and, of course, the proof will come later as to how we perform.

Q: What are those elements? What kind of things are they?

A: Yoga, massage. There are some fancy names for things we do with rollers and sticks and so on and so forth — cold tub, but it is basically just the recovery cycle muscular so on and so forth along with yoga and some of the other things we employed.

Q: Is this something you may implement during the season?

A: We are going to see. I will see what it looks like and again tomorrow is another day of this experimentation, so we are going to go through with that and we’ll see how we like it at the end of the week.

Q: Do you consider this the end of a certain segment? The last day of training camp, such as it is.

A: We just keep going. Nothing ended, everything keeps right on going. It is much different, as you know and as you have recognized in other years, and I think at this point in time the players who are able to have a home in this area, they have checked out of the hotel, the other guys will stay in the hotel and we just keep going.

Q: You talked about wanting to see more urgency in practice in the beginning of the week. Did you see that over the course of the week?

A: Yesterday, I saw a little bit more and I would like to continue to see more.

Q: Marshall Newhouse looked like he [got injured]?

A: He is fine. He just got stepped on.

Q: [What about] Nat Berhe?

A: Berhe re-injured his calf.

Q: Is it kind of back to square one with him?

A: He re-injured his calf, that is all I can tell you. Whatever the mechanism, whatever goes on, he had one day of practice, felt really good, came out here and had the same occurrence that happened the last time — occurred this time, so he is re-injured.

Q: You have all these new tools, you have the GPS and all this stuff. Can it prevent these things from happening or can it decrease the probability of these things happening?

A: Not in the case of a guy that has not been practicing. It can tell you — it can monitor the players under certain types of practices to tell you what their workload should be and if they approach that, you can back them down, but in the case of someone like Nat, he wasn’t even practicing, so there was no workload level other than the fact that he was doing a very, very limited amount of work the day before.

Q: How bad is Marshall Newhouse?

A: That is a surface scratch. Someone stepped on his leg when he was on the ground and it was down relatively low and it scared him because of where the step occurred.

Q: He should be able to play?

A: I think so.

Q: Just to be clear, this GPS day, recovery cycle day, that would be in place of a practice if you implemented this during the regular season?

A: That would be in the place of a practice. What you would do is you would load up according to the GPS system the first two days of the week. In other words, you cover a lot of territory. I don’t know if you noticed, but yesterday’s practice was quite long and could’ve actually been another five minutes. So you’re getting a lot of things done on an overload kind of a day and then you’re having an unloaded cycle and then the week’s not over yet.

Q: You don’t seem like a ‘less practice is better’ kind of guy?

A: Let’s not go there.

Q: Do you personally spend any time with the data? Do you find it interesting?

A: I have people that give me the feedback. It’s interesting, there’s no doubt about it.

Q: What about it has jumped out to you personally?

A: To be honest with you, they can tell you by virtue of the information the potential for a guy to have a soft tissue injury. When that happens, you back the guy down, and that’s the whole purpose. The whole purpose is to recognize someone who is headed for a strain, if you will, and try to do something about it.

Q: Have there been instances when you’ve gotten the information during a practice?

A: We’ve gotten the information that’s said to back off a guy, yes.

Q: Is Jayron Hosley okay?

A: Hosley practiced yesterday and he’s got the greenlight to go.

Q: You said he was doing some things before…

A: Yeah, he was. We’d like to see him do some more things. There’s a bunch of them we’d like to see some more things.

Q: After you see what happened with Nat Berhe, do you have to handle Victor Cruz any differently with his calf issue?

A: It’s the same basic area but two totally different injuries. We’ll do whatever we can if there are similarities. I’m sure the medical people follow that practice but each case is different. They’re not exactly the same.

Q: Victor is not going to play, correct?

A: He’s not going to play, no.

Q: With Weston Richburg, where do you stand with him?

A: He actually feels pretty good today. We should’ve called a practice for today. We’re going to keep working with him and seeing what the doctors and those people tell me. I don’t have anything new for you right now.

Q: Is it possible he plays then on Saturday?

A: Anything’s possible. It might rain. You never know.

Q: You just said Cruz is out, though. Is Richburg likely to be out as well?

A: I’m not answering that question. How much more—what can I do? I answered the Cruz question, that’s it.

Q: You said after a couple of days with the medical staff you may have a better idea on Jon Beason. Do you have that?

A: I don’t have any more for you. He won’t play this week.

Q: Will Landon Collins play?

A: Yes.

Q: How’s Mark Herzlich doing? Is he still…

A: He was coming along well and just didn’t feel real good yesterday. Not as well as I would like.

Q: So when that happens, it’s back to square one with the concussion thing?

A: Protocol has to be accomplished; otherwise, no.

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 New York Giants training camp practices for this summer are now over. The team will conduct a walk-thru practice on Friday in advance of Saturday’s preseason game against the New York Jets.

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Bennett Jackson Has Torn ACL, Jon Beason Sprained Knee: As feared, New York Giants safety Bennett Jackson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the closing minutes of Saturday night’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Jackson, who started the game at safety and who had a legitimate shot to start at the position on opening day, will now be lost for the season. Jackson had microfracture surgery last year on his left knee after being signed to the Practice Squad.

“Bennett had been a guy that we had grabbed and he worked very, very hard at that job trying to give us another option there,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “It’s just a sad thing to see it happen, because it’s difficult. He’s tackling a tight end and they get all twisted up on the bottom of a pile. He ends up underneath the tight end, and if you just watch him grimace, it comes when he’s on the ground. So I don’t know exactly what happened.”

The Giants also announced that safety Justin Currie fractured both his right fibula and ankle in the game. He will also be lost for the season.

With the loss of Jackson, Currie, and Mykkele Thompson (who ruptured his right Achilles’ tendon in the first preseason game), the Giants are once again very thin at the safety position. Landon Collins (knee), Nat Berhe (calf), and Cooper Taylor (toe) all missed the game on Saturday but are expected to return soon.

Meanwhile, linebacker Jon Beason suffered a sprained knee and is now considered “week-to-week” on when he might return. That time frame puts into doubt his availability for the season-opener against the Dallas Cowboys on September 13.

Linebacker Mark Herzlich suffered a concussion in the game; no word yet on when he might return. Linebacker Tony Johnson suffered a knee sprain and is “day-to-day.”

August 23, 2015 Head Coach Tom Coughlin Conference Call: Head Coach Tom Coughlin addressed the media on Sunday afternoon:

You know obviously we took some hits last night and we had some injuries and we are trying to decide in the next hour or so what we have and what we are going to do in terms of practice and what our needs might be just in preparing for this next game. I think that there is some information I can give you if you want to ask me specifically about certain people, that is fine but I don’t have the full collection of it and we do have everyone in here today since this is our normal day after the game. This will be an in-season type of a preparation this week so we are trying to make it as structured as much as possible according to what they can look forward to coming into the regular season, so we are doing that.

Having said that, there is no question that we did some things better last night. We were more aggressive, we were more physical, it was a good game. Both teams played a relatively clean game. We were plus-one (in turnovers), the defenses on both sides of the ball forced field goals throughout the majority of the night [and] as I said, there are some teaching issues here because in the one regard, we are lining up to kick a field goal, which would have been just another field goal. They jump offside and because it is less than five yards — we get a new set of downs and that is the series we score the only touchdown of the night, so that was something that certainly our players need to be very much aware of. The other thing I thought that was interesting from the standpoint of situations was we took the ball over on the minus-12, I believe it was a minus-12, with 1:25 to go in the game with one timeout, so we subsequently ran 12 plays and used up our timeout in a sack situation and we were at the 38-yard line for literally four straight snaps knowing full well that in that particular area and I’m talking about say from the 32-yard line beyond the 40-yard line, you’ve got a very important part of the field where decisions are made —difficult decisions are made whether to go for the long field goal, which obviously at stake is field position, whether to try to make a makeable third down and I’m saying something reasonable, or whether to have to pull back and even punt the ball, meaning that you have to have a very good…a punter that has the ability to place the ball in such a situation where you are not going to get a touchback because obviously that is not the circumstance.

Later on in the game when Ryan Nassib was in the game and he pulled the ball down in the second half and ran from the plus-37 to the plus-35, he gave us literally a chance to kick a 53-yard field. Now if we had thrown an incomplete pass or something from that standpoint and the ball would have stayed at the 37, there is no way we were going to kick a field goal even though it was only two more yards or 55 yards and you stretch yourself out a little bit, particularly if there is any kind of wind even kicking a 53-yarder, which the week before we had missed a long field goal and gave Cincinnati outstanding field position, so there were things like that, that came up all night. There was a couple of challenges that we utilized that proved to be good, that we were right. You aren’t always right. In that case, we were and again lots of people had a chance to play [and] lots of people did many, many different things.

We threw the ball probably a little bit more than I would have wanted to throw it, but we had 77 snaps in the game, which was good. We build up some snaps and play time but we still didn’t win possession by very much when you really look at it, not quite two minutes, so there were a bunch of things that happened in the game that were good for us to teach from. There were some outstanding aggressive special teams plays, there were tackles inside the 20, there was a long field goal, we had some very good individual plays on offense, the bench route to James Jones from Nassib which put us down in the 38-yard line and gave us a chance to even think before the half of having an opportunity to score a field goal where it was going to end up being a short gain with a clock play or getting it out of bounds. We had that circumstance, had a couple of decent runs by (Orleans) Darkwa, had a good run by Andre Williams, young Geremy Davis caught a nice ball on the sidelines and turned and tried to make it into more, which was very good. Dwayne Harris got the only touchdown of the night with a low…Ryan put it down low where the draped-over-his-back corner couldn’t get to the ball and Dwayne went down and made that difficult catch and gave us the score there on first and goal from the eight. We had Damontre Moore had a nice sack and forced fumble that we weren’t able to recover. We had the nice knockdown of the pass to the running back Robinson from Beason early in the game. Wade made a deep ball, knocked the ball away from the receiver on the deep post ball. Bromley and Kennard made a very nice stop, Unga made a nice tackle, Moore had a nice sack of Tuel, so there were plays like that that we can look at and say, ‘You know, those are outstanding plays’ and then of course there were plays that weren’t so good and that is what you have to concentrate on trying to improve upon.

Q: Do you have any updates on the health of Bennett Jackson and Jon Beason?

A: Bennett Jackson has an ACL and Jon Beason has a sprained knee.

Q: Is there a timetable for Beason with the sprain and how do you sort of progress from there with that one?

A: That is a tough one, you know. These things are all different. For me, without some doctor or expert telling me what to think in terms of the amount of time out, I’m not going to speculate but all these things end up being week to week and sometimes in these cases, it is longer than you think.

Q: Do you have to prepare now as if you will be without him for week one?

A: I don’t know. I’m not going to speculate on that probably until we see how this week goes and how the doctors have a chance to work with him a few days and maybe then they will have a better opinion about that.

Q: In the case that that does happen, this would be the reason that you have Jameel [McClain], correct? How much does that sort of help to have a veteran at least behind him. That was, I assume the plan or the reason to have a veteran like that around?

A: Well, all those things are true — you answered your own question there. We do have the benefit of a guy that’s played a lot of football and is very good in the huddle — does all those things extremely well. So you hate to think in terms of anything that stretches your depth right at this point in time, but it’s a reality in our league.

Q: With another injury there to a safety, where do things stand with [Nat] Berhe and Landon Collins?

A: Well, we think [Nat] Behre and [Landon] Collins are coming back this week. We hope Cooper Taylor comes back this week as well. Hopefully we’ll get some of those guys back.

Q: Obviously Bennett Jackson played with the first team yesterday. It’s not like you had a lot of first teamers out there late in the fourth quarter; what played into the decision to leave Jackson out there?

A: Well, that’s a good question. The problem is there were two safeties gone in the game as well, so what you were dealing with was very few people left that play the position. You know, Bennett had been a guy that we had grabbed and he worked very, very hard at that job trying to give us another option there, and it’s just a sad thing to see it happen, because it’s difficult. He’s tackling a tight end and they get all twisted up on the bottom of a pile — he ends up underneath the tight end, and if you just watch him grimace, it comes when he’s on the ground. So I don’t know exactly what happened — I haven’t been able to talk to him about that, but what went into it was the numbers situation and unfortunately that… you know, however it works, you can explain it all you want, but we were in a game where there was a forced opportunity more than anything else to have your numbers affected, but when we look at it from any number of players that were in the game that got a lot of snaps, whether it was planned or not, it was good for them. I can tell you that right now. As much as I said going in that we needed to play more, that we needed to see more of a lot of people working together — you know we certainly did get that chance last night.

Q: Where do you move forward now at safety… and cornerback?

A: We just got done saying that three of them are coming back, so that’s where we move forward. We have [Brandon] Meriweather here, we have three guys that we think are going to be able to practice and come back. So that’s where we are. There hasn’t been a lot of numbers available at any time. For whatever reason, there always seems to have been one or two of these guys that’s not able to practice. So in reality, it looks as if we’ll have four [safeties]. Maybe, and again I’m just speculating because we’re going to have roughly two days to try to figure out who can practice and what we can do, so that’s where we are, guys. Don’t ask me something that I can’t answer. I’m trying to do the best I can for you, and this is what it is.

Q: What have you seen from [Brandon] Meriweather? He got about 30 snaps last night — any sense on what he is right now?

A: Well, he’s a veteran safety that we know the style of play that he is best utilized in. He got his feet wet last night and I think he’ll improve and be better the next week.

Q: Justin Halley only played seven snaps there — is he injured as well?

A: No, no he wasn’t.

Q: What did you see from Uani Unga last night?

A: Aggressive, very good on special teams. Made a couple of nice plays at the mike backer position, and he seems to be a physical player.

Q: After looking at the tape, how did the offensive line, and in particular Ereck Flowers, come out of last night?

A: We thought he played well technically. Very sound, and he is improving. If you watch some of the run game, you see him move people off the ball. He did a nice job of that. He and [Justin] Pugh got involved in a couple of nice twist exchanges where we picked up in pass protection. You saw him aggressively go back and recover that ball on the ground, I know he’s listening because we’ve been harping on that. Let the officials tell you that it was an incomplete pass, and don’t let it lay on the ground. We’ve shown examples of that, so I think that there’s no doubt that each one of these experiences he’s grown and benefited from.

Q: How about [Geoff] Schwartz? What have you seen from him?

A: He played pretty well when he was playing at the guard spot — I don’t think quite as good at the tackle spot, but it was his first time out and he did get a lot of snaps, so it had to help him.

Q: Do you expect [Victor] Cruz and [Rueben] Randle back this week?

A: I really don’t know. The thing with Rueben has really confused me — he’s been able to handle this so well over the years, and yet this circumstance has been bothersome. There was so much speculation going in about having these people work together. We haven’t really seen them work together yet and we’re this far into camp, so… and the same thing with Victor. We’re just going to have to — when they tell us they can go, they can go.

Q: It’s still just tendinitis for Rueben [Randle] or are they worried it’s something else?

A: Nope. That’s basically what I’m being told.

Q: What’s the plan going forward here with [Geoff] Schwartz and the offensive line?

A: Keep playing them all. Keep playing them all. Watch, watch. I’m not going to verbally give you any… what’s the plan? The plan is to let them play and practice and see where we can go and figure out exactly who are the best five. That’s the plan.

Q: What have you seen from Markus Kuhn so far in these first two preseason games? We’ve seen him with the first team almost all summer. What has he done to earn that trust in you guys?

A: Well, he’s a big, strong guy. We’ve talked an awful lot about stopping the run, and he can hold the point in there, which he’s done over and over. He’s very smart, and so we look at him as a guy that can anchor down in there and can knock back off the ball. And he’s pretty much done that.

August 23, 2015 Player Media Q&As: Transcripts of media conference calls with the following players are available on BigBlueInteractive.com:

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Jason Pierre-Paul could still help Giants pass rush by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Aug 122015
 
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Ben McAdoo, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Ben McAdoo – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 12, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their tenth summer training camp practice on Wednesday outside of Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio in a joint practice session against the Bengals. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Not making the trip to Cincinnati were Geoff Schwartz (coming off of ankle surgery), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery), linebacker Jameel McClain (neck), cornerback Chykie Brown (knee), and safety Nat Berhe (calf).

Cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) made the trip to Cincinnati but has not practiced. Wide receiver Rueben Randle (knee tendinitis) did not practice.

“I’m fine,” Randle said. “It was just the change of surface from our grass field to their grass field, it was kind of bothering me a little bit. It’s nothing serious. I expect to play on Friday…I know how to handle it and prepare myself.”

Unlike on Tuesday, wide receiver Victor Cruz (recovering from knee surgery) participated in team drills, including against the Bengals. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been dealing with a slight groin issue, but has not missed practice.

PRACTICE NOTES…
Today’s practice was in “uppers” (shoulder pads and shorts). Some snippets from various media sources:

  • The first-team offensive line remained Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, John Jerry at right guard, and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.
  • Working at nickel corner were Bennett Jackson, Trumaine McBride, and Josh Gordy.
  • The first-team safeties remained Landon Collins and Jeromy Miles; the second-team safeties were Cooper Taylor and Mykkele Thompson. Thompson also saw some first-team reps.
  • The first-team cornerbacks were Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Jayron Hosley.
  • Linebacker Mark Herzlich disrupted a screen pass by the Bengals, allowing defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis to finish off the play.
  • Linebacker Tony Johnson made a number of physical hits.
  • Wide receiver Geremy Davis caught a deep ball from quarterback Eli Manning for a touchdown. Davis was targeted quite a bit and had another good practice.
  • Wide receiver Odell Beckham scored on a reverse in team drills. He also scored twice in the red zone catching the football.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz participated in team drills against the Bengals. He didn’t see a lot of action but he moved well.
  • Left guard Justin Pugh and center Weston Richburg stood out in some drills.
  • Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap gave right tackle Marshall Newhouse some problems.
  • Defensive end Jordan Stanton got a sack.
  • Safety Mykkele Thompson looked to be out of position on a play where running back Rex Burkhead was left wide open on a pass play.
  • Defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa forced an incomplete pass with a strong pass rush. Later, Odighizuwa beat Bengals offensive tackle Eric Winston on a speed rush in 1-on-1 drills.
  • Defensive end Kerry Wynn had some problems with Bengals right tackle Matthew O’Donnell.
  • Wide receiver Julian Talley continued to catch everything thrown in his direction.
  • Safety Landon Collins was beat deep by Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah on a corner route.
  • Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu leaped over cornerback Jayron Hosley in the back of the end zone for a touchdown.
  • Tight end Adrien Robinson made a very difficult catch, surrounded by three Bengals defenders, for a touchdown on a pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib. Robinson later caught another deep pass from Nassib in the two-minute drill. Robinson also caught another pass for a touchdown. (Video)
  • The Giants first-team offensive line had issues with pass protection in the two-minute drill.
  • Linebacker Unai Unga broke up a pass intended for tight end Tyler Eifert.

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

Q: Your thoughts on Day 2? You said you wanted to look at the film from last night..

A: Yeah. We did some good things and didn’t do some other things very well. It’s lots of people, lots of work, lots of situations to be in. It’s been two good days and it gives us a lot of speed work in addition to the first preseason game, so that’s a good thing.

Q: Did Victor Cruz wear you down wanting to get in there?

A: No. No, that was the decision that we made, or I made, coming out here that we would go ahead and look at practice the first day and decide how much. So we got him in there a couple snaps each segment with the exception at the end there. It’s good for him to come out here and get on the field against somebody else.

Q: Your situation at safety, it’s kind of in flux. Where do you see it right now?

A: Well we’re hoping it’s going to be as competitive as it can. We got a young guy that’s playing in there a lot and he went out for a while today and then back in. It’s something that we hope is going to solve itself right here, right in practice before regular season.

Q: Would that be Bennett Jackson you mean? The young guy you said went out.

A: No, Collins was out for a little bit too.

Q: What’s the thing behind having Bennett do a lot of slot stuff? It seemed like he did that a lot today.

A: The thinking behind it is we are looking for someone to be the nickel and we are trying a number of people in there and he got his shot.

Q: With an inexperienced group back there, Jeromy Miles is one who has been around for a while. What does he bring?

A: That’s why he’s here. The veteran experience, he’s been involved more, he knows the defense pretty much. So that we felt would add to (have) a player back there that knew it and understood it and played it would help some of these young guys.

Q: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been out there, he says he’s battling some things. Do you see that?

A: Well, today he was. He had a little bit of a groin (injury). Played his way through that. Hopefully that’s all it is, some short-term deal.

Q: Because you saw it last year?

A: Yeah. Oh yeah. We’ve seen a lot of that.

Q: Do you think Rueben will play Friday?

A: I don’t know. I haven’t any idea. I’m surprised he wasn’t able to work here yesterday.

Q: Is Victor going to play in the game on Friday?

A: No.

Q: Is anybody else going to be out aside from guys…

A: Whatever the medical people tell me. Whatever. Otherwise, everybody will play.

Q: So there’s nothing at this point that will prevent Odell from being out there?

A: No. Not at this point.

Q: How has Unga looked?

A: He made a nice play today. I saw a couple plays he made today, which was good. He’s a guy that can contribute on special teams, he can run, he’s a big guy, he’s physical. Hopefully he’ll grow into that type of role.

Q: How’s he doing right now with controlling, making the pause?

A: I think that’s an experience he’s got to get better at.

Q: The usual routine? One or two series for the starters?

A: Yeah, that’s usually what it is.

Q: What are you expecting from the rookies in the preseason?

A: Play hard. Play hard. Give great effort, let’s see what you’ve got. Plenty of spots out there to be (taken). You’ve seen the guys that are competing for starting jobs. Hopefully all that is going to do is get better.

Q: Ereck Flowers came out well yesterday afterwards..

A: Seems to be okay today, too. Although that—there was a comeuppance here with that last two-minute drill where nobody is playing run at all and they just turned the front loose. So he saw all kinds of games. They’ve got a good front. Hopefully he’ll learn a lot from that.

Q: Looked like Pugh and Richburg really did well against (Geno) Atkins too today?

A: He’s a good player now. He’s a good player. I know he made one real good play out here in this two-minute.

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…
There will be a jog-thru practice on Thursday in advance of Friday’s Giants-Bengals preseason game.

The next training camp practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be held on Sunday, August 16th from 5:50-7:50PM. 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 four remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • 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
Aug 052015
 
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Ereck Flowers, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Ereck Flowers – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 5, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their fifth summer training camp practice on Wednesday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

INJURY REPORT…
Left tackle Ereck Flowers (hip flexor), center Weston Richburg (knee tendinitis), left tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery), and safety Nat Berhe (calf) did not practice.

“Richburg has a little tendinitis and they decided to hold him out today,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

“We’re just going day-by-day. It’s getting better,” said Flowers. “When it first happened, I wasn’t able to lift it, but now I can lift it up. So, it’s getting better, I should be practicing soon…I usually heal pretty fast and do pretty well, so I’ll definitely be out there really soon.”

“Day to day (with Flowers),” said Coughlin. “He’s much improved. Whether they let him go tomorrow or not, I don’t know. But he was much improved.”

Linebacker Jameel McClain (stinger) and cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin) left practice early with injuries. McClain suffered a serious neck injury while with the Ravens so the injury could potentially be more serious than an average stinger.

“(McClain) got a little stinger,” said Coughlin. “So he’s got to run through all the tests.”

“Prince [Amukamara] had a little strain in the groin area during one-on-one,” said Coughlin.

PRACTICE NOTES…
For the first time this year, the Giants practiced in full pads. “It was kind of sluggish, to be honest with you,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “As it usually is the first time in full pads. Their legs are covered etc. etc. But they have to learn how to handle that, and they will.”

Some snippets from various media sources:

  • With left tackle Ereck Flowers (hip flexor) and center Weston Richburg (knee tendinitis) out, the starting offensive line was left tackle Justin Pugh, left guard Adam Gettis, center Dallas Reynolds, right guard Geoff Schwartz, and right tackle Marshall Newhouse. The Giants also worked in John Jerry at right guard and Geoff Schwartz at right tackle. The line struggled to keep a clean pocket for the quarterbacks.
  • Cullen Jenkins got some work at defensive end with the first-team along with Robert Ayers. Johnathan Hankins and Markus Kuhn were the tackles when Jenkins was at end. Damontre Moore and Owamagbe Odighizuwa also played end with the first-team.
  • Defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins nailed running back Orleans Darkwa in the backfield on one play.
  • Landon Collins and Bennett Jackson were the first-team safeties. Jeromy Miles played with the second-team and made a couple of nice plays against the run.
  • Wide receiver/returner Dwayne Harris returned a punt for a touchdown after bobbling it.
  • Wide receiver Julian Talley had a good practice, even beating cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on an in-cut.
  • Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record said his three stars of practice were safety Landon Collins, defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins, and safety Jeromy Miles.

HEAD COACH TOM COUGHLIN…
Tom Coughlin addressed the media after the afternoon practice:

Q: What happened to Jameel McClain out there?

A: He got a little stinger. So he’s got to run through all the tests.

Q: What about Weston Richburg?

A: [Weston] Richburg has a little tendinitis and they decided to hold him out today.

Q: Tendinitis in what?

A: Knee.

Q: How about Prince?

A: Prince [Amukamara] had a little strain in the groin area during one-on-one. So, naturally, he was out.

Q: Are you expecting Ereck Flowers back pretty soon?

A: Day to day. He’s much improved. Whether they let him go tomorrow or not, I don’t know. But he was much improved.

Q: What did you think of the padded practice, seemed like there was a lot of balls that hit the ground today, maybe today more than usual?

A: Balls hit the ground? Not necessarily, no. It was kind of sluggish, to be honest with you—as it usually is the first time in full pads. Their legs are covered etc. etc. But they have to learn how to handle that, and they will.

Q: Without the benefit of seeing the film, how do you think your offensive line held up?

A: I’m sure there was some good and some bad. To be honest with you, there were better runs than there were anything else. I thought that was something, if you want to build on, that was pretty good.

Q: While you were fully padded, did you want to do some more runs?

A: Well, we had an inside run drill, which we usually do fully padded. But otherwise it was blitz pickup and everything else. Nothing in particular to make it a run practice, if that’s what you’re asking.

Q: Do you feel like Jon Beason is under any restrictions?

A: Beason? Well, we’re very aware and his snaps are controlled, and basically they’re controlled by the number of people at the position. Obviously, if [Jameel] McClain is held out for any length of time, then that would affect the rotation.

Q: But you don’t want to overwork him obviously.

A: Well, everybody has got to get ready to play, though. We keep talking about that, and you know what, we’re taking every precaution—scientific precaution. Anything that has been discovered in our game by virtue of all the things we’ve looked at, we’re doing it. So now we’ve got to go out on the field. When we’re on the field, unfortunately, some things happen. I don’t have any other explanation for you.

Q: We got screened at the end of practice, what was the game today? It looked like both teams lost because they all had to do pushups.

A: We took some receivers and DBs and challenged them to throw the football and hit the crossbar. It wasn’t pretty. They all tried to kick field goals with the ball, and throw the ball up in the air. Take the ball and zing it. It was an eye-opener, let’s put it that way. Not anywhere as competitive as the last thing we did.

Q: This seems to be an emphasis for you guys, though.

A: Compete. Find stuff to make them compete. Just compete. Just always something, in addition to the field, obviously.

Q: Your defensive tackles looked like they had a solid day. Do you think they had a good showing today?

A: I know they’re working hard and they’ve improved their technique. Our footwork seems to be better. I think both the ends and the tackles rushed the passer pretty well today. Like I said, some runs squirted through, but they certainly did okay.

Q: How much negotiating goes on between you and Marvin Lewis as you get closer to these practices with the Bengals?

A: We set this up in the spring. It’s been set. Practice schedule is set, everything is set. I’m sure there will be maybe one more phone call, but most of it has all been done.

Q: How limited or how much contact are those practices going to have?

A: Just practice.

Q: Pads?

A: Pads.

Q: Uppers?

A: Pads one day, uppers the next—yeah.

Q: With the game officials here, did they tell you there’s going to be any extra emphasis on any part of the rules this year?

A: Well, they always stress whatever the new rules are and whatever the points of emphasis are. So, John (Parry) is prepared to speak about that as we’ve heard in the spring when the officiating crew is by. I’m sure we’ll continue to hear.

Q: Mike Sullivan thinks that Eli’s arm has looked as live as it has at any point that he’s seen. Would you agree with that assessment?

A: Yeah, it was that way in the spring, too. I think there was a lot of grinding on the part of the receivers today. Then, perhaps, the idea that in some occasions they weren’t where they were supposed to be kind of nullified some of the balls going downfield today. But, no question about his arm.

Q: With the more direct approach instead of the lob approach, could you have hit the crossbar?

A: I may have wanted to move it up.

Q: It was the crossbar not the upright?

A: It started out being the crossbar. The upright? Are you kidding? If we put a limit on it, we’d be out here all night.

Q: It looked like they were going for the upright.

A: It’s the way they were throwing the ball. I thought it was a rainbow.

Q: Cruz said last week about getting the pads on, it was going to be another step. Was this another rung in the ladder for him?

A: Yeah, I think he really got acclimated probably further than he expected, just in uppers. He went down a couple times with piles and that kind of thing. But I’m sure just handling the pads today.

Q: So nothing you saw today?

A: I didn’t see anything that way, no. Not at all.

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

Q: Last summer with Eli there was an emphasis on footwork. Is there something this year that there is an emphasis on mechanically or is it still the footwork?

A: It always starts with the footwork but I think it is just really having the reads, having the concepts become second nature and having that level of comfort and confidence that the player is going to be where we want them to be. That he is going to trust his feet, as we like to say, in terms of the timing of the system and nothing beats experience. There are no shortcuts, there is no way to kind of go around that and you’ve got a true professional like Eli who really buys into doing all the little things that really makes it easier to improve.

Q: What else can be done besides reps to get that done and to get that familiarity?

A: Certainty the reps out on the field and then the things that we can teach in the classroom. There is great dialogue that we have in our meeting room and certainly a guy with his experience and his background…and there is a couple of them in terms of being able to say anything [and] ask anything.  Those quarterback meetings…Ben (McAdoo) is certainly heavily involved in those meetings and it’s like another coaching meeting, so it is a lot of fun. Between the execution on the practice field, that preparation, what we do in the meeting room and then him taking care of his body, which he has done a tremendous job, of I think that we will be ready to go.

Q: How is your comfort level with the offense and is it odd that the guy you are trying to help and teach knows more of it than you do?

A: It has been exhilarating. I just can’t say enough about working with Ben McAdoo, what a detail-oriented, great teacher, very comfortable relationship and it is exciting. There [are] so many concepts about this scheme and I think Eli has really bought in and it has been a lot of fun to work with him. We didn’t really have to break through any of those barriers as far as establishing who we are and what we are about. We have a little history together so that has made it a lot easier so it has been a lot of fun.

Q: Does he have more options now? You look around at the talent level. Are his choices greater?

A: I think there [are] a lot of players that we are counting on. You look at certainly the receivers; Victor Cruz who is coming back and looking strong, Odell Beckham and Larry Donnell and so many of the players and younger guys, the addition of Shane Vereen out of the backfield. [It is] definitely nice to have those so he has been trying to spread the ball around and work on different reads, if you will, and that is certainly [a good thing].

Q: What have you seen from Ryan Nassib so far?

A: I think Ryan is a very, very hard worker [and] very competitive. I mean he is a gym rat, excellent…you talk about knowledge of the system, that guy, he is as sharp as a tack. He is someone from a mobility standpoint, the ability to extend plays and if he has to scramble, he has that as an asset and he is getting better [with] some of the things with his release and vantage point and tightening that up and getting the ball out of his hands faster. He has been doing that, so we have been very pleased working with him and I am excited to see what he does here in the preseason.

Q: Is that the emphasis with him? Getting the ball out faster?

A: I think there is a ton of areas of emphasis and he still has to get the, “Be ready to go at a moments notice.” That is the mindset and that is the way he prepares, which is great. He is not in the mode of, ‘Oh my gosh, I’m in grad school.’ He prepares as though he is going to be called upon and takes it up [notch] in that regard. I think that whether it is footwork or tightening up his release or any little, tiny thing, he is looking to improve everything, so I wouldn’t just limit it to that one area. He is looking to get better in all areas.

Q: You guys always had a veteran behind Eli during your first time here. I know this is a new look at Ryan but do you have any sense of whether if anything happened to Eli he could step in and get the job done for a little while?

A: Yeah, you know you are always hoping that your backup quarterback, if called upon, is ready to win, is ready to go ahead and do the things that are going to help you be successful, and certainly he is the backup quarterback for a reason because there are certain things he might not be able to do. [However], certainly from the standpoint of a person who would be competitive, who would be prepared, would work very hard and give everything he has, we have great confidence that he will continue to develop and be ready to go if he is called upon?

Q: How has being an offensive coordinator made you a better coach?

A: You know, it is interesting to see when you have the perspective of the entire operation: the run game, the pass game, the protections. I certainly can appreciate the responsibility and the pressure that Ben is under and having gone through that, I kind of try and find different areas and ways to make his job easier, to try to have a perspective of some of the bigger picture things, of lessons I learned and mistakes that I made, things that worked well and just to focus on what can I do, especially from the quarterback’s standpoint, to help him to be at his best so it helps the rest of the offense flow smoothly.

Q: With Tom Coughin, it always comes up every year whether the game has passed him by or if he is up with the latest things. How have you seen him evolve as a coach and keep up with the times and what is your opinion about that?

A: I think Coach Coughlin certainly has core values, he is a man of great integrity and honor and the way his style of football…the discipline, the belief in team above self that has not changed. He has in a lot of ways tried to do various thing to…whether it is the music we’ve got at stretch or just some of the various things behind the scenes that I don’t necessarily want to get into, but he has definitely been on the cutting edge and you look at just the openness of having the veteran quarterback and now with the new system and all that is going on there, I think he is always looking to evolve and grow. It stresses to us as coaches that the day you stop learning, the day you are so set in your ways, is the day that it is time to move on, so he has been very energized and it has just been a thrill for me to be back.

Q: Did you ever you think six or eight years ago that you would see a Giants practice with Tom Coughlin with music on the field and big guys catching punts?

A: It has been great and there is more to come. We have a few more things in store, so it should be a lot of fun.

Q: What about your year as a consultant. Was that sort of a year off?

A: It was an opportunity, first and foremost, to reconnect with my family and spend more time with my daughters, and I spent the time to work with Derek Carr to help get him ready for the draft, which was a lot of fun. Of course, David’s younger brother, went out to California and helped train him and work out with him and I was pleased with the progress he has made and wish him well as long as we don’t play him. I did some online work and that just gave me a chance really to take a step back and without all the pressure, to see the games it is just amazing. There is so many…when you take that vantage point, you can see some of the mistakes that are made and of course you fill the spiral notebook with ideas and it is not necessarily X’s and O’s as much as just ideas and thoughts of how you can be better prepared should you get another opportunity. I feel very fortunate to have a chance to be back and not just back but to come back home with big blue.

Q: Do you still have that book?

A: Oh, yes. My manifesto, my lessons learned and that type of thing.

Q: The goal for Eli last year was 70% completion rate, which he hasn’t really backed off when you ask him about it. Is that just something that is put out there as something to shoot for or is that an attainable goal?

A: Eli has always been very goal oriented. He has always been someone that has had high expectations for himself and I would say this, he is certainly going to do everything and has been and will continue to do everything possible to achieve those goals that are going to help us win. I think that it comes down to however many passes we need to win, that is what we are going to want to complete. However many big plays or touchdowns or adjustments in the run game or protections or whatever needs to be done, he is going to do. I don’t know if there is any set number or those certain indicators that help you win. We all know that if you protect the football, if you are able to have a certain amount of yards you are able to rush for or efficiency on third down or red zone or QB rating, those are all objectives but ultimately it just comes down to winning and I think that is all that really Eli cares about. In fact, I know that is all he cares about.

Q: How much does this offense make it reasonable to think that number can be realistically attainable?

A: I think there are components of the offense where we are looking for completions and trying to get the ball out of his hands and if there is a completion there, we are going to take it. Heck, when you’ve got a guy like Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Shane Vereen and some of these guys that can do a lot of damage…a 70-yard gain is a 70-yard gain whether the ball is in the air for 50 or one yard and we had a great run, so whatever it takes.

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

Q: What have you seen in Larry Donnell this year as opposed to last year?

A: He’s coming along, as far as just getting healthy again. As far as football is concerned, it’s his commitment to focusing on the techniques in blocking—that’s really improved. What we need to get him to do is really get back to where he was running routes. He’s not quite there yet, but he’s working towards it and he’s done a nice job with the workload we’ve given him.

Q: Because of the Achilles?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you have a handle on what he is and what he can be?

A: I think he can be a pretty special player, but there’s a lot of improving that is going to have to take place in order for him to be that special player. The good thing is, he’s working towards it, and he’s starting to understand that he could be a pretty special guy as well.

Q: When you say special, in what way? A big time pass catcher or an overall player?

A: A big-time pass catcher, number one. I think we all saw the ability there last year. But also, not only be serviceable in the run game, but could be a very good run blocker in what we’re asking him to do.

Q: After the Washington game did his injury slow him down?

A: I think so. I think the wear and tear of the full season—it’s the first time he’s ever had to go through something like that. Even in college, he was a quarterback to start off and then became a tight end. College seasons are much shorter than the professional NFL year, so through the course of the year and the wear and tear, and the banging day in, day out that he took, did slow him down through the course of the season.

Q: What has Jerome Cunningham shown you?

A: He shows that he can be an explosive pass catcher and route running receiver from the tight end position. What’s been not necessarily surprising, but exciting, is watching him run block and watch how intense he is about it, and how he likes to finish blocks and move defenders off the ball.

Q: Larry had some great highlights but also some lowlights—dropping the ball, losing it. Is controlling his body an issue?

A: I think that’s a big, big part of it. I always reference back to the fact that he hadn’t played much football, and hadn’t played the position very long. So the more he does it, the better he’s going to be. It’s been a huge emphasis on our part—having him carry the football the proper way. Knowing how to protect himself when he has the football in his hands and he’s carrying it and running with it. There’s little things like every time he was on the sideline or came out of practice—he’s having a ball tossed to him and he’s holding it with the tip high every now and then as I’m telling the rest of the guys the plays, I’m trying to knock it out. Just little things to have him remember that it is the most important thing—to hold it properly. That’s the way you protect it the best, by focusing on it and focusing on doing it right.

Q: He got knocked head over heels a lot?

A: Often, when he would almost straighten his legs and at the waist. That’s something that also we’ve talked about. He’s got two options: he can lower his shoulder and run over the man—and that means you’re bending your legs, bending your knees or you can jump over him. It’s one of the two. No matter what you do, you have to protect the football. The tip of the football can never be here [down]—it’s not protected, it’s not secure, it’s not strong. It has to be high.

Q: How big of a surprise was Daniel Fells last year? He seemed to be an extra guy but he made a lot of big receptions.

A: He did, he made a lot of good plays. Again, I wouldn’t say it was a surprise because you know what you’re getting with Daniel. You know he’s going to be a consistent player, a consistent person, and a great leader in that room—being a veteran and having those guys to help them come along. Daniel makes the plays that are there to be made and then he impressed you every now and then by making one that you don’t necessarily think he can make.

Q: Do you expect to have good matchups with your tight ends because of all the weapons you have in the receiving corps and running backs? Do you expect Donnell to have more favorable matchups?

A: Rather than have like a dime playing him, they have to worry about Shane [Vereen]. We’ll see how it plays out, you never really know how you’re going to get attacked by the defense. You prepare for all the different scenarios and you prepare based on what you see on film from the defense. That certainly could a scenario where because of all the weapons on the outside with Shane Vereen out of the backfield, with Rashad Jennings, that potentially you could get a good matchup at the tight end position. That’s something that as coaches we study very, very hard to prepare for, but then through the course of the game, they can always switch up the matchups based on who they’re being hurt by.

Q: It seems like this time last year Larry moved up out of the pack because of the work he had done in the offseason, is that fair?

A: Not necessarily, no. Last training camp we were working hard to figure out who was going to be the best player and what they can do. We’ve talked about that with you and I and this group. Each guy has a certain skillset, and we’re going to try and find the things that they can do and put them in the football game to execute those things. If you can do something that’s going to bring in value to our team, you’re going to get in the game to do it.

Q: In terms of him specifically, he seemed like a good offseason guy for you. A guy who took coaching well and advanced quickly as a result of that. So he misses May and June, what does that do for his development?

A: Well, where it hurt his development was physically, not mentally. He did a great job of being very locked in, in the meetings and on the practice field when he was with us and wasn’t rehabbing. He did a tremendous job of making sure he was locked into the play and getting mental reps.

Q: If he gets back to where he was, is he going to be the guy who takes the majority of the snaps like last year?

A: You would love to have even more guys. The more guys, the better, because the wear and the tear through the course of the season isn’t as heavy—it’s not as heavy of a workload for each guy. The more you can have, the better off you’re going to be.

Q: Has Jerome done enough to play himself into a role yet?

A: Right now the evaluation process is going on with everybody.  I think he’s done some very good things, and he’s done some things where he can improve. He certainly warrants a shot, as far as getting playing time in the preseason and then you see where it goes from there.

Q: You mentioned the advancements Larry is making as a blocker, what specifically do you see in what he’s doing now better?

A: As far as the technique is concerned? Not dropping his inside knee when he’s working with the offensive tackle. Trying to keep his elbows tight. Those are all very important things and really it comes from having confidence. When your hands go outside, it’s because you think the guy is going to go around you. When you trust yourself to get your elbow tight and punch your hands inside, that means you’re trusting what you see and that’s a very important thing. It’s an area he still needs to improve on, but he’s getting there. He’s getting there and he’s working with it. He’s making mistakes and learning from them rather than just reverting back to what he was doing before.

Q: There was a play when he was split outside on a run play, in terms of downfield blocking in the run game, is that something he’s still working on?

A: It’s something that we’ll ask him to do certainly. It’ll be a part of our package. That’s one thing that you always work on, but that’s not the major focus. The major focus is the in-line blocking that we need him to improve on. And he is, he’s getting there, he’s just not there yet.

Q: To have Mike Sullivan back, how excited is he and how excited are you to have him back?

A: I think he’s very excited to be back. You’d have to ask him as far as any specifics. But I can comment on what itit is to have him back. I think the comradery and the synergy that you have as an offensive staff is incredibly important. Having him back is a big part of that. Getting him back in the fold and he really got back in the fold pretty quickly and got to know the guys that he hadn’t known before. Re-established relationships and working relationships with guys he had before, so it’s been a nice addition.

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 sixth training camp practice will be held on Thursday 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 five remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • 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
Aug 022015
 
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Shane Vereen, New York Giants (July 31, 2015)

Shane Vereen – © USA TODAY Sports Images

AUGUST 2, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS TRAINING CAMP REPORT…
The New York Giants held their third summer training camp practice on Sunday at Quest Diagnostics Training Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The full training camp schedule is available at Giants.com.

GIANTS SIGN TWO…
The Giants have signed second-year wide receiver Derrick Johnson (Maine) and rookie defensive end Brad Bars (Penn State). Johnson has spent time with the Patriots.

INJURY REPORT AND ABSENTEES…
Offensive guard Geoff Schwartz (soreness in surgically-repaired ankle) and offensive tackle Will Beatty (PUP – recovering from pectoral surgery) did not practice.

“(Schwartz) was sore, so they held him,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Was it planned? No. It wasn’t planned. I’d like to have him practice. But the trainers just said we’d be better off holding him. Maybe he can go tomorrow.”

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:

  • Bennett Jackson received first-team reps at safety along with Landon Collins. Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe practiced at safety with the second-team.
  • Quarterback Eli Manning hit wide receiver Victor Cruz for a touchdown.
  • Tight end Larry Donnell made a sliding catch on a pass from Manning.
  • Wide receiver James Jones made a diving sideline catch on a deep pass from quarterback Ryan Nassib.
  • Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record said his four stars of practice were linebacker Devon Kennard, safety Bennett Jackson, wide receiver Victor Cruz, and linebacker Jon Beason.
  • NJ.com agrees that linebacker Devon Kennard was a standout and also singled out tight end Daniel Fells, safety Bennett Jackson, left tackle Ereck Flowers,

GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE…
Jerry Reese addressed the media on Sunday (video is available at Giants.com):

Reese: Welcome to training camp. Our coaches are working hard, our players are working hard. We’re excited about the 2015 season. There’s a lot of competition at several positions that we like. We look forward to the challenge of this season. I’m open for questions.

Q: Have you had any contact with Jason Pierre-Paul?

A: Guys, I’m not going to say much. I don’t have anything really to report about that situation. I am going to say this, I wish Jason [Pierre-Paul] nothing but the best. This is a traumatic situation—it was an accident. Plenty of people have opinions about it. My heart goes out to him. For a young man to have a traumatic event like that in his life is life-changing for him. I hope and pray for the best for him, that’s what I can say about that. Other than that, I’m not going to say anything else about what Jason’s situation is, except I hope for the best and hopefully he’s healing mentally and physically and that he can be back to himself as soon as possible. That’s all I’m going to say about the Jason situation.

Q: Can you say whether you hope he’ll be back?

A: I’m not going to say anything else about the Jason situation guys. There’s plenty of people [who] already talked about it, and everybody’s got an opinion about it. You can still form your own opinion about it, but that’s my opinion about it.

Q: Do you think your defense still has the ability to be solid?

A: I think we’ll be really good defensively. I think we’re going to surprise people. I think we have five defensive ends that we feel like can play and play at a high level at that position. I do think our defense is going to be a better unit than it was last year. I’m excited to see them out there playing.

Q: Some of your defensive ends were saying that Jason was the star and the name. Do you think a defense needs somebody else to step up and become a star? Can the rest of the guys get it done without that?

A: It’s a great opportunity for us, that’s what the National Football League is about. When you have an injury, somebody can step out of the shadows and do something great. It’s a great opportunity for some more guys at that position to step out of the shadows and do that. There’s some guys that have been around for a while—Damontre Moore is a guy that sticks out in my mind, Kerry Wynn. We’ve got some other guys, we drafted Owa [Odighizuwa]. There’s some more guys at that position that we like and think can help shore up that position for us.

Q: How do plan going forward? There’s that situation that’s lingering out there. How do you plan as the general manager with JPP, whether you’ll have him or maybe you don’t. How do you look at that?

A: I’m not talking about the JPP thing, guys, I’m not talking about it.

Q: I mean for your roster, though.

A: We’ll keep all of our options open with respect to the roster.

Q: Were you relieved to see Victor and Odell pass that physical and get out there?

A: Yeah, I’m just happy to see Victor [Cruz] out there. It’s a long way back, he had a big injury. I still don’t think he’s 100 percent back but I think he’s close. We’ll continue to take him slow. To see those two guys out there together, it’s exciting for us and exciting for our fans. We think they can be a good tandem out there together.

Q: John Mara said the other day that there’s enough here for this team to contend for a playoff spot. Is it fair to say that’s your belief?

A: We always have high expectations here, and that will never change. We always have high expectations and we expect our coaches to perform high, John Mara expects me to perform high. We expect our coaches to perform high, we expect our players to perform high. Our expectation is always high here. Again, we want to go out there and compete for the division and get a chance to get in the tournament.

Q: Does it faze you at all that at the end of last season John Mara said this is a win-or-else year for a lot of people?

A: It’s every year– that happens every year. Regardless, in the National Football League, every year is a win-or-else season in the National Football League, that never changes either.

Q: After three years of missing the playoffs, do you feel more pressure to see this roster perform?

A: No, the pressure is always there, the pressure is always the same—it’s the National Football League, guys. Every year is a different year regardless if you win or you don’t make the playoffs. It’s a pressure-fueled profession and it’s a high-performance business and we relish the challenge.

Q: I know you don’t like to talk about contracts but with that said, with Eli going into his final year, how do you think he’s going to respond to the pressure? I have to think that weighs on his mind.

A: You’re right, I’m not going to talk about a contract. Eli is here and he’s working hard like the rest of the players. He’s excited about the offense. It’s his second year in this offense and he’s got some healthy guys around him again. Our offensive line, we worked on that some. We think the sky is the limit. I think Eli should have a big year.

Q: Is that something that you would expect to get done before the season though?

A: I’m not talking about the contract, he’s under contract.

Q: Speaking of the offensive line, how do you feel about that unit going in? Do you feel you have enough there?

A: Yeah. We’re going to get Will Beatty back at some point, hopefully maybe in October, I’m not sure what exactly the timeline is. He’s working hard trying to get back. We drafted Ereck Flowers, obviously. He’s working hard out there at left tackle. We got a couple young veterans that we’ve drafted lately and a couple older guys that we have in our offensive line. There’s some guys behind them, as well, competing for some positions. I think we’ll have enough to get us through and play well up front.

Q: Do you still keep your options open, though, in case someone comes available?

A: Absolutely, we always keep our options available. Every day we look at the wire. We’re always looking for trade possibilities, we’re always trying to upgrade our roster.

Q: I know you looked at Jake Long twice, is he a possibility or is that knee not okay?

A: Yeah, we’re going to keep our options open with respect to him as well.

Q: You brought in a new receiver, a veteran guy, what do you like about him and what do you think he is?

A: Obviously we had an injury early on and he [James Jones] was a short-list guy for us and really makes sense. He’s been in that system before and he was very productive last year for Oakland. He knows the system, he jumped in really quickly here and hit the ground running. So that’ll create some competition. There’s three, four, five spots at the receiver position.

Q: What did you see in Jeromy Miles? He’s another guy you signed recently. Did you feel you needed a veteran in that room?

A: We just needed some more depth. We’re always trying to upgrade the back end of the roster. He was still out there. We thought he’s been with Spags, he knows him a little bit from being over at Baltimore. We thought we’d bring him in and let him compete for a roster spot. Guy has played some and started a couple of games in his career. He’s been more of a special teamer but he’s started some games.

Q: You always want your rookies to come in and play and contribute. You’ve got a first and second round pick that are lining up with the starters. You need them to be good players right away, don’t you?

A: Well, we hope so. I’ll always say this, your first three picks—you expect those guys to come in and be contributors right away and what you get after that [first three rounds] is a little bit of a bonus. Our first three guys, we expect those guys to come in and be strong contributors right away. Again, I’ll always say this, you might get a couple of starters and it looks like we could possibly get a couple starters out of our first couple of picks.

Q: How important is the health of Jon Beason to this defense overall?

A: [Jon] Beason, it’s a big year for him. I hope he can stay healthy. If he can stay healthy, I think he gives us a lot of pop in there. He gives us that leadership that you want out of that middle linebacker position. So far, so good. He’s been running around and playing with a high motor, he’s a high motor player. If he can stay healthy, that will be tremendous for us.

Q: Health has obviously been a huge issue for you guys over the last couple of years. I know you look at everything in the offseason, have you found anything at all that you think ‘if we change this, we’ll get better luck on the injury front’?

A: Well, we’ve tried different things. We readjusted the schedule, we adjusted some things in the weight room, we’re trying to have more room for down time; it’s an opportunity for guys to recover. But I think it’s just been some bad luck. When guys break bones or tear muscles off the bone or something like that, it’s just unfortunate. Bad things happen sometimes in the National Football League, and hopefully this is our year to stay healthy.

Q: What is your confidence in the roster right now in comparison to what you’ve had in recent years. How do you feel in general about the roster?

A: I like the roster. I like our roster. I think it’s a good roster and, obviously, the proof is in the pudding. We’ve got to get out there and prove it. Like I said earlier, it’s a high-performance business and you’ve got to go out there and perform. I think our players are hungry, they’re excited about the season, the expectation is high and I think they’re up for the challenge.

Q: Is it unusual to have so many new starters? I mean you have five new starters basically in the positions on the offensive line, new starters at safety, a new starter at weakside linebacker. Is that unusual? Does that make you nervous a little bit?

A: No, I don’t think it’s unusual. You always like to have some continuity but you see teams all the time turn their roster over. Again, Seattle, I think maybe the year they won the Super Bowl or the year before, they turned their roster over pretty quickly and had a lot of new starters there. So it happens around the National Football League. It’s just the way it is. Your young players have to play these days. You can’t bring guys in and expect them to sit for a couple of years. You have to bring them in and they have to be contributors early. We like where we are right now in respect to the roster.

Q: You signed Dwayne Harris and gave the indication he can also play receiver, but with the guys you have, is there enough room for him?

A: That’s a lot of competition. If he wants to be a contributor at the receiver spots, he’s got to compete and earn that spot. We do think he’s talented as a receiver as well, but there’s a lot of competition at that position and we love it. We love the competition at that position. At any position, we like competition.

Q: You mentioned that there are several groups of competition that you’re looking forward to. Which ones in specific really stick out to you?

A: I think there’s competition all over. Obviously there is some competition at the safety position, I think our offensive line has some competition, the receiver, the tight end position. I think our defensive ends, that group of five that I talked about, that we feel like can play, are going to be competing for the starting job and a lot of playing time there. Even in our defensive tackle position. I think we have—the running back position has competition. I think there’s competition all over the roster.

Q: How concerned are you at the depth of offensive tackle?

A: I think we have depth there. Again, we are going to get Will Beatty back but we have, you know (Justin) Pugh is playing guard but he can easily go out there and play tackle. He’s been a starter out there for two years. If we have to move him back out there at some point, we are not afraid to do that. I think we have enough and, again, we are going to get Will back.

Q: Do you think overall the offense will be explosive? Do you expect it to be explosive?

A: I hope so. You just think about last year, if you have Odell (Beckham Jr.) for 16 games and you have Victor Cruz for the entire season, you would think you could probably squeeze out a few more wins if you have those explosive-type players playing for the full season. Hopefully those guys, the offensive line, Eli (Manning)’s playing well, continue to grow from this offense, the tight end, Larry Donnell, stepped up in a big way last year and there are some more guys competing at that position. So I expect our offense to score points. If you don’t score 28 points in this league, it’s hard to win. Those 14-10 games, there are not a lot of those games left around the National Football League in light of how the rules favor the offense mostly, how the rules are made now. So you have to score points. You have to take advantage of that, of the rules.

Q: Jerry, you were very optimistic with Cruz from the very beginning when we talked to you. When you see him out here the last couple of days, are you even a little taken aback by how far he’s come?

A: Well, again, it was a big injury and if anybody can come back—the guy is a terrific athlete, number one, and if anybody can come back and has that determination. The guy comes from UMass and develops into a star, so he knows what it’s like to be coming in undrafted so he knows what it’s like to come from some depth to get to where he is. So he has the willpower, the fortitude to come back from something like that and he’s come along way. I still think you won’t see the real Victor Cruz until he gets into some real games and starts to let his quickness take over and his instincts take over.

Q: Just to go back on something you just said, there was a mantra in this league for decades that a defense wins championships. Do you think that’s changed?

A: Well, I still think you need to have a solid defense, but the rules now favor the offense. In my opinion, the rules favor the offense mostly and you have to score points because if you don’t score points—if you’re playing from behind all the time, it’s hard to win football games. You’ve got to get out and score points. We hope our offense can do that.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge Odell faces trying to follow up on last season?

A: I think Odell just has to be himself. I don’t think there’s any challenge. Obviously, he’s gifted. I think he just has to let the game come to him and not try to force things because he’s going to make plays. I don’t think he should press and try an ‘I have to do everything’ kind of situation for him. He’s driven, he loves football. I don’t think he’s going to have any issues. I think he’ll perform high again.

Q: Compared to other sports, football has been a little slow when it comes to using analytics, evaluating players and that kind of thing. What role do you think they should have?

A: Analytics? Everybody is trying to implement the analytics part of evaluating players but, again, here with us, we evaluate guys with our eyes. Our scouts go out and we look at them and we evaluate them with our eyes and with our experiences for different positions on your football team. Analytics play a role, we try to look at it, but the number one thing we use here is our eyes. Our eyes tell the story. Believe what you see.

Q: Is the analytics more for you guys to confirm what you’re seeing with your eyes? Is that an accurate way…

A: Well, you can say that. It’s just part of the puzzle. I think that can be part of the puzzle, it can confirm some things for you, I guess, in some ways. But at the end of the day, what you see is what you have to believe.

Q: Some of the defensive players have been talking about how Spags has been stressing the history of the Giants’ defenses. How does bringing Spags back make that connection to the defenses of the past and why is that important for them?

A: He did a terrific job when he was here the last time, but Spags, he can motivate these guys and tell them what they have to do, but the players have to get out there and perform. So it’s up to the players. I think we have a terrific coaching staff on both sides of the ball. They are working their behinds off and I appreciate the work they put in. I think our entire football team would be motivated to perform at a high level and compete. We open up September 13 against Dallas and I think we will put a terrific football team out there and play well.

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

Q: Did Geoff Schwartz practice today?

A: No, he was sore so they held him.

Q: Was it ankle/leg/foot?

A: Yes.

Q: Was it something that was planned?

A: We’ll see what happens tomorrow. Was it planned? No, we’d like to have him practice. Trainers just said they’d be better off holding him, maybe he can go tomorrow.

Q: You practiced Cruz and Beckham three straight days, do you have any plan for those guys?

A: It is the plan, you’re seeing it. They only take a certain number of reps. They work their way up into things. You’re seeing it.

Q: First day in uppers, did it sort of go the way you wanted?

A: Some of the plays are not exactly what you would like because they end up getting in some poor positions sometimes. But otherwise, I’m hoping that we came out of it good. They have to learn how to handle the pads and learn how to practice together with the pads on. It has to start somewhere.

Q: What have you seen from Cruz thus far?

A: He seems to be doing well. There’s no complaints and he’s gone through some things that I think he’s maybe challenged himself and came out the other end. So far, so good.

Q: Did you find any new punt returners out there at the end?

A: Yeah, we did. Some of them, their sternums held up well. Did you hear the sound of the hits? But they caught it, four straight defensive linemen caught the ball. We may have found a tight end or something.

Q: How’s Flowers doing so far? Do you like his attitude?

A: I love his attitude, his attitude is great. He just goes to work, he doesn’t say much. He’s got to go through it again. Lots of things to learn, lots of things happen fast. He’s out there, he competes.

Q: How’s his singing?

A: You know what, he did pretty good today. He got it over with, I think, at least one time. They may make him do it again.

Q: How is Bennett Jackson handling his transition?

A: Seems to be doing okay. There’s a guy coming off an injury, too, but nobody talks about him much. He’s been out there and done a pretty good job.

Q: What’s the biggest thing for that transition from corner to safety?

A: There’s a lot to learn. Safeties have a lot of information to spit out in a short amount of time. It’s a totally different position from corner, so he’s got a lot of things to learn but so far he’s done pretty well.

Q: I saw him out there with the first team. Was that something that was earned?

A: Guys are going to rotate, guys are going to rotate. Should be going on at other positions as well.

Q: Did you back off of Rashad Jennings a little bit today? Was he limited?

A: No, he was fine, he was in there. Got a few guys who can run through there, which is nice. They all got work.

Q: Prince and DRC, are they pretty sharp in your mind at this point?

A: They’re getting there. I would say there has not been a lot of just plain opportunities for them to flat out defend. DRC made a nice play yesterday on the ball up in the air with Beckham. Everybody has a long way to go. It’s early on, but we’re working on it.

Q: I don’t know how much you can say about Derrick Johnson?

A: He’s just over here for the first time trying to help out and trying to learn some assignments so we can get him in there.

Q: Why did you want to bring in another wide receiver?

A: Why did we want to bring in a receiver? Because we’re trying to see guys that are coming back and limiting their snaps, so we need some people to be able to put out there.

Q:That’s what I thought.

A: Then why did you ask?

Q: I need you to say it.

A: Why? Don’t quote me on it.

Q: With your defensive ends, who do you really see as ready to step up without Jason Pierre-Paul here?

A: Well, they’re going to have to. Damontre [Moore] has done a pretty good job in the early going. Robert Ayers. The young guy, Owa [Odighizuwa], he missed a lot of the spring. He’s a guy that we’re going to end up counting on, too.

Q: How much does it help having Jon Beason out here?

A: A lot. Refocuses everybody. He’s got great energy. Very positive guy, good leadership.

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 fourth training camp practice will be held on Monday 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 six remaining training camp practices at Quest Diagnostics Training Center will be open to the public this year:

  • 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 092015
 
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Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart, New York Giants (June 16, 2015)

Brad Harrah and Bobby Hart – © 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: Offensive Line

2014 YEAR IN REVIEW: The overall play of the New York Giants offensive line improved in 2014 from its dreadful performance in 2013 but the unit was still sub par. The Giants were tied for 28th in the NFL with only 3.6 yards per rushing attempt. Pass protection was better as the Giants gave up 30 sacks on the season, which was 9th-best in the NFL. But that figure is a bit misleading given the offense’s new emphasis on getting rid of the ball quickly (West Coast Offense) and quarterback Eli Manning’s long-established tendency to get rid of the ball quickly and not take the sack (which he probably actually should do more often when under duress).

The improvement that did take place not only had to do with the individual components playing better, but the Giants had greater cohesion up front due to far fewer injuries. In 2013, the Giants used seven different starting offensive line combinations, the second-highest total in the NFL that season. In 2014, the same players started all 16 games at left tackle (Will Beatty), center (J.D. Walton), and right guard (John Jerry). Weston Richburg started 15 games at left guard and Justin Pugh started 14 games at right tackle.

That all said, it is widely-recognized that the offensive line was once again a sore spot in 2014. Chris Snee retired before training camp. The Giants counted on high-priced free agent acquisition Geoff Schwartz to be a major building block, but Schwartz only played in two games due to injuries. Beatty had a decent year, but Walton and Jerry really struggled at times. Pugh regressed after a strong rookie season and Richburg experienced the expected growing pains, especially since he was playing out of position. Overall, the line was more finesse than power, which usually is not good for any offense, but especially so for one predicated on balance and the ability to run the football.

Another issue was the overall poor depth situation. James Brewer, Brandon Mosley, Eric Herman, Dallas Reynolds, and Adam Snyder were complete non factors and did not push the weaker links on the line. Adam Gettis was signed late in the season from the Steelers practice squad and ex-Eagle Michael Bamiro was signed to the Giants practice squad.

ADDITIONS/SUBTRACTIONS: The Giants released center J.D. Walton in March. Tackle James Brewer signed with the Jets in free agency and the Giants have made no effort to re-sign guard Adam Snyder. The Giants signed CFL All-Star center Brett Jones and street free agent tackle Emmett Cleary early in the offseason and then signed unrestricted free agent tackle Marshall Newhouse from the Bengals.The Giants drafted tackle Ereck Flowers in the first round and guard Bobby Hart in the seventh round. The team also signed rookie free agent tackle Sean Donnelly.

TRAINING CAMP STORY LINES: The Giants will enter training camp with no 2014 starter remaining at the same position. Will Beatty tore his pectoral muscle in an offseason weight-lifting accident and will probably miss at least half of the regular season. Because of that, the Giants are starting Ereck Flowers at left tackle at least one year sooner than they anticipated (post-draft comments by Giants officials made it clear that they saw Flowers as Beatty’s eventual replacement). Flowers had been penciled in at right tackle but now Marshall Newhouse – a player benched by the Packers and Bengals – gets first crack at the position. Weston Richburg moves to his more natural position of center. Justin Pugh has shifted from right tackle to left guard. Geoff Schwartz moves from left guard to his more natural right guard position.

The Giants have now invested two first-round draft picks (Pugh and Flowers), two second-round draft picks (Beatty and Richburg), and a high-priced free agent (Schwartz) on the offensive line. Even though Beatty is out, much improvement is expected. On paper, the Giants look strong inside (Pugh-Richburg-Schwartz) with significant question marks at tackle (Flowers and Newhouse). Flowers should eventually excel, but growing pains should be expected. Newhouse’s track record during the last few years has not been good and he appears to be the obvious weak link. The Giants may be forced to move Schwartz to right tackle and start John Jerry at right guard if Newhouse can’t handle the position. The situation should improve when Beatty returns mid-season, but long-term, Beatty may have sealed his fate with the team, especially if Flowers shows steady improvement at left tackle.

Another area of focus is the depth situation and if one of the younger players could possibly surprise and push for a starting job. Brandon Mosley apparently had a good spring as he received some first-team reps during OTAs. The Giants have some very big, young tackles including Michael Bamiro (6’8”, 340lbs), Emmett Cleary (6’7”, 324lbs), and Sean Donnelly (6’7”, 333lbs). The team drafted guard Bobby Hart (6’4”, 334lbs). Brett Jones was a CFL All-Star who is now adjusting to the NFL game.

Overall, the Giants need the line to become a much more physical and intimidating presence. Flowers has a reputation as a bad ass and should help. Pugh and Richburg worked hard in the offseason to get bigger and stronger. The Giants need Schwartz to rebound from a serious ankle injury and be a tough veteran inside.

ON THE BUBBLE: The Giants will probably carry nine offensive linemen. Beatty will probably start the season on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) List and not count against the 53-man roster limit. Flowers, Pugh, Richburg, and Schwartz are the locks. Newhouse and Jerry are on shaky ground, but one will likely start and the other will likely provide veteran depth. The other nine offensive linemen will probably be fighting for three spots. Those linemen include Mosley, Bamiro, Cleary, Donnelly, Hart, Jones, Dallas Reynolds, Eric Herman, and Adam Gettis. Troy Kropog is also currently on a PUP List.

FROM THE POSITIONAL COACH: Pat Flaherty on Weston Richburg: “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.”

Flaherty on Michael Bamiro: “I’ll tell you he 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.”

Flaherty on Justin Pugh: “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…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.”

Flaherty on Geoff Schwartz: “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 he 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.”

PREDICTIONS: While there will be growing pains with Ereck Flowers, 4/5ths of the Giants offensive line could be set for a few years provided there are no more injuries and Schwartz recovers well from his ankle injury. Flowers will bring much-needed toughness and physicality to the line. Richburg seems primed to develop into a good one at center and the Giants seem to think Pugh will excel at left guard. In fact, these three players could not only be solid, but very good.

“We like (Flowers) as a future left tackle of the New York Giants. I am very comfortable with him being out there right now,” said Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo during the mini-camp.

“(Pugh) is a football-smart guy,” said McAdoo. “He is a hard worker. He 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.”

“Weston is a natural center,” said McAdoo. “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.”

The obvious question mark is Newhouse at right tackle. He could be the Achilles’ heel for the entire line. Given his struggles in the league the last few years, it’s hard to imagine him being the answer. If he has problems early, the Giants may have to pull the plug and scramble to fill the position. While fans knock John Jerry, he may be an important piece of the short-term puzzle. The pie-in-the-sky hope is that someone like Mosley or Bamiro presses for starting time.

“Marshall has played a little bit of everywhere,” said McAdoo. “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. He 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.”

FINAL DEPTH CHART: Flowers, Pugh, Richburg, Schwartz, Newhouse, Jerry, Mosley, Hart, and Jones.

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 022015
 
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Preston Parker, New York Giants (July 22, 2014)

Preston Parker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

JUNE 2, 2015 NEW YORK GIANTS OTA PRACTICE REPORT…

The New York Giants completed their fifth of ten Organized Team Activity (OTA) practices at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Tuesday. The Tuesday session was not open to the media, but Giants.com did report some of the following tidbits:

  • Play of the Day: “A bomb from [quarterback] Ryan Nassib to Ben Edwards during 11-on-11s. Edwards, an undrafted wide receiver from Richmond, broke free down the middle, and Nassib dropped it right into his hands in stride for the longest play of OTAs so far. Wide receiver Victor Cruz ran out to give him a high-five as he was running back to the huddle.”
  • Quarterback Eli Manning threw a touchdown pass to wide receiver Preston Parker in 7-on-7 drills.
  • Tight end Adrien Robinson made a nice gain on a pass from Nassib. (Video)
  • Cornerback/safety Josh Gordon picked off a pass from Nassib. (Video)
  • Wide receiver Dwayne Harris made a few nice catches.
  • Wide receiver Victor Cruz – who is recovering from a torn patellar tendon – continued to work on the sidelines, running routes and catching some passes.

Phase Three (Weeks 6-9) of the New York Giants voluntary nine-week offseason program started last week. During Phase Three of offseason programs, NFL teams may conduct a total of 10 days of OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7, and 11-on-11 drills are permitted.

The final five OTA practices will be held June 4, June 8-9, and June 11-12. The Giants will hold a mandatory, full-team mini-camp on June 16-18.

Giants.com Q&A with OC Weston Richburg: The video of a Giants.com Q&A session with center Weston Richburg is available at Giants.com.

Articles on the New York Giants OTAs:

Article on RB Shane Vereen: Shane Vereen could be more prominent than expected in Giants’ backfield by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Articles on CB Prince Amukamara:

Articles on CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie:

Apr 232015
 
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Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 21, 2015)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Jerry Reese’s 2015 Pre-Draft Press Conference: New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese held his annual pre-draft press conference today. The following is the transcript from the event (video is also available courtesy of Giants.com):

Q: Who are you picking?

A: A good player at nine.

Q: In a year like this and with some of the things that went on last year in the NFL, how much more important or different is the way you look at a player’s character and behavior when you are assessing them? Has that changed?

A: I think we are always mindful of a player’s character and background. That always goes into the equation. It is not really anything new for us. Obviously, like all teams, we have taken some guys on the back end of the roster, more risk-reward kind of situations on the back end of the roster. We are very conscious and have been for a long time about backgrounds and character.

Q: That seems to have changed last year when you guys wanted a lot of clean players… Whereas in the past you would have taken…?

A: The thing you have to think about when you are thinking about these young players is that they are young. They do young kid stuff. You can’t just absolutely kill them. You wouldn’t have anyone to draft. Kids do kid things and do college things and it happens. If a guy has a long list of issues, that is when you have to throw the red flag in there. Is this guy going to stop? If you have a couple things that college kids do, you can’t just throw it away.

Q: Is there anything concrete you do with that or is it just an eyeball test?

A: We do all the background checks and our scouts go out and dig the information that we can. We interview them and try to put it all together and make a decision on it.

Q: Is it kind of three strikes and you are out?

A: Not necessarily, it depends on how egregious the off-field issues are, more than anything else probably.

Q: Last year you seemed to have a guy pegged or a couple guys you thought would be available… Is it more unpredictable being at nine?

A: I think you always have a good idea, but it is always unpredictable. You never know what is going to happen. You can look up and some of those quarterbacks they think are going to be in the first couple picks could be – not off the board until 15 or 20. You never know. I learned that a long time ago in the draft. Funny things can happen, so expect everything to happen.

Q: Last year the wide receiver corps turned out to be a really good group… There are a lot of thoughts that this wide receiving corps could be just as good… Thoughts?

A: I think there are good receivers, just as there were last year. I think that is every year. I think there are good players at every position every year. I don’t know if that is a good answer or not, but I think there are good wide receivers…I think there are good players at every position.

Q: Given you have a lot of depth at receiver, would you have any qualms about drafting another receiver?

A: First of all, as soon as you say you have a lot of depth at any position, you don’t have depth. I know better than to say that. We will draft the best player available for us. It really doesn’t matter what position it is.

Q: How do you look at your offensive line at this point? Do you look at it saying you need to supplement it at least during one day of the draft?

A: Every position. We want to try and upgrade every position as best we can every opportunity we get. Offensive line won’t be excluded from that as well.

Q: In your mind right now, what does your offensive line look like? Is Justin Pugh still at right tackle?

A: That is something for Tom. You have to talk to Tom about that. Obviously Pugh has been a starter and is going to be a starter somewhere more than likely. [Geoff] Schwartz is coming back from injury. Hopefully he can fit in there somewhere. What we want to do is get as many good players as we can and create as much competition as we can in the offensive line.

Q: When you are picking as high as you are, is there a sense of a guy having to fit in at a premium position? In the past, you wouldn’t have drafted linebacker in the first round, but guys like defensive backs, wide receivers and left tackles… Is that part of your thinking when you are as high as you are?

A: If you draft at nine, whoever it is, is a premium position, regardless of the position that he is. If you draft at nine, it is a premium position, regardless of what it is. It doesn’t matter what position. If you draft him at nine, he is a guy you expect to come in and play and play quickly.

Q: Has the profile of offensive linemen changed at all in the last decade at all?

A: We just look for good players. Good profiles. Good players. Strong. Big, strong, fast and smart.

Q: The big lineman from Iowa is a guy everyone seems to love as a guard prospect… What do you see from him?

A: I think he can play both. I think he can play tackle and he can play guard. I think he can play somewhere.

Q: Where do you see him?

A: The coaches will have to figure that out.

Q: How do you look at this group of pass rushers?

A: There are some good pass rushers and edge rushers available.  Are you asking me to stack them or something like that? I can’t do that, but I do think there are some good pass rushers in this draft.

Q: You haven’t made a ton of trades as compared to other teams throughout the years… How do you explain that? Is that the way things worked out?

A: We will keep all of our options open on the draft. We can trade up and we can trade down. That doesn’t change. We are not looking to trade just to try to be cute to trade up or down. If we think we have an opportunity to move up, then we will move up. If we have an opportunity to move back, then we will do that as well.

Q: Back around the combine, in regards to Victor Cruz, you said you couldn’t think of him as a sure thing… Have you seen anything from him where you can have some kind of certainty of how he will be when he comes back?

A: I don’t think you can have certainty. [Cruz] looks good. He is running pretty good right now. He is scheduled to be back for the opener for us, but until you get out there and turn it loose, you never know what a guy is going to do. He looks great right now.

Q: Are you still approaching whatever he can give you guys next year as a ‘bonus?’

A: I am not counting it as a bonus, but I want to be prepared if he is not here.

Q: Is there any change in your perspective in the preparation on your part when you pick ninth instead of 12th like last year and going back to the Super Bowl when you picked last?

A: We just stack the board. Whoever we think the best player is in the first row, it doesn’t matter what position, which is how we do it. We stack them the same way. If you pick inside 12 picks, you should get a good football player.

Q: Does the expectation change as far as impact goes?

A: The higher you pick – that is how the system is. If you pick high in the draft – that is the way the whole system is built. If you pick high in the draft, you are supposed to get better players to help you have a better football team. If you are picking last in the draft, you get penalized for being successful. You get penalized, so you get lesser players. Whoever you pick at nine should be a better player than you pick at 32. That is the way the system is and obviously we are picking nine and expect to get a good player.  A really good player.

Q: Another general manager said there were eight to ten players who were real difference makers above other guys… Do you have a point in your estimation of how many guys are at a higher level than the rest of the group?

A: I think there is always a break. Everyone in the first row – that is why we call them rows; they are not first round picks. There are natural breaks. There may be eight and then there may be five more players, then there is another break. There are always breaks in the first row where you stack them, but you have to have 32 players in the first round.

Q: Where is that first break?

A: We’ll see.

Q: How are you looking at your safety position right now? Do you think it is a position of need?

A: We are not going to make do, just like any position, we are going to try to upgrade that position. Just like the rest of the positions. We are not going to make do. We have some young players that we think have some talent, but we are going to continue to try and upgrade that position as well.

Q: Last year we were saying you needed to get a tight end and you felt confident with some of the young guys… Is it the same thing now?

A: Every position we want to upgrade. We want to upgrade safety. We want to have competition at that position like we want to have at every position and we will try to do that.

Q: Tom talked about the possibility of converting Chykie Brown or Bennett Jackson to safety… Is that realistic in your mind and what goes into that?

A: It happens all the time. One of the best players we tried to get in free agency was the corner from New England. He was a corner and played safety. You see those conversions. That is not new to see something like that happen. That is a possibility as well.

Q: Are [Brown and Jackson] guys who could possibly convert in your eyes?

A: I think so. You never know. You have to experiment in the spring. Obviously you would like to get a guy who has played there and done the job, but you have to be creative in this day and age with your personnel.

Q: You went after [Devin] McCourty, so you wanted to upgrade that position… What happened after that? Do you look at Josh Gordy as a safety?

A: That is what he plays.

Q: What was the plan at that position after McCourty?

A: We thought he was the best player in free agency [at his position] and after that we thought there was a drop off and that is what happened.

Q: Now that Eli is back in the building and he said his attitude is to play the year and go from there… What is your thought on his contract?

A: It is inappropriate to talk about a contract right now. Eli is back in the building. He looks great. He is happy to be back. We are glad he is back. We will address that when it is appropriate.

Q: Do you sense that this a real opportunity for Eli this offseason, given that he is not coming off ankle surgery and he has already been in this offense for a year?

A: Yeah, I am excited. It should be a big year for him. He is not learning the offense. A lot of the players were in the offense last year. He’ll get another piece back hopefully with Victor Cruz coming back. The tight ends will have a little bit more experience. I hope the offense – we got [Shane] Vereen, who we think is a good piece to help our offense as well. I think our offense should be a pretty good offense.

Q: Re: Thought process in the signings of Vereen, [Dwayne] Harris, [J.T.] Thomas… What were you after?

A: We were trying to upgrade some positions that we already had. We knew we were going to lose some players. We felt Vereen was a really nice piece. Everyone knows what he does as a receiver out of the backfield, he can run the ball. He is a professional football player back there. He is really good on third down. Really good on any down, to be honest. We thought he would be a nice piece. Went after him and the two linebackers. We thought they were upgrades. They will battle for starting positions. Dwayne Harris, we thought the guy was kind of a four to five tool type player for us. We thought we were getting a lot of players out of one position. We played against him for a long time and he has been a good player for [Dallas]. Hopefully he will bring it over here to us and he will play for us in those capacities.

Q: Where do you view J.T. Thomas’s best position?

A: I don’t know. It is up to the coaches. He looked like a WILL linebacker to me, but that is up to the coaches.

Q: Are you still hoping to get Stevie Brown back?

A: We are going to keep all our options open.

Q: As one of the teams in the league that isn’t quarterback-needy, do you even look at those top two guys?

A: We look at everybody. You never say you aren’t quarterback-needy. You can’t say those kinds of things. Ralph just said we were deep at receiver and you are saying we don’t need a quarterback. I know better than to say something like that.

Q: What is your take on the two quarterbacks at the top of the draft?

A: They are good players. They are both good players. They are both different, but I think they are both, in what they do, I think they are both good players.

Q: Is your expectation that they are going to go one and two?

A: I don’t expect anything. Expect the unexpected in the draft. They may not go until 15, who knows?

Q: You have gone offense the last three years in the first round… Does that go into any decision making?

A: I didn’t even know that. Whoever the best player is at nine – we are going to pick them.

Q: Do you have any concern over Jason Pierre-Paul not being here for the offseason program and not signing the tender yet?

A: It is voluntary and it is inappropriate to talk about player contracts at this point in time. It is not mandatory that he should be here.

Q: After you get an Odell [Beckham Jr.]  and everything that he did in his first season and now you are picking at nine, are there heightened expectations?

A: You always want to get good players in the draft. Sometimes you hit on a guy like Odell and he is a terrific player, but the higher you pick, the better the player should be. When you are picking on the back end, it is obviously not the same caliber.

Q: When you look back at last year’s draft, from top to bottom, how do you evaluate it?

A: We don’t really look back on that draft that much. We draft them and that draft is over. We are moving on to this draft and we are excited about the players in this draft. We go back after two or three years and look and see why a guy made it or why a guy didn’t make it. After one year, it is really hard to evaluate.

Q: Was the approach different in the past two drafts?

A: No.

Q: This week, have you checked in with Odell and how his hamstring is feeling?

A: I just saw Odell a couple of minutes ago down in the weight room. He looks great and he didn’t say a word about his hamstring.

Q: Do you have any injuries that are long-term concerns?

A: There will be a couple guys we have concerns with, but we feel good about the vast majority of our players being ready to go for training camp.

New York Giants Player Q&As: Video clips of Thursday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Mar 042015
 
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Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions (January 4, 2015)

Ndamukong Suh – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants May Pursue Ndamukong Suh: According to press reports, the New York Giants may pursue unrestricted free agent defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (Detroit Lions) when the free agency negotiating period begins on March 7.

The New York Daily News is reporting that “several NFL sources believe the Giants are considering a run” at Suh, who is widely-regarded at the top unrestricted free agent on the market. ESPN is also reporting that the Giants may be one of the teams in the mix for Suh.

However, with the Giants only currently about $10-13 million under the $143 million cap, the team would have to be creative to find a way to pay for Suh. The Giants could extend/re-structure some contracts (including that of QB Eli Manning) or cut players or force them to take pay cuts. There is also the possibility that the Giants could remove the almost $15 million franchise tender on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.

The 28-year old Suh is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL and the rare defensive tackle who can both play the run and rush the passer. The problem for the Giants is that many teams with a lot more cap space are expected to bid on Suh, who may be seeking a contract in the 6-year, $100 million range with $50 million in guaranteed money.

Victor Cruz Injury Update: On a Giants.com video interview, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz said he expects to be ready to practice by the time training camp starts in late July.

“My goal is for training camp,” said Cruz. “Obviously OTAs are near and approaching, but I just want to take my time and continue rehab. But training camp is definitely the goal.”

If Cruz is able to practice at camp, he would likely be limited as he is recovering from a very serious injury, tearing the patella tendon in his right knee in October 2014. It remains to be seen if Cruz can completely regain his pre-injury physical ability.

“When a guy has a big injury like Victor had, you can’t put all your eggs in his basket,” said General Manager Jerry Reese on February 21 at the NFL Combine. “Our doctors said he looks good. I see him down in the training room working out with our trainers and doctors and he looks good. Until you get out there – his game is quickness. Until you get out there and move around, you never know how he is going to recover from that. We are hoping and praying that he comes back 100 percent and be the Victor Cruz that we know, but you can’t put 100 percent in that basket.”

Articles on the New York Giants and Free Agency:

Articles on Defensive End Jason Pierre-Paul:

Giants.com Feature on Center Weston Richburg: A video feature “Building Blocks: OL Weston Richburg” is available at Giants.com.