The Giants take the field on a much more warm and humid day than they have experienced all of this week. After a rigorous full padded practice yesterday, today’s session is expected to be lighter, with the players wearing shells only, as the team has their final practice prior to heading to Canton for Sunday Night’s Hall of Fame game. A light rain fell over the field, cooling the players and offering some relief from the stifling humidity that has taken over after a series un-dog like summer days.
The team provided some updates on injured players. It was initially thought that Will Beatty left practice due to a hand injury, however, the team disclosed that the left tackle had an illness. The nature of the illness wasn’t shared, although he did miss practice today due to a headache. Spencer Paysinger has been recovering from a concussion since Sunday, July 27th. Wide receiver Cory Washington’s injury was to his heel. He practiced today. Guard John Jerry’s knee injury is a flare up of the same injury that bothered him in the spring. Bennett Jackson’s ankle injury is a relatively mild sprain and he should be able to return to action soon.
Jerry Reese was interviewed on ESPN radio yesterday evening by Michael Kay and Shaun O’Hara and said that the Giants are going to proceed cautiously on David Wilson and that the team is not going to put him on the field until they know “1000% he should be out there.” He did drop Wilson’s name as a potential kick returner, indicating that all hope is not lost for the running back to see the field in 2014. Reese also spoke highly of cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, calling him one of the premier corners in the National Football League. Former Giants O’Hara asked Reese to finish the sentence, “The Giants make the playoffs if…” Reese’s reply, “Eli Manning plays well, and Jason Pierre-Paul plays well.” That would make for a most enjoyable season.
Safety Antrel Rolle was also on ESPN radio, and said that Larry Donnell is the player on offense impressing him most. Asked if any wide receiving corps in the league worried the Giants secondary, Rolle replied, “Absolutely not, we’re more concerned with ourselves.” Asked about the Super Bowl being in Arizona, where Rolle he started his career, Rolle joked that he played in Super Bowl 43 and 46, and given that 49 is coming up, “He likes his odds.” It was joking in nature, not arrogant, and not a jinx like Reese’s countdown clock last season. Rolle is not concerned about the officials plan to emphasize illegal contact and defensive holding this season, he plans to play his game and “If a flag comes, it comes.” Secondary mate Prince Amukamara added that with the talent the Giants have in the secondary, cornerbacks best stay on the field or risk getting “Wally Pipp’d.”
Speaking of jinxes, the Dallas Cowboys have send out playoff ticket invoices to their season ticket holders already, including the NFC Championship game on January 18, 2015. Of course, fans will fork over the money to keep from being shut out of the games, and Jerry Jones will reap the benefit of interest on millions of dollars from now until the Cowboys are mathematically eliminated, likely sometime in December. Fortunately, the Giants have been utilizing a pay as they qualify system for playoff tickets the past few seasons. It’s much more equitable for the fans, given the high cost of post season tickets.
Sportsbook.com has odds posted on the first NFL coach to get fired. Jason Garrett has the shortest odds at 4/1, followed by Doug Marrone of the Buffalo Bills at 11/2, and Dennis Allen of the Oakland Raiders at 6/1. Tom Coughlin is on list with 12/1 odds. If I were to wager on this, I’d put my money on Allen given the Raiders brutal schedule. Betting on Garrett being fired seems a safer bet than Cowboy fans using their playoff tickets, unless it’s the version shown as today’s featured image.
Linebacker Jon Beason joined the ESPN radio crew and revealed the teams that contacted him in free agency before he re-signed with the Giants: Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Washington Redskins. Beason also predicts that linebacker Jacquian Williams is ready to break out on a “physical, reaction, and instinctual standpoint.” After practice, Beason surprised 30 children from the Riverside Summer Leadership Program with new Nike sneakers. Beason is a leader on the field and an asset in the community, hopefully, he gets healthy and rewards the Giants for their confidence in re-signing him.
Some more detail on the offense installation, which Tom Coughlin mentioned yesterday is only halfway complete. As the installation progresses, he and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo will discuss what the players execute well and what plays are not suited to the talent on the team. Those plays that don’t work with the roster as it’s currently comprised will be taken out of the playbook. We can therefore conclude that what we’ve been seeing in practice is not necessarily representative of what the offense will look like against Detroit on opening night.
The Hall of Fame announced the order that the players will be inducted tomorrow night, and Michael Strahan will be up last. It’s a move that should come as a shock to none, given Strahan’s ability to play to an audience and his popularity growth since leaving the league. The team also announced that they will honor Strahan on Monday, November 3rd at a home game against Indianapolis. Unfortunately, most regular Giant fans won’t be in attendance, as prime time games feature fans that were given the tickets or bought them through resellers. One would think the Giants would be aware of this trend and pick a game where the fans that actually watched the Hall of Famer play his games could honor him, but they’d rather the television spectacle. Such is the way of the Giants in the post Wellington Mara era.
Rueben Randle spoke with the media today and confirm what been said about the No Huddle being a big part of the McAdoo offense, saying the team can go into it at any time. It will be interesting to see if the team starts the game with it on Sunday night, for the one or two series that the starting offense is on the field. Randle added that his hamstring is feeling fine and that he is looking forward to his role starting in the new offense.
Mathias Kiwanuka, who has a spinal fusion surgery similar to David Wilson’s in 2010, but doesn’t have the narrowing of the spinal column that increases Wilson’s risk of permanent injury, said he pushed himself to come back when doctors said he couldn’t. Kiwanuka believes the Giants will do right by Wilson after his recent setback. Asked what his goals are for this season, Kiwanuka replied, “Win a championship and have my best statistical year.” Add Kiwanuka to the list of Giants impressed by cornerback Rodgers-Cromartie, saying that he can “Shut down any receiver.”
Victor Cruz echoed Randle’s sentiments about the offense, saying that he expects the team to come “Out of the chute” in an Up Tempo mode on Sunday. One of the things Cruz is looking forward to is walking through the Hall of Fame this weekend, as he’s never been. Regarding the game, Cruz points out that the feel of the preseason is different this year as the team is learning the new offense. The games will give them a chance to implement what they’ve learned in a game setting.
On Monday, offensive tackle Troy Kropog was carted off the practice field with an apparent injury, but no updates were given, and he was not mentioned as either attending or absent from the practice field on Tuesday or yesterday. We learned today that Kropog suffered a fairly serious foot injury as was placed on injured reserve today. Expect to see Kropog waived with an injury settlement reasonably soon. The Giants signed former Penn State tackle Adam Gress to take his spot on the roster. The 6’6″, 310 pound Gress appeared in 32 games for the Nittany Lions, starting 12. While he is considered a potential right tackle in the NFL, one has to wonder why his former college coach, now Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien, did not offer Gress a spot on their training camp roster. Gress was part of a three man rotation at tackle for Penn State last season.
As practice got underway, Trindon Holliday, Xavier Grimble, and Paysinger remained on the sideline with trainers. They were joined by Wilson, who sprinted out to watch his teammates run through their drills. Odell Beckham fielded punts without returning them, as he has been throughout the week. Beatty, was back out on the field, seemingly recovered from the illness that caused him to leave yesterday, however, Charles Brown was up first in the rotation. Beatty only observed, due to the aforementioned headache. Mike Patterson also came out and warmed up to practice with the team, but Jonathan Hankins got the “start” at defensive tackle. As there is no sign of either Jackson or defensive end Robert Ayers, it appears both are out today. That likely means neither will play in Sunday’s game. Beatty and Patterson will also sit, in all probability.
It was Josh Brown’s turn to kick today, and he went 4 for 4, keeping the kicking competition brisk. He got a mulligan on one attempt when a botched Zak DeOssie snap resulted in an aborted attempt. DeOssie needs to get that out of his system on the practice field.
Trumaine McBride got another interception on the opening drive, off of Manning, on a pass intended for Rueben Randle. Manning bounced right back and hit Jerrel Jernigan for a touchdown. Wide Receiver Marcus Harris, who has looked good so far in camp, caught two touchdowns in the early going. One from Manning, and one from Ryan Nassib. Curtis Painter got into the act and hit Washington for a deep touchdown.
The defense took it’s turn with some trickery today, running a Stevie Brown safety blitz for a would be sack of Manning. The offense wasn’t far behind, throwing a bit of the read option into the mix, with
Manning Nassib at quarterback. A read option play with Manning could be timed with a sun dial. Nassib then hit Jernigan deep for a touchdown.
Painter’s turn again, and he is using big target Adrien Robinson early, hitting the tight end in seam for a couple of nice gains. Nassib came back in and ran another read option play, this time handing the ball off to Peyton Hillis. Might we see some read option in the game on Sunday? That would be a unique look for the Giants, although it’s not something regular season opponents would worry about unless it’s a special package with Nassib at quarterback. Painter brings the outdoor portion of practice to a close with a touchdown to wide receiver Travis Harvey. Lightning has been spotted ten miles distant, and the remainder of practice will be conducted inside the safe confines of the Quest Diagnostic Center and is closed to viewing.
Coughlin is being cagey about his plans for Sunday’s game, only saying that all three quarterbacks will play. He’s not given any indication how long the starters will stay on the field, only saying it will be “minimal.” It may depend on their efficiency. Especially the offense.
Tomorrow is an off day for the team, as they travel to Ohio in advance of Sunday’s game. Many of the coaches and front office staff with undoubtedly be in attendance for the the induction ceremony in support of Strahan. Check back here on Sunday morning for some things to look for in the Hall of Fame game and thoughts on Strahan’s induction.