The Giants get back to work today following their preseason game against the Jets, and the offensive line is foremost on the team’s mind as all indications are that guard Geoff Schwartz will be lost for a significant chunk of the regular season. Tom Coughlin, in a conference call with the media yesterday, cautioned to wait until Schwartz’s evaluation with noted specialist Dr.James Andrews is completed, early in the upcoming week, before jumping to any conclusions. In the interim, rookie Weston Richburg is will be given the first crack at Schwartz’s left guard spot, and Brandon Mosley will remain at right guard for the time being.
Coughlin also spoke about the apparent new order with penalties and isn’t blaming the officials, who are following instructions provided by the league. He does admit that it is frustrating when a penalty is called on a seemingly incidental contact that doesn’t change the receivers trajectory or is away from the play. However, Coughlin believes that if the reality of these penalty calls continues into the regular season, teams that adapt first will have a significant advantage. Looking at drives extended by penalties that include an automatic first down, he points out that scoring percentage increases significantly and it puts the offending team at a big disadvantage. Expect Coughlin to work diligently towards having the Giants adjust.
Which officiating crews the team draws in early season match-ups will also influence game outcomes as those that had a predisposition to calling ticky-tack penalties prior to the new point of emphasis, the Ed Hoculi crew immediately springs to mind, will surely throw more flags and influence the game outcome. One must question if the competition committee envisioned officials impacting game flow and potentially outcomes when implementing these points of emphasis. As you can see from today’s features image, preseason penalties are up 44% compared to last season, a terrific growth rate if you’ve invested in a stock, but not if your favorite team is the one being penalized.
Coughlin praised receiver Corey Washington for his continued impressive performance this preseason but said that the rotational plan did not call for him to enter the game prior to the second half. He is most impressed with Washington’s willingness to fight for the ball and makes it sound like the rookie has secured himself a roster spot. He has the week 2 game against Arizona, at Metlife Stadium, circled on his “Calendar, phone, iPad, everything.”
Providing some injury updates, Coughlin said that wide receiver Marcus Harris will be out “A while” with his shoulder injury, but is hoping that defensive tackle Markus Kuhn’s injury will not keep him out long. He did not think Zack Bowman’s injury will cause the cornerback to miss much time. Coughlin expects running back Peyton Hillis back this week and that linebacker Jon Beason “Continues to make progress.” He was unable to provide any additional information about Odell Beckham.
Washington spoke with the media and said that the Giants called within 48 hours of his release from the Arizona Cardinals in April. His release has served as motivation and fueled his preseason surge. Washington said he would “Love some first team reps” and was disappointed that he didn’t enter the game against the New York Jets earlier on Friday night.
Richburg also spoke today and feels that the best part of this game is playing fast with a short memory. He continually strives to get better, and moves on from bad plays quickly, both of which are keys to success for an NFL lineman. Schwartz, who is at the Giants facility today, has given Richburg advice on taking over at left guard, but it’s not a given that’s where Richburg will play. Coughlin is still planning on trying difference combinations of linemen until he finds the best one. Richburg does expect to see additional reps at left guard in the wake of Schwartz’s injury. Asked to identify the biggest difference between playing center and guard, Richburg replied, “Pulling more.”
John Jerry sees similarities between the Giants new offense and that of the Miami Dolphins and attributes it to the shared Green Back Packers roots of Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. Jerry’s knee feels “Pretty good,” is back to full speed and will be ready to play if called upon. He is uncertain if he will see first team reps, but Jerry knows jobs are open on the offensive line, “That’s why you’re here – to compete for a job,” he said, when asked about the potential for winning a starting job. While he is sad and upset for Schwartz, Jerry said it’s “Next man up” in the NFL and the has to move forward.
Center J.D. Walton has knocked off the rust of the two season he missed due to injuries and is feeling good. He echoed Jerry’s sentiment that the team has a next man up mentality following Schwartz’s foot injury.
Running back Rashad Jennings wants to see the offense eliminate pre-snap penalties as the “Lead to punts.” He also praised Richburg as a “Smart, physical lineman who will always finish his blocks.”
Practice started at 3:30 with offensive tackle Charles Brown, linebacker Justin Anderson, and defensive end Emmanuel Dieke riding stationary bicycles. Jon Beason continued to do agility drills on the sidelines with trainers, as did Beckham, for the sixth day after not suffering a setback with his hamstring. Beckham then caught passes from the JUGGS machine. Prince Amukamara was in shells with the rest of his teammates, but did backpedaling and hip flipping drills with the trainers, and did not participate in team drills. Trindon Holliday wore shells and caught punts, and then did individual drills with a trainer on the sideline, coming a step closer to returning to practice. Bowman, injured in the Jets game on Friday, participated in individual drills. Kuhn did not dress.
Of concern was the absence of Mosley. His back tightened up before practice, forcing him inside. Jerry took his place with the first team at right guard. In his post practice press conference, Coughlin indicated that Jerry would have received time in the regular rotation, but was unable to hide his disappointment at Mosley’s absence. Richburg was at left guard, as expected.
Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz joined Holliday in returning punts. Curious was the absence of Preston Parker.
Ryan Nassib continued to throw the ball with confidence and zip following two successful preseason game outings. In preparation for extended time with the first team line in Thursday’s game against New England, Nassib and Andre Williams both received extra reps with them in practice.
Manning connected several times with Randle, continuing to build on the momentum gained against the Jets. Parker made a great adjustment on an under thrown ball by Curtis Painter to haul it in for a touchdown.
Practice ended when cornerback Ross Weaver intercepted a Nassib pass intended for Washington.
Jerrell Jernigan and Charles James, both on the bubble for Saturday’s cut down, stayed on the field after practice to field some punts.
Coughlin praised Jennings pass blocking skills in his post practice press conference, but has less kind words for Will Beatty, saying, “Happy and satisfied are not words I would use to describe his performance.” The coach also talked up tight end Jerome Cunningham, saying he’s shown good poise and “Hasn’t disappointed,” but then added that he is a raw talent and “Has a lot to learn.” Cunningham would seem a prime candidate for a practice squad spot.
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