When the Giants pre-practice injury report was released this morning, the name that was most conspicuous was an absent one, Odell Beckham. For the first time this season, the rookie wide receiver did not appear and is available to practice fully as the team takes the field for the first time in preparation for their Sunday Night showdown with division co-leader Philadelphia Eagles. A Giants win, combined with a Dallas Cowboys loss at Quest Field in Seattle, will put the three teams in a tie for the NFC East.
When asked about Beckham’s absence from the report during his press conference this morning, Coughlin jokingly asked, “Why would he be on it?” before offering some insight into the Giants plan for bringing the rookie along. Beckham’s emergence from Sunday’s victory over the Falcons unscathed has given medical staff a comfort level to increase his practice an playing time. Coughlin said the team will “Be sure not to do something foolish with him, and bring him along while increasing his snaps.” As Beckham’s presence immediately improved the Giants already effective offense, this team will do nothing do damage their newest and potentially deadliest weapon.
Spencer Paysinger (hamstring) and Rashad Jennings (knee) will not practice today, while Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (hamstring, ankle), Jon Beason (toe), and Steve Weatherford (ankle) are limited.
Coughlin opened the press conference by discussing the Eagles success on special teams. He called their units “solid” and a big part of the reason they have had a chance to win all five of their games this season. Asked if the team will spend additional preparation time on this part of the game because of the Eagles successes with them, Coughlin said “No additional meeting time, but we will certainly talk about their successes.”
Also complimenting the Eagles defense, Coughlin is not fooled by the yardage and points given up early in the game, instead pointing to they critical stops the unit has made in the fourth quarter of games when they’ve been most needed. Citing film review of all their games, “From the first preseason game on,” Coughlin notes improved schemes and play and expects stout defense from Philadelphia on Sunday night.
Asked about Andre Williams role in the game, Coughlin responded that the Giants depend on the run and, “Williams is a downhill, North/South runner. He also complimented Peyton Hillis who started playing special teams this season and did well for the Giants in 2013 before injury sidelined him. Coughlin added that recent practice squad promoted Michael Cox “Could very well be” used in kickoff returns, but will be used in other areas as well.
Despite scoring 30 points or more in their last 3 games, Coughlin still calls the Giants offense “A work in progress” and wants to see improvement. Practicing against the Giants offense, especially their no huddle, has helped prepare the Giants defense for the Eagles offense. Coughlin pointed out that Philadelphia run “The rocket” – the quick wide receiver screen – better than any team.
Darren Sproles, a trade acquisition from the New Orleans Saints, added fire power to the Eagles offense as a runner and receiver, and provide additional value as punt returner. Devon Kennard’s apparent return this week – he’s not on today’s injury report – will be a boost to pass coverage against Sproles and LeSean McCoy. Picturing Mark Herzlich trying to cover either of the speedy backs is a recipe for nightmares.
Several questions were asked about the Giants 33-8 October record under Coughlin. He initially responded that he’s always wanted to be known as “Mr. October” because “Reggie Jackson is a good friend of mine.” When the laughter died down, he offered a more logical explanation, “You hope to get better every time you play. As October comes along, you’re starting to see that improvement.” The Giants have played Philadelphia twice in October, both in 2013, and they split the games, losing 36-21 on October 7 at Metlife Stadium and winning the Lincoln Financial Field Rematch 15-7 three weeks later.
Coughlin’s record against the Eagles is 9-11, but the home/road split is odd. The Giants are just 3-7 at home (2-4 at Giants Stadium, 1-3 at Metlife), but are 6-4 at Lincoln Financial Field. In Sunday Night games against the Eagles under Coughlin, the Giants are just 2-4 and have lost four in a row, two at home, two on the road.
Julian Talley and Chandler Fenner, waived on Monday to make room for Michael Cox and Jayron Hosley on the active roster, were resigned to the practice squad yesterday after clearing waivers.
Superfan Corner: Atlanta based Giants superfan @heyitsAlyssia wore her team colors to school on Monday for NFL day. Proudly displaying her Giants blue and winning smile, she proclaimed that “All the sorry Falcons fan had to suck it up.” I re-tweeted this pic to giants360 nation this morning, so if you haven’t already done so, go give this charming southern belle some love. Ya hear?
Superfan Corner, Part II: When Giants360 saw a tweet from New Jersey based superfan @az_keys stating, “I wish I could change my hair style/color every day,” we were intrigued. Being the investigative reporting type at heart, we dug further and discovered that Alicia, Ms. Az_keys herself, prefers standard hair coloring and not the “Nicki Minaj look,” we were disappointed, as we were prepared to suggest New York Giants blue as her next hair color of choice. However, her later tweet, “If you don’t understand my love for the New York Giants, you gon learn today,” has us on standby mode.
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