During the off season, as the Giants signed cornerback after cornerback, some asked, “How many do they need?” they already had Prince Amukamara, Trumaine McBride, and Jayron Hosley on the roster, then added Zack Bowman, Walter Thurmond, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and drafted Bennett Jackson. Looking back, it was a shrewd move by Jerry Reese, as McBride joined Thurmond on injured reserve and Rodgers-Cromartie’s status is in doubt for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, as he is plagued with back and leg injuries.
Victor Cruz was also placed on injured reserve and the Giants promoted cornerback Chandler Fenner from the practice squad and signed veteran wide receiver Kevin Ogletree for wide receiver depth. Jackson was placed on the practice squad/injured list with a knee injury and is out for the year. Travis Harvey was released from the practice squad. The team signed linebacker Carlos Fields, cornerback Victor Hampton, and wide receiver Chris Harper to fill out their practice squad.
Ogletree was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cowboys in 2009. He spent four years in Dallas and caught 57 passes for 730 yards and 4 touchdowns. His best game came in the 2012 season opener against the Giants at Metlife Stadium when he caught 8 passes for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns in a Cowboys 24-17 victory over the defending Super Bowl 46 champions. Ogletree also spent time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions. The Lions released him on September 20th. He did not catch a pass for them this season.
Tom Coughlin spoke briefly about Ogletree at his press conference today, saying he ran fast in his tryout, has been a presence on the field and has made contributions for three NFL teams. Coughlin hopes the wide receiver can make a contribution for the Giants as early as this Sunday afternoon.
The Cowboys present a challenge in a variety of areas, which Coughlin laid out to open his press conference. The have great speed on both sides of the ball, have dominated time of possession with ball control, have played team defense, and, Coughlin pointed out, anyone that’s watched their game film has been impressed by their offensive line.
Coughlin also noted how well Tony Romo has been playing in the new offensive scheme, showing accuracy while maintaining the elusiveness that has always been a part of his game.
Reluctant to discuss the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at length because the team is looking forward, Coughlin did say the offensive line’s struggles were due to getting beaten, and beaten often, in one on one match-ups. He added that the team was not as focused as they could have been and did not react well to adversity during the game.
Of concern is the poor performance of the Giants run defense, having surrendered 203 yards to the Eagles. Coughlin pointed out that the team defended the run well in the games prior the Sunday night and need to get back to it. the key is to leverage, contain, turn the plays back inside, and “Do all the things you’ve seen us do”
The Giants run game was underutilized against the Eagles, and Coughlin wants to see that change. He believes it’s been good leading up the the disappointment of that game, and said the team needs to find it again. Coughlin will have the team “Work hard” on the running game this week. The will be working through Rashad Jennings (knee), who will not play against Dallas. Coughlin hopes he will be back after the Giants week 8 bye, but said it’s too early to speculate.
Joining Rodgers-Cromartie and Jennings on the pre-practice injury report are Jon Beason (toe), Spencer Paysinger (hamstring), and Steve Weatherford (ankle). Coughlin said Beason was sore after Sunday’s game, but was able to practice today.
“There are people that will get opportunities,” said Coughlin, speaking about the impact of Victor Cruz’s absence from the lineup. We have an outstanding group of receivers and have to get people in the right spots. Asked if the team will scheme differently with Cruz out of the lineup, Coughlin replied, “You address everything to the ability of the player. There will be adjustments within the concept of that we’re trying to do. The concept will remain the same.”
Coughlin spoke with Cruz at great length yesterday morning and said he was in good spirits. The coach told him of the great concern about him at the Giants complex and how much he’ll be missed both in the locker room and on the field. Coughlin also said that he expect the rehab to go very well and that Cruz will be back 100% in a few months. When asked about reports that the injury could threaten Cruz’s career, Coughlin replied that he expects him back in 2015 and that, “If it has to do with overcoming, he’ll overcome it.”
Nickel cornerback will be an position in transition for the Giants for the second time this season with McBride out for the season. Jayron Hosley, who was the backup at the position against the Eagles, is first up at the position. Coughlin added that the team will be looking at options to ensure that there is adequate backup going into the Cowboys game. Hosley struggled in the preseason and will need to play better to stay on the field. Former Giants Terrell Thomas remains a free agent, and could be a option if Hosley falters.
Justin Pugh felt the need to apologize to his teammates for his poor performance in Sunday’s game. After watching the game film of his performance, he pulled out some of his better performances to remind himself of the level of play he’s capable of achieving. It’s important for Pugh to have a strong bounce back game on Sunday, as another bad on will further damage an already weakened mentality. It’s been long documented that Pugh’s relatively short arms are a liability at offensive tackle in the NFL. With his talent, his future, after this season, may reside at an inside position where he could be a dominant force.
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