Victor Cruz passed another milestone in his remarkable recovery from a torn patellar tendon yesterday as he passed his training camp physical and conditioning test, avoiding the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. While not expected to be a full participant as practice commence this afternoon, Cruz will be taking part in individual drills, continuing to work with trainers, and be on the field with his teammates during training camp. It was a critical litmus test in a difficult road back for the sixth year wide receiver and bolsters hope that he will be on the field in Dallas on September 13th when the Giants take on the Cowboys on the NFL’s opening Sunday Night.
Cruz, wearing a throwback Michael Jordan 45 jersey, spoke with the press and estimates he is at 93% in his recovery. He points to the Giants training staff, and their collaboration with his personal trainers as critical steps in his recovery. Cruz is among those in the Giants organization who spoke about Jason Pierre-Paul, who has opted to keep the Giants out of his recovery from a July fourth fireworks accident that injured his right hand, and encouraged him to involve the team.
Beckham Also Passes Tests; James Jones Signs
Odell Beckham, Jr, who missed the Giants off season program with a hamstring issue, was a full participant in the conditioning tests and appears full recovered. He is expected to participate in team drills but will be limited as the team will be cautious with their top offensive weapon. Beckham caught 91 passes for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdown in 12 games in his rookie season.
The Giants are expected to sign veteran wide receiver James Jones today, pending his passing a physical. Jones, who played for the Oakland Raiders last season following seven with the Green Bay Packers, is familiar with offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo from the coach’s time in Green Bay. Seen as veteran insurance in case Cruz or Beckham are not full healthy when the regular season begins, has 383 career receptions for 4,971 yards, and 43 touchdowns. Early in his career, he was plagued with dropped passes, but he has improved on this issue his playing time increased. It’s expected that wide receiver Ben Edwards, who was placed on the PUP list yesterday, will be moved to injured reserve to make room for Jones.
Messages to Jason Pierre-Paul
Both John Mara and Tom Coughlin used their press conferences to sent messages to Pierre-Paul through the media. While both have attempted to contact the franchise tagged, but unsigned defensive end, expressed their disappointment with his decision to exclude the Giants from his treatment. Mara made it clear that the team has no idea of his condition and the he “Has no idea how many fingers he has.” He added that Pierre-Paul is getting bad advice from his agent and “That’s sad.”
Mara spoke highly of the Giants training staff, calling the the best in the league, but hedged his comments by expressing disappointment in the team leading the league in injuries for the past two seasons and said that some adjustments have been made to correct that issue. Mara added that Coughlin made some changes to the team’s procedures in the weight room. He stated at several times that Pierre-Paul would be better off consulting with the Giants training staff that not, and that the team is planning on moving forward without him at this point. Mara also made it clear that no negotiations will take place until the team can assess his condition. Asked if he has a message for Pierre-Paul, Mara said, “Come home. We miss you.”
Mara believes the Giants have the talent to contend for the playoffs and a championship despite injuries to Pierre-Paul and offensive tackle Will Beatty. He also believes that Eli Manning will sign a contract extension and finish his career as a New York Giant.
Coughlin was pleased with the reporting players weights and conditioning, and reported that everyone except Pierre-Paul came to camp on time. He added that the conditioning drills had “More teeth” than in previous years. Regarding Pierre-Paul, Coughlin stated that he texted him, but had not spoken with him, and had not received a response to his text. Pierre-Paul is welcome to come back to the Giants, and Coughlin remains “Concerned about him as a young man.”
Limitations on Cruz and Beckham were confirmed by Coughlin, who said he hoped that the team “Remains intact” during training camp practices. He wants to see the players buy into the team concept and move forward on a daily basis. All players will be monitored under the systems put in place last season as the team attempts to decrease injuries. Coughlin declined to comment on Walter Thurmond’s statement that he is not up to date on “Sports Science.”
Asked about free agent offensive tackle Jake Long, Coughlin said “He is a player coming off a serious injury. He’s making progress and that’s where it stands.” He added that the team will check out any player that might help the team.
The Giants will take the field for practice at 2:30 today. It’s open to the public at the Quest Diagnostic Training Center in East Rutherford, NJ. Check back here at Giants360 for updates.