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Giants Trade Winds: Reese Should Move James Jones

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The Giants are not the only team that suffered injuries during this preseason. The Carolina Panthers lost wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin to a torn ACL last week, while the Green Bay Packers will be without wide receiver Jordy Nelson in 2015 due to the same injury. Benjamin suffered his injury during a training camp practice, while Nelson collapsed while planting his leg to turn up field following a catch in the Packers preseason game yesterday afternoon with the Pittsburgh Steelers. While these injuries are unfortunate, they create an opportunity for Jerry Reese, who has a surplus of wide receivers and needs along the offense line and in the secondary.

With Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris, and Geremy Davis on the roster, the Giants are stacked at wide receiver. Tom Coughlin is also fond of veteran Preston Parker, and Corey Washington, while not performing at as high a level as he did in the 2014 preseason, has enough talent to warrant another season of development. Veteran James Jones leads the team this preseason with 7 receptions for 94 yards and demonstrated that he has plenty of gas left in his tank. He’s a luxury to the Giants, and one they can afford to trade. As a veteran receiver familiar with the Packers offense, he would have particular value to Green Bay, but shopping him to both wide receiver needy teams would be prudent.

While a draft pick would be a viable return for Jones, it’s unlikely he would bring back more than a fifth round pick, given his age (31) and the one year contact he signed with the Giants. An offensive lineman or a safety would more valuable and provide an immediate return on investment for Reese, rather than waiting until the 2016 season for satisfaction.

Lane Taylor is a third year player from Oklahoma State University. Backing up guard Josh Sitton, Taylor sees little playing time for the Packers, but has rated out well this preseason according to Pro Football Focus. By adding another guard to the Giants offensive line mix, Geoff Schwartz could be moved to right tackle and it would give Offensive Line Coach Pay Flaherty another young veteran lineman to work into the mix. In addition, it would allow both Marshall Newhouse and John Jerry to return to backup positions, where they are best suited to reside.

Kurt Coleman is a 27 year old backup free safety for the Carolina Panthers. Having signed with the Panthers as a free agent after spending four season with the Philadelphia Eagles and one with the Kansas City Chiefs, Coleman is an experienced coverage safety who would fill the Giants need for a veteran at the position. With Ted Ginn, Jerricho Cotchery, and Corey “Philly” Brown as the next men up for the Panthers to replace second year receiver Benjamin, the Panthers need at wide receiver is significant. Jones is not as familiar with the Panthers’ offensive system as he is with the Packers’, but a saavy veteran will pick up any offense in short order.

Reese needs to strike while the iron is hot and make his move early this week before another General Manager beats him to the punch. Jones has shown he can still play at a high level in the NFL and both the Packers and Panthers would benefit from his services. The Giants need help along the offensive line or at safety more than they need Jones to play third or fourth wide receiver. Trading him just makes sense, so Jerry, pick up the phone and start dialing.

Five Things We Learned From The Jaguars Game

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A Win is A Win

Even in the Preseason, winning is preferable to losing. The Giants played better on both offense and defense, beating the Jaguars by a final score of 22-12. Ryan Nassib threw for 217 yards and a touchdown, and James Jones caught 5 passes for 83 yards, as the Giants outscored Jacksonville 13-3 after halftime. It was a costly victory for the Giants, as another five players were lost to injury, including linebacker Jon Beason and safety Bennett Jackson, both with sprained knees. Mark Herzlich suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff, linebacker Tony Johnson suffered a knee injury, and rookie safety Justin Currie broke his ankle. Fourteen players did not suit up, and while many were precautionary and would have played if this were a regular season game, injuries are becoming a concern again for this Giants team.

If you watched until the bitter end, you learned a few things about your 2015 New York Giants, and today we take a look at five things you might not have known before last night’s game.

Giants Training Camp Notes: August 17, 2015

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On another host, steamy, humid day in New Jersey, the Giants took to the practice field while four player rode stationary bicycles on the sideline. Safeties Landon Collins (knee) and Cooper Taylor (toe) were joined by left tackle Will Beatty (torn pectoral) and cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion) on the bikes. Rueben Randle (knee tendonitis) and Nat Berhe (calf) missed practice, while Prince Amukamara (groin) started out the day working with trainers on the sideline.

There was some good news for Hosley on the injury front as tests on his neck came back negative. Hosley is still in the NFL’s concussion protocol and will need to be cleared before he can resume practicing. Victor Cruz declared himself 100% healthy and expects to play against Jacksonville on Saturday night. He will likely be on a very limited snap count. General Manager Jerry Reese echoed Cruz’s optimism regarding playing in Saturday’s preseason game.

Collins being able to ride the exercise bicycle as well as do some light jogging on the sideline is an excellent indicator that his strained MCL is starting to heal. This is on top of yesterday’s day-to-day injury designation rather than the expected week-to-week. Last season, an MCL injury forced running back Rashad Jennings to miss 4 games. Cruz caught a touchdown pass early in the practice session. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas returned to practice today after missing yesterday with a stiff neck.

The first team offensive line again featured John Jerry at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle. After three plays, Geoff Schwartz rotated in for Newhouse at right tackle. Later in the practice session, Jerry kicked out to right tackle for a few snaps. Adam Gettis was flattened by Kenrick Ellis in a late drill. Rookie Bobby Hart also took some snaps at right tackle with the second team.

At the other position of great concern, Jeromy Miles and Bennett Jackson lined up as the first team safeties. New arrival Brandon Meriweather rotated in with the first team early in the session. After finishing his work with trainers, Amukamara took part in some defensive drills. Amukamara and Collins took part in the defensive walk through.

Defensive end George Selvie walked off the field gingerly, seemingly favoring his ankle, and spent some time getting examined by the trainers.

Odell Beckham went up high again Jackson to snare a pass and came back later to catch another touchdown. One of the NFL’s top receivers, Beckham is giving the Giants banged up secondary all they handle on a daily basis.

Preston Parker went to the sideline and had his thigh wrapped. Julian Talley, who had a strong game on Friday, caught a sideline pass against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Talley has had a strong camp, but is swimming upstream with the Giants deep receiving corps.

Coughlin gathered the team for a long speech after practice and they cooled down before going in for the evening.

Tom Coughlin, Head Coach: Teach and Make Corrections

Tom Coughlin addressed the media in advance of this evening’s practice. He spoke of Meriweather, whom he called a physical safety who comes down in the box well. He also said that Meriweather will add a degree of toughness to the secondary, which is something you want. Regarding Meriweather’s penalties and “Other issues,” Coughlin said you obviously don’t want those, but believes that the competitive Meriweather will be open to coaching.

Asked why Meriweather was available in August, Coughlin revealed that he has a toe issue that was corrected and that the Giants, among other teams were monitoring it. The timing was perfect, given the team’s need. At 31 years of age, Coughlin considers nine year veteran Meriweather a young man who is “Not ready to be put to rest, yet.” The sarcastic side of Coughlin emerged when Meriweather’s fit on the team was asked as he replied, “He’s a safety, we need safeties.”

Coughlin again emphasized that he expects a big season from Eli Manning, citing his preparation, physical condition, and drive. In a great state of mind, Coughlin said Manning, “Is prepared to be better than he’s even been.”

Cruz went through yesterday’s entire practice and is ready to be back out on the field again today. While he has to do things gradually, Cruz has shown he can increase his workload and is moving well. Coughlin did not reveal a timetable for Cruz to appears in a preseason game.

Schwartz took some snaps at right tackle yesterday when Newhouse overheated and had to go into the training center. Coughlin said Schwartz has played on both sides of the line and will play where ever the team needs him. Despite the time he’s missed with his foot/ankle issues, Coughlin assumes that he is available until told otherwise, without restrictions. With his return to practice, Coughlin needs to see him on the field to know Schwartz can be counted on.

Coughlin said the offense, defense, and parts of the special teams need to improve based on Friday night’s game with the Cincinnati Bengals. The coaches have looked at the tapes, will teach the players, and make corrections. While it seems like an over simplification, it’s the way of the NFL world. There’s no panic or overreaction to one preseason game.

Steve Spagnuolo, Defensive Coordinator: Play More Physical and Faster

Steve Spagnuolo joined the chorus of voices that says the Giants didn’t start out Friday’s game with the Bengals the way the team had hoped. But he points out that they went into the game without a game plan and played a very vanilla defense. The long run plays given up are something Spagnuolo believes can be corrected, and he was encouraged be how the young players performed in the red zone, where Cincinnati was often held to field goals. Spagnuolo did add that he’s prefer that opponents not be allowed to get into scoring range in the first place.

One of the issues, offered Spagnuolo, is that players were thinking too much, causing them to be delayed in reacting. We wants them to think fast and react, to chase perfection, and to make up for the lack of it with relentlessness. Spagnuolo takes responsibility for the first touchdown surrendered, and would have played the formation differently in the regular season if a game plan had been in place.

Of new safety Meriweather, Spagnuolo called him an aggressive talented player. He knows Meriweather would prefer not to change his playing style, but believes time away from football may soften his stance in that regard. The NFL’s safety rule has forced aggressive players to lower their strike zone, and Meriweather needs to follow suit. One can assume this was a conversation before his signing and one that will be a frequent topic while he’s remains with the team.

Trevin Wade, who has an interception in Friday’s game, is a player who deserves recognition according to Spagnuolo. He’s always around the ball, makes plays, and has stepped up when other players have been injured. Spagnuolo said that Wade is a player that no one knew about when camp opened.

Of Miles, who is fighting for a starting safety job, Spagnuolo said he’s viewed as a career special teams player and backup, but is a hard worker. He was signed because he’s a known quantity, but has “A ways to go, like we all do.”

Speaking of the defensive ends, Spagnuolo said they will be moved around and inside as long as the defense puts them in position to do so. Asked about Kerry Wynn, Spagnuolo said he’s a solid football player who made some uncharacteristic mental errors on Friday. He added that Wynn is getting better as a football player every day.

Collins’ knee injury will set him back, but he’s standing with Spagnuolo at practice to stay in tune with the defense. On field experience is invaluable to a rookie, especially one that who will have responsibility for making defensive calls, and missing time mean he has to play catch up. Spagnuolo would prefer to never start a rookie, but Collins experience at Alabama made him an exception to that rule. Losing time to his MCL sprain may offset his advantage.

Spagnuolo said he can’t really miss Jason Pierre-Paul because he’s never worked with him. Wishing him good health and a speedy recovery, Spagnuolo said he’ll for an opinion about his abilities when he returns to the Giants.

Devon Kennard is a good football player who is a versatile strong side linebacker. He can play off the line or line up with his hand in the dirt. Spagnuolo wants to keep him healthy and take care not to overload him, but is challenged because Kennard wants “More and more.” Spagnuolo describes these as “All good qualities.”

As far as improving the defense’s performance, Spagnuolo wants to see his players be more physical and play faster. He said that “You can make up for a lot of mistakes if you do that.”

Geoff Schwartz: No Different at Tackle

Schwartz doesn’t feel 100%, but he won’t expect to until next season. He says that no players ever feels 100% after the first day of camp and that the best players overcome it over the course of the season. Schwartz practiced yesterday and is practicing again today and does not expect to miss any more practice due to his ankle.

Playing tackle is not a big adjustment for Schwartz, who says that most of the adjustments are made off the field. When you’re in a game and the coaches say, “Go play right tackle, you have no time to think about it. Your training takes over,” explains Schwartz. There are different angles, but I’ve played all over the line and it’s not that different.

As for playing Saturday against the Jaguars, Schwartz doesn’t see why not. “If I practice all week, I don’t know why I wouldn’t play. I’m approaching this week as if I’m playing on Saturday.”

Robert Ayers: Something to Build On

Robert Ayers is learning and getting better every day and while he admits to making some mistake, he also knows he’s doing some things well. Working on being a leader on the Giants defense, Ayers is also trying to become a better person, leader, and teammate. And he is enjoying learning from new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.

When reviewing film, Spagnuolo point out nuances on opponents formations. “He puts you in a position to be successful,” says Ayers, “It’s football 102.” Ayers goes on to say that Spagnuolo makes little comments when he’s explaining plays that allows him and others to gain a greater understanding of how offenses are attacking them.

“I expect to completely dominate whomever we play. I expect it of myself and of my teammates,” said Ayers in response to a question whether the Giants poor performance against the Bengals on Friday was the expected outcome. He added that no matter how they played, corrections would be needed.

In good performances, there are things to correct, and in bad performances there are things to correct. It’s something to build on, explained Ayers. He also said he doesn’t remember anyone’s preseason records from last season.

Trevin Wade: Aggression with Technique

Wade worked with his college strength and conditioning coach to get ready for camp as he believes Corey Edmond knows his body best. Wade is having a solid camp, so there must be something to it. Edmond texted Wade after Friday night’s game, but not to congratulate him on his interception, but to point out that he should have held on to the one he dropped. Wade laughed as he relayed the story and said he will find Edmond where ever he goes to work out with him during the off season.

When on the field, whether with the first team defense or not, Wade is focused on the defensive call, reading the offensive formation, and making a play for the team. He wants to do his job or, as Wade puts it, “Coach says Do your job plus.” He didn’t specify which coach, but it’s likely cornerbacks coach Tim Walton.

At the conclusion of yesterday’s practice, Wade defenses a pass to Beckham that resulted in an interception by Bennett Jackson. It was after Beckham has made a leaping catch on Wade and he was mad about that play. Assuming the offense would test him again, Wade was resolved to better defend the Giants top receiver and did, making a highlight sensational play with Jackson’s assistance.

Wade said he was aggressive which, it was pointed out, the coaching staff has said will cover up mistakes. Wade corrected the statement, saying that it must be “Aggression with Technique,” because without technique, the unbridled aggression will only result in busted plays.

Giants Training Camp Notes: August 16, 2015

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Prior to practice, the Giants released a lengthy injury report that contained some good news. Jameel McClain (stinger) and Geoff Schwartz (ankle) both returned to practice, bolstering the linebackers and offensive line, respectively. Landon Collins (MCL sprain), Trumaine McBride (hamstring), Rueben Randle (tendinitis), Nat Berhe (calf), and Prince Amukamara (groin) are listed as day-to-day, indicating that their absences are not expected to be long term.

Chykie Brown (LCL sprain) is listed as week-to-week and Jayron Hosley is in the NFL’s concussion protocol, indicating a potential longer term absence. Additionally, Hosley has a cervical issue in his neck that is still being examined. It was reported yesterday that rookie Mykkele Thompson would miss the season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. The team held private free agent tryouts prior to practice and Giants360 will bring you the names of the players that attended and those signed as soon as they are available. Jonathan Casillas also missed practice with a stiff neck.

The Giants signed veteran safety Brandon Meriweather, who spent four seasons with the New England Patriots, including his rookie season with the team that lost Super Bowl 42 to the Giants. Meriweather also spent a season with the Chicago Bears and three seasons with the Washington Redskins. Know more for being a big hitter than a coverage safety, Meriweather’s Pro Football Focus ratings bear this reputation out. Meriweather has been fined four times by the NFL for helmet to helmet hits and it was his 2010 hit on Baltimore Ravens tight end Todd Heap that caused the NFL to start suspending players for these infractions.

Meriweather was suspended for such a hit on Chicago Bears receiver Brandon Marshall during the 2013 season, which caused Meriweather to say, “I guess I just got to take people’s knees out. That’s the only way. I would hate to end a guy’s career over a rule, but I guess it’s better other people than me getting suspended for longer. You just have to go low now, man. You’ve got to end people’s careers. You got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees. You can’t hit them high anymore.”

As practice started, the Giants secondary was made up of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Trevin Wade at the corners and Bennett Jackson and Jeromy Miles at safety. If and how quickly Meriweather ascends into the starting lineup will be a storyline over the next two weeks. Wade had an interception in Friday night’s game and is a young player to watch. He appears to be carving out a role for himself on the team.

The offensive line shuffling continues, as Schwartz took some snaps at both right guard and right tackle. The right side of the line was an issue against the Bengals and exploring options to sure it up will be one of the objectives for the coaching staff this week. John Jerry and Schwartz were a frequent combination at right guard and tackle, respectively, with Marshall Newhouse rotating out of the first team. Rookie Bobby Hart also took some snaps at right tackle. Newhouse was missing towards the end of practice, having left practice “Overheated.”

Dwayne Harris dropped a pass from Ryan Nassib that hit him in the hands. Later, when the first team offense was back on the field, Odell Beckham caught another touchdown from Eli Manning.  The large crown assembled for this evening’s practice roared it’s approval. Manning then fired touchdowns to Victor Cruz and Larry Donnell on this next two passes, giving himself a camp hat trick. Towards the end of practice, Beckham made a leaping catch over Wade and to again thrill the crowd.

Jerome Cunningham was the target on back to back plays. One was broken up by J.T.Thomas, and the tight end hauled in the second. Corey Washington made a diving catch, showing the concentration he lacked in the Bengals game on Friday night. Cunningham later blocked Thomas completely out of of relevance on a running play.

Practice ended with Wade defending a pass intended for Preston Parker and Jackson making a diving interception on the play.

Geoff Schwartz: No Setback, But I Need the Reps

Schwartz was upset that he missed the joint practices with Cincinnati as it was a team bonding event that everyone was looking forward to for the entire off season. Calling his absence from practice “Frustrating,” Schwartz said it wasn’t a setback, but part of the process of getting his body back into shape from last year’s injuries. He’s excited to be returning to practice today.

It’s expected that his ankle will need to be managed on an ongoing basis, but Schwartz does not expect to miss significant practice time between now and the regular season. “Everyone’s goal is to be ready for week one,” said Schwartz, “But honestly, I need the reps.” Saying that he missed out last week, Schwartz added that he had no doubt moving forward that everything will be ok.

The offensive line’s performance in the preseason opener, “Didn’t go how we wanted,” according to Schwartz, but he won’t blame it on the injuries and moving players around. He said that’s part of training camp – rotating players around. He did concede that it’s difficult to build chemistry as an offensive line if you don’t have the same five players on the field. Hopefully his return marks the upswing in the offensive line’s play for 2015.

Odell Beckham: We Have to Play Better

Those five simple words summed up Beckham’s take on the review of the game film from Friday Night’s preseason opener with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Giants have noted their mistakes, will learn from them and move forward starting with today’s practice. Beckham said his statement applies to the wide receiver group and the team as a whole. Employing a 24 hour rule after games, the team does not dwell on their performance. They review, they learn, and they correct. Those corrections start today.

Beckham sees the talent running deep in the Giants receiving corps, and admits that there will be a tight competition for roster spots next month. “Everyone can play,” says Beckham. But the competition is friendly, and the receiver push each other and want to the one another succeed.

Jim Herrmann Linebackers Coach: Block Destruction

The Giants linebackers coach, Jim Herrmann saw the team’s linebackers getting off blocks and getting to the ball on Friday night. Called “Block Destruction” on the meeting room, Herrmann was pleased with what he called “Quite a few plays” made by the linebackers and liked how they knocked back the Bengals on numerous occasions.

Asked about Uani Unga, the middle linebacker who caught everyone’s eye on Friday night, Herrmann said he “Did a great job for a young player.” Having suffered a knee injury as a senior at BYU, Friday night was Unga’s first game in a year and three quarters. Herrmann likes his development, saw him make quite a few plays, and saw him take over as the “Mike” linebacker and line up the Giants defense. Herrmann added that for a stocky player, Unga moves well.

Jon Beason was also seeing his first game action in almost a year, and Herrmann thought he had a good command of the defense. “He made the calls and I liked what I saw in his limited snaps,” said Herrmann.

Pressed as to whether Devon Kennard would take over for Beason should he suffer another injury, Herrman pointed out that due to roster limitations, the five or six linebackers on the 46 man game day roster all play dual positions. What positions they cover changes due to injuries and the week to week situation. Kennard has played middle linebacker in practice and done well in the role, but it currently an outside linebacker.

Having done a good job in his increased role as a blitzer, Herrmann called the balance between practicing the blitz and practicing coverage skills a “quandary.” He added that you need to get the reps in when you can in both roles.

Free agent acquisitions Thomas and Casillas are both speedy linebackers who run well and have range. Herrmann says that helps in coverage and in backside pursuit. Currently, the team in still installing defensive packages, and the linebackers that will be used in the defense will be ultimately determined on a week to week basis by the individually tailored game plans. Herrmann added that each linebacker’s unique abilities will be taken into account when making those decisions and that the flexibility is nice to have as a coach.

Craig Johnson, Running Backs Coach: Competition

The Giants running back rotation is far from set. Running backs coach Craig Johnson is putting the backs in different situations to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each man. That process will continue until it’s time to prepare for the season opening game in Dallas on September 13th. Once that date draws near, a rotation will be determined, giving each player touches and also put the team in the best position to win games. Translation: Don’t read too much into who gets snaps, and draft a Giants runner on your fantasy team at your own risk.

Johnson relishes the competition, and says he’s yet to meet a coach that doesn’t. He speaks of the strengths of each player. Shane Vereen, the smart, touch veteran who can make plays on early and late downs. Rashad Jennings, who trains hard and will do more in his second year in the McAdoo offense. Andre Williams, a tireless worker who spent the off season trying to improve his weaknesses.

In the Bengals game, Johnson said the running backs did “OK” and added that they didn’t lost the game, but also didn’t help the team win. He wants to see the running backs “Pick it up as a unit.” The one exception is Orleans Darkwa, who Johnson said was good in all three phases, running, pass blocking and running routes, but he added that he doesn’t want any “One week wonders.”

Of Darkwa’s performance, Johnson said he had speed to the hole, set up his blocks well, was in good timing with the offensive line, and finished runs well. The last point, finishing well and forward on tackles, is key, as it can turn 3rd & 6 into 3rd and 2. Of the other backs, Johnson said they’ve performed at a high level in practice and he wants to see it in the games.

Williams came out of Boston College not having caught a pass in his senior year. Johnson said he is nothing like the player scouted at the combined in February 2014. Pointing to the screen pass he caught on Friday night, Johnson said that the old Williams would have dropped that pass because of sight lines, but because of this work, he caught it for a 16 yard gain. A blind ball drill, catching countless tennis balls, and game situation drills in practice have made Williams a better receiver. Johnson said the results are evident on the field.

When giving advice to his backs, Johnson sums it up succinctly, “If there is something there, make more of it. If there’s nothing there, make something of it.” If they heed those words, their part of the rotation will increase accordingly.

Rashad Jennings: Chemisty

Jennings is not alarmed by Friday night’s loss. “It’s game one,” he said, adding that the team didn’t perform, but they’ve been productive in practice and in the joint practices with the Bengals. They just need to transition that to the games.

Calling their deep group of runners a “Stable,” Jennings admires the differing skill sets and points out that the team will need every body going down the stretch. Emphasizing the body, in everybody, Jenning’s play on words was a commentary on their running back injuries, including his own, in 2014.

Urging patience regarding the loss in the preseason opener, Jennings said that you can’t get on an emotional roller coaster. “Win, Lose, or Draw,” said Jennings, there are things we have to learn from the day. He also said that the offensive line is building chemistry after having players moved around. “Chemistry is a word you never see on a trophy,” said Jennings,” but it’s the reason you win one.”

As far as he and his fellow running backs, Jennings said what they need to work on is common sense. “Breaking more tackles and other common sense items.” Adding that it applies to all the team’s positions, Jennings added that “Excellence is in the details.” He is starting to sound more like Coughlin every day.

Cooper Taylor: Getting the Details Down

Each of the safeties in Giants camp, all nine of them, or the eight remaining with Thompson out for the season, is comfortable and confident that he can perform at this level, according to Taylor Taylor. But he also sees every rep taken in practice as a chance to get better.

Jeromy Miles, having been exposed to Spagnuolo’s methods previously, is a great leader, and has been a great asset to the young safeties. Working in tandem, but in constant changing rotation in practice, the Giants safeties have built a rapport with each other. It’s stronger with some of their backfield partners than others, admits Taylor, but they all built it with each of the other safeties.

Having surrendered 428 yards to the Bengals, Taylor admits that there is a lot of room for improvement at the safety position. Keeping in mind that it’s the first time this new Giants defense went against “Live bullets,” Taylor said they team needs to get the details down and perform better. The details are the alignments and techniques that will make the defense more effective on the field and practice reps along with game experience will make that a reality.

Five Things We Learned from the Giants Preseason Opener

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Giants Lose to Bengals

The Giants laid an egg in their preseason opener and lost for the first time since August 29, 2013 as they dropped last night’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals 23-10. Preseason is not about winning, but rather about measuring progress and looking at young player. There were some highlights, some low lights, and a few players who got themselves on the coach’s radar. Today, we take a look at what learned, who emerged, and where the Giants stand the morning after.

Giants Depth Chart Has Some Surprises

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The Giants released their first “Unofficial” depth chart for 2015 and there were some surprises on it. Take a look at how Tom Coughlin would present his team if the season opened today:

Brett Jones is the third team center. Jones, the Canadian Football League import, has not climbed up the depth chart yet. Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty said that Jones has had “More peaks than valleys” in this time with the Giants, but he’s stuck in a valley behind Weston Richburg and Dallas Reynolds at the moment.

Emmett Cleary is the backup left tackle. Right now, you are asking yourself “Who is Emmett Cleary?” He’s a first year tackle out of Boston College who stands 6’7″ and weighs 324 pounds. Changes are, if something happened to Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh would slide over to left tackle, as has been the case in practice, but according to the depth chart, Cleary is the next man up.

James Jones is running with the fourth team. Perhaps the biggest shock on the offensive depth chart, Jones is listed behind the likes of Juron Criner and Geremy Davis among the wide receivers. Having signed for the veteran minimum, Jones will truly have to earn his way up the ladder to garner a spot on the opening day roster.

Daniel Fells is the starting tight end. Fells, not Larry Donnell is the starter at tight end. This is likely a function of Donnell’s Achilles injury and Fells veteran status, but it’s surprising nonetheless. Jerome Cunningham has been one of the stars of training camp, but he’s still listed as fourth string behind Adrien Robinson.

Kerry Wynn is the starting left defensive end. Wynn has also been one of the stars of camp, but unlike Cunningham, his play has apparently impacted his standing on the defensive line. Wynn must have truly impressed the coaching staff to have risen to the top this quickly.

Robert Ayers is the starting right defensive end. The implication is that Damontre Moore is limited to a reserve role, most likely as a situational pass rusher at this point. George Selvie, thought to be one of the starters is third string behind the aforementioned three and rookie Owa Odighizuwa.

Nat Berhe is third string safety. Absolutely a function of his calf injury, Berhe has hardly practiced and had no chance to work his way up the depth chart. At the rate his summer is going, Berhe is looking at a season on injured reserve.

Landon Collins and Bennett Jackson are the starting safeties. No surprise here, as this has been the most common first team combination in practices for the first week and a half of camp. The real test will come when the preseason games start and opposing receivers challenge them deep. The severity of Jackson’s quad injury will also affect the depth chart for this position. If he misses significant time, one of the other safeties will pass him, like Berhe has been passed.

No surprises at linebacker. Devon Kennard, Jon Beason, and J.T. Thomas are the starters. It’s been that way since minicamp and will likely stay that way through opening day, barring injury.

It’s important to note that this depth chart is unofficial, and training camp practices and the preseason games will give players and opportunity to change it. Coughlin often uses devices like this to send messages and motivate players to reach their potential. It does, however, provide a glimpse into the coaching staff’s mindset and give us some insight into who has the advantage in the early going. True answers won’t come until cut down day on on September 1st (To 75 players) and September 5th (To 53 players).

 

 

 

Giants Training Camp Notes: August 2, 2015

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On another warm, sunny, summer day, the Giants were fortunate to experience low humidity for their training camp practice. Music blared during warmups, and Jerome Cunningham and Preston Parker, both of whom were helped off the field yesterday with cramps, returned to practice. Geoff Schwartz did not, being replaced in the starting lineup by 2014 starter John Jerry. Schwartz came out to the practice field late, in uniform, helmet in hand, and in the company of a trainer, held out due to “soreness” in his left ankle.

Another lineup change took place at safety, where Bennett Jackson lined up next to Landon Collins with the first team. Cooper Taylor and Nat Berhe, the presumed starters prior to the NFL draft, were the second team safeties, as Jackson was rewarded for his early camp successes. Jackson was playing close to the line of scrimmage, while Collins dropped into coverage for the majority of plays.

Cunningham broke his seemingly endless string of solid practices by dropping consecutive passes, while Victor Cruz caught a touchdown pass from Eli Manning. He declined to salsa dance after the scoring play. Shane Vereen was the primary running back with the first team offense, but fumbled on his first carry, potentially lowering his standing on the depth chart moving forward.

Right tackle Marshall Newhouse was able to block Robert Ayers, but struggled in a goal line drill to contain Devon Kennard, getting blown up, resulting in an Andre Williams stuff for a loss. Brett Jones, the former CFL standout, has a good day at second team center, as he battles for one of the backup lineman spots on the team.

Larry Donnell took some first team snaps at tight end, and made some nice receptions, including a sliding grab for a first down. James Jones, still running with the second team, made a deep sideline snag over Prince Amukamara on a poorly thrown pass from Ryan Nassib.

Practice ended with the Giants linemen fielding punts. The defensive linemen won the competition, compelling the offensive linemen to do punishment pushups. Coughlin joked that he may have found “A new tight end” based on the defensive linemen’s performance shagging punts.

Jerry Reese: Defense will Rise

Giants General Manager Jerry Reese meets with the press six time per year. Today was one of those days and the first questions to Reese were about Jason Pierre-Paul, a favorite press inquiry to all of the Giants early in camp. Reese towed the company line, expressing concern about the defensive end following the tragic accident, wishing him a full and speedy recovery, and nothing but the best. He then deflected all further inquiries. It’s a strategy that seems prevalent throughout the Giants organization.

Concerns about the Giants defense is high among the press and fans alike, but don’t count Reese among those worried. He believes the team will surprise the season and that there are five defensive ends who will make up for Pierre-Paul’s absence. He mentioned Damontre Moore, Kerry Wynn, and Owa Odighizuwa by name, and pointed out that the NFL is about stepping out of the shadows when the opportunity arises. Reese expects the defense to improve from it’s abysmal 2014 season.

NFL rules favor the offense, Reese pointed out twice during his fifteen minute press conference, but that doesn’t mean that the Giants shouldn’t have a solid defense. Offense, however, is the order of the day, and the this roster is set up to have a good one. Reese expects that the team will need to score a minimum of 28 points per game to win consistently and that having Odell Beckham and Cruz healthy and paired on the field is a good way to get there.

Cruz is determined to make a full recovery from his torn patellar tendon, and Reese knows that he will work as hard as needed to make it all the way back. Coming to the Giants as an undrafted free agent from the University of Massachusetts, Cruz has already beaten long odds, so beating them again is nothing new. Reese knows he’s not yet 100%, but expects him to get there and cautions that we should not expect to see “The read Victor Cruz” until he takes the field in a game and his speed and elusiveness take over.

Competition at the wide receiver position will be fierce, and two names to watch are free agent acquisitions Dwayne Harris and Jones. Harris was signed in March and promised an opportunity to play wide receiver on offense with the Giants. Reese confirmed the truth of that statement, but cautioned that Harris will have to earn his chances in practice. Jones was signed as a veteran who knows the McAdoo offenses and is expected to compete for the third or fourth receiver spot on the roster. Reese sounded almost giddy talking about the competition in camp for receiver spots on the Giants final 53.

Asked about competition at other positions, Reese said is significant and mentioned safety, offensive line, tight end, defensive end, and running back as positions other than wide receiver that will see a lot of men competing hard for roster spots. Pressed about the offensive line, Reese mentioned that Justin Pugh could be moved back to offensive tackle, if needed, and pointed out several times that Will Beatty will be back, potentially as soon as October to bolster the unit. He also said free agent Jake Long is still a possibility.

Asked about the new starters on the Giants, Reese is not concerned.  While saying that continuity is preferred, he cautioned that it’s difficult to maintain in the current NFL, and stated that young players have to contribute immediately. Reese expects his top three draft picks to play immediately, and hopes to find contributors in the later draft picks as well. He is pleased that the Giants two top pick in 2015, Ereck Flowers and Collins, appear on a path to start immediately.

Asked about free agent acquisition Jeromy Miles, Reese said he was signed for his knowledge of Steve Spagnuolo’s system and his experience. Seen as player who will increase the competition at the safety position, Reese likes Miles starting experience, but views him as a special teams player as well. When reviewing their lists of free agents, the Giants were surprised he was still available and decided to bring him in.

Jon Beason is healthy, according to Reese, and it will be a big year for him if he stays that way. Adding “pop” to the middle linebacker position, Reese views Beason as a high motor player and says it’s “So far, so good” on the injury front. Seeing the Giants league leading injuries for the past two seasons partly a function of bad luck, Reese points out that muscle tears and broken bones are hard to prevent. The team did make adjustments to the schedule, in the weight room, and in recovery times for players. He hopes that these changes and some better luck will result in a healthy Giants squad in 2015.

Reese is not feeling pressured by the high expectation put forth by John Mara, as he says they always exist with the Giants. He believe that the current roster is able to compete for the NFC East and earn a spot “In the tournament.” He’s also not feeling pressure to renegotiate with Manning, as he views his as under contract, and won’t discuss the negotiations.

Finally, Reese is not falling prey to over reliance on analytics. The team uses them, mostly to confirm what they see with their eyes. “It’s a part of the puzzle,” explains Reese, “But we believe what were see with our own eyes.” That’s how the Giants evaluate players, not with numbers and statistics on paper.

Rueben Randle: Have Fun and Make Plays

Rueben Randle sees himself getting better every day in his second season in the Ben McAdoo offense. His role in unchanged and he has a better understanding of what he needs to do. That makes it easier to work on improving in camp this season.

The wide receivers are a tight knit group, despite the intense competition for roster spots. Randle knows that McAdoo will spread the ball around and that the receiver are interchangeable. His goal is to go out, have fun, make plays, and get better every day.

Weston Richburg: Cerebral Adjustments Mixed with Brute Strength

Weston Richburg is extremely comfortable at his natural position of center after spending last season playing left guard. He appreciates the experience at another position, however, and believes it will help him in his leadership role on the Giants offensive line. Seeing things from a different perspective will allow Richburg to be more effective making line adjustments and “Help him help the guards.” Asked about being thrown into the left guard role in 2014, Richburg replied that it was the best way to learn the position, and how he prefers to do it.

Continuity on the offensive line is always preferred, but rare in the NFL. Communication between the men on the field is needed to make up for the lack of continuity, according to Richburg. “You want to bring out the same guys, if you can,” explains Richburg, “That would be ideal, but you need to have good communication no matter who is in there.”

The offensive linemen are looking forward to practicing in pads to gauge their progress, especially in the run game. Richburg said it’s hard to evaluate run blocking without hitting.

Richburg describes rookie Flowers as athletic, strong, smart, and possessing the right attitude to play offensive line. While quiet, Richburg says that Flowers is opening up as he gets to know his new teammates. Flowers is also a pretty good singer, jokes Richburg, explaining that Manning demanded that the rookie sing earlier today, and Flowers complied. Richburg was compelled to give a similar command performance last season and “Might have” sung poorly so the request would not be repeated.

Asked what he likes better about playing center, Richburg replied, “You have to be cerebral and make adjustment as well as have the brute strength to make blocks. I like the control I have and the mental aspects of making line adjustments with Eli.” As the offensive line gels this season, Richburg’s ability to make quick and correct line adjustments will be a big part of the reason.

Devon Kennard: Spagnuolo’s Defense is More Complex

Asked for his impression of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense, Kennard replied, “It’s more complex than last year,” a surprising statement given that Perry Fewell was frequently criticized for running one of the league’s most challenging schemes to learn. However, when he expounded upon his answer, it’s became clear that Kennard’s role will be more complex, with both blitz and coverage responsibilities. He was more limited as a rookie last season, and Kennard thought he was underutilized as a blitzer, at least early in the season.

Blitzing is one of the aspects of the game that Kennard enjoys, adding that “There’s nothing better than a sack and fumble.” But stopping the run will be the focus of the Giants defense in 2015. “It’s a mindset,” explains Kennard, “We can’t let people run the ball on us.” Linebacker responsibilities especially will focus on run defense first in Spagnuolo’s scheme.

Calling the defense “Hungry,” Kennard says the chemistry is especially good among the linebackers. Despite outside comments to the contrary, Kennard believe the team has a great linebacking corps and says he’s learning a lot from fellow starters Beason and J.T. Thomas.

Last season as a rookie, Kennard had no idea what to expect. Now, with a full season under his belt, Kennard is having fun, picking things up and learning, and getting better every day. As one of the potential impact players on the 2015 Giants defense, let’s hope he fully understand the complexities of his role in Spagnuolo’s scheme.

 

Giants Training Camp Notes: August 1, 2015

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On another warm, sunny day in New Jersey, the Giants took the field for their second practice. Enthusiasm for the dream pairing at wide receiver has not subsided, and despite limitations on their practice time, Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham are being used with the starters and as a tandem so they and quarterback Eli Manning get their timing down. New arrival James Jones practiced for the first time, with the second team, and rookie Geremy Davis continued to impress, catching everything thrown his way.

Beckham, showing the first signs that he’s human, was unable to haul in a deep pass from Manning over Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. He appeared to jam his fingers on the play, but after a brief examination by trainers, returned to catch some passes and doesn’t appear any worse for the wear. Beckham and Prince Amukamara have a friendly feud going in camp, which Amukamara discussed in his interview, summarized below, and the cornerback was switching off with others to ensure he covered Beckham as frequently as possible. It’s the type of rivalry that pushes players to be their best.

The first play of practice featured a completion to running back Andre Williams, who worked diligently this off season to improve his receiving skills. With tight end Larry Donnell apparently limited while recovering from a spring Achilles injury, second year player Jerome Cunningham is making the most of his opportunity, catching back to back passes on the first drive, including a touchdown from Manning. If Cunningham shows blocking ability to go with the receiving skills he’s demonstrated thus far in 2015, he will be pushing Donnell for playing time.

With two tight end spots seemingly locked up by Donnell and veteran Daniel Fells, Adrien Robinson is not going down without a fight. He made a leaping grab over Chandler Fenner on a Manning pass. Robinson and Cunningham are battling for the third tight end spot on the final 53. Cunningham would appear to have an edge based on his work this spring and early in camp. Stony Brook rookie free agent Will Tye made a nice grab near the end of practice and could be making a case for a practice squad spot.

The final tight end on the roster, Illinois rookie free agent Matt LaCosse, who injured his hamstring yesterday, was waived/injured to make room for Jones on the roster. He could be added to injured reserve if he clears waivers as the coaching staff had been impressed with his showing in mini camp. After practice ended, Cunningham was carted off the field with cramps, giving everyone attending practice a pause. Preston Parker also left the field with cramps. John Jerry has been slowed in practice with an undisclosed illness.

Rookie third round draft pick Owa Odighizuwa lined up opposite Robert Ayers with the starters, replacing George Selvie. Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is substituting liberally in practice to determine the best combinations of players at his disposal. At one point, a 4-4-3 configuration was used, with Jameel McClain replacing Rodgers-Cromartie.

In the defensive backfield, converted cornerback Bennett Jackson made a couple of nice pass breakups, and frequent 2014 whipping boy Jayron Hosley appears to have regained his confidence. Spagnuolo has a history of revitalizing cornerbacks, as he turned Corey Webster’s career around on a dime during his first stint with the Giants. If he can do the same for Hosley, it will be a boon for the Giants secondary, who can use cornerback depth.

Geoff Schwartz: Act Tough, Don’t Talk About It

Geoff Schwartz wants to see the Giants offensive line improve their run blocking and the team run the ball better in 2015. Part of the issue last season was the late injuries that sent the line into flux. As Tom Coughlin said yesterday, the sooner the line is set, the better for continuity. Schwartz agrees that it needs to be finalized no later than the third preseason game.

“That third game is treated as a game week, with a game plan, Wednesday and Thursday preparation, it’s the time when you want things set,” explains Schwartz. Saying that its the worst time to make a switch, Schwartz realizes his injury caused some of the issues last season. His ankle is fine now, having held up through yesterday’s practice, but the true test will come when the team practices in pads.

Schwartz is not worried about rookie Ereck Flowers starting at left tackle, saying that he sees growth in him with every practice. “It’s an accelerated process,” says Schwartz. Adding that fast learning is the way of the current NFL.

Damontre Moore: High Energy and Relentless Play

With Jason Pierre-Paul in Florida recovering from his hand injury, Cullen Jenkins and Ayers have filled the leadership void left on the Giants defensive line. They have held extra meeting with players to ensure familiarity with the new scheme and playbook brought by Spagnuolo. Jenkins also wants players to match his intensity and effort in the meeting room and on the field and know that good things will happen if they do.

Damontre Moore knows that the key to additional playing time for him will come from better defending the run. Having worked to get “Bigger and faster,” Moore explains that the biggest difference in Spagnuolo’s approach to defense is telling the players to always play relentlessly and with his energy on the field.

Asked how the team will make up for Pierre-Paul’s 12.5 sacks, Moore believe it will be a team effort and a snowball effect. When one player starts accumulating sacks, offenses adjust and others follow suit, he explains. Asked about Pierre-Paul, Moore just said that he misses his teammate and is ready for him to come back to the team.

Jay Bromley: Improvement is the Order of the Day

Jay Bromley is out to show a night and day difference between his 2014 play as a rookie and his 2015 play with a full off season under his belt. He is confident that he can play at a high level in the NFL. Working out mostly in East Rutherford, and some time in Florida, Bromley is among those players that spoke with Pierre-Paul and hopes that the situation works out best for both his teammate and his team.

Knowing that filling the void left by Pierre-Paul is no easy task, Bromley is confident that there is sufficient talent on the Giants to succeed. He sees no cap on the height his talent can reach, but realizes there are a lot of players he must pass on the roster to see time on the field. One concern not on Bromley’s mind is what outsiders are saying about the Giants defense. “We just push each other to be better,” explains Bromley, “And when all is said and done, the results will show.”

Asked about Spagnuolo’s scheme, Bromley said that as he not one of the bigger defensive tackles in the league [6’2″, 320 pounds], the movement it incorporates will help his game.

 Prince Amukamara: Of Cruz, Beckham, and Collins

The Giants starting cornerback is in a unique position to evaluate the status of the wide receiver tandem as they return from injury. While not recalling if Cruz caught a pass in yesterday’s practice, Amukamara did say that he looked great running routes and does not appear to have lost a step. For a player who is self reporting to be at 93% and took part in his first practice since October, this is very encouraging news.

The news on Beckham was more animated, as there was disagreement between teammates on whether Beckham would have been tackled on his 60 yard zigzag touchdown had it been a live game rather than a practice. Beckham told Amukamara he was more worried about opposite cornerback Rodgers-Cromartie, and that Amukamara must have thought they were playing “Two hand touch.” Amukamara naturally thought he would have tackled the second year wide receiver when he cut back to his side of the field. It was left with Amukamara saying that he will get Beckham next time, and he clarified, tongue in cheek, that it means he plans to lay a shot on his teammate, “And make it look circumstantial” so he doesn’t get fined.

Regarding rookie Landon Collins, Amukamara reports that he looks very confident, has made few mental errors, and he is excited to see him play. Amukamara believes that the rookie is ready to start in the NFL, and it’s clear why the coaches have put him with the Giants starters already.

Rashad Jennings: Act Like You’re the Starter

“Act like you’re the starter,” is the advice that Rashad Jennings gives to his teammates in the meeting room. No matter which back is on the field, he should have that attitude and no one should be able to take it away. Jennings comes into 2015 more confident as he knows the playbook, Giants personnel, and soft spots on the offense. He points out that the offense did a lot well in 2014, but they were overshadowed by the things they didn’t do well.

One of the things that needs to be improved are penalties, especially those pre-snap, a sentiment that every Giants coach and fan will agree with. Jennings believes that the team has the personnel to get the job done, and is excited for this season. Ben McAdoo will show more from the playbook as the players know it better than they did last year. “You’ll see a lot more,” exclaims Jennings

Asked if he’s concerned about an offensive line that has a new player at every position, Jennings said he’s not and his confidence in this group is high. “This group is clicking quickly,” he explains. As they get set and the running backs grow familiar with their linemen, they learn how they play certain players and situations and that exposes hidden yardage on the field. “This is the NFL,” says Jennings, “You play against some very good players. Knowing how your linemen will play them helps.”

Corey Washington: Practice, Study the Playbook, and Be Ready When Called

Corey Washington welcomes the competition that veteran James Jones will bring to the Giants. Rather than be discouraged by another talented player at his position, Washington sees it as another player to be called upon if someone goes down, perhaps a reaction to the injuries suffered last season.

Asked if he’s worried, Washington said he’s all about a positive attitude and effort. He will practice hard, study his playbook, and will be ready when his number is called. The second year wide receiver also realizes that improves special teams is one of the keys to seeing more playing time in 2015.

“I’m not worrying about who the team picks up,” says Washington, “I go out and practice full speed and try not to make mental errors.” He not asking where he fits in or is going to argue about the reps he received. His practice effort and play on the field will speak for him. If he improves upon his preseason efforts from 2014, it will be hard to keep him off the field in 2015.

Change to Autograph Procedure

Excitement over the return of Cruz and Beckham lead to a fracas after the Giants practice yesterday. Wide receivers were available for autographs, and anxious fans were pushing and shoving to ensure they would be able to see the Giants starting tandem before the session ended. Unfortunately, the poor sportsmanship lead to buckled bleachers, children pinned against a chain link fence, and a woman who suffered a seizure while waiting in the crowd to be nearly trampled. Some Giants360 followers were in attendance and shared stories of the lack of respect shown to fellow Giants fans, and as predicted, the team adjusted accordingly.

Starting today, players will only be signing autographs for children ages 12 and under. If you are disappointed by this news, you have only some of your fellow camp attendees to blame. Surely it was not everyone there yesterday, but a few rotten apples spoiling the barrel.

Giants Training Camp Notes: July 31, 2015

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It was the talk of the off season, Victor Cruz returning to line up opposite Odell Beckham, jr. Naysayers talked of an impossible recovery from his torn patellar tendon, but today, on the first day of training camp practice, Cruz and Beckham lined up for some snaps with with Giants first team offense. The first touchdown of training camp was a diving catch on a slant by Beckham on a pass from Eli Manning. Fans yelled from the stands to be careful with Cruz if he was bumped by the defense, but the energy his return brought to the team and the large crowd that attended practice was evident on this warm July day.

As individual drills started, the familiar chant of “Cruuuuuuuuuuz” could be heard from the crowd when the sixth year wide receiver caught passes from Manning. Cruz looked good coming in and out of cuts and appears well on the way to a full recovery. Tomorrow will be a telling day, when the swelling in his surgically repaired knee is assessed by the Giants medical staff. Also impressive among the wide receivers was rookie Geremy Davis, the 6’2″ former Connecticut Huskie, who made a pair of acrobatic catches that drew applause from the crowd.

The first team offensive line was unchanged from minicamp, from left to right, Ereck Flowers, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Geoff Schwartz, and Marshall Newhouse. Flowers made a crushing block on one of the running plays, while Newhouse was beating badly on a passing play. It’s too early to panic, but the team’s interest in Jake Long will intensify if Newhouse continues to struggle.

On defense, the first team line featured George Selvie and Robert Ayers lined up at the ends and Johnathan Hankins and Cullen Jenkins at tackle. Jon Beason took almost all of the snaps at middle linebacker, likely so he can get used to making the calls and adjustments in Steve Spagnuolo’s defense. J.T. Thomas and Devon Kennard were the other starters at linebacker.

The first team left and right safeties were also unchanged from minicamp, as Cooper Taylor and Landon Collins remained entrenched in those positions.  Nat Berhe, his calf injury is fully and completely healed, didn’t appear in team drills until the third team took the field. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Prince Amukamara rounded out the starting secondary.

Later in practice, Manning bobbled a snap and lofted a seemingly desperate pass to Beckham, who caught it and zigzagged about 60 yards for another touchdown. It was a hopeful sign that when plays break down, the two most important Giants on offense can improvise and create magical plays.

Tight End Jerome Cunningham, one of the stars of the off season program, seemed to pick up where he left off last month, making a nice one handed grab and another for a touchdown on a pass from Ryan Nassib. Cunningham received some first team snaps during practice and is a player to keep an eye on as training camp progresses and during preseason games.

As practiced closed after one hour and ten minutes, the team stretched to cool down. Tight end Matt LaCosse, the rookie from Illinois, left the field early and went inside the training center to be examined. It was a productive first practice, and featured what everyone has been wanted for the entire off season – Beckham and Cruz lined up together.

After practice, Tom Coughlin said he was pleased to see Cruz out there working and enjoying himself. He doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about players getting injured and thinks it’s good to see them getting into some contact situations. Both Cruz and Beckham are on a “Pitch count” and are being monitored, but Coughlin doesn’t pay attention to it during practice. He watches the players that rotate in and out of the live drills.

Also on limited snaps are safeties Berhe and Mykkele Thompson, explaining their lack of significant presence on the field today. The safety position will be one of the most competitive in camp, but Coughlin wants to see a lot of positions with tough competition, but did concede that safety will be near the top of the list.

James Jones is expected to arrive tonight and will be on the field tomorrow if everything goes will. Coughlin complemented his skill, hands, and knowledge of the system, and expects the veteran to provide competition at a position where the Giants have a lot of talent. Asked why the team added him given their existing talent, Coughlin referred back to his previous statement about Jones.

Asked about Flowers, Coughlin reiterated that the rookie will be taking the majority of first and second team snaps at left tackle, but his practicing is not about logging time at the position, but rather about becoming the player the Giants know he can become. “We want him to take off,” said Coughlin, “He needs to grasp everything.”

Overall, the offensive line needs to work together and grows as a unit and “Sometimes it’s not pretty,” but they need the work, said Coughlin. He added that it’s important that the starting unit grow fatigued together and work through it as a unit. At some point, the starting five will emerge, Coughlin said, but it’s too early to be at that point. “When it happens, it happens,” the head coach added, “But we’re not there yet.”

Asked if plays like Beckham’s zigzag touchdown make him think prognostications of an explosive offense are accurate, Coughlin replied, “It’s the first day.” He went on to explain the practice plan is to push the team hard, back off, push hard again, perhaps for 2 or 3 days, then back off again, and repeat the pattern. He added that players were reminded to avoid other players legs, pile ups, and to stay away from the quarterbacks, or in other words, all the things that lead to unnecessary injuries.

Beckham, the Watcher

In a morning interview with the press, Beckham stated a simple goal for the season, “Win the Super Bowl.” He sees the championship trophies and memorabilia around the Giants facility and wants to be a part of a championship team. His hamstring feels fine, and Beckham believes he’s ready to go out and practice, but the training staff makes the decisions about when and how much he will practice.

Calling himself a “Watcher,” Beckham has studied Jerry Rice, Randy Moss, and Cris Carter, among others, to see what these all time greats did to be successful and attempts to incorporate it into his game. He also studies how Manning takes notes in meetings and how he uses those notes on the practice field and in games. It’s about constant improvement for Beckham, who plans to take his second season day by day and one step at a time and see how the 2015 season unfolds.

Asked if he is 100% healthy, Beckham said that no football player will every truthfully be able to answer yes to that question. He’s fully rehabbed, and has been training his muscles, his body, and pushing to see where it’s at, but cannot say he’s been “At 100%” since he started playing football. Last season was the first time Beckham missed practice time or a game in his football career and found it extremely frustrated. He hopes to never repeat the experience.

Jenkins, Team Leader

Jenkins has spoken with Jason Pierre-Paul, and said he’s in good spirits. Like the large majority of NFL players, Jenkins declined to comment on Pierre-Paul’s decision to exclude the Giants from his treatment on his injured hand and will not speculate on his situation. As a teammate, Jenkins said he hopes to have the sixth year defensive end back with the team, as the he believes the defense will be better with him on the field.

Asked if Pierre-Paul will be able to adjust to his amputated finger, Jenkins draws on his own experience playing with a cast on his hand, and said that he was able to make adjustments in his game and expects that Pierre-Paul will do the same.

Jenkins responded with amusement when asked about the Giants defense being written off in 2015, and said he prefers that the unit be viewed that way. Admitting that the team has a lot to do defensively, he compares the 2015 defense to the 2014 offense and points to the offense’s development as last season progressed. Jenkins expects the defense to step up and perform well as it learns the Spagnuolo system and comes together as a unit.

Seeing himself as a team leader, Jenkins says he will play where ever he’s needed, will help other players improve, and do whatever he can to make the defense better. Expected to play both defensive end and tackle this season, his flexibility will be an attribute appreciated by Spagnuolo and the defensive coaching staff.

Shane Vereen, A Complete Running Back

“Terminology,” was the answer Shane Vereen gave when asked what the biggest difference was between the Patriots offense and the Giants. He also sees similarities between his former quarterback Tom Brady and his current, Manning. “The are both masters of the game,” says Vereen. Citing a similar pedigree between the two veteran super bowl winners, Vereen notes that both are teachers in the meeting room as well.

Vereen is still uncertain how he will be utilized in the Giants offense, and expects his role will be carved out at the preseason unfolds. Seeing himself as a complete running back, Vereen knows he does every aspect of the running back role well and believe the Giants coaching staff will see that and adjust accordingly.

There is no competition with the defense, according to Vereen, as football is a team sport. He wants to see the unit come together and play well as that will help the Giants win games. The offensive players will do whatever they can to assist their defensive counterparts to improve their game.