Giants Training Camp Notes: August 12, 2015

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The second day of joint practice with the Cincinnati Bengals featured both teams wearing shells – upper pads with shorts. It’s done in low contact drills and allows the coaching staff to emphasize technique with the players

The joint practice again started with special teams, but unlike yesterday, the Giants did not look crisp. Geremy Davis did have some strong moments from the gunner position.

With Geoff Schwartz still sidelined, the first team offensive line remained unchanged. John Jerry stepped in for Schwartz, and the other four starters are the men presumed to be in place on opening day. Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg showed the ability to work effectively in tandem, holding Bengals defensive tackle Geno Atkins at bay on consecutive plays. Marshall Newhouse was not as solid, allowing penetration several times during the team drills.

Bennett Jackson, who appears to be recovered from his weekend quad injury, was practicing with the cornerbacks, displaying his versatility. Along with Trumaine McBride and Josh Gordy, Jackson lined up as a nickel corner. Jeromy Miles lined up with Landon Collins as the first team safeties with Jackson playing corner. Jayron Hosley remained in the starting lineup with Prince Amukamara still sidelined.

Bengals running back Jeremy Hill made a one handed catch in front of Jon Beason that was reminiscent of Odell Beckham. On a later play, Hill was flattened by defensive end Brad Bars. Unappreciative of the hard hit, Hill threw the ball at Bars, drawing a penalty flag.

Beckham ran for a touchdown on a reverse during the early part of team drills. Victor Cruz was allowed to work against the Bengals defense during these reduced contact drills. He was held out of yesterday’s full contact practice.

Davis made a leaping catch for a touchdown over Adam (formerly Pacman) Jones and drew praise from his teammates on the sideline.

Collins had his ankle looked at by trainers and Mykkele Thompson stepped in for him during part of the drills. After testing his ankle, Collins returned to finish the drill with the first team defense.

Ryan Nassib threaded a pass to Adrien Robinson between three Bengals defenders. Robinson made a great catch for a touchdown on the play. The two connected again during the two minute drill portion of practice on a pass over the middle.

There were some breakdowns in the secondary resulting in deep completions over Thompson and Collins. There will be kinks in the secondary that need to be worked out and it’s unlikely they will be resolved until the first part of the regular season.

In his post practice press conference, Coughlin revealed that Cruz will not play on Friday night. As is traditional in the first preseason game, the starters will play one or two series, including Eli Manning and Beckham. Coughlin did not know if Rueben Randle would be available for the game.

Asked about the safety competition, Coughlin said he hopes it will resolve itself on the practice field before the regular season starts. He also said that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is dealing with a “A little bit of a groin,” but he’s playing through it.

In Friday’s game, Coughlin wants to see the rookies give a great effort and play hard. He pointed out that there are plenty of roster spots up for grabs.

Jeromy Miles: Undrafted Free Agent Mentality

Enjoying some time in Cincinnati this week, Miles played there from 2010 to 2013 before signing with Baltimore. As an undrafted free agent, he felt overlooked and carries that chip with him to his day. Every time Miles steps onto the field, whether it be for practice or in a game, he wants to prove he belongs there.

Practicing against the Bengals is a good test, says Miles. Players like A.J. Green, his former teammate, test your abilities. And with his past, he never takes them for granted.

Robert Ayers: Attacking Defense

List Robert Ayers among those current Giants who have joined the Steve Spagnuolo fan club. Appreciating how the Giants defensive coordinator trusts his players knowledge of the game and puts them in position to make plays has impressed Ayers. Seeing the defense as much more aggressive, he says that Spagnuolo wants the Giants to attack and be relentless, and do damage on their way to the ball carrier.

Ayers also sees Spagnuolo as a good teacher, as he not only explains the defense, but tell you why, how, and what he is trying to accomplish with each play. Also explaining how an offense might try to counter the defense’s tactics, Ayers like that Spagnuolo in not content to allow opponent to dictate the game and manipulate them. Admitting that Spagnuolo’s defense is complicated, Ayers said he’s simplified it to make easier for the Giants players to digest.

Practicing against he Bengals has been a good measure of progress for the Giants defense, and Ayers believes they “Held their own” against a good Bengals offense. He identified Owa Odighizuwa, Jay Bromley, and Damontre Moore as players who performed particularly well, and beamed with pride while describing their accomplishments.

Ayers is particularly impressed with Odighizuwa, who he predicts will be a “Monster” once he refines his game, given how quickly he picked up the defense.

Shane Vereen: Leadership Qualities?

One of the reasons the Giants signed Shane Vereen is because he came from the world champion New England Patriots, and Vereen realizes the team would like to them to spread that winning attitude throughout the locker room. But Vereen said he first need to “Get my feet on the ground and know what I’m doing.”

Seeing the Giants as a new team and a new page in his story, it sounds as if Vereen doesn’t see himself as a natural leader. He did admit that his winning pedigree was discussed when he visited the team during free agency, but may not be a role he’s comfortable in. If he starts converting critical third down, the coaching staff and front office might not care.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: I Just Play Ball

Staying back and letting the young safeties make their mistakes has been one of the most challenging parts of training camp for Rodgers-Cromartie, who realizes it’s part of the learning process. He praises Miles, who he’s seen help his young counterparts make strides in their play since he arrived two weeks ago.

Asked how his role has changed under new coordinator Spagnuolo, Rodgers-Cromartie says it’s the same as he’s “Still on the outside covering guys,” but did conceded that the scheme is much more aggressive. The attacking style puts pressure on the cornerbacks as the smallest little things leads to an opponent’s touchdown. Rodgers-Cromartie doesn’t worry too much about it, as he says the cornerbacks just have to “Go out and compete.”

Paired with Amukamara, Rodgers-Cromartie would not rank them as a tandem in comparison with others in the NFL. When pressed, he simply said, “I don’t know. I just play ball.”

With the defensive line getting a good amount of pressure on Bengals quarterbacks yesterday, Rodgers-Cromartie sees a potential Jason Pierre-Paul return as just adding on to the talent. He believes the defense will be scary if, and when, the defensive end returns to the Giants.

Geremy Davis: Improving

Rookie wide receiver Davis describes going against the Bengals in practice as “Fun” because it feels like a game. He’s also appreciative of the opportunity to see how different cornerbacks play coverages and work against opposing receivers. Davis believes the joint practices are making him and the team better.

Seeing the Bengals defense this week will make him better able to match up against them on Friday night, says Davis. Rookie often experience a sort of culture shock in their first preseason game as they are only practicing again teammates. This week has exposed him to different players, but also those he will see on Friday. His first true test against a blind opponent will come next week against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Davis appreciates the coaching he is receiving as both a wide receiver and special teams player and sees himself improving in both areas. He says that assistant special teams coach Larry Izzo has “over-coached” him due to his limited college experience. It’s made him think about special teams more and improve his techniques. Given his standing on the wide receiver depth chart, special teams play will determine if he makes the team in September.

Giants Training Camp Notes: August 11, 2015

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After an off day and a day spend traveling to Cincinnati, the Giants escape rain soaked New Jersey for their joint practices with the Cincinnati Bengals. The teams did some individual work against their respective teammates and then worked against one another. It was lively, but controlled, seemed to be a hard fought, up tempo practice that benefited both teams. Tom Coughlin thought the Bengals were well prepared by Marvin Lewis and the practice want well.

There was a sense of urgency in the air for both teams, as the Giants are looking to rebound from their 6-10 season and the Bengals seek to improve on another one and done performance in the playoffs. Prince Amukamara was unable to practice, still nursing his groin injury, but Bennett Jackson returned. Both Weston Richburg and Ereck Flowers were able to practice.

The joint sessions started with punt drills, with Rashad Jennings and Jonathan Casillas getting a strong push up the middle on their rush, while Dwayne Harris, Preston Parker, and Jayron Hosley served as the Giants punt returners. Coughlin said he thought this drill was particularly crisp.

When the Giants offense took the field, their first look was a two tight end set, with Daniel Fells and Larry Donnell on the lineup. Jennings was the first halfback in rotation. Andre Williams and Shane Vereen also took snaps and all three backs looked good catching the ball.

Victor Cruz took snaps again his Giants teammates only, while Odell Beckham lined up against the Bengals and smoked cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick on a one on one drill, leaving the veteran in the dust with a move and his speed. Later, Beckham drew a holding call against Adam (formerly Pac Man) Jones, who argued with the side judge until the teams were put back into separate units to prevent tensions from flaring up.

Justin Pugh and Richburg appear to be working well in tandem on the offensive line and were especially effective blocking on a screen pass for Vereen. Both Flowers and Marshall Newhouse held up well in pass blocking against the Bengals formidable defensive line.

Eli Manning threw a pick six interception on a pass intended for James Jones. Timing could be the issue between these two relatively unfamiliar players.

On defense, Damontre Moore had another good practice, using his speed to generate a pass rush. Jeromy Miles joined Landon Collins as the starting safety tandem for this session, but Jackson again looked good in pass defense and, if healthy, appears to have the inside track on one of the starting jobs.

On back-to-back plays, Andy Dalton connected with A.J. Green for a long touchdown over Jayron Hosley, and then Jeremy Hill went up the middle and to the house. The Giants defense is going to be a work in progress and require patience early in the season. Hosley was able to cover Green for most of practice but appeared to wear down as the session wore on.

On the next play, Miles made a leaping pass defense to make a play on a ball intended for tight end Tyler Eifert. Devon Kennard is logging some time at defensive end, lining up with his hand in the dirt. Versatility will be a big part of this defensive scheme.

Rueben Randle finished practice early and was icing both knees. Coughlin said that he’s been battling tendinitis.

Kerry Wynn: Depth Chart is Not Important

Kerry Wynn will not change his work habits because he appears at a starter on the Giant “unofficial” depth chart. He will continue to work hard, and do what he can to help the team. While he “Feels he can be a starter,” Wynn has not spent much time or energy dwelling on the depth chart since teammates told him he’s listed on the top at left defensive end.

More focused on the join practices with the Bengals, Wynn is looking forward to practicing against someone other than teammates and said that the coaches have told the team to be prepared, know their assignments, and play fast and relentlessly.

Since he became a surprise addition to the roster last September, Wynn has had the mantra “Don’t give them a reason to take you off the field.” He tries to improve every day, take advantage of his opportunities, and not make mental errors. Wynn hopes to be a long term Giants and continuously works towards that goal.

One of the tenants of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense is moving players around to create mismatches, and Wynn is comfortable with that, having played inside in college and obviously outside in the NFL. Asked again about his place on the depth chart, Wynn replied, “I just want to help my team win.”

Jon Beason: We Want to Get a Lot Out of These Practices

Coughlin told his players to play to the whistle, but handle themselves with class and dignity and treat the Bengals with respect, sentiments that Jon Beason echos as the joint practices get underway. Unlike games, these practices don’t have fines or penalties and can get “chippy” as a result. Both teams need to avoid that by treating the other with respect.

Going up against a team that’s been in the playoffs for four straight years is a big opportunity for the Giants to measure their progress, and Beason wants to see them get a lot out of them. Their first priority, says Beason, is stopping them run.

The Giants want to show that they are a physical and aggressive defense that can play with the Bengals. Their goal for these practices is to be tough and relentless. When practicing against their teammates, the “Brother-in-law” effect can kick in, causing players to pull back because of the familiar face across the way. In this setting, players for both teams will want to leave a lasting impression on the other and will play hard through the end of the play.

Beason points out that the Giants moved their “entire camp” to Cincinnati for the week, and while their play will be aggressive, a brawl like the one that occurred between Houston and Washington on Saturday will detract from the derived benefits. The practices are more important to the starters, who will only see one or two series in Friday night’s game. Beason and the other starters need to get their work in in the joint practices.

Prince Amukamara: Should Be Back Next Week

Out with a groin injury, Amukamara received a cortisone shot yesterday and is feeling better as a result. He traveled with the team to Cincinnati, but is uncertain of his status to participate in the joint practices or play in Friday night’s game. Doctors have told him he should rest for a few days to continue healing.

Amukamara would like to log sometime against the Bengals to see how the new defense has progressed and his experience. He believes he will be back at practice next week at the latest, but says his injury has only slowed his physical progress, not his mental development.

Recovering from a torn bicep this off season, Amukamara said it has not been an issue so far, but also cautioned that it’s not truly been tested as he’s not had to “Slam a down” at any point yet. “That will be the true test,” said Amukamara.

Jayron Hosley: Turning Over a New Leaf

Unhappy with his benching in favor of street free agents last season, Hosley respected the decision by the coaches as he was ineffective playing nickel cornerback. “It’s a production league,” said Hosley, “I wasn’t productive. I want to be real with myself.” I change from nickel to outside cornerback has helped Hosley regain his confidence and the results have been promising early in camp.

“It’s a corner friendly defense,” explains Hosley, “It takes a lot of the thinking out of the game.” Spagnuolo’s scheme relies on heavy pressure, with the cornerbacks playing primarily man-to-man coverage. Knowing what to expect and being able to react makes Hosley more relaxed and confident.

Drawing comparisons to Corey Webster, Hosley is familiar with his story, but says he’s “Going where the game takes him.” He’s turned over a new leaf, like the coaching from Spagnuolo and new cornerback coach Tim Walton and want to make the best of his new opportunity.

With Amukamara and Chykie Brown out with injuries, Hosley will see additional reps in this week’s joint practices and is ready to compete. While not pleased that it’s coming at the expense of teammate’s injuries, Hosley knows that he’s the next man up and it ready to go. “It’s a great opportunity,” says Hosley, “Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of it.”

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 8, 2015

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On another mile summer day in New Jersey, the Giants had a fully padded practice in advance of an off day prior to traveling to Cincinnati for join practices with the Bengals. Their injury list swelled again with safety Bennett Jackson (Quad) and linebacker Cole Farrand joining Prince Amukamara (groin), Nat Berhe (calf), Geoff Schwartz (ankle), and Jameel McClain (stinger) on the sidelines. Jackson has been one of the superstars of camp and seemed to be on track for one of the starting safety positions.

Ereck Flowers and Weston Richburg returned to the practice, moving Justin Pugh back to left guard and somewhat stabilizing the offensive line. With Schwartz still sidelined, John Jerry took with first team reps at right guard, with Marshall Newhouse remaining at right tackle.

Damontre Moore was extremely active along the defensive line, enjoying one of his best practices to date, often penetrating and disrupting the offense’s rhythm. Jeromy Miles took first team snaps at safety beside Landon Collins, taking the place of Jackson, who has been a fixture in the defensive backfield.

The offense made some plays in 11 on 11 drills, with both Rueben Randle and Victor Cruz catching touchdown passes from Eli Manning. Odell Beckham enjoyed a spectacular practice, beating both Chykie Brown and Josh Gordy with athletic catches, one for a long touchdown down the left sideline.

Brown is taking first team snaps for Amukamara after Jayron Hosley received the majority of the snaps in Thursday’s fully padded practice. Hosley appeared to give up on a play, surrendering a long play and drawing the ire of the coaching staff. After Johnathan Hankins dove and landed on him, Brown went down, holding his right knee and screaming profanities. After having his knee tested for stability, he got up and walked off, obviously hobbled, with trainers. Hosley took Brown’s place with the first team defense.

Ryan Nassib showed off his strong arm, overthrowing both Geremy Davis and Corey Washington.

Cornerback Trevin Wade registered the first official interception of Manning in camp with a leaping interception on a pass intended for Randle. A potential interception by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in Thursday’s practice was “Overturned” when coaches reviewed practice videos. Rodgers-Cromartie intercepted Manning later in practice, giving the quarterback two on the day. Manning later found James Jones for a touchdown. Jones has been especially impressive with his downfield blocking during camp.

Owa Odighizuwa was one of the stars of today’s practice, making several plays int he backfield and showing a quick first step. He beat tackle Brandon Mosley, the former guard, several times.

Coughlin spoke with Jason Pierre-Paul and said it was good to hear his voice, but he’s no clearer on when the defensive end might report that prior to the conversation. He declined to speculate on a time frame.

Cruz will travel to Cincinnati, according to Coughlin, but it’s unclear if he will practice or play in the preseason game. He’s “Moving along very well,” per the coach.

Coughlin has already addressed the team in the wake of the brawl that broke out in the Washington/Houston joint practices. Coughlin wants “Good, hard practices, but none of that.”

Pat Flaherty, Offensive Line Coach: This Will Be a Good Offensive Line

Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty knows that all of his offensive linemen want to be on the field, but can’t because they are injured. As a coach, he doesn’t spend time worrying about things he can’t control, and injuries are among those items. Flaherty disagrees with former Giants center Shaun O’Hara who called the player’s toughness into question. Saying it’s an issue if injury, and not mere soreness, Flaherty cites daily discussions with Tom Coughlin. Flaherty calls O’Hara’s statements “One man’s opinion.”

Flowers and Richburg took part in yesterday’s jog through, bolstering the line, and their availability for today’s more strenuous practice, left up to trainers, was a welcome sight.

Players are being shuffled about in different positions, all part of the effort to identify the best starting five combination and foster versatility among the linemen. It’s a plan that Flaherty has used successfully in the past. With so many linemen sidelined, it’s given a chance for veterans and rookies alike to make an impression on the coaches.

While he’d like to see the five regular season starters identified before training camp ends, Flaherty cautions that it won’t end the competition for positions. “You want coordination, communication, and chemistry among the linemen, but the attitude from the players that I’m going to get a job is something you always want to see,” says Flaherty.

Regarding Flowers, Flaherty says it’s always bad when a young player misses time, but his attitude is great, and that he was “Chomping at the bit” to get back onto the field. Flaherty also noted that Flowers pass protection skills are improving.

Pugh appears to be a man in flux, as he’s taken snaps at both left tackle and left guard in camp and Flaherty was remarkably non-committal about his future. What’s important, said Flaherty, is that Pugh win his position, run or pass, on every play. There are technique differences between the two positions, varied angles, and subtleties. Flaherty thinks it’s good for Pugh’s development to know both and mentally consider the differences as he takes reps.

Of Brett Jones, the Canadian linemen who won every award imaginable in the CFL, Flaherty said, “He’s developing every day, and has had more peaks than valleys.”

Calling this group of linemen a talented group, Flaherty says they are far from having arrived, but that’s why the team practices. He believes there are enough linemen in camp to form a good offensive line. It’s appears that the coach is not looking to add Jake Long or Evan Mathis any time soon.

Landon Collins: First NFL Game

Even though it’s a preseason contest, Collins sees next week’s game against the Cincinnati Bengals as his first in the NFL, and he’s exciting. It follows a week of joint practices, that will feature the unknown, and that’s fine withe Collins as well. Seeing players in helmets other than blue will help the defense measure their progress, and it’s important to know where they stand.

Adjusting to the depth of his backpedal is the biggest change for Collins, who lined up deeper in Alabama. He’s closer to the line of scrimmage in the Steve Spagnuolo scheme, and that changes how far and fast he has to backpedal.

The safeties also control the secondary, and reading their keys and lining their teammates up correctly will prevent “Bomb plays and wide receiver running free.” While Collins adjust to the new scheme, he’s also trying to communicate with a rotating group of teammates and win a starting job. Chemistry is important, and he believes the secondary will have it, once the dust settles and the starters emerge. He plans to be one of them.

Trumaine McBride: It’s Like a Preseason Game

Cornerback Trumaine McBride compares the join practices with the Bengals to another preseason game. He expects the players to be fired up and things to be “Chippy” because they are practicing against player that are not their teammates. But because it’s a practice, and it will be controlled, he’s not worried. McBride calls it a mindset, seeing different receivers and formations and not knowing what to expects. It’s exciting for the players to see something new after lining up against the same men day after day.

McBride is not worried about where he ranks on the cornerback depth chart, but rather he concentrates on making the team first. That’s his focus every summer and this year is no different. What is different is his position, where McBride is playing nickel corner rather than outside, and is learning the nuances of that position.

Also different is taking direction from the young safeties who will be calling the signals in the secondary. McBride is not concerned as he says is incumbent upon the cornerbacks to know they their jobs.

Lining up against the Giants wide receivers gives McBride a unique perspective on Cruz, who the cornerback says looks good. “He’s fast, still quick, and his hands are there. He’s the same,” says McBride.

Roster Shuffle

The Giants signed rookie safety Justin Halley. To make room on the roster, wide receiver Chris Harper was waived with an injury designation. Halley is the ninth safety on the roster as the team continues to try out seemingly unlimited combinations to find the best starting combination for opening day and the best four to keep on the final 53 man roster.

Giants Training Camp Notes: August 7, 2015

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It was a mild summer day with low humidity, and the Giants enjoyed what Tom Coughlin called a “Mental, learning day,” following two days of fully padded practices where the team went all out. Ereck Flowers, Weston Richburg, and Prince Amukamara returned to the field, while Nat Berhe, Geoff Schwartz, and Jameel McClain did not. It was short, uneventful practice, where two sets of offensive and defensive teams squared off simultaneously before scurrying off the field.

Justin Pugh: Giants Line was the NFL Standard

One of the story lines of the early part of training camp is the Giants offensive line injuries, and Justin Pugh would like to see his teammates back on the field. Pugh qualified his statement, however, adding that he wants them back healthy, and not too soon making them prone to re-injury or aggravating the injury that’s kept them out of the lineup.

Getting the camaraderie going on the offensive line is important, and seeing the five regular season starters gel as a group is important, say Pugh, but not at the expense of their regular season fitness to play. In that regard, Pugh disagrees with former Giants center Shaun O’Hara, now a NFL Network commentator, who called out the injured player this week. Pugh and O’Hara have talked, and while the men disagree, Pugh knows that O’Hara’s statements come from his loyalty to the Giants organization.

“He wants to see those guys out there because he knows it’s important for us to win games,” explains Pugh. Adding that he respect O’Hara and what he accomplished as a Giants player. He added that Geoff Schwartz told the Giants linemen that when he was with the Carolina Panthers, they studied the Giants offensive line, calling it the NFL standard at the time. Something Pugh would like to see happen again with this generation of Giants linemen.

Asked if his playing left tackle in Flowers absence is hurting his development at left guard, Pugh said it still allows him to work on his left side technique and he is logging time at the guard position as well. The Giants value flexibility, and Pugh wants to be able to play left tackle, if needed, and know practice time at the position will give the coaching staff a comfort level with using him in that capacity.

The injuries on the line has opened the door for the younger players in camp to get additional practice reps, something that Pugh things is a great opportunity for them. “It’s huge for those guys to show the coaches what they’ve got,” says Pugh.

As for the joint practices with the Cincinnati Bengals next week, Pugh doesn’t know what to expect as the Giants have not held joint practices during his time with the team. He believe they will be more intense, with players anxious to put their best performances on for their respective coaching staffs. He knows they will pull back to avoid injuries but says the practices will be as close to game intensity as possible without being an actual game.

Odell Beckham: It’s Going to be a Great Year for All of Us

Odell Beckham sees the offense as starting to click and sees it as a harbinger of a great year for the team. Despite limitations on his practice time, Beckham is feeling good, has opened up at times, but is also taking is slower. “I’m just trying to make it through as many practices as possible,” says Beckham, who missed almost all of training camp in 2014.

Don’t ask Beckham what his practice limitations are, however, as he will tell you that’s up to the trainers. “I’m feeling pretty good,” he explains, but his hamstrings are on his mind constantly. “Ask anyone who’s run track or pulled a muscle,” says Beckham. Adding that no matter how hard you try to put prior injuries out of your mind, they are always there.

Beckham doesn’t understand the NFL’s rules on what constitutes a catch any better than the rest of us. His advice to his fellow receivers, “Don’t let the ball hit the ground. Don’t let it go. Just don’t give them an opportunity to review it.”

Expect Giants receivers to line up in many different spots in their offensive formations this season. It’s something they started doing last year and have expanded in 2015. It’s designed to prevent defenses from playing coverages designed for specific receivers and limit their ability to game plan.

Beckham was surprised by the autograph incident last week at Giants training camp where fans mobbing him in an effort to get his autograph caused bleachers to collapse. Saying that he never wants to see children in harm’s way, Beckham added that he hopes there will never be a similar incident.

Robert Nunn, Defensive Line Coach: Each Defensive End Does Something Well

Many of the questions for defensive line coach Robert Nunn centered around on of his star pupils, absent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. But Nunn can offer little about Pierre-Paul’s injury, saying multiple times that he only knows what he’s read about it and has no idea when Pierre-Paul might return to the team.

“I’ve spoken to him, and texted with him frequently,” says Nunn, “His response has been: Coach, I’m good, I’m going to get myself right and I’ll be back.” Nunn added that most of what they talk about is unrelated to football and a favorite topic is how Nunn misses “Busting his chops in meetings.”

Of most concern for Nunn, and everyone in the Giants organization, player, coach, and front office, is Pierre-Paul’s mental and emotional well being. Everyone has let him know that they are there for him, and will help him in any way we can, Nunn added.

As far as the Giants defense is concerned, they are proceeding as if Pierre-Paul won’t be back, and haven’t changed their plans in light of his absence. Steve Spagnuolo’s system is being installed, adjusted, and tweaked, the same way it would if all the defensive ends were present. Nunn is impressed with the players he has to work with and says each one has something to offer and does some things better than the others.

Kerry Wynn has stepped up when given the opportunity, and “Is a different player with the pads on then when they are off.” Owa Odighizuwa is “Off to a good start, but we need to get him into better condition.”

When speaking about George Selvie, Nunn calls him a hard working professional who shows up every day and does what’s asked of him. Selvie’s attitude “Bleeds through the whole room.”

Johnathan Hankins, who earlier this week said he’d like the opportunity to rush the passer in obvious passing situations, may get that chance, if he earns it, according to Nunn. The coach was impressed with his work on pass rushing and wants to see him continue to develop.

The NASCAR package that features four defensive ends may not be used exclusively in a passing situations as it is vulnerable to the run. The coaching staff is evaluating their options at this point in camp. Stopping the run is a challenge that’s been issues to the defense and the players are rising to the challenge. Nunn knows they won’t be able to gauge their progress until they face opposing offenses in live games.

Markus Kuhn is a player who has improved each season, and Nunn sees him as one who didn’t have a lot of production, but caused a lot of production on the field. Working to improve his foot quickness and agility, Kuhn needs to stop leaving plays on the field to increase his playing time.

Giants Training Camp Notes: August 6, 2015

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On another warm New Jersey day featuring low humidity, offensive linemen are dropping like flies at the New York Giants training camp. Left tackle Ereck Flowers (hip flexor), center Weston Richburg (knee tendonitis), and right guard Geoff Schwartz (ankle) were all missing from today’s practice. If you add in original left tackle Will Beatty (torn pectoral muscle), that’s 80% of the Giants presumed starting offensive line on the sideline in today’s fully padded practice. It’s the team’s second consecutive full contact day.

The “Starting” line for today’s practice, from left to right, was: Justin Pugh, Adam Gettis, Dallas Reynolds, John Jerry, and Marshall Newhouse. Disaster would not begin to describe the situation if this were the opening night line in Dallas on September 13th. Fortunately, none of the injuries, save Beatty’s, sound serious, and the player’s absences can be attributed to training camp conservatism. As we learned in 2013, offensive line issues can stymie and offense.

Joining the linemen on the sideline were safety Nat Berhe (calf), cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin), and linebacker Jameel McClain (stinger). While this sounds like an abundance of injuries, the Giants have avoided any of the season ending variety thus far, which is better than a lot of teams and puts them ahead of last season’s league leading 22 season ending injuries pace by a wide margin.

Victor Cruz dropped a pass in an early individual drill and went right back for another rep where he caught it, drawing cheers from the crowd. Later, in the team portion of practice, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie challenged Cruz on a play and the wide receiver was able to use his quickness to beat him. Making moves like that at this point in camp is a very encouraging sign from the still rehabbing Cruz.

Odell Beckham beat Rodgers-Cromartie on a play shortly thereafter, but the cornerback got his revenge, registering the first training camp interception of Eli Manning on a pass intended for Cruz. Considering that this is the sixth camp practice, it’s encouraging that Manning is protecting the ball so well. Scrambling right on the play, Manning appears to still struggle with his accuracy when on the move.

Bennett Jackson made his fourth straight “Start” at safety in today’s practice. The converted cornerback would appear to have captured the coaching staff’s eye and is making the most of his opportunities. Jackson registered a “Pick-6” on a pass from third string quarterback Ricky Stanzi as he logged some extra work with the reserves.

Owa Odighizuwa racked up a virtual sack, showing speed off the edge by beating backup (backup, backup) tackle Emmett Cleary and getting to Ryan Nassib before the ball was away. Michael Bamiro, the resident pugilist, was pushed into the backfield by Mark Herzlich, who then made a stop on a running play.

Damontre Moore beat Newhouse with pure speed consistently throughout practice, which is particularly concerning given that Newhouse is currently slated to be the opening day starter at right tackle.

Shane Vereen and Andre Williams alternated as the starting running backs with Rashad Jennings logging his reps with the second team. Vereen was sprung on a long run behind strong blocking by Henry Hynoski and Pugh

The minor injuries continue to mount as wide receiver Preston Parker is having his hamstring wrapped and tight end Adrien Robinson is flexing his left shoulder repeatedly. There is some good injury news, however, as tight end Larry Donnell appears to be moving well and recovering the the Achilles issue that has slowed him during the spring and early part of camp.

Practice ended with a field goal kicking competition between the offense and defense. The offense won this round, compelling the defense to do pushup before heading inside.

Tom Coughlin’s post practice press conference was an extended injury report given the rash of them that the team has suffered of late. Schwartz has a situation that will “Have to be managed,” said Coughlin, and he hopes that he will be able to practice hard a couple of days per week.

Jameel McClain will be out for a while, given the nature of his injury and his history. McClain has spinal stenosis, the same condition that forced David Wilson to retire before last season. Berhe has a torn muscle in his calf and Coughlin could not provide a time frame for his return.

Coughlin could not provide a time frame for Flowers or Richburg returning. He said, “When I hear day to day, I don’t know what to expect. They seem to be doing ok.” Coughlin noted that Flowers was running on the sideline and thinks he could be back soon. He also praised Dallas Reynolds for his work in Richburg’s absence.

Amukamara has a groin injury, and Coughlin said his return time frame is complicated by the position he plays. The good news among these reports  was about Donnell, who Coughlin said is gaining mobility every day. He also noted that the tight end has been making some nice block, an area where he struggled last season.

Finally, Coughlin spoke about Eli Manning’s best football being ahead of him despite him being 34 years old. He bases this assessment on Manning’s off season, strength, the success he has in the spring, and his knowledge of the offense. The coach expects that 2015 will be Manning’s finest season.

Eli Manning: Feeling Good

Manning did not know what to expect from Cruz when camp opened, but is pleased with the receiver’s progress and says he looks great running routes and coming in and out of his breaks. Everything is not smooth, as Cruz is still learning Ben McAdoo’s offense, but Manning says their timing and communication is improving and he sees no issues with Cruz getting back into the flow of things.

Next week’s joint practices with the Cincinnati Bengals will be a great break in the monotonous training camp routing, and Manning is looking forward to it. Different from a game, because there will be minimal film study and no game plan, Manning knows that the Bengals have a strong pass defense and looks forward to facing it. “We will have to adjust based on what we see and what they do,” explains Manning. He is anticipating the new routing, the travel day, and even the bus rides. The pace of practice will also be picked up with different players on the other side of the field.

Manning is not concerned about his missing offensive linemen, saying the backups have done a good job with their assignments and picked up the blitz well. He’s focusing on making good reads and good decisions on a play by play basis and trust his linemen to handle the protections.

The return of Mike Sullivan as quarterback’s coach is just fine by Manning, who worked with him a lot when he was wide receiver’s coach, and developed a great respect for him during Sullivan’s first stint with the team. He did point out that the spring was a bit different when Manning has a better grasp of the new offense than Sullivan, but that the coach has caught up. Manning did reveal that there are times when both need assistance from McAdoo in understanding some nuances of the system.

Manning feels better now than he did at the same point last season, and credits a new nutrition and workout regime. He’s also focused on preserving his arm strength so it’s as strong in December [and January] as it is now. “It’s important not to get stuck in your ways,” says Manning, adding that Coughlin preaches that frequently. As he ages, Manning has been listening to his body and adjusting accordingly.

Johnathan Hankins: A New Leader Emerges

Listening to defensive tackle Johnathan Hankins speak, it’s easy to be reminded of George Martin, a stalwart of the great Giants defenses of the 1980’s. Talented, but humble, Hankins doesn’t take his position on the team for granted despite having a breakout season in 2014, where he recorded an impressive seven sacks from his defensive tackle position.

“Last season, I had to prove myself, and I think I had a pretty good year,” explains Hankins, “But this year, I still have to prove myself.” While Hankins is earning his spot on the roster, he’s also helping the new faces on the Giants defense assimilate. He’s sees camp as harder this season as the team is learning the Steve Spagnuolo defense and everyone is working together to get on the same page.

With the coaching staff trying multiple combinations to find the one that works the best, Hankins just wants to make the most of his opportunities and prove that he belongs on the field for three downs. Spagnuolo often moves defensive ends inside in passing situations, making Hankins compete with defensive ends, as well as tackles for playing time. He’d like Spagnuolo to know he’s up to the challenge of rushing the passer and allowing the ends to get additional rest in passing situations.

Asked about his 2014 season, Hankins said he thinks he did “Pretty good and held his own,” but when you look at the Giants defense’s ranking and statistics, it tells a different story. Measuring performance in the NFL is more than looking at one guy, explains Hankins, who wants to see the defensive line step up and stop the run more consistently this season.

Asked about Jason Pierre-Paul, Hankins says he will be missed as his mere presence on the field causes offenses to adjust. He texts frequently with his absent teammate because “He’s our
brother,” and Hankins wants to keep him informed about what’s going on with the Giants. It’s another way Hankins is stepping up as a team leader.

Pressed about his Pierre-Paul is faring, Hankins said he is doing well, rehabbing his hand, and he’ll be back when the time is right. As with seemingly all Giants players, coaches and staff, the message is the same, wishing the best for Pierre-Paul, hoping he’s back with the team soon, and reserving further comment.

Nat Berhe: A Frustrated Man

Berhe thought he was fully recovered from his spring calf injury and then when going through some drills realized something was still off. After consulting with trainers, he’s been out of practice for several days and has no idea when he will be able to return.

“You get frustrated,” says Berhe, about missing practice time, “Especially with this great opportunity that we have.” Berhe is referring to the open competition for starting roles at his safety position. By missing practice time, he falls further and further behind in his quest to secure on of the starting spots.

He know if he pushed too hard, he’ll have a setback, and Berhe said that his type of injury is not like a broken bone that has a set healing time. He plans on taking this day by day and seeing what happens. Meanwhile his frustration remains.

To keep his mind occupied and active, Berhe get a printout of the defense’s play sheet and follow along from the sidelines, offering teammates his observations and helping them if he sees something that they may have missed. The coaches are also asking Berhe to talk to teammates at times, keeping him mentally engaged while his calf heals.

Berhe has an MRI taken today, but is still awaiting the results.

New York Giants Training Camp Notes: August 5, 2015

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Lower humidity was the order of the day as the Giants took to the practice field in full pads in a session that would feature more hitting and allow the coaching staff to better see the progress the team has made in 2015. Rookie Ereck Flowers remained sidelined with a hip flexor, but said he’s always been a fast healer and he expects he won’t be out much longer.

Joining Flowers on the sideline is starting center Weston Richburg who was doing plank exercises on the sideline with a trainer while the offensive line warmed up. Coughlin said the issue is knee tendinitis.

The Giants starting offensive line for this practice from left to right: Justin Pugh, Adam Gettis, Dallas Reynolds, Geoff Schwartz, and Marshall Newhouse. Brett Jones has apparently not ascended into the second team center job at this point in camp. With all the substitutions along the line, Eli Manning struggled to find a solid pocket and threw a lot of quick passes.

Safety Nat Berhe spend the practice riding an exercise bicycle on the sidelines as the calf injury that kept him out of the spring off season program has apparently not completely healed. Safeties coach Dave Merritt cautioned in his press interview earlier his week that Berhe was behind the other safeties due to this injury and would need time on the practice field to make it up. Missing fully padded practices will further damage his ability to earn a starting spot and could jeopardize his standing on the final 53 man roster.

The first team safeties were Landon Collins and Bennett Jackson. Mykkele Thompson was teamed with Jackson with the first string, and has been rotated out. His late reaction on a play that resulted in a 60 yard touchdown to Odell Beckham may have hastened his rotation out of the first team. Thompson bounced back to have a good day in practice today.

The Giants may have avoided the injury bug when linebacker Jameel McClain went down in 9 on 7 drills. He was attended to for several minutes by the medical staff and the cart was brought out for him. Fortunately, McClain was able to get up, jog in place, and then walk off under his own power. He went inside the Quest Diagnostic Training center to get checked out and it was reported that he suffered a “Stinger.” Expect him to be sidelined for several days.

Defensive ends are being rotated heavily in today’s practice, with Robert Ayers, Cullen Jenkins, Owa Odighizuwa and Damontre Moore all taking turns with the first team. Steve Spagnuolo is assessing all of their abilities in the full contact practice. It’s not expected that the regular season starting defense will start to take shape until the third preseason game.

In special team drills, Preston Parker and Dwayne Harris bobbled back to back punts from the Juggs machine, something that will surely give Tom Coughlin fits. Harris did recover to take the ball back for a touchdown.

Prince Amukamara spent some time on the sideline icing his upper leg/groin area. Coughlin said he “Tweaked his groin,” during individual drills. Jayron Hosley, who appears to be a Spagnuolo reclamation project, took his place on the first team defense. Keep an eye on Hosley in the preseason games as he may be on a Corey Webster track for a career rejuvenation. Chykie Brown also took some snaps with the first team in place of Amukamara.

Another training camp scrap broke out between 6’8″ 340 pound offensive lineman Michael Bamiro and 6’5″ 315 pound defensive lineman Dominique Hamilton. Bamiro lost his helmet and appeared to be quite angry over something, but these flare ups tend to smooth over quickly. It’s Hamilton’s second 2015 bout, as he also got into a dust up with offensive lineman Eric Herman during spring practice.

After practice ended, there was another contest between wide receivers and defensive backs. The players threw footballs at the goal post with the objective of hitting the crossbar. James Jones and Josh Gordy hit it, resulting in a tie and requiring all the players and coaches to do push-ups.

Kevin M. Gilbride, Tight Ends Coach: The More Guys the Better

The interview with tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride may be foreshadowing the team’s plans at the position. He discussed Larry Donnell and Jerome Cunningham at length, touched upon Daniel Fells, and failed to mention Adrien Robinson or Will Tye at all. While the oversights could be meaningless, and things can change quickly between now and the start of the regular season in five weeks, it could be indicative of the coaching staff’s thoughts on the position at this point in time.

Donnell has been dealing with an Achilles injury that kept him off the practice field in the off season program, but he was dialed in for position meetings and took full “Mental reps,” according to Gilbride. The focus for Donnell, who started 12 of 16 games last season, has been improving his blocking technique, and the product of his work has been evident to Gilbride since he’s returned to the practice field.

“Not dropping his inside knee and keeping his elbows tight,” responded Gilbride to the question of what Donnell needs to do to be a more consistent and effective inline blocker. Gilbride added that confidence plays a big role in blocking effectiveness and he’s seen more from Donnell in 2015.

A collegiate quarterback, Donnell’s experience at the tight end position was lacking when he came to the Giants in 2012. Gilbride also pointed out that last season was the first that Donnell prepared and played in all 16 regular season games, and that the wear and tear slowed him down as the season progressed.

Another area where Donnell needs to improve is protecting the football, something that’s been an area of focus for the tight end this off season. Carrying the football high, Donnell is learning to concentrate on protecting it at all times, and that’s included when he comes off the field where teammates are encouraged to try to knock the ball out of his hands.

Noting Donnell’s penchant for leaving his feet while carrying the ball in 2014, Gilbride said that jumping over defender or lowering your shoulder and plowing through them are the two options available. Either is fine as long as the football is protected at all times.

Of Donnell, Gilbride says he can be a “Special player,” and expounded upon that statement by saying he can be a “Big time pass catcher” as well as a “Big time run blocker.” However, in order to achieve those lofty goals, Donnell must first fully recover from his injury and get back to where he left off in 2014 running routes. Gilbride is confident that he will.

Cunningham has shown that he can be an explosive pass catcher throughout the off season program and early in training camp. What’s not as evident, said Gilbride, is his run blocking. Calling it “Exciting,” Gilbride says that Cunningham likes to finish blocks and move defenders off the ball.

Stopping short of saying that Cunningham’s practice success has earned him regular season snaps, Gilbride said he will see playing time in the preseason and “We will take it from there.” From his demeanor in discussing the second year player, it was easy to tell that the tight end’s coach has high expectations for him.

Fells is a consistent player and great leader, says Gilbride. He will make all the plays you expect him to make and surprise you by making one you don’t expect him to make every once in a while. Coughlin is a coach who values veteran players and consistency, making Fells a player difficult to dislodge from the roster in 2015.

With the talent the Giants have assembled on offense, the tight ends could see favorable coverage match-ups from opposing defenses, but don’t tell that to Gilbride. He expects that defenses will swiftly adjust if the tight ends start making plays and won’t allow his players to get complacent.

Gilbride enjoy having multiple contributors at the position as it will limit the wear and team on any individual player during the long NFL season. Calling the evaluation process “Ongoing,” Gilbride’s inclusions and omissions during the interview will be compelling to watch on the field as the remainder of the preseason unfolds.

George Selvie: Giants Redux

Defensive End George Selvie has a history with both the Giants and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Drafted by the Rams when Spagnuolo was head coach, in the seventh round of the 2010 draft, Selvie spend a season on a team where Spagnuolo was head coach. He notices that Spagnuolo is much more hands on as defensive coordinator, but his fit into his system was a big factor in deciding to come to the Giants as a free agent.

Selvie attended a Giants rookie tryout minicamp when was a free agent and wasn’t offered a contract prior to his signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He held no ill will as he wasn’t fully healthy and the team was stacked at defensive end at the time. Former college teammate Jason Pierre-Paul talked to Selvie about the team and was also a part of his decision to sign.

Asked about Pierre-Paul, Selvie said he’s talked to him, that the defensive end is healing, and will be back when he’s ready. Pressed for a time frame, Selvie said it’s not up to him to make that decision and declined further comment.

New York has a much different “Feel” to it than Jacksonville and Dallas, Selvie’s last two NFL stops, but he’s enjoying it, and is looking forward to making a contribution to the Giants this season.

Mike Sullivan, Quarteback’s Coach: Manning has a stronger arm

Manning is healthy, more comfortable in the Ben McAdoo offense, and has improved his arm strength by taking great care of his body. Quarterbacks coach Mike Sullivan is in a unique position to know as he is in his second stint as Manning’s quarterback coach, having served in that capacity in 2010 and 2011 after six seasons as the Giants wide receivers coach. After leaving to take the position of offensive coordinator with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers under Greg Schiano, Sullivan returned to find a new offense in place and a revitalized starting quarterback.

Manning’s work ethic, attention to detail, communication with the other players, and workout regime are what have him in a position to succeed. In his second season running the West Coast offense, Manning is no longer processing everything, but rather reacting naturally and “Trusting his feet.”

We learned in 2014 how important footwork is in this offensive system, and Manning often practices his off to the side when the other quarterbacks are taking snaps. He’s also learning how to spread the ball around, something that will be necessary given the wealth of weapons the Giants offense will enjoy this season.

Should Manning suffer an injury, Sullivan is confident that backup Ryan Nassib will be ready to step in. Complimenting the third year backup’s work ethic, competitiveness, and calling him a “Gym rat,” Sullivan points out that Nassib has the mobility to extend plays if needed. Among the areas he’s been working on is getting the ball out of his hands faster and Sullivan is excited to see him play this preseason to gauge his progress.

While having a game ready backup is idea, Sullivan cautions that the player is a back up for a reason, and you don’t necessarily want him in the game.

Asked about comments that the game has passed Coughlin by, Sullivan scoffed, saying that the veteran head coach’s core values remain intact – integrity and honor – and that his belief in team over individual won’t ever waiver. However, Sullivan points to the music playing during warmups to how Coughlin adapting to more modern methods and says there’s more to come. “He’s growing and evolving,” says Sullivan, “Look at this veteran quarterback in a new offensive system.”

Giants Training Camp Notes: August 3, 2015

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The weather remained hot, but turned decidedly more humid in New Jersey as the Giants took to the practice field for the fourth consecutive day. The team will have tomorrow off, as part of the re-designed program intended to cut down on injuries, and will therefore avoid the most hot and humid days of this week, but not today, which was a scorcher in the Garden State.

Geoff Schwartz, who was given yesterday off, with soreness in his surgically repaired left ankle, returned to practice and Steve Spagnuolo did some individual work with Jon Beason on the sidelines before the middle linebacker rejoined his position group for drills. It was announced that rookie left tackle Ereck Flowers has a hip flexor injury and is considered day to day, the first injury experienced by a starter in the 2015 training camp. When he was injured is not clear, but he will not practice today. Tom Coughlin described the injury as “Not too bad, that he was sore”, and hopes the rookie won’t miss too much time.

With Flowers sidelined, Justin Pugh slid out to left tackle and was replaced by Adam Gettis and Dallas Reynolds at left guard. Weston Richburg, Schwartz, and Marshall Newhouse remained as starters on the offensive line, although John Jerry switched off with Schwartz frequently at right guard. Flowers stood with the offensive line while plays were installed, taking mental reps with his teammates, despite being unable to participate on the field.

Schwartz also played some right tackle with Jerry sliding in at right guard. Brett Jones logged some time at left guard and looked good getting to the second level. Things appear to be starting to click for the rookie CFL refugee.

The shuffling on the line caused some confusing and when Devon Kennard and Bennett Jackson blitzed during team drills, Kennard got through easily, and stood by Eli Manning for several seconds before the whistle blew. The offensive line is still a work in progress.

Ryan Nassib had a rough series that featured a fumbled snap and a low pass dropped by Henry Hynoski. On an end around, George Selvie knocked Victor Cruz to the ground, but he got right back up and suffered no apparent ill effects.

The first scuffle of camp broke out between Pugh and defensive end Damontre Moore. Some punches were thrown and Pugh came away without a helmet. Coughlin was upset about the fight as he’s experienced first hand by a player breaking his hand in a training camp scuffle. He’d like to see players maintain their composure and control their tempers on the practice field.

The rotation of safeties continued, with Mykkele Thompson pairing with Jackson. Thompson bit hard on a pump fake and allowed Odell Beckham to get behind him for an easy 60 yard touchdown from Manning. Other players rotated through the first team defense today included Jonathan Casillas,

Chykie Brown left practice early with an undisclosed injury. Coughlin did not have any information on his injury other than it was something with his “Shoe or foot.” He added that Brown had flashed several times in practice, is highly motivated, and he would like to see him stay with it.

Bennett Jackson: Running Down and Hitting Someone

A year ago, cornerback Jackson was cut from the Giants roster, signed to the practice squad, and subsequently converted to safety. Identified as one of the players having a good early training camp, Jackson is playing for a starting job opposite Landon Collins. He sees things as going smoother, and himself playing faster and with more confidence than in the off season program practices, as he adjusts to his new position. Things are easier this season as he’s familiar with an NFL training camp and workout regimes.

At cornerback, you receive the checks (play changes), while at safety, you process the formation and make them, and ensure that everyone is lined up in the correct spot. That’s the biggest obstacle Jackson faces in his new role. He explains that Steve Spagnuolo’s defense relies heavily on the safeties and linebackers making the correct reads, but says the coaching staff is giving them all the information needed to succeed.

Without a veteran in the safety room to lean on, the young position group has become close knit and relies upon each other when there are questions. “If one guy does not know the information, then we ask another,” says Jackson.

Lining up with the first team motivates Jackson to continue to work hard and improve. He sees himself as having good ball skills, a fast player, and playing the ball well in the air. Jackson is confident that the coaching staff will play to his strengths and maximize his ability.

Asked the biggest difference between cornerback and safety, Jackson replied, “At safety, you get to run people down and hit them. You don’t do that a lot at corner.”

David Merritt, Safeties Coach: Starters are Wide Open

When looking over the safeties on the Giants roster, safeties coach David Merritt is identifying who the leaders are and those players who will best be able to make the calls on the field. It’s a matter of who makes the fewest mental errors, not where and when they were drafted. Recalling 2008, when Kenny Phillips was drafted in the first round, Merritt saw James Butler and Michael Johnson emerge as starters over the more physically gifted Phillips. “It’s wide open,” Merritt says about the identity of the starters.

The first two preseason games will be a big determining factor in who will emerge as the starting safeties, as will next week’s joint practice with the Cincinnati Bengals. Merritt expects seeing an opponent’s offense to be a big eye opener for rookies Collins and Thompson, who have only practices against their Giants teammates to date. He plans to substitute liberally, and believes the safety picture will “Clear up real quick,” when there is another offense on the opposite side of the field.

Asked about the only veteran in the group, recent free agent acquisition Jeromy Miles, Merritt cautioned that the Giants defense under Spagnuolo is different that the one Miles played in last season in Baltimore. “Spagnuolo wasn’t the coordinator,” said Merritt, “This defense is different. He (Miles) understand some of the techniques, but it’s different.”

Speaking of Jackson, Merritt was complimentary of his ability and said he’s been a player who “Sees the ball and goes and gets it.” Calling Jackson a self-starter, Merritt praised his play making in practice and said the converted cornerback is doing everything the coaching staff is asking him to do. His cornerback experience will also be utilized, as it will allow Jackson to cover slot receivers, if necessary, something he was practicing in 2014 Giants camp.

Expecting Jackson to be a “Productive member of the secondary,” Merritt stopped short of calling him a potential starter. He’s told Jackson what he’s said to every one of the safeties, “Once you step in with the first team, don’t give it back.”

Nat Berhe’s calf injury set him behind the others as he missed most of the off season program. Merritt says he is starting at the beginning, and making up some of his gap, but at a “Snail’s pace.”

Rookie Thompson has shown himself to be a potential leader, demonstrating the ability to take what’s learned in the classroom onto the playing field. Merritt expects him to eventually be able to control the coverages and be a “Quarterback on the field.”

Collins biggest edge comes from playing for former NFL head coach and long time NFL assistant Nick Saban at the University of Alabama. Merritt says it has given him the ability to receive more information rapidly and presented him as more pro ready than the other young safeties.

As both starting positions are “Wide open,” Merritt is trying out different combinations, with the Jackson/Thompson duo the latest. The team is also stacking the defenses on the practice field, so the young players get the most possible reps in the practice time allotted. This also allows the coaching staff to watch, evaluate, and identify who will be starting on September 13th.

Sean Ryan, Wide Receiver Coach: Consistency

Odell Beckham and Cruz go 100% effort for fewer reps in practice, and wide receivers coach Sean Ryan is happy to have them back on the field. They are getting all the mental reps they need in the meeting room, and picking things up nicely with the limited, smart training plan.

Ryan saw signs “Of the old Victor” as early as this past spring while he was still rehabbing with trainers. Cruz has regained his confidence, and Ryan sees that as the key to his recovering fully.

Beckham is a student of the game, something that was apparent as soon as he joined the Giants last season. “He is a football smart guy, and picks things up quickly,” explains Ryan. He added that he also steps up and makes big plays in big games, a sign of a truly great player, according to John Madden.

Beating the man press, improving the top of his routes, and finishing his plays are areas that Ryan has identified for Beckham to improve in his second season. It’s expected the Beckham will have more press coverage, and Ryan expects him to beat it with ease. “Defensive backs will have a hard time getting and keeping hands on him,” states Ryan.

Rookie Geremy Davis is serious about football, and takes great notes. A hard worker, Ryan is impressed by his high motivation level, especially for a rookie. Asked where he fits in the offense, Ryan pointed out that all receivers are expected to play every position, but conceded that Davis is best suited to play outside due to his height.

Rueben Randle has all the tools to be a capable NFL receiver, according to Ryan, but needs to be consistent on every play in practice and in games. That’s true of every NFL player, cautions Ryan, not just of Randle. A player that Ryan seeks out on game days, Randle usually sees things right on the field and can relay the information to Ryan with ease. His easy going demeanor can fool some people, and Randle is competitive. With the talent assembled at wide receiver, Randle should benefit from lack of coverage and could be in for a breakout season.

Free agent acquisition James Jones has impressed Ryan with his professional demeanor, presence in the meeting room, and the techniques he’s brought to the practice field. It’s obvious he has a wealth of NFL experience, says Ryan, and it will be  of great benefit to the Giants.

Asked to identify the receivers who have impressed him the most, Ryan said Preston Parker’s work ethic and ability to make plays have continued to impress, while Corey Washington’s progress from his first season to his second has been substantial. Last season, Washington’s general knowledge of what he was seeing and processing from opposing defenses was lacking, but that’s changed in the off season. He’s worked hard, stood out in the spring, and that’s carried over into training camp.

Ryan doesn’t feel additional pressure due to the talent assembles at the position he coaches, as that pressure to excel and win is present for every NFL coach, but having players like Beckham and Cruz does make coaching more fun.

Jason Pierre-Paul Phones Home

After a much publicized declination to contact the Giants, Jason Pierre-Paul spoke with General Manager Jerry Reese yesterday. Details of the conversation have not been made public, but it’s been categorized as “Good” and is a step in the right direction. There is still no word on when Pierre-Paul might sign his franchise tender and report to the Giants. It appears that the defensive end is determined to stay away until he believes he can pass a physical and avoid the Non-Football Injury (NFI) list and collect at least a portion of this $14.8 million salary for 2015.

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.