What’s the biggest piece of advice a team that is coming off three losing seasons in a row including a 6-10 campaign last year and whose co-owner has agreed with the notion that if said team doesn’t turn things around changes are about to be made?
“Be where your feet are.”
No it’s not the latest slogan emblazoned on the back of a T-shirt and distributed to the players, but it’s a message that Coughlin and his staff have been trying to drive home to the players.
“Mindfulness. Mindfulness,” Coughlin said when asked about the expression. “If you’re going to be in the gym, be in the gym. Be where your feet are.
“Stay in the moment. Take care of one moment at a time. While you are here, you deal with your football, deal with your job. It’s all the same type of theme.”
The next few weeks should tell us a lot about whether the team is where their feet are. Let’s hope that they’re where Coughlin expects them to be.
Promising rookie tight end Matt LaCosse, who left practice early on Friday, was waived/injured by the team. If he clears waivers, LaCosse, who suffered a hamstring strain, will likely be added to the Giants’ injured reserve list where he’ll either remain or will receive an injury settlement.
Also waived/injured was DE Brad Harrah (quad), who joins LaCosse and receiver Ben Edwards with that same designation.
Tight end Jerome Cunningham and receiver Preston Parker both left the practice on carts due to cramps. Parker initially went down toward the end of the practice in what looked like a lower leg injury, so fortunately it was nothing serious.
Head coach Tom Coughlin indicated that Cunningham and offensive lineman John Jerry were both sick and tried to gut their way through the practices.
PRACTICE NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
*If there’s any doubt about the defense having a sense of urgency, then watch how they practice. Even in individual drills, these guys are hustling and limiting wasted time and motion. Of course, usually right in the thick of things is defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, whose energy seems to be infectious.
*Even though it’s still early, tight end Jerome Cunningham, who as mentioned above was sick, continues to have a nice summer. Cunningham has made some nice catches this summer, picking up where he left off.
On one, he went over the middle, snagging a ball at its highest point and hauling it down for the reception despite having a defender draped all over his back. His only tough catch of the day came when linebacker Jameel McClain had him in coverage, thought he ball looked like it was behind the tight end.
It will be interesting to see how well Cunningham, who is the smallest and the lightest of the tight ends, does when asked to block.
*Tight end Larry Donnell looked like he was on a pitch count as well. Donnell, remember, had the Achilles tendinitis in the spring that necessitated him wearing a boot, so it’s certainly plausible that the team is easing him back in since it is a long summer still ahead. When Donnell was in there, I thought he looked a shade or two slower than I recall, but again, that could be because he’s still trying to get his sea legs back underneath him.
*Not to beat a dead horse here, but the more I watch Marshall Newhouse, the less convinced that I think he will be the opening day right tackle. Newhouse seems to be very inconsistent with keeping his hands inside of the defender’s framework, which means—you guessed it—he’s setting himself up for a lot of holding penalties. On one play, he roped Robert Ayers Jr. around the next with his arm to slow down Ayers’ charge.
*Ereck Flowers once again looked solid in run blocking,. In fact, he looked a little better with pass blocking as well, and in watching this practice, it seems that the way the Giants coaching staff can gloss over any deficiencies Flowers might have in his pass blocking technique is to stick with some short, quick throws—those Flowers seemed to hold up very well with.
It wouldn’t be surprising, in fact, if as the season goes on we start to see more deeper pass attempts as Flowers settles into this role as the blindside protector.
*I thought Brandon Mosley looked good in this practice. Mosley has been somewhat snake bitten in his career to date with injuries, but when he gets on the field, he shows flashes of talent that make you want to see more from him.
Mosley saw snaps at right tackle with the second-string unit and did a nice job putting his power against Damontre Moore’s speed, intercepting the defensive end and sending him off in another direction while running back Orleans Darkwa squirted through the hole for a nice gain.
*Going back to the defense for a minute, the Giants tried out a look in which they had one cornerback and four linebackers on the field for short yardage. Steve Spagnuolo has not been afraid to try different things this summer, nor has he let the absence of Jason Pierre-Paul affect his plans.
*DE Damontre Moore looks as fast as ever and doesn’t appear to have any lingering effects from his offseason shoulder issue. The hope is that Moore can evolve into more of a complete player who can play the run as well as the pass; so far though he seems right at home rushing the passer in Spags’ defense.
*New wide out James Jones had a quiet, but impressive showing in his first practice as a Giant. Head coach Tom Coughlin lauded the veteran receiver for being in good shape. Jones caught a pass along the sideline and, channeling his inner Amani Toomer, kept his feet in bounds despite not having much breathing room to do so.
DAY 2 PRACTICE STARS
- WR Geremy Davis: Davis thus far has shown he has been fearless in going over the middle. He has been separating well and he uses his hands well to defeat jams coming off the line of scrimmage. I’m very interested to see how he does on special teams, but I’d say based on what he’s shown in two days of practice that he’s not necessarily destined for the practice squad just yet.
- TE Jerome Cunningham: It’s all about taking advantage of the opportunities presented to you and this young tight end has done just that, earning snaps with the starters while incumbent Larry Donnell remains on a pitch count. The question though is how effective is he going to be as a blocker? That could mean the difference for him getting a roster spot ahead of say Daniel Fells.
- CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: I thought Rodgers-Cromartie got the better of receiver Odell Beckham Jr. when the two squared off against each other. That’s really been a fun battle to watch so far, that and Beckham vs. Prince Amukamara. In fact I’ll go so far as to say that both Rodgers-Cromartie and Amukamara are both practicing with some serious swag so far, almost like they’re unstoppable. That’s a good thing as the Giants are going to need big years from both men if they hope to win.
The Giants are back at it on Sunday with a 2:30 p.m. practice that is open to the public. Head coach Tom Coughlin said that the players will be in “uppers” for the practice. Jeff Feagles, Shaun O’Hara and Rich Seubert are scheduled to be the legacy players signing autographs.
Meanwhile the current quarterbacks, running backs and kickers are set to sign autographs on Sunday.