As hard as it might have been for the Giants, who have clearly been through the emotional wringer since last week, first with the joy of celebrating the Hall of Fame enshrinement of defensive end Michael Strahan to the devastating loss of running back David Wilson, the talented third-year player with spinal stenosis who was advised by doctors to stop playing football, life marches on.
So in the first of their three scheduled late afternoon practices, it was business as usual for head coach Tom Coughlin and his players.
The plan for the week was already determined.
“We just keep going with our installations and so on and so forth. We’ll do, whatever the installations lead us towards is how we’ll play the game. We have a new installation today and there’s one later in the week as well,” Coughlin said.
“There will be some new things going forward and we’ll consider what we have from the first game and the second game. That’s the way we’ll go. We’ll look at, obviously we’ll look at the things that need to be improved and that’s what we’ll practice.”
The man who led the charge in the corrections, at least on the offensive side of the ball, is quarterback Eli Manning, who was overall pleased with the new offense’s debut on Sunday night.
“I thought we communicated well, and for the most part, people were on the same page. There were still some mistakes that were made that should not be made,” Manning said.
“They may not have affected the play, might’ve been on the backside of the play, or a receiver kind of different from where you’re working, running the wrong route or something like that. But when you watch the film, you notice them and you have to make sure those things don’t happen.
“We definitely have to clean up some things, but for the most part, we communicated well and got out of bad plays, got into better plays, and had some good drives and did some good things.”
Head coach Tom Coughlin told reporters that the dozen players who were left in New Jersey to continue getting thrice daily treatment over the weekend were all making progress.
However, that doesn’t mean that all of them were ready to return to practice.
Defensive tackle Mike Patterson (shoulder), receivers Trindon Holliday (leg) and Odell Beckham (hamstring), cornerback Bennett Jackson (ankle), tight end Xavier Grimble (hamstring) remain unable to practice.
They were joined by tight end Daniel Fells (bone bruise), who was injured in Sunday’s game.
Defensive end Robert Ayers did individual drills. He had missed a couple of practices last week.
A few other players such as left tackle Will Beatty, offensive lineman Eric Herman and cornerback Trumaine McBride, who didn’t make the trip to Canton, continue to work. Coughlin said that it was the plan for those players to be left.
Linebacker Jon Beason (foot) remains on the PUP list.
New injuries included running back Peyton Hillis (sprained ankle), who was spotted leaving the field with a trainer.
Tight end Larry Donnell looked like he grabbed the back of his leg, though he didn’t appear to have any issues walking or moving around. And running back Kendall Gaskins jammed his hand, though he didn’t come out of the workout.
“If I were told in my third year that, ‘hey, you should not play football anymore’ for a health reason, that’d be a tough thing to swallow.”
–Quarterback Eli Manning on running back David Wilson
The Giants did a lot of work with their no-huddle offense tonight, with mixed results. The biggest issue that I can could see was the increase of delay of game penalties. I counted two on Eli Manning and two on Ryan Nassib. Prior to tonight, the offense had been good with getting the ball off, averaging maybe one or two delay of games per practice. Tonight that number doubled.
–Your star of the practice hands down was defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka. Actually, Kiwanuka who didn’t have a very good year last year, has had a very good showing this summer. He’s been no match for the first-team offensive linemen – tonight he had his way with Brandon Mosley so many times that I lost track. Kiwanuka just looks much faster off the snap and more effective.
–My heart goes out to Mario Manningham, who really is trying to make this team. Unfortunately, he had a handful of early practice drops and he’s still not running fluidly as that knee looks like it’s still giving him some issues.
–Interesting moment in practice when left guard Geoff Schwartz was swapped out for James Brewer. I don’t know if Schwartz got dinged on a play and had to come out for a few snaps, but he did return to the starting offensive line not long afterward.
–With Peyton Hillis knocked out of practice due to a sprained ankle, Andre Williams got some reps with the ones, and didn’t disappoint. Not only did he do well with picking out and hitting a hole, he held his own in a couple of blitz pickups. Granted, it wasn’t the prettiest of technique, but he got the job done, which was encouraging.
–If receiver Marcus Harris doesn’t make this roster, then something is wrong. Harris only catches everything thrown his way, and makes it look so effortless at that. I really like the athleticism he has displayed since the spring, I think he has a legitimate chance of making the roster.
–John Conner was given some snaps with the starters. Up until last week, I think he exclusively worked with the second team, but tonight he mixed in with Henry Hynoski, the latter of whom is listed ahead of him on the depth chart. Anyway, Conner took a swing pass and outran linebacker Devon Kennard around the edge.
–Not to be outdone, Hynoski was the recipient of a screen pass with the backups. I thought he did a little too much dancing in trying to find an opening, and when he did, he looked as though he was lumbering a bit. However, when it came to lead blocking, Hynoski was his usual efficient self, even throwing a “block” with that left shoulder, the same one he fractured last year.
–Brandon McManus went four for four on his field goal attempts. His kicks have split the uprights right down the center, but I’m tempering my enthusiasm with him only because he hasn’t really had pressure kicks yet in a game. Still, there’s no denying his leg strength.
–Great play by rookie safety Nat Berhe to pick off Curtis Painter. Berhe simply jumped the route and was off to the races.
–Mark Herzlich was a step too late in getting to the sideline to knock running back Michael Cox out of bounds. Cox, meanwhile, did a nice job of following John Conner to the outside for a nice gain.
–Trumaine McBride, who didn’t play on Sunday, came up with an interception of a Nassib pass. McBride was “escorted” down the field by Stevie Brown as defensive coordinator Perry Fewell screamed his approval.
–Speaking of Brown, he nearly came up with a pick of his own on an Eli Manning pass. It looked like Mathias Kiwanuka forced Eli Manning to throw the ball prematurely—Kiwanuka beat Brandon Mosley at right guard.
–Will Beatty was back at practice and boy did he do a number on Jason Pierre-Paul on one play. Pierre-Paul timed the snap count perfectly, and jumped across the line just as the snap was occurring. Beatty, meanwhile, met speed with speed and power with power, riding the defensive end out of harm’s way. It was the type of play that we regularly saw Beatty make in 2012.
–Mixed back from the tight ends tonight in term s of run blocking. I’m going to say this a lot – they need to show consistency in all elements of the game, and right now it’s just not there.
–I focused on linebacker Dan Fox a bit tonight. Fox was handled too easily by James Brewer on one play. On the next, Fox showed eye-opening speed in shooting a gap and getting a “sack” on quarterback Ryan Nassib. On the third and last play I watched him, he was no match for tight end Larry Donnell.