Giants New Running Backs Being Brought Up to Speed
Newcomers Kregg Lumpkin and Ryan Torain, the two running backs the Giants signed on Tuesday, took the practice field for the first time with their new teammates on Thursday and are hoping to be up to speed on the Giants’ playbook in time for Monday night’s game against the Washington Redskins.
Head coach Tom Coughlin, who said that it as a possibility for one or both of the newcomers to play on Monday night, will probably not play either one unless they can both show knowledge of the Giants’ schemes, especially on pass blocking. And to make sure that the desired results are there by kickoff, both Lumpkin and Torain have joined the extra post-practice study sessions organized by fullback Henry Hynoski.
“Yeah, we did that Tuesday and Wednesday,” said Lumpkin, the former Seahawk who was in the process of taking a job at the corporate level when the Giants called to invite him in for a tryout. “It’s coming along good. (Henry) is a great coach’s assistant.
“They’ve been helping me out a lot,” added Torain, the former Redskin who was assigned the locker stall next to Hynoski’s.
The extra classroom work, which is overseen by running backs coach Jerald Ingram, has become more of a group effort, as in addition to Hynoski, Ahmad Bradshaw has shared his tips and working with his new teammates.
Even rookie David Wilson, who is projected to move up to the number two running back spot now that André Brown is on injured reserve with a broken leg, has gotten in on the act as far as giving his new teammates a helping hand, an opportunity he said has helped reinforce his confidence in learning the pass protections..
“When they ask me questions, I have to provide answers,” Wilson said. “The quiz that me and Henry do is like they’re quizzing me too when they ask me questions. So now I’m getting double the work in making sure I know it.”
So just what is it that Torain, Lumpkin, and Wilson have to show knowledge of before they get on the field?
In addition to the plays themselves, there is the understanding of the terminology. Hynoski noted that across the NFL, many teams run similar plays, but they have different terminology and wrinkles that make the plays unique to that team’s playbook.
Thus, in addition to knowing what adjustments a running back has to make, he also needs to be able to quickly respond when a verbal signal is given by the quarterback.
That’s where the different styles of learning come into play. Some players might draw parallels to the terminology they learned in a previous offense, while others will start from the beginning and use other cues to help them remember.
“Everyone learns at a different pace and in a different way,” Hynoski said. “If you’re a veteran and you have experience and have played in a similar offense, I think it’s easier to transfer over than if you’re a rookie.”
Hynoski, who earlier this week revealed that he quizzes Wilson on the various pass protections and associated adjustments, noted that once a player has done the protections several times, it’s just a matter of time before the old terminology fades from memory and is replaced by the new stuff, which is when a running back tends to play quicker since he doesn’t have to think as much.
Both Lumpkin, whose locker is next to Bradshaw’s, and Torain, who said that they are also ready to accept roles on special teams, are grateful for the help they’ve received since reporting to the team’s facility.
“A lot of good guys are helping me out,” said Torain, who admitted to not having much familiarity with the Giants’ offense before signing with the team. “I’m enjoying myself.”
After just one practice, their progress has already been noticed by the man they’ll have to protect in passing situations, quarterback Eli Manning.
“I think they did a good job,” Manning said. “Obviously it’s a lot thrown at them very quickly, but both guys have been around a number of years, and understand that. I think they’ll pick things up quickly and try to throw as much at them as possible and see what they can take in and see how much they can possibly help us this week.”