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Team Report - NEW YORK GIANTS

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INSIDE SLANT

When the 2014 preseason schedule was announced, the New York Giants embraced the fact that they would be getting an extra game in which to fine-tune their brand new offense under offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo.

However, after three games, instead of making progress, the offense seems to be stuck in a neutral state in which the starters are just not making plays, nor are they looking very comfortable when they are out on the field with two preseason games remaining before they take the field for their regular-season opener at Detroit.

Is head coach Tom Coughlin concerned that the sluggish start by his offense might spill over to the regular season?

"I don't know if there's any other way of putting it but that," he admitted. "We've had, over the last two years, would have to be looked at as unproductive preseasons or unproductive games in the preseason and yet, we still were able to come out and play well offensively in the regular season.

"Now, is that the case here? I don't know that. We're going to have to see how that goes. But is it a concern? Sure, it's a concern."

A sampling of some of the statistics illustrated just how much of a concern the Giants are facing.

Quarterback Eli Manning is seven of 16 for 49 yards and no touchdowns, while No. 1 receiver Victor Cruz has yet to record a reception.

"Very few productive yards, whether it be run or pass," Coughlin said. "We continue to not have very many big plays. We had a few at the end of the game, but there's not enough plays being made by our starters on the offensive or defensive side of the ball."

While it's unrealistic to expect a new system to take root overnight, what makes the Giants' situation particularly unsettling is that they have been hard at work with installing the various elements of the offense, a process they finished last week, since the spring.

Despite their aggressive install schedule, the practices that have been open to the media have shown very little cohesiveness by the offense particularly in the passing game, which is currently ranked 21st in the league, averaging 164.0 yards per game.

One of the most noticeable issues with the passing game has been the emphasis on the shorter passes, an element that has never really been a Manning strength.

However, the quarterback continues to insist that it's not so much a matter of being comfortable with the new offense as it is facing new situations that come up unexpectedly during a game, that discomfort being a result of a lack of game planning in the preseason.

"I feel comfortable with the offense. I think we are seeing things and making good decisions, know where to go with the ball," Manning said after Saturday's game.

"Each game something comes up that's new or different that we have to talk about to make sure and be on the same page as coach (Ben) McAdoo and we're seeing things eye-to-eye."

Whether game planning will help the offense smooth out its bumps remains to be seen. In the meantime, though, there are basics that are just not clicking, such as some timing routes, certain reads, and the blocking up front by the offensive line, all of which has been spotty in both the pass and run games.

It's a tall order to get it running smoothly, and it doesn't help that this coming week, the Giants only have three practices before their next preseason game against the Jets on Friday night.

"It's obvious. I think we have to work on a lot of things. We have to basically work on everything," Coughlin said. All of a sudden, the preseason is flying by here and we have an awful lot to accomplish. You really don't have the time to stop and work on one or two things. You have to continue to enter into all the different situations that we're in and try to improve in all of those areas.

"We will have specific objectives and goals that will be a direct result of this weekend's game."

NOTES, QUOTES

--Linebacker Jon Beason said he's been pleased with the progress made in rehabbing a fractured sesamoid bone in his foot, and that he remains on schedule to be ready for the regular-season opener against Detroit on Sept. 8.

Said Beason, "Yeah I think so. I feel pretty good. We're just going through the progressions. Today was pretty aggressive, getting after it and doing some things based off of reactions as opposed to anticipation which is what we do on defense."

Beason was injured on June 12 during an OTA practice after landing awkwardly on his right foot. He was carted off the field and met with noted foot and ankle specialist Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte, who confirmed that Beason had both a cracked sesamoid bone under his big toe and a ligament tear.

The good news was that Beason did not require surgery to address his injury. However, he was given a 12-week recovery period which puts him right up against the first game of the season.

Beason spent three weeks in a cast and then another three weeks in an orthopedic boot. He remained at the Giants' facility over the summer break to do his rehab and made good progress.

While he admitted that the original plan was for him to begin practicing this week, Beason has remained patient in terms of listening to the advice of the medical staff as well as to his own body.

"I don't know if I need the practice," he said. "It's good to kind of get out there and spin the wheels a little bit. I would love to have a full training camp and five dress rehearsals, but unfortunately that's not going to be the case. But either way, I expect to go out there and play well and help my team win."

Beason, who has selected the right combination of orthotics to protect his feet moving forward - a combination that will necessitate a half-size increase in his cleats to a 13 - said he'd test out his new foot gear this week to see if he has the right comfort level that will allow him to play at a high level.

"You don't realize how important your feet are, but it's really everything," he said. "A little toe can slow you down. Going through the process of getting the orthotics, making the adjustments. Today we got it down. We're going to go out and see how it feels."

With each milestone reached, his confidence over being ready for the start of the regular season grows.

"I feel like I'm really close, but I have to go out and do it and I want to test it," he said. "That's going to confirm it for me."

If all goes well, Beason hopes to get a few preseason snaps against the Patriots in the Giants' preseason finale Aug. 28.

"Going into it, to have the opportunity to play in the last couple of games was really the goal. Whether you do or don't; that's not my decision. They might say it's not worth the risk, but to have the opportunity, that's great."

If not, then he'll be perfectly fine with getting back on the field when the Giants begin their prep work for the regular-season opener.

"That looks really promising for the opener against the Lions," he said.

--The amped-up emphasis on defensive holding and pass interference penalties has many NFL defensive backs up in arms about having their aggression reduced.

That's not good news for players like safety Antrel Rolle, who is known as one of the more physical safeties in the NFL.

However, Rolle is not one to sit and pout about the liberties that defensive backs once had and instead has accepted the challenge to redefine his game and technique to fit the parameters of the rules.

"Once you understand that right now there is a very, very fine line as to what they will allow and what they won't allow, you just have to work it," he said. "You're going to get the call from time to time, but that's when you're going to understand and know how far you can push it. For the most part, you just have to go out there and play technique and just trust the guy beside you."

Still, Rolle admitted that it's not an easy process and that the points of emphasis have forced some players such as himself to change the very same technique that got them to the NFL.

"Yeah, the technique does change at the point where maybe you can't be as physical or can't even feel the receivers as much," he said.

"I think it's already an offensive league. I guess now they want to see more points scored than ever. I guess you just have to go out there and make the best of it. You can't let it offset your game, especially throughout the course of a season."

As far as Rolle is concerned, he's going to play by the rules but at the same time, he's not going to really adjust what's been working for him all these years.

"For me personally, I haven't done anything at all to make the adjustment. I feel like they're going to call what they're going to call and whatever I get away with, I'll get away it," he said.

"I'm not going to let it alter my game at all. If they happen to make the call, we live, we line up and play again."

--Add linebacker Jon Beason to the growing fan club of rookie linebacker Devon Kennard, one of the Giants' fifth-round draft picks this year.

"The most impressive thing about him, besides his size - he's a specimen - is he prepares," Beason said. "Most rookies just walk in here and they're like, 'Ah man, I'm here,' and they don't get the preparation part of it."

Beason said he's been especially impressed with Kennard's ability to pick things up so quickly.

"You can tell by how attentive he is in meetings and the way he responds to a question the coach will ask him," Beason said. "If he messes up, you can see (Kennard) actually take the technique and go on the field and do it. That just means he's wise beyond his years."

Besides the mental part, Beason is also impressed by Kennard's physical tools.

"He's 250 (pounds), super lean, fast, strong and you see him hit people and knock them back, and you go 'Wow!'

"He's going to help us out a lot," Beason added.

--Cornerback Prince Amukamara, who suffered a groin strain on Saturday, said he's very encouraged that the injury isn't one that will keep him out of action for too long.

"It feels better than it did yesterday," Amukamara said. "Yesterday I would have given it a 6 or a 7 on a (pain) scale of 1-10. Today it's more like a 3 or a 4. I'm hoping to play as soon as possible."

Amukamara said he visited the team's doctor at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan on Monday morning for tests on his groin, but he was not given a MRI to determine the severity of the strain.

While the fourth-year cornerback will be limited this week in practice so as to not aggravate the injury, he remains hopeful regarding his timetable.

"I definitely think I'll be returning very soon," he said.

--Receiver Victor Cruz wants people who are worrying about the Giants' offense to step back, take a deep breath and have some faith that things will get better.

"We haven't given a lot plays or tipped our hand on a lot of things that we have shown yet. It is still pretty base stuff, but we just have to do a better job of executing," he said.

"I know our ones and twos didn't do very well in the first half of the game, but we just have to do a better job of executing and getting the little things right, which is what we are working towards."

Still, Cruz admitted that he's not sure why the first-team offense has been unable to click in terms of execution, but said that it's a top priority moving forward.

"It is kind of a full team thing. It is everyone moving at the same pace at the same accord and in unison. Certain plays we have done that and certain plays we haven't, so everything plays a part in that. I don't know, I can't put my hand on one specific thing, but we know we have to find it and fix it quick."

Cruz did admit that the lack of game planning could be part of the reason for the offense's struggles.

"That could be part of it. We still have to work on stuff through different coverages, different looks," he said.

The bottom line though is the offense needs to take better care of the fundamentals, something offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo has preached since day one, and something Cruz said has to be a priority among his offensive teammates.

"We still have to work our technique, and work on finishing and doing the little things that we know how to do right," he said.

"Schematically, that'll take care of itself once we start looking at how (the opposing team) is playing us down the line and start making some changes that way.

"We still have to get some execution things taken care of and some finishing things right that we lacked in the first part of the (Indianapolis) game."

--Rookie offensive lineman Weston Richburg, the Giants' second-round pick this year, seems destined to be in the starting lineup, perhaps as soon as opening day.

The question, though, is will it be at center or at one of the guard spots?

Richburg, drafted to be the team's future at center, will probably get an opportunity to play this year primarily at guard, where he's been working at both sides since arriving here after the draft.

"That was my goal: to come in and compete," he said. "If you go to a team and don't want to compete for a starting role, I think you're cheating yourself. I want to be here, I want to be a player. I don't want to be a guy that's not playing. I want to contribute, be reliable, and be a guy that people can count on."

Richburg will presumably get reps at the right guard spot, a spot that became there for the taking following the retirement of Chris Snee at the start of camp. Third-year offensive lineman Brandon Mosley had been primarily working with the starters, but he's struggled of late, as has the offensive line in general.

With J.D. Walton entrenched as the starter at center, Richburg, who has shown improvement every time he's stepped on the practice field, could move to that right-guard spot, though a more logical scenario could see Geoff Schwartz move from left guard, where he has struggled, back to his natural right-guard position.

That would pave the way for Richburg, who's worked at both spots and who said that the only major difference between the two is which hand goes into the dirt, to move to the left side.

Either way is fine with the rookie, who when asked about his performance so far, scowled a bit and said, "I'm my own toughest critic. I'm tough on myself. I'm happy with how I've done at guard. I just want to get better.

"I'm not going to be complacent. I'm always going to get better. I made some mistakes this last week at guard that I need to fix. I want to get better sooner as well."

Until such time when he knows what spot the coaches want him to play, Richburg said he's going to continue to keep studying everything that's been asked of him.

"Like I said, I'm going in playing where they want me to play. When I'm at that position, focus on that position fully, and don't think about anything else. Like I said, whatever happens, happens. Wherever they put me, I'm happy to be there. Once the season comes, if they do single me in that spot, I'll put 100 percent effort into making that spot."

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: The Giants are hoping to keep two quarterbacks on their roster, and while the popular opinion is that second-year man Ryan Nassib will be the second quarterback kept, Curtis Painter has at least made things interesting.

Like Nassib, Painter has engineered a game-winning drive this preseason. In addition, he's currently holding a slightly better passer rating of 108.4 to Nassib's 100.9, with both men having thrown two touchdowns and no interceptions in the three preseason games played.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

PLAYER NOTES

--RB David Wilson, who is currently on injured reserve after being advised by doctors to never play football again, will turn his attention to training for a possible spot on the 2016 Olympics team in the triple jump, according to a report by USA Today.

--S Cooper Taylor (foot) suffered a sesamoid bone injury, per head coach Tom Coughlin. Taylor, the second-year safety who had been in the thick of a battle for a roster spot with rookie Nat Berhe, will miss some significant time with his injury, according to the coach.

--CB Prince Amukamara (groin) was to have a MRI on Monday to determine the extent of his strained groin suffered against the Colts. Amukamara said after the game that he had been able to jog but that he didn't feel like he could open things up the way he needed.

--DT Markus Kuhn (elbow) suffered a hyperextended elbow. Head coach Tom Coughlin said that Kuhn should be OK moving forward, though he didn't know just how much, if any time the third-year defender would miss.

--OT Charles Brown (shoulder) will miss some time, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Brown, who had been working on the first team at left tackle, was injured against the Colts.

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