It's tough to get New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin excited about very many things, especially when those things happen in preseason games. But a reporter who started asking Coughlin about a play from Sunday night's preseason opener on Monday's conference call couldn't even get his question out before Coughlin bubbled over.
"How about Corey Washington..." the question began.
"How about Corey Washington?!" Coughlin exclaimed. "Wasn't that some play by that kid?"
Indeed it was. In the fourth quarter of what would turn out to be a 17-13 exhibition victory over Buffalo in the Hall of Fame Game, Washington went high in the air to basically pick a Ryan Nassib pass off the helmet of a defender and raced to the end zone with the ball for a 73-yard touchdown catch.
"A game like this is important for a small-school guy like myself," said Washington, a 6-foot-4 undrafted rookie out of tiny Newberry College (enrollment 1,042) in South Carolina. "This is a chance to show the coaches what I have so I can make that 53-man roster."
He's certainly got a chance. With first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. missing basically all of training camp so far with a hamstring injury, and Mario Manningham and his bum knee no sure thing to make the roster, Washington and some of the other lesser-known receivers on the Giants roster are getting chances they might not otherwise have got. And Sunday night wasn't the first time Coughlin's noticed the tallest wideout on his team.
Coughlin spoke Monday of a special teams play Washington made as a gunner on punt returns, and the fact that he'd mention that is an eye-opener for Giants roster-projectors. Everybody knows, if you impress on special teams, it helps your chances. But Washington's chances also are helped by his height, and the fact that Coughlin says he's seen him make plays in practice similar to the one he made Sunday.
"You do sit up and notice when you see it," Coughlin said of Washington's height. "Because you think, 'Can he take the ball off the top of the defender?' And Corey just showed that he could."
Rueben Randle is 6-2 and seems to be the primary red zone target (along with all of the 6-5 tight ends) in practice drills. Washington's height offers the Giants something they don't have with Beckham, Jerrel Jernigan or even Victor Cruz, all of whom are sure to make the team.
Some other Giants notes:
Coughlin said tight end Daniel Fells' knee injury was a "bone bruise," which has to count as good news since it was announced as a sprain when Fells left the game. It is unclear whether Fells can practice Tuesday or play in Saturday night's home preseason game against the Steelers.
Left tackle Will Beatty, who's practiced more than was expected coming off his major leg injury, missed a couple of practices last week due to an illness and didn't make the trip to Canton for the game. Coughlin said they'd always planned to hold Beatty out of that game and that he didn't know yet whether Beatty would be ready to play Saturday night.
The Giants' practice schedule is odd this week. They will practice from 5:40 p.m. to 7:50 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Of those three practices, Wednesday's is the only one open to the public, which is important to note if you were planning to go to any of them. The Giants are off Friday in advance of Saturday's game and off Sunday as well.