New York Giants: weston richburg

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz will finally make his long-awaited New York Giants debut Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys, though not at the position for which he was signed in the offseason. Schwartz will start at right tackle Sunday night in place of injured Justin Pugh, who is out with a quadriceps injury.

Also of note, the Giants have benched rookie Weston Richburg, who started the team's first 10 games of the season at left guard, and will start veteran Adam Snyder in his place.

That could mean Schwartz goes back to left guard, the position the Giants signed him to play, when Pugh is healthy enough to return to his position. But for now, the Giants' struggling line will go with two new pieces for this game around starting left tackle Will Beatty, center J.D. Walton and right guard John Jerry.

Schwartz played left guard throughout training camp and the preseason, but a toe injury just before the start of the regular season landed him on short-term injured reserve. He was activated from that list this past week and worked at tackle and guard in practice, but he and the Giants were secretive about which position he'd play until they revealed their starting lineup shortly before the start of Sunday night's game.

As was the case last week, Mark Herzlich starts at weakside linebacker for Jacquian Williams, who's missing his second game in a row with a concussion. Mike Patterson starts at defensive tackle for Cullen Jenkins, who remains out with a calf injury.

The full list of Giants' inactives for this game:

CB Mike Harris

LB Jacquian Williams

C Dallas Reynolds

OT Justin Pugh

DE Kerry Wynn

OG Brandon Mosley

DT Cullen Jenkins
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- We are at the point in the New York Giants' season when fans want to fire the coach and replace the quarterback and talk about all the very rash moves they'd like to see in the offseason because they want blood.

You pay -- with your money and your heart -- to follow this team, and you're just sick of it all. The Giants are 3-7, worse after 10 games than they were last year, and all but assured of missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years. You're hurting, and no one can blame you.

But what's wrong with the Giants isn't the coach. You can't watch these past two games and think they're not playing hard for Tom Coughlin. Until Eli Manning threw five interceptions Sunday in a 16-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, you really couldn't put it on the quarterback -- not this season.

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
AP Photo/Bill KostrounEli Manning had a terrible day against the 49ers, but it wasn't all his fault.
The problem with the Giants is a roster that eroded due to years of lousy drafting and remains in the early stages of an extensive and much-needed rebuild. The Giants entered the past offseason with more than one offseason's worth of work to do, and they'll hit this offseason with a great deal more still to do. No matter who the coach and quarterback are next year or the year after, the Giants retain a crying, fundamental need to fix their foundation -- specifically the offensive line.

It was just too easy for the 49ers' pass rush Sunday, especially once starting right tackle Justin Pugh went out early in the game with a quad injury. The 49ers ran every kind of pass-rush game they could think of at the right side of the Giants' offensive line, where Charles Brown and John Jerry were overwhelmed even when they were one-on-one, and they whacked and harassed Manning all day. They sacked him twice and hit him seven times.

You can say Manning should handle pressure better than he did, and you'd be right. But it's the organization's job to keep the pressure off Manning, and it's painfully obvious this organization still isn't doing a good enough job of it.

"He had great pressure today," Coughlin said of Manning. "I don't think anybody's going to argue with that one, especially when they run a simple T-E up front and hit him full-steam two or three times today."

It's troubling that Jerry and Brown are playing full games at right guard and right tackle this late in the season. The Giants went into free agency and the draft with a mandate to fix the line, and part of what they claimed to do was find enough veteran depth to cover them in case of injury this year. But while Brown and Jerry are both veterans, they're cheap, Band-Aid solutions to a significant problem that can only be fixed through drafting and development. As much fun as rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is, you can still make a convincing case that a first-round offensive lineman would have been a better choice if the Giants were really thinking long-term about their foundation.

They did take Weston Richburg in the second round, and he has started every game so far at left guard. They did sign free-agent guard Geoff Schwartz, who has yet to play because of a toe injury. But the fact that so many leaks still remain speaks to the severity of the problems they were confronting the past offseason. They're still in the early stages of this project. Is Pugh a long-term answer at tackle, or does he need to move to guard? Is Will Beatty really a franchise cornerstone at left tackle, or do they need to make a major investment there? Is Richburg's future at center, or is J.D. Walton a keeper?

The team coming to town next week, the Dallas Cowboys, provides a prime example of what the Giants need to do. After years of neglecting the line and paying the price with underachieving teams, the Cowboys have used their first-round pick on an offensive lineman in three of the past four years and now boast one of the best lines in the league. It's not brain surgery. Looking for cheap solutions in free agency or the middle rounds of the draft is no way to build the most important part of your offensive foundation. You have to spend -- either free-agent money or high picks or both -- to build the line you need in today's NFL.

The Giants have started to at least look like a team that gets this, as they took Pugh in the first round in 2013 and Richburg early in the second this year, but they need to keep after it. They need to make the line a high priority item on which they spend significant resources. Because whatever they end up doing with Manning, and whoever's coaching them into the future, they're not going to be able to score points reliably until they're better up front.
A lot of season still left, lots of New York Giants questions remain. Some of them even come with the #nygmail hashtag on Twitter. Like these.

@DanGrazianoESPN: There are multiple issues at work with regard to a Jason Pierre-Paul contract extension. The Giants have the money and the cap room to do it, but there remains a chance that Pierre-Paul could turn out to be this year's Hakeem Nicks if he doesn't produce at a consistently high level over these final seven games. The Giants were very pleased with his game against the Cowboys a few weeks back, but less so with his performance against the Colts and Seahawks. Pierre-Paul will be seeking a significant contract in line with those of the league's elite pass-rushers, and if the Giants aren't convinced he is one of them, they're not going to want to pay him what he wants. The way to look at it is this: The Giants will need to find a foundation piece for their pass rush this offseason among the free agents and high draft picks available. It's entirely possible, if he performs the way he and they believe he can, that Pierre-Paul is that piece and they give him a contract that reflects it. But if the performance doesn't improve (and remain consistent), and if he wants more money than they believe he's worth, the Giants will move on to other options. At this point, their hope is that he convinces them he's their guy. But they're not convinced yet. @DanGrazianoESPN: Rookie left guard Weston Richburg and second-year right tackle Justin Pugh are having rough years at their respective positions, though the word "development" is an important one when discussing players this young, and it's important to remember that young, developing players are inconsistent and can improve. As for potential moves inside, Richburg was a center in college and was drafted as one, and if the Giants hadn't been impressed with J.D. Walton in camp, Richburg might have been the starting center Week 1. So they do see him at that position long term, though at this point they're happy with Walton and don't feel the need to make a move like that. The way Richburg and Walton have played relative to each other so far this year, such a move wouldn't even be justifiable. As for Pugh, the book on him before the 2013 draft was that he was a college tackle whose physical traits made him more suited to guard in the NFL. The Giants have stubbornly insisted that they view him as a tackle, and they cite his impressive 16-game rookie performance as evidence to support that. So at this point, they don't view him as a guy they'll eventually move to guard. That could change if all of a sudden they come up with a bunch of superior options at tackle. But right now they don't have those, and their preference is to let Pugh continue to work to get better and ideally be a long-term solution for them at one of the tackle spots. @DanGrazianoESPN: That's a good question, because the answer lies in figuring out which of these guys can be long-term building blocks for them, as opposed to short-term hole-pluggers. I believe they view cornerbacks Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond as guys who can long-term solutions at that position, though Rogers-Cromartie is on his fourth team already and I don't know how Thurmond's season-ending injury affects their view of him. (He's a free agent after this season.) Robert Ayers has shown more than I think they expected and could stick around as part of a rebuild of the pass rush. Running back Rashad Jennings could theoretically stick around a while, but he already has suffered a pretty serious knee injury, and that reminds us that running backs don't tend to hold up in this league. @DanGrazianoESPN: While I understand the desire to keep the analytical equation simple, I think it's far too simple to say the Giants hired offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to be Tom Coughlin's successor. And if Coughlin is out at the end of this year, which is possible if the final seven games go poorly, it's almost impossible to imagine them elevating 37-year-old McAdoo to the position of head coach after one season ever as a coordinator and a play-caller at any level. The Giants see a potential future head coach in McAdoo, as did many of the other teams that interviewed him for jobs last offseason. But I don't think they're in a rush to make him one. If he's to be Coughlin's successor, Coughlin likely has to stick around a few more years while McAdoo continues to develop as a young coach. So my answer is that it's possible, but not necessarily likely and far from certain. If and when the Giants move on from Coughlin, it's likely to be a major, sweeping kind of change.

Thanks for all of the questions. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday. Chat at ya Sunday from MetLife Stadium.
The New York Giants get back to work Wednesday afternoon to begin their short week of practice in advance of Sunday's game in Seattle. But running back Rashad Jennings is still not practicing, and it appears likely he will miss his fourth straight game due to a knee sprain.

"He has done some running, straight ahead," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said in a Wednesday conference call. "I think he's started to do some cutting, but I don't know if there's a full menu of that coming. He is running, though."

Which is improvement over where he was last week, but until Jennings can reliably cut and move laterally on his left leg, he's not going to be cleared to practice, let alone play. Jennings said last week that the Week 11 home game against the 49ers was a realistic target, so the hope is that he'll only have to miss this one more game.

Guard Geoff Schwartz, who's been on injured reserve since preseason with a toe injury and started practicing last week, is doing more this week, though it's unclear whether he'll be active for the Seattle game. The Giants have until the day after the San Francisco game to activate Schwartz or rule him out for the season.

Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who missed Monday's game with a calf injury, was doing individual drills Wednesday and Coughlin said he was starting the process. It's possible he could return this week, though again, next week seems more likely.

Left guard Weston Richburg, who left Monday's game with an ankle injury, got good news from Tuesday's tests. Coughlin said Richburg is merely "day to day" with an ankle sprain.

Wide receiver Preston Parker (ankle), defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka (knee) and punter Steve Weatherford (ankle/back) were also on the pre-practice injury report. The "back" portion of Weatherford's status is new and worth keeping an eye on as he seemed to struggle physically early in Monday's game.
A New York Giants bye week doesn't mean a break from the Twitter mailbag. And thanks to your curious and judicious use of the #nygmail hashtag, here it is.

@Dan GrazianoESPN: The Giants are going to have a decision to make next offseason on left tackle Will Beatty, who carries a cap number of $8.05 million in 2015 and $9.175 million in 2016. They could get out of the deal, if they wanted to, by making Beatty a June 1 cut next year. This could happen if (a) he doesn't play better, (b) they think Justin Pugh is ready to move to left tackle, (c) they find a better and cheaper tackle solution in the draft or (d) all of the above. If they decide to stick with Beatty, then you have to figure that at least four-fifths of next year's line is already on the team in Beatty, Pugh, Geoff Schwartz and Weston Richburg, and center J.D. Walton has a two-year contract, too. Now, can any of those spots be upgraded? Of course. And it's never a bad idea to look for building-block pieces on the offensive line early in the draft. Look at that Dallas Cowboys line that's getting all of that positive attention. Three of its starters were first-round picks in the last four years. It's no coincidence. If you invest in top-level talent on the line, it pays off. The Giants have shied away from doing that in recent years, but by picking Pugh in the first round in 2013 and Richburg early in the second this year, they're at least trending toward sensibility there. It wouldn't be crazy for them to add a key piece to the line next year via the draft or free agency.

@Dan GrazianoESPN: Other than the Giants (whom he's never played, obviously), the only three NFL teams Eli Manning has not yet defeated are the Colts (0-2), the Chargers (0-3) and the Titans (0-2). The first two are interesting connections, since Manning's big brother played for the Colts in both of those games and the Chargers are the team that drafted him and for which he famously did not want to play. I have no idea how to explain the 0-2 against the Titans. But the Giants do play both the Colts and the Titans this year, so there exists the chance that, by the end of the season, San Diego will still be the only opponent Manning has not defeated in his NFL career.

@Dan GrazianoESPN: I feel like I've answered this question a lot, but I guess not enough people have read my answers. Giants GM Jerry Reese is not on any sort of hot seat, nor in any danger of losing his job. The Giants do not fire general managers. They have employed a grand total of three of them in the past 36 years. They believe strongly in the importance of continuity in leadership positions, and they are pleased with the job Reese has done overseeing the direction of the franchise. They will not fire him because he's been a poor drafter, though you are correct in saying he has been. Since Reese took over as GM in 2007, only three Giants draft picks (Ahmad Bradshaw, Will Beatty and Zak DeOssie) have signed second contracts with the team. Reese has delivered Super Bowl titles but has not found building blocks in the draft, and that's the reason last year's roster was so hollowed-out and required a free-agent-centric offseason rebuild. The record is what it is, and it's not good. But rather than fire him and start over, the Giants will leave it to Reese to re-evaluate the manner in which the draft is orchestrated and make changes as need dictates. Prince Amukamara, the 2011 first-round pick you cite here, has a chance to stick around, as does 2010 first-rounder Jason Pierre-Paul. The way this year goes for both of those players (who are both off to good starts) will dictate whether either or both can earn a contract extension in the offseason. And if they become long-term building blocks, Reese's draft record has a chance to start looking a bit better than it does right now.

Thanks for all of the questions. Enjoy a weekend without angst. 
Geoff Schwartz was the big offensive line pickup of the New York Giants' offseason, and he has yet to play a meaningful game for the team. A toe injury he suffered late in the preseason forced Schwartz to short-term injured reserve, and he wasn't eligible to practice with the team until last week. The first game in which he's allowed to play is their next game -- Nov. 3 against the Indianapolis Colts. But while Schwartz and the team are hopeful he can play in their first game after the bye week, they're still not certain.

"That's a great question, and I don't know the answer," Giants offensive line coach Pat Flaherty said Tuesday. "Geoff has been very active in our meetings. He's stayed on top of everything. He's worked his tail off in there, and from all reports I get, he's done the same thing in the training room. As far as how close he is to playing, I'll know more next week when I see him."

Aside from obsessing over the World Series (he's a San Francisco Giants fan), Schwartz has been spending his bye week getting treatment at the Giants' team facility. He said Monday that he wasn't sure whether he'd be able to practice with the team next week when they all got back to work. A lot will depend on how that toe feels once he starts really testing it out. He did some running on the side during practices last week, but hasn't tried to block or punch anyone, and he doesn't know how his foot will hold up right now to the rigors of his position.

"I would think he's not going to stand on the sideline [once he's cleared]," Flaherty said. "But how much? Is he ready to play 75 plays? That's the question. If he's not, then he's got to play X number of plays, and we have to figure out when to insert him into the games."

They also have to figure out where. Flaherty said Schwartz looked good in the preseason making the transition to left guard after playing on the right side of the offensive line for most of his career. But it's hard right now to identify where the greatest need is on the offensive line. Rookie Weston Richburg has had his share of struggles at left guard since replacing Schwartz there late in camp, but John Jerry hasn't been Mr. Reliable over at right guard, either. The Giants might have to decide where they think Schwartz can best help them once they decide he's ready to help them.

"I'm really not closed-minded on one side or the other," Flaherty said. "I think wherever he fits and can help us, he can adjust, because he's had that versatility of playing on the left side and the right side. So at this point, I'm not sure what side it's going to be. We'll have to see how it unfolds as he progresses."

W2W4: New York Giants

October, 11, 2014
Oct 11
The New York Giants ride a three-game winning streak into Sunday night's 8:30 ET game on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Giants are 3-2 and looking to catch the 4-1 Eagles, who are tied for the division lead with the Dallas Cowboys. Here are three things we'll be watching Sunday night:

1. Can the rookies lead the offense? First-round pick Odell Beckham Jr.'s NFL debut on Sunday against the Falcons was impressive, and the rookie wide receiver is likely to spend more time on the field this week than he did last. Fourth-round pick Andre Williams has looked good in limited action, and now he becomes the starting running back due to Rashad Jennings' knee injury. Add in left guard Weston Richburg, the team's second-round pick, and three of the Giants' 11 offensive starters will be rookies. In the Giants' ideal world, Beckham's impact will be to draw attention from the defense downfield due to his rare speed. If the Eagles decide to keep their safeties deep to guard against the big play, that could open things up underneath for Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Larry Donnell. If they don't, the Giants will try to get Beckham matched up on a cornerback he can beat with his speed. As for Williams, he's likely to get the bulk of the carries, especially in the red zone, but he's got to show an ability to help as a blocker and a receiver in the passing game if he's to be on the field as much as Jennings was.

2. Stopping the Eagles' running backs. The Falcons did a good job picking apart the Giants in the short-range passing game with their running backs in the first half Sunday, and the Giants had to adjust in the second half to stop it. Eagles running backs LeSean McCoy and Darren Sproles are among the best receiving backs in the league, and pose an even tougher test if that's the way Philadelphia chooses to attack the Giants' defense. The Giants aren't likely to get away with blitzing linebackers as much as they did early in their last two games against Washington and Atlanta, and pass-rushers Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers and Mathias Kiwanuka are going to have to prioritize playing the run to avoid being beaten by explosive plays from McCoy and/or Sproles. The Giants' defensive ends -- Pierre-Paul especially -- have performed well against the run this season. But if the Eagles' offense is getting back to full strength, this is the toughest test New York has yet faced.

3. Taking care on special teams. The Eagles have four special teams returns for touchdowns in five games this season. The Giants rank among the worst teams in the league at covering punt returns and allowed a punt return touchdown to Arizona's Ted Ginn Jr. in Week 2. In a game that should be close, the Giants cannot afford to give points away on special teams and will have to maintain their intensity to avoid letting Sproles or another of the Eagles' return men swing the game in Philadelphia's favor.
As we do every week, you tagged your New York Giants questions with #nygmail on Twitter and I endeavor to answer them here. I hope to do a good job.

@DanGrazianoESPN: Assuming this is the week that first-round wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. makes his NFL debut following a summer's worth of hamstring problems, my expectation is something in the range of 15 to 25 snaps. That's nothing more than an educated guess, based on the fact he barely has racticed at the NFL level and likely needs more work to refine his shorter routes. I think he catches the ball very well, from what we've seen. And I don't expect he'll operate out of the slot, which is Victor Cruz domain. The Giants drafted Beckham to be an outside threat, and if he's on a limited snap count, my guess is they'll use him outside to try to stretch the field and open things up underneath for Cruz, Rueben Randle and unstoppable tight end Larry Donnell. As he grows into his role, it's possible they could move Beckham around the formation and do different things with him. But the way the offense is going right now, it makes sense to ease him in and keep things simple for him at the start. He'll also eventually be in the mix as a punt returner, though it sounds as though they won't put that on his plate right away. @DanGrazianoESPN: A fun and worthwhile question in the wake of Adam Schefter's recent report that Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh is not planning to re-sign in Detroit and would like to play in New York. My first thought is no, especially considering the fact they'll have to extend quarterback Eli Manning contract next offseason and they're hoping to sign defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to a big free-agent deal as well. They have some money coming off the books if they let safety Antrel Rolle leave, but I'm not sure they want to do that. They retain heavy 2015 cap commitments to Manning ($19.75 million), Cruz ($8.125 million), Will Beatty ($8.05 million), Jon Beason ($7.17 million), Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie ($7.25 million) and likely will want to bring back Prince Amukamara ($7 million at their option and/or Walter Thurmond. I don't see the Giants as one of the teams likely to have the cap room to sign Suh, especially since defensive tackle has not been a position on which they've shown a willingness to spend big money. (See: Joseph, Linval). @DanGrazianoESPN: My personal belief is that the Giants are loving all of the media attention that tight end Larry Donnell is getting, because their dream scenario is that teams start devoting more coverage to him and leave Cruz and Randle open to get the ball in their hands and make plays after the catch. What Donnell has delivered so far is incredible, and a testament to a coaching staff that knows how to get the most out of its personnel. But the ideal formula for this offense is getting the ball in the hands of its playmakers and letting them make moves and run. As long as teams aren't prioritizing Donnell in overage, I imagine they'll keep throwing him the ball high and letting him go up and get it. But if teams do start paying more attention to Donnell, I think the Giants would love a chance to take advantage of the coverage gaps that show up elsewhere as a result. @DanGrazianoESPN: That's a good question. I was talking to Geoff Schwartz a little bit about that the other day. He's got a toe injury and is on short-term IR, can't come back until Week 9. But he's not sweating it. He'd obviously love to play, but he said he's enjoying watching the way Weston Richburg is playing left guard and the way the offensive line group has come together. It's unfortunate that this is a fact, but these things do have ways of working themselves out. By the time Schwartz is ready, there's a chance a spot will have opened up on that line due to injury. And if not, that's what you call the old proverbial "good problem to have." I doubt the Giants would rock the boat if the whole offensive line is healthy and playing this well in Week 9. But a lot can happen between now and then. Enjoy the rest of your Saturday.

New Giants lineman eager to help

September, 4, 2014
Sep 4
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Adam Snyder, the newest offensive lineman in the New York Giants' locker room, is willing to do whatever he's asked. He has primarily played guard during his nine-year NFL career, but he's also got experience at tackle and center.

"I even played some tight end for a time," the 6-foot-6, 325-pound Snyder joked after Giants practice Thursday, likely unaware of how such a comment might be received by the Giants-watching public.

The Giants signed Snyder on Wednesday after they determined that starting left guard Geoff Schwartz needed to go on short-term injured reserve and miss the first eight weeks of the season. With reserve tackle Charles Brown limited in practice because of a shoulder injury and reserve lineman James Brewer still out with a back injury, the Giants needed a versatile depth piece on the line. Giants coach Tom Coughlin seriously said Snyder could be ready to play as early as Monday Night in the regular-season opener in Detroit.

"Sure, why not? He's a veteran," Coughlin said. "He's a good, solid offensive lineman -- a veteran offensive lineman that's played in a lot of big games. He has versatility. We'll have to work some things out as to where, but he'll probably play more than one position, to be honest with you."

Snyder is 32 years old and sports a magnificent, full, light brown beard. He played seven seasons for the 49ers, one for the Cardinals and then one more for the 49ers last year before being cut late last week.

"It's a little bit nerve-wracking, so much new all at once, but I'm up for the challenge," Snyder said. "The guys here know the offense and they can help me. Absolutely, I'd like to show them what I can do."

The Giants are likely to start rookie Weston Richburg at left guard in Schwartz's place and John Jerry at right guard Monday night. But should they have issues there, there is no reason to think Snyder couldn't play his way into some snaps or even a starting role.

Big Blue Morning: Back to work

September, 4, 2014
Sep 4
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants return to the practice field Thursday to officially begin their week of practice preparation for Monday Night's season opener against the Lions in Detroit.

I don't expect to see Odell Beckham Jr., of course, but it will be interesting to try and find out whether there has been any change in the alignment at wide receiver when the Giants are in their preferred three-wide receiver set. I know they would like to keep Victor Cruz in the slot, and Jerrel Jernigan did have a big game last time they were in Detroit, so maybe they catch lightning in a bottle with him on the outside opposite Rueben Randle next week.

As Mike Rothstein points out, the Lions have a new coaching staff this season and a new defensive coordinator for Tom Coughlin, Ben McAdoo & Co. to try and out-scheme.

I wrote this Wednesday about Coughlin, his importance and his approach to this season's Giants team, in case you missed it.

On Wednesday, the Giants put Geoff Schwartz on short-term injured reserve, so he can't play until Week 9. They will start rookie Weston Richburg at left guard in Detroit, and if Brandon Mosley can't get back on the practice field Thursday or Friday, John Jerry is the likely starter at right guard.

More later from practice and the locker room.
The New York Giants agreed to terms with 32-year-old guard Adam Snyder, a nine-year NFL veteran who adds depth for the team on its shaky offensive line.

Snyder has played eight of his nine NFL seasons with the 49ers. He started 14 games for the Arizona Cardinals in 2012 before returning to San Francisco in 2013. He started four games with San Francisco last year and played in 14 of them, splitting time between left guard and right guard. Pro Football Focus ranked him 40th among guards in the NFL, giving him a strong run-blocking grade and a poor pass-blocking grade, which kind of makes you think he'll fit right in with the Giants' line.

It's unclear at this point how the Giants will make room on the roster for Snyder, but they need help at guard with Geoff Schwartz out with a toe injury and Brandon Mosley out with a back injury. They could put Schwartz (or, I guess, Mosley) on short-term injured reserve, which would require him to miss the first eight weeks of the season, and that would clear a roster spot. Or they could cut someone from the current 53-man roster to make room. The former option is more likely, but as of Tuesday night the Giants hadn't decided whether to make such a move with Schwartz.

Anyway, they need offensive line help, and this guy was out there and they apparently like him, so whatever. At this point, rookie Weston Richburg is slated to start at left guard in Monday night's season opener in Detroit and uninspiring veteran John Jerry is slated to start at right guard. So there are reps to be had at those spots.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin had said his starting offense would play 15 to 18 plays in Thursday night's preseason finale, but they'd only played eight after two possessions and Coughlin decided that was enough.

"If they wanted to play more," the head coach of the New York Giants said, "they should have made some first downs."

Eli Manning
John Minchillo/Associated PressEli Manning and the Giants' first-team offense looked confused again Thursday night.
A fitting epitaph for a five-game preseason in which the Giants won all five games but felt good about none. Starting quarterback Eli Manning played in all five of the games and ended up 20-for-41 for 188 yards and a touchdown. The first-team offense showed some decent signs of being able to run the ball effectively, but the passing game showed nothing but confusion.

After an offseason that brought a new offensive coordinator, a new system and at least six new starters on the offensive side of the ball, the preseason ended with a creepy feeling that very little has been solved. Coughlin locked in Thursday night on a first-quarter Manning incomplete pass intended for Rueben Randle.

"Again, the missed connection between Rueben Randle and Eli," Coughlin said. "'I thought this, he thought that...' Everybody in this room is tired of hearing that stuff. There's no place for that."

That was supposed to be last-year stuff. And the source of Coughlin's frustration is that these five preseason games -- as well as the practices that surrounded them -- did little to convince anyone that the last-year stuff had been left in 2013. The pass protection is still a question mark, Manning's not on the same page as his receivers, and now there are no more exhibition games left and only 10 days until the first game that counts.

"There are things we've got to improve on," Manning shrugged. "But that's why we have another week of practice."

The Giants don't sound worried, and maybe that's because worry isn't going to do them any good at this point. The season's going to start whether they're ready or not, and it's going to start without anyone convinced the offense is going to click right away. Just because they haven't proven anything on the field that would give them confidence doesn't mean they can afford to go into the season without it.

"You have to have confidence," Coughlin said. "We've had preseasons before where we haven't had a lot of numbers with our first offense. Hopefully, we can carry over."

There's a lot of hope around these parts. A lot of relatively blind faith in the ability of these players to perform better in the real games than they did in the fake ones. The one encouraging thing is that the Giants' belief in themselves seems sincere. They do not appear discouraged.

"It was the right route. It just wasn't timed right," Randle said of the play that angered his coach. "I guess he was expecting me to run it quicker since it was press. I'm pretty sure, with something simple like that, we can get it fixed. Not that big of a deal."

The regular season will offer the Giants a chance to prove that their brave preseason talk has been accurate. And it'll do that soon. Rookie offensive lineman Weston Richburg, pressed into duty this week as the starting left guard in place of the injured Geoff Schwartz, might have summed it all up when asked if he was ready to handle that job.

"I don't have a choice," Richburg said.

Ready or not, here the season comes. The Giants believe they're ready, even if they haven't proven it.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said rookie Weston Richburg and veteran John Jerry would start at left guard and right guard, respectively, in Thursday's preseason finale against the Patriots. Richburg is replacing Geoff Schwartz, who will miss at least a few weeks, if not more, with a toe injury he suffered in Friday's preseason game. Jerry is replacing Brandon Mosley, who has missed the last three days of practice with a back injury.

"He's up and moving, so obviously that's a good sign," Coughlin said of Mosley, who's been the first-team right guard since Chris Snee retired on the eve of training camp.

Mosley's injury has offered a fresh chance for Jerry, who missed the start of camp following spring knee surgery and hasn't shown much. If he looks good Thursday night, there's certainly a chance he could steal the job from Mosley. It's also possible that Richburg will lock down left guard in Schwartz's absence and that Schwartz could play right guard upon his return.

The Giants got good news Tuesday when they learned Schwartz would not need surgery, but it remains unclear how much time they can expect him to miss.

"He's very optimistic, and hopefully that's going to mean the recovery will be as fast as possible," Coughlin said of Schwartz. "Obviously, we can't rush him back. It certainly would be good to get him back as soon as possible, but it's not going to be easy."

In other Giants injury news:
  • First-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. and kick returner Trindon Holliday missed practice again with hamstring injuries. Tackle Charles Brown and tackle/guard James Brewer sat out with shoulder and back injuries, respectively.
  • Cornerback Prince Amukamara is making good progress in his return from a groin injury, but he won't play Thursday night.
  • Running back Peyton Hillis appeared to be practicing in full. Hillis missed a few weeks of camp with an ankle injury but has returned to practice this week. He made a nice juggling catch on a wheel route with Jacquian Williams covering him in practice Tuesday.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's now been a week since the setback that wasn't a setback, and New York Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham still isn't practicing with the team. Obviously, this means the team's first-round draft pick won't play in Thursday's preseason finale against the Patriots, which means he won't have played in any of the Giants' five preseason games.

"He's not going to play," an obviously frustrated Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after Monday's practice, during which Beckham once again worked on a side field with the training staff. "Have you seen him practice? How about practicing first?"

Beckham's last full training camp practice was when he was still at LSU. He injured his hamstring in the first practice of Giants training camp July 22 and hasn't practiced in full with the team since. He returned to the field a bit a couple of weeks ago and was working his way into 11-on-11 drills, but then he hurt himself in practice again last Monday and hasn't practiced since.

"I think he's very frustrated," Coughlin said. "I think his whole personality's held in check because he's not able to do the things that he wants to do."

With Beckham out, the Giants have been using Jerrel Jernigan in his outside receiver spot. It's possible that preseason star Corey Washington could get a look there with the first team Thursday, but we thought that was possible last week and Washington didn't play until the fourth quarter against the Jets.

Obviously, Beckham's availability for the Sept. 8 "Monday Night Football" opener in Detroit is in serious doubt. The Giants don't like to rush rookies into action in the first place, and that's especially true when the rookie hasn't had a training camp.

In other Giants injury news:
  • Guard Geoff Schwartz was seeing a foot specialist Monday to determine the severity of his toe injury. The Giants should have news on Schwartz at some point early this week, but it's safe to assume he'll have to miss at least the first few games of the regular season, if not many more.
  • Guard Brandon Mosley missed a second straight day of practice due to a back injury and was getting examined by a doctor, according to Coughlin. John Jerry played with the first-team line in Mosley's right guard spot while rookie Weston Richburg manned Schwartz's left guard spot.
  • Offensive lineman James Brewer remains out with a back injury, which could damage his chances of making the 53-man roster. Brewer was on the bubble to begin with.
  • Return specialist Trindon Holliday also sat out of practice with a hamstring injury. Holliday did some individual work Sunday but did not appear to work at all Monday. With Holliday and Beckham both sidelined, the Giants are hurting at punt returner and may keep wide receiver Preston Parker because has experience in that role.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Two days after losing left guard Geoff Schwartz to a toe injury, the New York Giants practiced Sunday without starting right guard Brandon Mosley.

"His back tightened up," Giants coach Tom Coughlin explained after practice. "He came out here ready to go, but then he couldn't."

As a result, John Jerry worked at right guard with the first-team offensive line while Weston Richburg, the most likely long-term replacement for Schwartz, worked at left guard. The Giants have major problems in this area, as detailed here earlier Sunday. Coughlin offered no insight on how long Mosley could be expected to be out.

Some other notes from Coughlin and Sunday's practice:
  • From the My God This Could Be Even Worse Than We Think Department: Coughlin was asked what he thought of left tackle Will Beatty's performance Friday and he said Beatty was working very hard every day in practice. Asked if he was happy with Beatty's work since returning from his injury, Coughlin said this: "'Happy' and 'satisfied' are not the words I would use to describe it, but I do recognize the progress and I do recognize that he's working hard at his trade." All righty, then.
  • Matter of fact, let's just keep profiling Coughlin quotes. This one on rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who missed yet another practice with a hamstring injury: "I would like to see the young man practice before we start talking about him playing in the regular season. That would be a good thing."
  • Running back Peyton Hillis returned to practice after missing a couple of weeks with an ankle injury, and Coughlin described him as "rusty." Return man Trindon Holliday also did some work in punt return and individual drills but remains hobbled a bit by his own hamstring problems. Cornerback Prince Amukamara worked on the side with trainers as he continues to deal with a groin injury.
  • Yes, Ryan Nassib did work some at quarterback with the first-team offense in Sunday's practice. No, there's obviously no chance they're considering any kind of change. Nassib is certainly going to get a lot more work in Thursday night's preseason finale than Eli Manning is, and that's why he's practicing more this week. The third-teamers spent more time on the field Sunday than the first-teamers did for similar reasons.