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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- They've played four games already, but the New York Giants' first-team offense isn't done with its preseason work just yet. Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after Friday's preseason victory over the New York Jets that quarterback Eli Manning and the Giants' first-stringers are likely to play a bit in Thursday's preseason finale against the Patriots.

"I think we will. I haven't decided that yet," Coughlin said. "We don't play until Monday Night, so that's quite a hike. We'll probably play some snaps with the ones."

Coughlin's Monday night reference is to the fact that the Giants' regular-season opener isn't until "Monday Night Football" on Sept. 8 -- a full 11 days after their final preseason game. So the reason Manning & Co. likely will have to work next week isn't just because they've struggled to move the ball this preseason. Part of it is that he doesn't want them to go 17 days without any live game action.

"At the end of the day, we just work here and we have to listen to the coaching staff and do whatever they feel is right," wide receiver Victor Cruz said. "I'm definitely excited to go out there and get some routes in against the Patriots. Hopefully, we can build on what we did this week."

They could use the work. Friday night was the first time in four preseason games that Manning threw a touchdown pass, connecting with Rueben Randle on a 15-yard score at the tail end of a successful two-minute drive at the end of the first half. Manning was 7-for-10 for 91 yards on that drive, including three completions to the target-starved Cruz for 52 yards. But until that time, the first-team offense was struggling again in pass protection and Manning was not in a rhythm. And even on that drive, he threw a terrible interception that was called back because Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson had stepped out of bounds before catching it.

So after all that had gone wrong, so far this month and in this game, it was a huge relief for the offense to put together a drive like the one with which it ended the first half.

"We definitely needed it," left tackle Will Beatty said. "We needed to put points on the board as the first offense."

Beatty and the rest of the offensive line admittedly had a tough time keeping the Jets' front-seven defensive players away from Manning. Coughlin said Manning "re-established himself as a tough customer" in this game by bouncing back up from all the hits he took. But while Coughlin was obviously trying to be upbeat and talk about the two-minute drive and the run-blocking, it's clear Manning's protection needs to be better.

"Our goal is for him to come in with a white jersey and come out a little bit cleaner," Beatty said. "Tonight, it was way too many touches on the quarterback. There's still a lot of work for us to do. Personally, I think my footwork was better this week than it was last week. I'm still not where I need to be, but I'm on the right track."

There was a lot to dislike about the way the game was going for Manning and the Giants' starters until that final drive of the first half. At this point in the preseason, they are choosing to look at the positive things they're doing and use those to help convince themselves it's all going to be OK once the real games start in a couple of weeks.

"Not concerned at this point," Manning said. "I know we have to keep working and keep getting better. It's not where it needs to be, but I thought there was progress in today's game. We're going to keep working, and it'll be better and better as things go on. Hopefully it'll be better next week and better for that opening game. But it's not going to be complete at that point either. We're going to have to continue to make improvements throughout the season."

At least after Friday, they feel a little bit better about the possibility that they can accomplish something on offense.

Nassib puts chokehold on backup QB job

August, 23, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' backup quarterback competition appears all but over.

In a dramatic reversal, a week after being demoted to third string behind Curtis Painter, Ryan Nassib regained his second-string status and threw three touchdown passes in a 35-24 win over the Jets on Friday night.

The second-year man from Syracuse completed eight of 12 passes for 103 yards, and connected with fullback Henry Hynoski and wide receivers Preston Parker and Corey Washington for scores.

"It gets easier when you get into a rhythm and get into a little chemistry with your receivers and are able to go out there and play," Nassib said.

Nassib struggled during training camp and didn't look particularly good in the Giants' first two preseason games, leading coach Tom Coughlin to elevate Painter ahead of Nassib in practice last week. Painter played before Nassib in last week's game against the Colts, but Nassib came in late and rallied the team, completing 11 of 15 passes for 158 yards and a touchdown.

The TD toss to Hynoski on Friday was a short one, just 3 yards. But Nassib threw perfect strikes to Parker and Washington for 39 and 31 yards, respectively.

Painter didn't even get into the game against the Jets.

The Giants will likely only carry two quarterbacks on the final 53-man roster. Starter Eli Manning will probably see very limited action in Thursday's preseason finale against the Patriots, so Nassib and Painter should both play extensively. But barring something extraordinary, that will likely be Painter's swan song.

Damontre Moore wreaks havoc vs. Jets

August, 23, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Damontre Moore continues to prove worthy of his nickname, in the preseason anyway.

"Damonster" racked up two more sacks, another tackle for loss and a fumble recovery in the Giants' 35-24 win over the Jets on Friday night.

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Moore also had a sack in the Hall of Fame Game against the Bills, and one against the Colts last weekend. And, he says, he can get even better.

"I still feel like I’ve got a lot more gears to hit," Moore said. "It’s only the fourth game of the preseason."

Moore's first sack came on the first play from scrimmage of the second half -- he chased the speedy Michael Vick out of bounds on the lefthand sideline for a 1-yard loss.

The very next play, the Jets botched a handoff in the backfield and Moore recovered the ball.

On the Jets' next possession, Moore helped take down running back Chris Johnson behind the line of scrimmage for a two-yard loss.

And on the following possession, Moore came flying behind the line to tackle third-string QB Matt Simms for a 10-yard loss on 3rd-and-4.

Moore was playing with the Giants' second-team defense, but those first two plays came against the Jets' first-string offense, other than Vick.

"It’s not about going against the first team, second team, third team, fourth team for all I care," Moore said. "It’s about just learning, and if my name was called, to be ready to go out there and set that tempo, and whoever my opponent is, to humiliate them in the worst way possible."

For the second preseason in a row, the 2013 third-round draft pick out of Texas A&M looks like a potential star.

But the Giants have two veterans pegged to start at defensive end in Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka.

That being said, neither Pierre-Paul nor Kiwanuka has a sack in four preseason games. In fact, none of the Giants' four starting defensive linemen have one.

Moore now has four, and feels he's earned a chance with the first string.

"In my opinion, yeah, I feel like I [have]," Moore said. "But at the end of the day, coaches have a plan, they have a reason for everything, everything that they’ve said so far, it hasn’t steered me wrong. So obviously they have some other thought processes, and I’m not gonna doubt them.

"It is what it is, they tell me what to do. And they haven’t steered me wrong. So when that time comes, that time will come, and I’ll be ready, and my job is to make sure that I’m ready to step up to the challenge."

We'll see if "Damonster" strikes again on Thursday against the Patriots.

Andre Williams backs up talk with TD

August, 23, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Andre Williams did not intend to become the center of attention this week.

He let his play do most of the talking Friday night.

Andre Williams
Bill Kostroun/Associated PressAndre Williams ran for 49 yards and a touchdown in the Giants' victory over the Jets on Friday.
The rookie carried the ball 11 times for 49 yards, including a 33-yard scamper and a one-yard touchdown run, which put the Giants ahead for good in a 35-24 win over the Jets.

In an interview earlier in the week, Williams referred to the Giants as "the real New York team," which led Jets coach Rex Ryan to take a shot at the former Boston College running back in response.

"Last time I saw him he was getting smoked by Clemson," Ryan said.

Jets guard Willie Colon chimed in Thursday regarding Williams, saying, "We'll answer his remarks tomorrow." But Williams had the last laugh, although his touchdown celebration certainly wasn't over the top.

Williams simply placed the ball on the turf, and then raised his left index finger over his facemask.

After the game, Williams was asked if he was shushing himself, or the Jets. He chuckled before answering.

"It was for both I guess," Williams said. "There was a lot of talk going on on the field between players, and I guess I was telling myself that I need to be quiet. I got my moment of peace getting in the end zone."

Williams was clearly surprised, and a little uncomfortable, that his comment ignited a minor firestorm this week.

"The game was about getting better as an offense, coming together as an offense, and winning the game is the goal of every game," Williams said. "It really wasn’t about any of that stuff that was going on earlier in the week."

We probably won't hear Williams say anything remotely controversial in the days and weeks ahead.

But, more importantly, Williams continues to look like a sold complementary back to Rashad Jennings. In four preseason games, he has 33 carries for 151 yards (4.6 yards per carry) and two scores.

As for Ryan, the Jets coach and Williams did have an exchange on the field after the game.

"He just shook my hand and told my I had a great game," Williams said. "I said thank you, and let him know that I do have the utmost respect for him and his team."

Controversy concluded.

Geoff Schwartz dislocates toe

August, 23, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The New York Giants' struggling offensive line might have lost a key component when starting left guard Geoff Schwartz left Friday night's preseason game against the Jets with a dislocated toe.

Schwartz is scheduled for an MRI on Sunday to determine the severity of the injury.

"Pretty serious," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said after the game. "It's hard to play with a toe that's not functioning."

In the worst-case scenario, further tests could reveal an injury serious enough to require surgery and sideline Schwartz for the entire season. But even the best-case scenario calls into question Schwartz's availability for the Sept. 8 regular-season opener.

Schwartz took to Twitter after the game to offer thanks for an outpouring of support:

Rookie Weston Richburg filled in for Schwartz at left guard Friday night and is the most likely candidate to do so if Schwartz has to miss games. But Richburg also has been a candidate to play right guard, where Brandon Mosley has not impressed this preseason. So even if Richburg turns out to be a capable fill-in, the injury to Schwartz obviously affects the Giants' depth on the offensive line.


(Read full post)


Observation Deck: New York Giants

August, 22, 2014
Aug 22
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It took only three weeks, four preseason games and 37 pass attempts, but New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning finally threw a touchdown pass Friday night.

Manning's final play of the Giants' 35-24 exhibition victory over the New York Jets was a 15-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Rueben Randle that capped off a successful two-minute drill by the Giants' first-team offense. After the way things had gone so far this preseason -- and in this game -- they needed it.

Here are some other thoughts on the Giants' fourth preseason game:
  • Until that two-minute drive, on which Manning was 7-for-10 for 91 yards and Victor Cruz caught three passes for 52 yards, the pass protection had been a major issue. Left tackle Will Beatty struggled mightily in his second game of the preseason. Left guard Geoff Schwartz went down with a dislocated toe. And Manning was under siege all night. It was no excuse for the terrible decision and throw he made on the fourth play of his final drive, which resulted in an interception that was overturned because the defender had stepped out of bounds. But Manning had trouble getting into a rhythm because his protection was a mess.
  • Backup quarterback Ryan Nassib looked sharp once again, throwing touchdown passes to Henry Hynoski and Preston Parker in the third quarter, and he looks like a strong bet to win the No. 2 quarterback job ahead of Curtis Painter.
  • Parker, by the way, continues to work as a punt returner with Odell Beckham Jr. and Trindon Holliday out, and a strong showing as a receiver helps his case to make the final roster. Also helping that case could be a bad break for Marcus Harris, who was getting significant work with the first-team offense Friday night before a shoulder injury knocked him out of the game.
  • Hynoski, by the way, looks as though he has a role to play in the offense, even though they're not using a fullback much in these preseason games. Hynoski can be used in a variety of ways, especially as the Giants continue to have questions at tight end.
  • Speaking of tight end, Kellen Davis got 14 first-team snaps, Larry Donnell got 14 and Adrien Robinson got 14, including all 11 in that two-minute drill during which the Giants didn't substitute. Davis was the starter, and five of Donnell's snaps were in two-tight-end formations with one of the other two on the field. Donnell also was flagged for a holding penalty and an illegal block in the back (which was declined). Still no clarity here.
  • Reserve defensive end Damontre Moore made his presence felt in the second half with a pair of sacks and a fumble recovery. Moore continues to make plays when given the chance, but the Giants are still working with him on playing more under control and avoiding penalties.
  • Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul left the game briefly with a knee injury but did return to action. Defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (lower leg) and cornerback Zack Bowman (triceps) left the game with injuries and did not return.
  • And of course, Corey Washington caught a touchdown pass for the fourth straight preseason game, because that's apparently a thing.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants' struggling offensive line lost a key piece in the first half of Friday night's preseason game when left guard Geoff Schwartz was carted off the field with a toe injury.

The Giants later announced that Schwartz had a dislocated toe, which is relatively good news considering the other possibilities that seemed to exist when he was carted off in obvious pain. It's unclear how much time he'll have to miss, but a fracture would have been more significant and potentially devastating to an offensive line that's already having a terrible time in pass protection.

Rookie Weston Richburg replaced Schwartz at left guard with the first-team offense and would be the most likely candidate to fill in if Schwartz misses any time.

Also injured in Friday's game for the Giants were defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (lower leg), wide receiver Marcus Harris (shoulder) and cornerback Zack Bowman (triceps). Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul also came out of the game briefly with an apparent knee injury but did return to the field.

We hope to have further updates on all of these injuries for you after the game ends.

FanSpeak: Eli vs. Geno

August, 22, 2014
Aug 22
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ESPN New York's Shemar Woods hits the streets to ask fans if they'd rather have Eli Manning or Geno Smith as their starting quarterback.

W2W4: New York Giants

August, 22, 2014
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The New York Giants (3-0) and the New York Jets (2-0) square off in their annual preseason meeting Friday at 7:30 p.m. ET at MetLife Stadium.

1. Time for the starters to show something. We've said this every week so far, but so far Eli Manning and the Giants' first-team offense hasn't shown anything encouraging in the preseason. There's some hope that the game-planning they've done for this game (where they didn't do any for the first three) might help the new Ben McAdoo offense look more in sync, though the Jets' tough defense could negate some of that. Giants coach Tom Coughlin hinted last weekend that Manning and the offense might not be able to take their accustomed breather in next week's preseason finale if he doesn't feel they've played well enough to deserve it. So they certainly should be motivated.

2. The offensive line. This seemed to be Coughlin's greatest source of consternation in practice this week -- the idea that he still doesn't have a five-man starting line combination with which he feels comfortable. Left tackle Will Beatty should play more than he did in his preseason debut last week, but if the Giants retain questions about how much they can expect of him, you wonder if you'll start seeing right tackle Justin Pugh over there. Pugh moved to the left side a few times in practice this week, with guys like Geoff Schwartz and Brandon Mosley getting reps at right tackle and rookie Weston Richburg playing guard. Watch to see who gets the snaps and at which positions on the line as the Giants continue to play around with this critical area.

3. Looking for playmakers. Will we see unproven wide receivers such as Corey Washington and Marcus Harris, who have been preseason stars, play with the first team at wide receiver? With first-rounder Odell Beckham Jr. still sidelined, the Giants are looking for answers on the outside. Not only could guys like Washington and Harris make the team with a strong showing, they could earn surprisingly large roles early in the season. Starting tight end remains up for grabs, and there still could be time for Jerry Reese favorite Adrien Robinson to overtake Larry Donnell. And there's still a lot to sort out at running back behind starter Rashad Jennings. Anyone who plays well in this game will set himself up nicely as roster cuts and other final decisions loom next week.

Major injuries taint Jets-Giants series

August, 22, 2014
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Forget the Snoopy Trophy. The most important objective in the annual preseason game between the New York Jets and New York Giants should be staying healthy.

The two teams have suffered major injuries in this game, which is a shame. There's nothing more crushing to a team than losing a star player in a meaningless contest. Consider:
  • 2013: Mark Sanchez suffered a season-ending shoulder injury, a play that will live in infamy. It occurred in the fourth quarter, with Sanchez playing behind the backup offensive line. Rex Ryan made a mistake by inserting Sanchez, who didn't expect to play at that point, and it turned into a disaster. Ryan has remained steadfast in his belief that he didn't screw up, although he regrets his reaction -- i.e. standing sideways in his postgame news conference.
  • 2010: Eli Manning suffered a 12-stitch gash on his head after getting hit by Calvin Pace and Jim Leonhard. He didn't miss any time, but the Jets enjoyed reliving the play. A photo of Manning's bloody head was used on the cover of their playbook when they played the Giants (and lost) near the end of the 2011 season.
  • 2008: Giants defensieve end Osi Umenyiora tore cartilage in his knee and needed season-ending surgery.
  • 2003: Jets quarterback Chad Pennington was tackled and landed awkwardly, dislocating his left wrist and breaking bones in his hand -- a gruesome injury that prompted the trainers to place a towel over his hand as he walked off the field. Pennington missed six games, essentially ruining the Jets' season.
  • 1998: The Giants decided to try star cornerback Jason Sehorn on kickoffs. On the opening return, he was tackled by Chris Hayes and blew out his ACL, ending his season.

Jerome Cunningham, from D-II to Giants TE

August, 21, 2014
Aug 21
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants tight end Jerome Cunningham grew up in Waterbury, Conn., less than a two-hour drive from New York City. So, was he a Giants fan growing up?

"No, I actually have to switch my debit card. Cause I’m a Patriots fan," Cunningham admitted Wednesday. "But not anymore," he quickly added, smiling. "I'm a Giants fan."

Cunningham can certainly be forgiven for what's in his wallet. He's been a little busy the past couple of weeks, trying to learn the Giants' offense on the fly.

[+] EnlargeJerome Cunningham
Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY SportsJerome Cunningham could provide the pass-catching threat at tight end the Giants have lacked.
At the beginning of August, Cunningham was working for Taylor Rental in Branford, Conn., helping to put up tents for special events. But on Monday afternoon, Aug. 4, Cunningham got a phone call from the Giants, asking him to come down to the team's practice facility as soon as possible.

"My boss wasn’t upset, he already knew I had aspirations of playing in the NFL," Cunningham said. "He didn’t get mad, he was excited. I was walking around saying my goodbyes, and he just yelled at me, 'Are you still here? Just go!'"

The Giants announced his signing the next day, along with veteran defensive end Israel Idonije. But they were barely a blip on the radar, joining the team the day after the stunning announcement that running back David Wilson would be forced to retire.

Since then, however, Cunningham has started to make a name for himself. Perhaps the longest shot of the nearly 100 players currently practicing with the Giants to make the final roster, he is beginning to look like a contender at the tight end position.

Cunningham certainly stood out in practice on Wednesday, catching a short touchdown pass from backup quarterback Ryan Nassib, and later a much longer TD toss from starter Eli Manning, earning audible praise from head coach Tom Coughlin on multiple occasions.

"It felt good," Cunningham said. "It feels good that I’m actually playing faster now than what I was when I first arrived here. Now it’s not even thinking, it’s just all reacting, and moving as fast as possible."

Cunningham is just the second player in the NFL from Southern Connecticut State University, joining Bills defensive end Ike Igbinosun. In four seasons for the Division II Owls, from 2009 to 2012, he had 61 catches for 690 yards and seven touchdowns.

He went undrafted in the spring of 2013, participated in one of the NFL's regional combines, was brought in for a tryout with the Colts, but wasn't signed. So Cunningham spent the year working and finishing up his college degree.

He also continued to work out, twice a day -- at 5 a.m., prior to reporting to work at 7, and again after work -- not giving up on his NFL dream.

Cunningham participated in another regional combine this past spring, was invited to participate in the rookie minicamps of both the Saints and Cardinals, but didn't stick in either place. The Giants also brought him in for a workout, however, and eventually made that call on Aug. 4. After a second workout, the team handed him his first NFL contract.

At 6-foot-3 and 250 pounds, Cunningham is the smallest of the six tight ends currently on the Giants' roster. But he may also be the fastest, and the Giants desperately need a pass-catching weapon at the position.

None of the other five tight ends have particularly distinguished themselves in training camp. When asked Wednesday if the tight end picture has cleared up at all, Coughlin was particularly vague.

"Well, they’ve all contributed, so we’ll keep asking them to do that," the coach said.

It certainly sounds like there's still an opportunity to win the job, or jobs. And Cunningham believes he has a real shot.

"Even if there was a lead dog, I would still say that I have a chance of making this team," Cunningham said. "You have to have that mindset, you always have to be hungry. Even if I was the lead dog, you still have to have that mentality that you’re not the lead dog, so you can stay at No. 1."

Speaking of numbers, Cunningham wore No. 1 in college, but he's wearing No. 48 with the Giants. In fact, he doesn't even own that number -- he's currently sharing it with undrafted cornerback Chandler Fenner.

But that may be about to change -- just like his debit card.

Romo, Manning at #NFLRank crossroads

August, 21, 2014
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In truth, there is very little to tie Eli Manning and Tony Romo together. One was the No. 1 overall pick, the other undrafted. One has won two Super Bowl MVP awards, the other has become the poster child for blowing it in big games. They play in the same division and are about the same age, but their stories are divergent.

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Romo
Yet there they sit right next to each other, Romo at No. 61 and Manning at No. 62, on this year’s #NFLRank list (see chart, below right). And when you see it like that, you start to imagine where they’ll be on this list a year from now. It’s easy to realize that this is a pretty big season for both of these guys. For different reasons, each faces the question of whether he’s in decline.

Romo is 34 years old and has had back surgery twice in the past two years. He’s set up to produce big numbers as the quarterback of a Dallas Cowboys offense loaded with skill position weapons. For the first time in his career, it appears he has enough elite offensive line talent to protect him. Given the sorry state of the Cowboys’ defense, Romo is going to have the opportunity and responsibility to put up a lot of points.

So the question is whether he can, physically, or whether the back issues will continue to be a part of Romo’s story from here on out. If they are, the rest of the story likely gets a lot shorter and a lot more uncomfortable to watch.

Cowboys people say they’re happy with the progress Romo has made from this year’s back surgery and that the priority now is to make sure there are no further setbacks. If there aren’t, there’s no reason to think there’s reason for long-term worry with Romo. He’s up one spot from his place in last year’s rankings, which indicates that perception of him as a player hasn’t changed much. He’s set up to succeed on the field as long as he can stay there. For Romo, this season is about proving he’s healthy enough to make the next chapter of his career a substantial one.

Manning is in a different spot. As consistently healthy a quarterback as the NFL has, Manning had ankle surgery this spring and missed almost no practice time. He’s fully healthy and expecting to play all 16 games, as he has in every season since 2005. The question with Manning is not whether he’ll play, but how he’ll play.

Manning led the league last season with a career-high 27 interceptions. The Giants’ offense fell apart around him so completely that the organization engaged in a full-scale overhaul, bringing in a new offensive coordinator, installing a new offensive system and making sweeping personnel changes at running back, wide receiver, offensive line and tight end.

While some pieces (Victor Cruz, Justin Pugh) remain in place around him, the most critical constant is Manning, whose 2013 performance was alarming enough to drop him from No. 17 to No. 62 in these rankings. The question hanging over his tousled head as 2014 dawns is whether he was a victim of a system meltdown or an active creator of the mess. Manning is 33, and the way the league is built to preserve quarterbacks now, as long as he’s healthy, there’s no reason to think he can’t play five or six more years, easily.

But Manning has no contract beyond 2015, and the fact that the Giants didn’t extend him this offseason, when doing so would have helped them significantly on cap room, indicates that there are questions about his future. They have said, publicly and privately, that they don’t consider Manning to be a quarterback in decline. They believe he has and will continue to take to the new offense and help everyone else with the ease of the transition. He’s eager to put 2013 behind and play better going forward. He acknowledges his role in the mess and is working to make sure he doesn’t repeat it.

However, another bad year could easily change the narrative here. There’s no doubting Manning’s ability to elevate a team to greatness over a one-month or two-month span, as he has twice, to the chagrin of Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. But can Manning be a consistent-enough performer in the regular season to shorten the Giants’ rebuilding phase and return them to annual contender status? Or are his best days behind him?

The Cowboys and the Giants could be in for rough seasons. Dallas’ defense appears noncompetitive on paper, and the Giants’ offense is a work in progress that might not be ready for the start of the season. It would be a mild surprise if either team contended for the division title, though it’s important to note that the NFC East always surprises to some extent.

Within that framework, though, Romo and Manning face important seasons from individual standpoints. Regardless of their teams’ final 2014 records, each is going to emerge from this season having addressed a major question about what to expect from the remainder of his career. Five months from now, we’re going to have a lot more information on which to base future expectations for these franchise quarterbacks. Based on the manner in which these players answer these key questions, their teams will either be breathing sighs of relief or addressing huge new questions about the most important position on their rosters.

Practice report: Young WRs keep it going

August, 20, 2014
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- First-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. was on the sidelines for the second consecutive day Wednesday, but fellow wide receivers Corey Washington and Marcus Harris continue to impress.

Washington and Harris both got some first-team reps and caught practically everything thrown their way. Washington continues to use his height (6-foot-4) to his advantage, hauling in a couple of touchdown passes on fade routes in the back corner of the end zone.

Washington did have one glaring drop during a two-minute drill at the very end of practice.

Harris made several catches as well on a day in which the Giants' offense looked crisper than it has for much of the summer.

Here are a few other observations from Wednesday:
  • Beckham was joined on the sidelines by cornerback Prince Amukamara (groin), cornerback Jayron Hosley (foot), running back Peyton Hillis (ankle/foot), wide receiver Trindon Holliday (hamstring), tight end Xavier Grimble (hamstring), offensive lineman Charles Brown (shoulder) and offensive lineman James Brewer (back). None of them are expected to play Friday night against the Jets. Coach Tom Coughlin also revealed that injured safety Cooper Taylor (foot) will be having surgery, and it's possible he'll be placed on injured reserve.
  • The Giants continue to do some shuffling on the offensive line. We saw a new configuration at one point Wednesday, with Justin Pugh shifting from right tackle to left tackle, rookie Weston Richburg at left guard, J.D. Walton at center, Brandon Mosley at right guard and Geoff Schwartz at right tackle. Pugh also got some snaps at left tackle on Tuesday. Schwartz, the presumed starting left guard at the beginning of training camp, played some right guard on Tuesday and moved over to right tackle for the first time on Wednesday. "We just want to mix them around, make sure that guys can be flexible enough to move," Coughlin said. Part of the reason for these shifts is the absence of both Brown and Brewer, who are second and third on the depth chart at left tackle, behind Will Beatty. But the Giants' offensive line alignment is clearly not settled at this point, which is a little worrisome.
  • The Giants' tight ends continue to be underwhelming as a whole, but undrafted free agent Jerome Cunningham made a couple of nice plays Wednesday, earning praise from Coughlin. An undrafted free agent from Southern Connecticut State, Cunningham signed with the Giants just two weeks ago, and has a neat back story. More on him on the Giants blog Thursday.
  • Eli Manning did throw one interception Wednesday, and it was to Jay Bromley, of all people. The 6-foot-3, 306-pound rookie defensive end took a pass to the chest and held on, the latest good play by the third-round pick, who's having a good preseason.
  • In the highly competitive position battle at place-kicker, incumbent Josh Brown took a step back Wednesday, missing a long field goal attempt on the last play of practice -- not the kind of taste you want to leave when you're trying to hold off a strong challenge from the very strong-legged Brandon McManus.

Rex Ryan hits back at Giants RB Williams

August, 20, 2014
Aug 20
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The annual preseason game between the New York Jets and New York Giants may not actually count, but you wouldn't know that for all the verbiage -- and regret -- that comes with it every season.

Jets coach Rex Ryan picked up on Giants running back Andre Williams' comments that the Giants were the "real New York team," and then Ryan shot back at the rookie. The teams square off on Friday night.

[+] EnlargeRex Ryan
AP PhotoCoach Rex Ryan and the Jets say they're fired up for Friday's preseason game against the Giants.
"Last time I saw him he was getting smoked by Clemson," Ryan said Wednesday, referring to an Oct. 12 game between Williams' Boston College Eagles and Clemson, the team Ryan's son Seth plays for. The Tigers won that game 24-14 and held Williams to 70 yards on 24 carries.

"I will say that kid's a good back, though. He is," Ryan said. "I was like, 'Is anybody going to tackle him?' It's great. I have a funny feeling he's going to get some Riddells [helmets] on him, but we'll see. I have a feeling he's going to be pumped up and trust me, our guys are going to be pumped up, too."

Ryan said the back and forth just shows once again that the matchup between the two New York teams means a little more than other preseason games.

"This is the only time you get to play each other," Ryan said, "and I think it amps up a little bit. I really do."

As if to back his coach up, Jets defensive lineman Damon Harrison called out Williams via social media.

"See you Friday Mr. Williams...#JetLifeeeeee," Harrison tweeted.

Now for the regret.

Last year, Ryan put likely starter Mark Sanchez in during the fourth quarter of the Jets-Giants game. The quarterback took a hit from Marvin Austin that resulted in a season-ending shoulder injury.

During his postgame news conference, Ryan got so frustrated by one persistent line of questioning that he turned sideways to answer.

"I got a lot of flak from you guys," Ryan said Wednesday. "Let's face it, they [wanted to] run me out of here. Was that my proudest moment? Probably not. It's kind of funny, I forget who I was sideways with. But you know what? I think I just got a little tired of [the questions]."

The question that got to Ryan that night: Was he ready to name Geno Smith as the starting quarterback, given the injury to Sanchez? Ryan said then he wasn't going to answer.

"Sometimes after games," the coach said Wednesday, "we tell our players to cool off a little bit, but sometimes I need to cool off, too."

Ultimately, the Jets put Sanchez on the reserve/injured list as the one player designated to return. Now he's playing backup for the Eagles, and looking a lot better.

Given an opportunity to redo the news conference, Ryan said he would do it differently.

"There's a lot of things you'd take back in life," he said. "That's probably one of them."

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