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Coughlin report: LB competition begins

7/27/2013
Spencer Paysinger, Keith Rivers and Mark Herzlich were the first-team linebackers in the first practice of camp. John Munson/The Star-Ledger/USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin says this may be the most wide-open competition he's ever had at linebacker in all his years.

In the team's first practice of camp, the Giants opened with Mark Herzlich at middle linebacker and Spencer Paysinger and Keith Rivers at outside linebackers. The second team consisted of Dan Connor at MLB and Jacquian Williams and Aaron Curry on the outside.

Coughlin said he is looking for consistency.

"Well, steady, consistent," the coach said after practice. "No mental errors. Tackle opportunities, do that successfully. Being in the right position against the pass. You know, we've always felt that we could do better, if you will, versus some forms of the zone, underneath coverage, and that will help us a lot."

"There are some young guys who have not had a lot of time with regard to playing the position in a game," he added. "They've been more special teamers. They can run and do those kinds of things. I'm anxious to see that."

TC on JPP: Jason Pierre-Paul says he is "75 percent" but isn't sure whether he will be ready for the season opener.

"He's done very well, and he's worked hard at it," Coughlin said. "I'd say he's probably within a couple of pounds of his playing weight. I'd say that with what he's allowed to do he does well. He has a specific routine that he does in the training room, and he's been able to do that well. So I am encouraged.

"He's made good progress, and he's made it relatively fast."

TC on TT: Terrell Thomas said he was medically cleared for training camp, but the Giants decided to take it slowly and place the cornerback on the physically unable to perform list to start camp.

"He's restricted in what he can do," Coughlin said of Thomas, who is making a third comeback from an ACL injury. "We're all frustrated about it. He is himself, number one. The sooner he can get out there, the better off we'll all be.

"And he came in fully feeling like he could start right out in practice and just wasn't able to do that right away. We'll be patient but know full well that we're all excited the moment he gets a chance to come out and practice and we get a sense of where he is, how he’s going to be and that type of thing."