- Mike Mazzeo, ESPN Staff Writer
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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants coach Tom Coughlin is ready for his team to put its pads on.
The Giants will hold their first padded practice on Thursday.
“We need that,” Coughlin said Monday. “You get to this point and, quite frankly, (the offensive and defensive lines) bang on each other more than they’re supposed to and no matter how many times you talk about hands and feet, there are a lot of shoulders. So we need the protection of that, especially as they get more and more aggressive.”
Coughlin said it’s important to find a balance when practicing with pads on.
“You’re not supposed to be out of control. You’re supposed to stay on your feet, stay on your feet. You’re going to get some hitting in, that type of thing, but that’s what those preseason games are for as well,” he said. “You have to remember that part about it.”
In past camps, there would be more tackling. Why have things changed?
“One is a salary cap. Secondly is that you don’t have quite as long as some of those old camps where you brought them along slower and that type of thing. You have these offseason programs the way they are today, but you still have to, in this day and age, you’ve got to try to do the best you can,” Coughlin said. “It’s a very fine line, you’ve got to get a team ready to play and they’ve got to be physical, but you can’t step over the line.”
“(Randle’s) made some outstanding plays and today he had a couple that were almost, that would’ve been nice plays,” Coughlin said.
“Prince competed like heck,” Coughlin said. “He really did and that’s what we’re trying to get there and he’s rising to the occasion. He’s being more and more competitive.”
“David Diehl is a highly motivated guy in the first place and competition always brings out the best, so between the two of them competing and battling away for positions and especially with (James) Brewer in there as well, that’s all good stuff,” Coughlin said.
Coughlin was also asked if he’s ever been part of a team where all three linebacker spots are open. Mark Herzlich and Dan Connor are vying for the middle spot, while Spencer Paysinger, Keith Rivers, Jacquian Williams and Aaron Curry are vying for the outside spots.
“Well, it’s been the position everyone’s wanted to talk about in the spring and now. It is competitive, we do have guys who have been outstanding special teamers who can run that are vying for those spots,” Coughlin said. “Just because you don’t know necessarily a lot of information about them doesn’t mean they’re not football players, so we’ll see. It’s very early, but they’ve done OK up to this point.”