EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After a brief walk-through Thursday morning, New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin gathered his team on a drizzly practice field here and told them all to go home. The final practice of this three-day minicamp was canceled, and the players will next all practice together July 22 when training camp begins.
In the meantime, Coughlin's message was simple: Be smart, stay out of trouble and for goodness' sake show up healthy next month.
"They have one month," Coughlin said. "Because we have the extra preseason game, it's not like a six-week break or whatever. Be in great shape. Be able to change direction. We don't want any soft-tissue deals where guys can't practice. Our numbers are what they are, and they're not going to change much."
Because they are playing in the Hall of Fame game August 3, the Giants (and the Buffalo Bills, their opponents in that game) are allowed to start training camp earlier than the NFL's other teams are. While that means a shorter-than-usual break before camp, Coughlin is feeling good about what that means on the back end.
"It's going to be a positive," he said. "We could use the work. But obviously, we need to stay healthy to be able to take advantage of it."
Nothing irks Coughlin quite like a calf or hamstring pull that keeps a guy off the field in the early days of training camp. The Giants' players would do well to prepare themselves in these intervening weeks to avoid those kinds of things in late July.