Thursday, June 19, 2014
Big Blue Morning: One day more
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
Good morning and welcome to the final day of the New York Giants' offseason program. Their three-day mandatory minicamp concludes with a practice this morning, and we'll get one more chance to talk to players and coaches before everyone heads off to vacation. After today, the Giants won't all be on the field together again until July 22, which should be their first training camp practice, so this is our last chance to see them in action.
Truth be told, having watched them the past two days, the offense looks downright ragged. That's not surprising or meant as a negative. There is a lot to learn under new coordinator Ben McAdoo, and the plan fact is the Giants aren't supposed to be ready now. They're not supposed to be ready a month from now. Heck, they're not supposed to be ready two months from now. They are all learning and making mistakes together, and if you showed up today to watch them practice you'd think the defense looked fantastic and the offense looked terrible.
They're trying a lot of new things. You see funky goal-line packages with multiple tight ends. You see plays where Rueben Randle works the slot and Victor Cruz plays on the outside. You see everyone from Marcus Harris to Julian Talley lining up in Odell Beckham Jr.'s would-be spot while Beckham works his way back from a hamstring injury. It's the very definition of a work in progress, and it's likely a good thing that they all get a few weeks off after today to think, study, decompress ... whatever they need to do before returning in late July to take up all of this learning and practicing again.
It's been hot this week, but the Giants got some good work in. The standouts have been guys like cornerback Zack Bowman, who intercepted an Eli Manning pass Wednesday. The cornerback corps looks deep and fun. Spirits are high and everything feels the way you'd expect it to feel this time of year in spite of all the change. That has a lot to do with Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff, who should have little trouble melding everything together. There's been no trouble keeping everybody on the same page in spite of the changes to the staff.
"That's never going to happen," Coughlin said Wednesday. "Everybody's going to be on the same page, which is just a tribute to the quality of the individuals and their understanding and belief in what we're doing."
Coughlin will make a big speech at the conclusion of today's practice about staying focused and out of trouble in the four or five weeks before the Giants reconvene. But he'll do so with the confidence of a veteran coach who understands how early his team still is in the process of coming together. And then they'll take that break, and come back refreshed next month and ready to start work again.