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Monday, August 4, 2014
Coughlin has praise for Corey Washington

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

It's tough to get New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin excited about very many things, especially when those things happen in preseason games. But a reporter who started asking Coughlin about a play from Sunday night's preseason opener on Monday's conference call couldn't even get his question out before Coughlin bubbled over.

"How about Corey Washington..." the question began.

"How about Corey Washington?!" Coughlin exclaimed. "Wasn't that some play by that kid?"

Indeed it was. In the fourth quarter of what would turn out to be a 17-13 exhibition victory over Buffalo in the Hall of Fame Game, Washington went high in the air to basically pick a Ryan Nassib pass off the helmet of a defender and raced to the end zone with the ball for a 73-yard touchdown catch.

"A game like this is important for a small-school guy like myself," said Washington, a 6-foot-4 undrafted rookie out of tiny Newberry College (enrollment 1,042) in South Carolina. "This is a chance to show the coaches what I have so I can make that 53-man roster."

He's certainly got a chance. With first-round pick Odell Beckham Jr. missing basically all of training camp so far with a hamstring injury, and Mario Manningham and his bum knee no sure thing to make the roster, Washington and some of the other lesser-known receivers on the Giants roster are getting chances they might not otherwise have got. And Sunday night wasn't the first time Coughlin's noticed the tallest wideout on his team.

Coughlin spoke Monday of a special teams play Washington made as a gunner on punt returns, and the fact that he'd mention that is an eye-opener for Giants roster-projectors. Everybody knows, if you impress on special teams, it helps your chances. But Washington's chances also are helped by his height, and the fact that Coughlin says he's seen him make plays in practice similar to the one he made Sunday.

"You do sit up and notice when you see it," Coughlin said of Washington's height. "Because you think, 'Can he take the ball off the top of the defender?' And Corey just showed that he could."

Rueben Randle is 6-2 and seems to be the primary red zone target (along with all of the 6-5 tight ends) in practice drills. Washington's height offers the Giants something they don't have with Beckham, Jerrel Jernigan or even Victor Cruz, all of whom are sure to make the team.

Some other Giants notes: