New York Giants Training Camp Update One Day Before Pre-Season Opener
Added by Nathaniel Mathison on August 9, 2012.
Pre-season games will determine roles of some players, including Chase Blackburn who is trying to hold off Keith Rivers for the middle linebacker spot.
In their first real time tune up of the preseason, the New York Giants will travel to Florida to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars Friday night. Here are a couple of things to take notice of during training camp, the game ahead, and the remainder of the preseason going forward.
Head coach Tom Coughlin doesn’t expect starters to play much in the preseason opener, but, winning is still of the number one priority, of course.
“First preseason game, the starters will play 15 to 18 [plays] maybe. The seconds will play about 20-25 and then we’ll let the thirds play anywhere from the end of the third on or maybe the top of the fourth. There are a considerable number of guys that are not going to play…The objective is always to win but it’s all about personnel.” Coughlin said.
Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham were very key reserves that fueled the run to the Super Bowl last year, but both have departed to San Francisco in the off-season. Their contributions on the field were unparalled and there is no question that they need to be replaced. The possible replacements, however, are young and, for the most part, unexperienced.
First-round pick David Wilson is competing with D.J. Ware and Da’Rel Scott to be the backup running back behind Ahmad Bradshaw. Second-round pick Rueben Randle is competing with Domenik Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan and Ramses Barden to be the No. 3 wide receiver. Training camp and the preseason will be a tryout camp for the guys at those positions. Coughlin thinks very highly of his rookies and believes the ceiling for the two are high yet, still raw.
“I need to see ball security. We’d like to see David’s big play potential. Rueben has been a guy that has caught the ball consistently all through camp. He’s very smooth. He’s gotten himself open, caught the football. I wouldn’t think there would be a reason for him not to continue that in the preseason. We’ll see how they do when they compete against someone else other than our own people”
Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz, and Ahmad Bradshaw are all locks as the starting wideouts and halfback, its after that where things get a bit hazy and uncertain. This first game should start to give us some indication of what direction the coaching staff wants to go.
The offensive line is one of, if not the key components of the offense and Will Beatty has not established himself as the the starting caliber left tackle that the Giants need him to be. Beatty missed the final six games of the regular season last year with an eye injury.
“The good thing about that is he didn’t beat up his body as badly as the rest of his teammates did,” said Coughlin
What he did miss was the reps and the experience he would have accrued had he been able to complete his first year as a starter. Beatty said he came to camp lighter this year (310 pounds) than last (319). He believes he can put the weight back on as muscle now that he’s able to work out again. After he injured his back and developed a sciatic nerve problem during minicamp last year, he was unable to work out the way he usually does in the summer. Keep an eye out for this to see if it develops and if the Giants would look else where to beef up the left side.
Terrell Thomas is doing a lot better these days. After getting a second opinion, the cornerback will not need further surgery on his knee and has been cleared by doctors to return to camp. The look around camp was somber as most players thought the worst after Thomas went down couple weeks back. Thomas however remained positive.
“Not at all. I stayed positive and kept my faith strong. I never got mad,” Thomas said. “Last year, I was mad. I was upset. I was just frustrated. I prepared for this moment. I wanted to come to training camp and start playing football again. Work on my techniques. Show my teammates and myself that the Giants made the right choice and they still have. I still have the opportunity. I thank God for giving me another opportunity and I’m just happy to be back.”
He will be going through extensive rehab for the remainder of camp and there is serious doubt that he will play in the preseason as he prepares for the season opener against the divisional rival Dallas Cowboys September 5th.
It looks like Chase Blackburn has the starting middle linebacker spot locked up so far. It will be interesting to see how the Giants will use free agent pickup Keith Rivers and if he can take the starting job from Blackburn. Rivers is clearly the better athlete between the two, which still gives him a chance to take the spot but Blackburn’s play in camp is the difference maker.
Also, watch out for Mark Herzlich who has been getting extensive work at the second string middle linebacker slot. He could be the darkhorse to leap frog both Rivers and Blackburn for the spot somewhere down the road. The Giants have a sudden depth at linebacker and the way it plays out could be very interesting this offseason. Stay tuned.