New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning’s first pass of live drills this summer was intercepted by linebacker Devon Kennard. Since that point, now 10 days and eight practices later, Manning has not thrown another interception.
For a quarterback with Manning's history and who two years ago, when the Giants were installing Ben McAdoo's offense, was throwing multiple interceptions every day at training camp, this is quite the accomplishment. He's a completely different quarterback now. He's in total command of the offense, and has looked poised in the pocket while picking apart the defense.
It appeared that way again on Monday, when Manning closed the team portion of drills by perfectly executing a no-huddle, two-minute drill. Manning completed three passes to wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., including a perfectly threaded touchdown toss between cornerback Janoris Jenkins and safety Landon Collins. Collins was turned around on the play, the story said. Manning has finished #10 and #8 in the last two seasons and has five top 10 finishes in the last seven seasons. But it is his splits with Odell Beckham that make him such an attractive pick this year. In 27 games over the past two seasons, Manning has averaged 282 yards and 2.0 TD with Beckham in the lineup. Those are low-end QB1 numbers. It doesn’t hurt that he hasn’t missed a start in the last 11 seasons, either.
Shepard worked with the first-team offense and caught several passes during team drills. None were more impressive than when he plucked an Eli Manning pass out of the air in the middle of the field during a no-huddle drill.
Saturday, June 18, 2016, 2:57pm
Geramy Davis, last year’s sixth-round pick out of UConn, played in 10 games as a rookie but recorded just two receptions for 21 yards. So he entered spring as somewhat of a question mark, but he made the most of his reps during OTAs and minicamp. Davis saw a lot of time with Eli Manning and racked up the receptions with the first-team offense. That included a tough touchdown catch this week going against veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
“Geremy is a bright guy,” Manning said. “He knows the offense very well. He studies hard. He’s really in tune with what his assignments are. He’s got great size. He’s one of our bigger receivers. You can move him around and put him in different spots. He’s going to be really keyed into what his assignment is, so that’s always helpful. Hopefully he can step up and get on a roll and make some plays for us come game time.”
The latest no-name tight end to bubble to the surface with the Giants may already be making his move at organized team activities. Matt LaCosse has consistently been making plays this spring, and earned a large chunk of first-team snaps during Wednesday's OTA workout which was open to the media.
With a slightly more well rounded skill set, LaCosse – an undrafted rookie in his second season out of Illinois – is already pushing Donnell and Tye, the last two in a long line of unknown Giants tight ends to make a surprise impact working with quarterback Eli Manning.
The early reviews from OTAs show LaCosse making plays. He lined up wide right on Wednesday and made a leaping catch over safety Landon Collins deep down the right sideline. He reached back and plucked a ball off his back shoulder in the end zone on Thursday.
Every day, it seems he's catching passes in live drills. It's making it possible to envision LaCosse (despite a rare fumble on Wednesday) as this year's Donnell or Tye, even with Donnell and Tye still on the roster.
LaCosse may already be the best blocking tight end currently on the Giants roster, even if his competition in that regard isn't very strong.
Our money is on Will Tye to win the job, but it sounds as if LaCosse is making a push. If he's able to replicate Tye's receiving ability and add additional value as a blocker, he may win the job.
Without him, Eli Manning will look to the other wideouts, including Rueben Randle, Dwayne Harris, Hakeem Nicks, Myles White, and perhaps rookies Geremy Davis and Ben Edwards, who joined the active roster this week.
“We’ll be fine,” the always-calm Manning said. “We’ve got guys; (it’s a) great opportunity for other guys to step up. We’ll run our offense and go about our business. The guys know what they’re doing, guys know the routes, guys know how to get open, and we’ll go about it and make plays.”
The aforementioned receivers have totaled 97 receptions for 859 yards, and 10 scores, the story said. The article went on to say perhaps the most intriguing receiver in the group is Nicks, the former first-round draft choice who returned to the Giants Nov. 17. He has caught one pass in each of the four games in which he’s played. But without Beckham at his disposal, Manning could look to the player who has caught more of his passes than any other, the story said. It's not the first time we've heard this, as the beat writers mentioned Nicks as a guy who could see a lot more work because Harris is dealing with a shoulder issue.
Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 10:57am
New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning almost always pins the blame for any interception or loss on himself, and you very rarely see him question the play of one of his teammates. After throwing an interception on a target to wide receiver Rueben Randle for a second week in a row, Manning dropped a subtle hint that he was not pleased with Randle's effort on the critical fourth down play late in the fourth quarter of the team's Week 13 loss to the New York Jets.
“It was the play we had run earlier in the year, we’ve had great success with it,” Manning said in his Monday meeting with the media. “They covered it well the way they tried to pass it off, the safety came down, and I would’ve had to work a second window or come back to my back on a route. But they got pressure, and I didn’t have that luxury.
"Still thought I could maybe hit Rueben (Randle) just kind of running by. The defender wasn’t looking at me, he was looking at Rueben. I thought Rueben could run by him and still possibly make the catch or get an interference call. Didn’t work out that way, though.”
Randle did not run through his route and by the defender. Instead, he stopped his route, and with nowhere to throw the football, Manning forced a pass that was intercepted, the story said. The two weren't on the same page for the longest time early last year, but those issues seemed to go away when the offense started to turn around late last season.
Giants quarterback Eli Manning spent an additional 30 minutes at the end of Thursday's practice throwing to running backs Shane Vereen and Rashad Jennings, who were lining up in wide receiver spots rather than in the backfield during the drill. With the Giants banged up at wide receiver -- Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle are nursing hamstring injuries, Victor Cruz is still out with a calf injury -- it's possible they could get creative in the ways they line up and use their backs.
Vereen's usage has been up and down this season. He had 12 catches in the first two games and then failed to register a catch (on just three targets) in Week 3 and Week 4. Then, against the 49ers, he caught eight balls for 86 yards and a touchdown in Week 5. Vereen should be a solid PPR start in Week 6, but he's not a consistent part of the passing game on a weekly basis. With Odell Beckham banged up, it sounds as if the Giants are preparing to use Vereen and Jennings at receiver.
Even though Randle looked extremely frustrated on the sideline while out, the receiver said he was actually going to re-enter the game if the Giants hadn’t scored when they did with 21 seconds remaining on Larry Donnell's catch.
Eli Manning marched the team 82 yards in eight plays without Randle on the final drive. And he had Beckham only on the final four plays due to the hamstring injury.
Randle, who finished with five receptions for 42 yards, said there's no reason to be alarmed for his injury.
“It’s fine,” Randle said of his hamstring. “It’s not bad. Actually I was going to come back into the game until Larry scored that touchdown. Just going to take a couple of days and I will be fine.”
It's hard to trust a player when it comes to an injury but Randle seems to think it won't be an issue. Odell Beckham also tweaked his hamstring in this game but did return to the game for the team's final drive. It's worth monitoring this week as the Giants were already without Victor Cruz. The team plays the Eagles on Monday night in Week 6 so it could be an issue for owners who are counting on Randle.
Star wide receiver Victor Cruz is expected to miss practice with a calf injury. It is not believed to be serious.
Coach Tom Coughlin said it's not related to the serious knee injury Cruz suffered last season against the Eagles. The calf problem is believed to be dehydration-related.
We were just starting to feel better about Cruz, but this doesn't sound too serious. When healthy, he'll fill the Randall Cobb role in OC Ben McAdoo's offense, so he has some upside if he can return to form.
It wasn’t only that RB Andre Williams did not possess the best hands, it was that he seemed to lose track of the football and displayed poor depth perception when asked to come out of the backfield to catch a pass.
The Giants are working on this with Williams, their muscular second-year running back and leading rusher from 2014. Williams figures to do the heavy lifting this season, with Rashad Jennings doing a little bit of everything and newly signed Shane Vereen used mostly as a pass-catcher and safety-valve option for Eli Manning after excelling in that role for Tom Brady and the Patriots.
Williams’ primary role will not be as a pass-catcher, but if he is not somewhat of a threat, opposing defense do not have to play him honestly. So Williams has made several changes to make himself more proficient.
In mid-March, he underwent Photorefractive Keratectomy laser eye surgery and now no longer needs contact lenses.
“I don’t have to worry about the strain from the lenses, and I also don’t have to worry about getting knocked in the eye and having my contact get loose or fall out,’’ Williams said. “If your contacts are cloudy or something, it’s a problem.
“It’s cool to wake up in the morning and see right away and not go to bed with the ‘I forgot to take my contacts out and my eyes hurt.’ It’s nice. Best money I ever spent so far.’’
Williams also has been working on his hand-eye coordination by catching tennis balls. Before games, Williams takes part in a blind-ball drill. With his back to running backs coach Craig Johnson, Williams has to turn and quickly locate the ball in the air as Johnson flips it to him. Like the story said, Jennings and Vereen are likely to see a bulk of the passes at the RB position, but Williams will only help himself if he can at least make defense aware. His main role looks like a change of pace back who could see short yardage and goal line situations.
Giants beat writer Dan Graziano on Rashad Jennings' rumored demotion: I did not see Rashad Jennings on the field with Eli Manning or the first-team offensive line either of the past two days. He did take a lot of reps with the second team, while Andre Williams and Shane Vereen got a bunch of the first-team work.
Now, I know the coaches really like Williams and the work he's done to improve this offseason. And there's a specific role for Vereen, especially on passing downs. I also know there is concern among the coaches about Jennings' health, as he's 30, missed five games last season and has never played 16 in a season. So it's possible they're just limiting his reps. However, if health were the concern with Jennings, I don't think we'd be seeing him take as many special teams reps as he's taking right now. That as much as anything might indicate a bit of a slide down the depth chart.
Friday Update: Jennings was practicing with the first team on Friday, while Williams was running with the second team.
Eli Manning has utilized all his weapons well in training camp, showcasing a mastery over his offense and his arm. Through six days of camp, he hasn’t thrown an interception.
Manning finished the season as the #10 fantasy quarterback, but was #2 over the final six weeks, when OC Ben McAdoo said that the team finally played the way it wanted to play. In Odell Beckham, Manning finally has a stud receiver. The free agent signing of receiving specialist Shane Vereen and the return of a (hopefully) healthy Victor Cruz give Manning two more weapons to utilize in the passing game. He looks like a great value for those who want to wait on the position until the 9th or 10th round.
"If you don't score 28 points, it's hard to win," Reese said, via Newsday.
It's true in theory. The Giants have only lost two games since the beginning of the 2012 season when they've scored 28 or more.
But can it really happen?
The points per game benchmark was one of the minor tidbits that might get buried in a Reese press conference that dealt with bigger picture issues like Eli Manning and Jason Pierre-Paul.
The team really started to come together toward the end of the season in the new offense, even though in Ben McAdoo's first season as offensive coordinator, the team only scored 28 points or more in six games. But a healthy WR Victor Cruz along with WR James Jones and pass-catching RB Shane Vereen give Manning a host of weapons to through to. The key, the story said, is the Giants will also go only as far as their offensive line will carry them. Right now, New York has a rookie -- albeit a potentially dominant one -- starting at left tackle. They're also in a near-constant shuffle elsewhere with former first-round pick Justin Pugh, now a guard.
Saturday, August 1, 2015, 6:48pm
“I think we have some talented guys on offense,” Manning said. “Talented running backs, guys that are very multiple at running back, catch the ball out of the backfield, move them around.”
Jennings and Vereen aren’t sure yet how the roles will shake out in Ben McAdoo’s offense. On Saturday, Williams saw some reps with the first team.
“I guess we’ll see,” Vereen said when asked what his role might be with his new team. “It’s still a waiting game. … I guess the role is kind of going to play itself out. The more we get on the field, the more practice we get, the more repetitions, I think it’ll kind of speak for itself, and the role will be cut out in some shape or form.”
Jennings wants all the running backs to prepare as if they will start and get the majority of the workload.
Most seem to think Jennings will get a bulk of the early down work with Vereen a pass-catching, third down back. Williams could see goal line and short yardage situations but did serve as the team's RB1 when Jennings was hurt last year.
Sunday, July 5, 2015, 10:18am
Giants beat writer Jordan Raanan answered a question about WR Rueben Randle and his role this upcoming season.
I think last year was pretty much what we can expect from Randle now and moving forward. He's good for 60-70 catches and 800-1,000 yards. It's just hard to see anything more given his lack of explosiveness. Randle averaged 3.2 yards after the catch last season. That was 65th out of 76 receivers who played at least 50 percent of the snaps. He also caught only 58.2 percent of the passes thrown in his direction. That was 60th out of 76 receivers. In comparison, quarterback Eli Manning completed 70.5 percent of his passes to Odell Beckham Jr.
Raanan went on to say that all this doesn't even take into account that there seems to be something missing with Randle. He was benched twice for the first quarter of games last season. This doesn't seem to indicate a receiver on the verge of something really big, he went on to say. He also, at times, didn't seem to be on the same page as Manning, which could also hurt his production. Randle is ranked 59th on our list of WRs.
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