Dave Klein was the Giants' beat
writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books
and he is one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls.
Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.
GENERAL MANAGER JERRY REESE ISN'T READY TO GIVE UP
ON THE OFFENSIVE LINE AND
Most of you watched the Giants' offensive line try to play on Friday night.
operable word here is "try," since they didn't do all that well.
But general manager Jerry Reese was satisfied, not that he wouldn't want to see
the unit perform better. "It was the first game," he said, "and we have players
who are experienced in this league."
It would not surprise anyone - least of all Reese - if the opening game (Sept.
11 in Dallas) offers the same five-man unit, which should be Erick Flowers at
left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, John Jerry
at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle.
"I know people are impatient with the line," he said Friday night at halftime.
"But it takes a while to get an offensive line to mesh. All five of the guys have
experience, but most of them are young, too. You can't just go into an off-season
and decide to rebuild an offensive line. You can't just say you want a top-notch
offensive tackle and snap your fingers and get one."
He said the team has tried a myriad of methods, from drafting to signing veteran
free agents to scouring the waiver lists to searching practice squads. And frankly
- surprisingly to some - he feels confident in the line that is currently assigned
the protection of quarterback Eli Manning and the running game.
"I know that Newhouse and Jerry have been around a while," Reese said, "but they
have been ‘around' in the NFL, and nobody stays here, no matter the team they're
on, without having the necessary talent."
There is some competition these days, such as Bobby Hart for Newhouse and Emmett
Cleary for Jerry. But it doesn't look as though they will actually win the competition;
Hart is inconsistent and Cleary is just not there yet.
are, of course, ways to make up for a somewhat ineffectual offensive line, and
they are utilized even when the line is outstanding. Of course, there are few
- very few - tackles who can handle an elite pass-rusher one-on-one. That situation
calls for the guard to move over and help, or the running back to stay in the
backfield (on pass plays) to pick him up, or that same back to delay in the backfield
until the end has passed the quarterback and then run out for a short pass.
The "sliding technique" employed by a guard can be compensated by sliding the
center, who generally gets to double-team a quality defensive tackle. And so on
and so forth.
"We are still trying [for
a tackle]," Reese insisted. But when the subject of former San Francisco tackle
Anthony Davis came up, he simply smiled.
"He said he retired, and turned in his papers," he said of the 6-5, 325-pound
graduate of Rutgers, a No. 1 pick by the Niners in 2010. "Then it seemed as though
he thought if he withdrew his retirement statement and became active with the
Niners again, he would get the trade he wanted. That's nonsense. No general manager
in this league would allow a player to manipulate his roster that way. From what
I've heard, Davis is playing for the 49ers and that's the end of that."
Ryan Nassib, the backup quarterback, was close to dreadful Friday night, although
head coach Ben McAdoo won't say that. "He was right in line with the say everybody
played," he said. "It was a sloppy performance. We left six balls on the ground
and we had two interceptions, and that's not what we were looking for."
agreed. "Obviously, the turnovers were not acceptable," he agreed. "We put ourselves
in tough positions and we have to do a better job of bouncing back, getting out
of them and making it work. I was guilty of poor fundamentals on my part."
The next game is Saturday in Buffalo at 4 p.m., and there is a possibility that
Manning might get that game off, too. Nassib completed seven of 15 passes for
75 yards. He was sacked four times and threw two interceptions.
EXTRA POINTS - McAdoo had a private meeting on the field with wide receiver Victor
Cruz, but would not divulge any of the conversation. ... "It was private," he said,
"just two guys talking." ... Will Cruz play Saturday in Buffalo? "We'll see," he
said. ... Cruz, who missed all of last season has had a horrid run of injuries and
it is starting to become a concern to the coaches as to whether he'll play or
There was a brief skirmish during
practice between defensive tackle Damon "Snacks" Harrison (6-4, 350) and guard
Justin Pugh (6-4, 305), but McAdoo wasn't overly upset. ... "I just don't want to
see them swinging at each other," he said, "but I like the intensity."
in practice included strong safety Landon Collins, sixth-round draft pick tight
end Jerell Adams and undrafted rookies cornerback Michael Hunter, whose most recent
claim to fame was a 4.4 speed in the 40-yard dash during Pro Day at Oklahoma State,
and wide receiver Roger Lewis.
"unofficially" broke camp Monday, except for those with four years of less of
experience. ... "They'll have to live in the hotel and continue to operate under
camp rules," he said, "until after the Buffalo game." ... It was also the last practice
open to the fans.
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