Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 08-15-16

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.


By Dave Klein
Most of you watched the Giants' offensive line try to play on Friday night.

The 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.

There 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."

Nassib 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 not.

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."

Standouts 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.

McAdoo "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.

Check out Dave's website at E-GIANTS where you can subscribe to his newsletters which run much more frequently than what is available here.
- Team Giants

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