Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 08-20-14

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
It is rapidly approaching the time when experimentation is over, when fiddling with starting lineups has come to an end, when head coach Tom Coughlin has to scan over his potential starters and, well, just pick ‘em.

He should know enough about all his players by now, and he knows how the veterans have performed not only this summer by last season, and, well, it's time.

Making matters more crucial, Friday night's opponent (7:30) is the other franchise that called MetLife Stadium its home, the New York Jets, and while there is less love lost than years ago, it is still essential for the mental well-being of the players that they win.

The players on both teams, that is.

"It's going to be a hard game," said defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. "We're going to play hard and they are going to play hard. We both really, really want to win this one."

The Giants, despite absolutely horrific performances in their first three games, are undefeated, this coming after a 27-point fourth quarter created by third-stringers and scrubs to beat Indianapolis, 27-26, and if you think it was accomplished against the Colts' starters, think again. It was sandlot football, and undoubtedly neither coach was doing David Wilson-type back flips over the victory.

Coughlin said that the "ones," coach-speak for the first-teamers, will be "25 to 30 snaps" in Friday night's game, and that includes quarterback Eli Manning, who has played ineffectively so far and who has been knocking on the door marked "Forget It" since training camp started.

Is he breaking down? Is the end approaching to his brilliant career? Well, he isn't particularly quick, but he never was. So that must be the breakdown suffered by the offensive line. But there are players who Coughlin would like to see get some turns with the "ones," notably wide receivers Corey Washington and Marcus Harris and another rookie, running back Andre Williams.

One would hope the coach has some plans for second-year quarterback Ryan Nassib, who engineered the winning comeback in Indianapolis, and regardless of the opposition, what you do in that case is concentrate on the mechanics and the poise of the performer.

He isn't going to start the game. Coughlin wouldn't do that to Manning. But he might get in as the second quarterback and the staff might keep him surrounded by several of those "ones" when he does play. It's the right thing to do. He needs to get the feel of a first-team experience.

You won't see No. 1 draft pick Odell Beckham Jr., who is still troubled by a sprained hamstring. But you will see left tackle Will Beatty, although perhaps not as much as you might expect. Last year's No. 1 pick, right tackle Justin Pugh, has been working at left tackle this week and he might get a few serious looks there. Hey, it couldn't be any worse, and it might be the start of something big.

The tight end (although in truth the Giants don't really have one) might be Adrien Robinson, who made a couple of snazzy catches in that fourth quarter last week. "He did some things well," Coughlin said, and now the trick is to see if he can keep doing them. This is his third year, and probably his last chance, too.

Cornerback Truman McBride seems likely to earn a start since the regular, Prince Amukamara, will miss the game with a groin pull. "McBride has made some plays and he deserves more chances," Coughlin said. He did not mention much about Beatty, who suffered a broken leg at the end of last season and made his first game appearance against the Colts - not a good one, it should be added.

EXTRA POINTS - Second year safety Cooper Taylor will need surgery on his foot (sesamoid bone) and might be placed on Injured Reserve, which at this time of the year means automatically missing the full season. ... The sesamoid is a common injury to this team - middle linebacker Jon Beason suffered one in OTAs and has been rehabbing nicely, still insisting he will make it to the season opening Sept. 8 against the Detroit Lions.

Other players who did not practice Wednesday - and are not expected to face the Jets -- include cornerback Jayron Hosley (foot), Trindon Holliday (hamstring), offensive linemen Charles Brown (shoulder) and James Brewer (back), running back Peyton Hillis (ankle/foot) and tight end Xavier Grimble (hamstring).

The Giants are 2-1 to make the playoffs, according to Las Vegas, (the Eagles are the resounding pick at 2-3, and the Dallas Cowboys are 12-5. ... The Redskins are 9-4.

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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