Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 07-28

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
Somehow, you get the idea that head coach Ben McAdoo wasn't just saying the right words when the Giants "sort of" opened training camp Thursday.

They'll practice for the first time Friday, having gone through physicals Thursday, and that resulted in three players being put on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list - all defensive guys. They were tackle Damon Harrison (knee swelling), linebacker J.T. Thomas (sore hamstring) and tackle Jay Bromley (recovering from ankle surgery.

At this point in the pre-season, the PUP list doesn't mean all that much. In fact, McAdoo likens it to "keeping him on hold" when he talks about a player on PUP in July.

But for such an early segment of the football calendar, he wasn't mincing words when asked about the team's expectations for the 2016 season. "Our goal," he said, "is to put a fifth (Super Bowl) trophy in the display case; I know, those are just words right now. We told the players that we need to go out there and put the work in and earn it."

By all indications, McAdoo is going to be a hard-nosed, no-nonsense coach, and he has been gifted with nearly $150 million in veteran free agents on the defensive side of the ball. "We are going to be tough," he said, "and we are going to be smart. We will be committed to discipline and poise. Fundamentals will be important when we get the pads on, not just for the big guys but the perimeter [guys] as well."

He paused, no doubt for effect. "I hope this camp will be really physical," he said. "We'll be out there to be a physical team, a heavy-handed team and you can't worry about staying healthy. We need to stay healthy but we need to build them up as we go. Still, at some point in time, we'll need to go out there and play football."

The opening preseason game is Aug. 12, at home against Miami, which is only 15 days away. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, one of the players made available, said: "I think everybody's goal is to make the playoffs this year. We all understand that. I am going to do the best I can to make that possible."

JPP went through a minor surgical procedure during the off-season on his blown-up hand. "It wasn't a big thing," he said. "It was just to let me play with a glove and not that club. I think we have a top front four - Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Jonathan Hankins and himself, except he refers to them as ‘OV, Snacks and Hank'"

Safety Landon Collins said the Giants' defense "has a chip on its shoulder. We were 32nd in the league overall," he added, "and you have to put it behind you. You can't think about it, but you know what it was and now you're just pushing to be in the top 10.
"I feel like we didn't trust the system [built by coordinator Steve Spagnuolo]," Collins said. "We were all new to the system and coming in as a new team to try and put it together. But from here on out as you played one year, most of us coming back, are all one. As a defense, we fight to the finish. Other than that, the struggle we had last year, I don't see it coming this year."

One of the players on whom the offense is counting is running back Rashad Jennings, and he is ready to become the featured back. "I am beyond ready," he said. "I have been in this league for eight years and I am still without a playoff experience."

Asked about McAdoo becoming the head coach, Jennings said he was pleased. "Well, for me, I have had him as the offensive coordinator for the last two years and now he's our head coach. I like the way he commands attention in a room, how meticulous he is and the respect level he has for everybody. He is definitely the guy for the job, no doubt about it. He understands the architecture of the team and he knows how to get the best out of every player."

Sure, and all he needs is the blocking he didn't have last season.

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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