Team Giants


Special Report

Sent: 09-01-17

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

From the time Thursday night's game ended in Foxboro, the Giants' coaching staff has thought about nothing but two numbers - 90 and 53.

The roster is at 90, and by Saturday afternoon it must be at 53.

So much for a long, leisurely weekend, and with the changes that will take place AFTER 4 p.m. Saturday, it's not going to be much of a Labor Day weekend, either.

In his telephone press conference Friday afternoon, head coach Ben McAdoo remained relatively silent when asked specific questions concerning players, as in who will stay and who will go.

For instance:

On the quarterback competition for the backup spot behind Eli Manning between Josh Johnson and Geno Smith:

"They both graded out high," he said. "They played well. It's going to be a tough decision. We're continuing the evaluation process and we'll make a decision tomorrow."

On how the tight end competition went during the 40-38 victory over the Patriots:

"It was good to see [Matt] LaCosse produce," he offered. "We saw that in the OTAs and in training camp - him producing, making plays, having a chance to score a couple of times and contributing in the two-minute drive. It was all good to see. It's nice for those things to show up on game day. Jerell [Adams] blocked very physically. He came on as a blocker in the game. And if you take the second play of the game out of the box, and [Will] Tye had a nice night, too."

The second play of the game referred to a pass Tye caught from Smith, then dropped, and turned into a New England touchdown and a quick 7-0 lead.

The coach all but made a positive statement on the kicking duel between Aldrick Rosas and Mike Nugent. "When you take the age factor out of it (Rosas is 22, Nugent is 35), they both competed as a high level. Mike had a tremendous game last week against the Jets [field goals of 54 and 50 yards] and we wanted to see how Aldrick responded last night - and he responded very well. We're looking at it right now. Both men have done exactly what we've asked them to do and performed at a high level."

All things considered, the major question has remained unchanged - what of the offensive line? McAdoo started an all-new five-man unit Thursday night and had praise in particular for rookie Chad Wheeler, an unsigned USC product at 6-7 and 315. "I think Chad has some flexibility to play both sides of the {left tackle, right tackle] and possibly inside [guard], too. I think he's coming along, I think his best days are ahead of him as a player. It's encouraging."

The players are off both Saturday and Sunday, except for those who get the dreaded summons to the stadium Saturday. Then Monday starts the usual week of preparation for their season opener, Sunday night in Dallas.

He insists the staff has done no work on the Cowboys, saying: "I focus on one week at a time, and we'll be ready for Dallas when it gets here. We brush up on our division opponents occasionally during the preseason but beyond that, we're concentrating on our team."

He also refused to comment on the report that Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott might win his appeal and see the six-game suspension lifted. "We're focused on our team now," he said. "Whoever rolls out there for Dallas, whoever appears on the field, we'll be prepared, we'll have a plan and we'll be ready to go."

EXTRA POINTS - The early line shows Dallas a 3 -point favorite over the Giants, with or without Elliott. ... But it should be noted that last season the Giants won both meetings WITH Elliott playing. ... The Giants have donated $1 million to the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston, as has New England owner Robert Kraft.

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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