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5 takeaways from Giants vs. Bengals practice

Posted Aug 12, 2015

Giants.com's Dan Salomone recaps Wednesday practice in Cincy

1. Giants exploring nickel package with Jackson.

The nickel cornerback has become a 12thstarter for defenses in the modern NFL, and heading into this offseason, new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said the position was a question mark that will be answered over the course of training camp and preseason. Today, the Giants took a look at how Bennett Jackson would handle the role in the second of two joint practices with the Cincinnati Bengals. Jackson, who is converting from cornerback to safety and spent time practicing with the first team, lined up in the nickel package today in Cincinnati.

>> WATCH HIGHLIGHTS FROM PRACTICE

“The thinking behind it is we are looking for someone to be the nickel,” Coughlin said. “And we are trying a number of people in there and he got his shot.”

2. Cruz participated in team drills but will not play preseason opener.

Despite clearing many hurdles this summer as he comes back from a season-ending knee injury, wide receiver Victor Cruz will not play in Friday night’s preseason opener in Cincinnati, Coughlin confirmed after his wide receiver participated in team drills for the first time in Cincinnati.

>> IMPACT PLAYERS FROM PRACTICE

Cruz said wide receivers coach Sean Ryan came up to him right before practice and told him he would run in team drills against the Bengals after not doing so yesterday in full pads (both teams wore only shoulder pads on Wednesday).

“I have a lot of trust [in the knee]," Cruz said. “Like I said, there’s no pain, nothing hurts, it’s just a matter of continuing to run routes, continue to get the familiarity back from what I remember, and things like that and keeping it going.”

3. Nassib primed for preseason.

For a backup quarterback, the preseason is like the regular season, a chance to showcase skills as starters traditionally don’t play the entire game. On Wednesday, Ryan Nassib, who is entering his third season backing up Eli Manning, got an early jump in live action against Cincinnati, where he was on point all day and completed tough passes through traffic. He especially found a groove with tight end Adrien Robinson, who is also looking for a big preseason starting Friday night.

4. Randle missed practice; injury notes.

As he alluded to before practice, wide receiver Rueben Randle was a no-go for Wednesday due to knee tendinitis. Coughlin said he didn’t know yet if Randle would play on Friday. Meanwhile, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is playing through a groin injury, and there is nothing preventing wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. from playing in the first preseason game. “Not at this point,” Coughlin said.

5. Joint practices were a success, set the stage for preseason opener.

Head coaches have to trust each other when they agree to hold joint practices in the middle of their training camps, and that’s exactly what longtime NFL veterans Coughlin and Marvin Lewis have with one another. The Giants and Bengals concluded their second and final day of scrimmaging before both teams will have separate jog-throughs on Thursday. Then, of course, they will meet on Friday at 7:30 p.m. to kick off their preseason at Paul Brown Stadium.

“We did some good things and didn’t do some other things very well,” said Coughlin, who added that starters will play one or two series as usual in the first preseason game. “It's lots of people, lots of work, lots of situations to be in. It’s been two good days and it gives us a lot of speed work in addition to the first preseason game, so that’s a good thing.”