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5 things we learned from practice (12/28)

Posted Dec 28, 2017

Five takeaways from Thursday’s team practice and media hour:  


1. ELI WILL REMAIN IN GAME IF CLOSE

The Giants elevated rookie Davis Webb to No. 2 on the quarterback depth chart heading into the season finale against the Redskins. Eli Manning will start while Geno Smith, who had been the backup, has dropped to No. 3.
“My hope is Eli Manning takes every snap on Sunday and we win the football game,” interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo said after Thursday’s practice. “That’s my hope.”

But the matter of whether or not Webb, the third-round draft choice, sees the field is still to be determined. Spagnuolo said he will see how the game unfolds, but as long as the score is close, you can expect No. 10 to remain in the huddle. In the meantime, coaches have praised the professionalism in the Giants’ quarterbacks room, which for the first time in a long time has some moving pieces.

“Geno has been a pro,” Spagnuolo said. “He believes in his ability. I do too and [promoting Webb] wasn’t any reflection on Geno. It really wasn’t. Just an attempt to do something in the last week, give Davis a chance to function as a two. That’s all.”

2. INJURY REPORT

Did not practice: TE Evan Engram (rib), WR Tavarres King (concussion), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger/back), WR Sterling Shepard (neck)

Limited: OT Ereck Flowers (groin), OT Bobby Hart (ankle), WR Roger Lewis (ankle), DE Avery Moss (hip)

If Engram can’t go on Sunday, Rhett Ellison is part of the solution. The veteran tight end is known as a blocker, but he is coming off a career-high 60 yards on four catches last week in Arizona.

“I don’t know if it took us a while to figure out how to use him,” offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. “I think if you look at our roster offensively with all the changing parts, with all the injuries, with all of the who’s in, who’s out, our job as coaches is just to try to find ways to get guys in position, and in place and I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again -- Rhett Ellison is part of the solution.”

3. MARSHALL: TWO GREAT YEARS TO GO

Brandon Marshall, who has more than 12,000 yards and nearly 1,000 catches, still has never seen the postseason in his 12-year career. The former Bronco, Dolphin, Bear, and Jet became a Giant this year with the intention of breaking the drought on a team that won 11 games and made the playoffs in 2016. Things didn’t go as planned. Marshall’s season ended when he had to undergo ankle stabilization surgery after five weeks, all of which were losses.


“I’ve kind of scaled back on a lot of things I’m doing and I’m really focusing on crushing these last couple of years,” said Marshall, who plans to start running with no restrictions in a couple of weeks. “I’m all in on football. I’ve rebuilt my body. I think I’m two great years away from -- and I’ll say it -- I want to be a Hall of Famer. And I think I got two great years to go to be mentioned with some of the greats. I’m not just playing this game just to be a guy. I want to be remembered for the product that I put out on the field. So these last few years have been tough, last year with the Jets, this year with the Giants, but I’m hopeful that the next couple years for me will be some amazing years and some of my best work.”

4. TALE OF TWO WEEKS

How does an offense go from putting up its highest point total of the last two seasons against the best team in the NFL one week to being shut out by a sub-.500 club the next? The broad answer is because that’s the type of year it has been for the Giants. But specifically, the self-inflicted wounds are what did it.

“It was a tale of two weeks for sure,” Sullivan said. “I think the story of last week really would be the self-inflicted wounds, something that we really had stayed away from and what I’m talking about is the penalties. Obviously the turnovers were huge. We had more zero or negative runs than we had had in previous weeks and then of course some dropped passes.

“We were trying to do – whenever you have the tempo game, which we did utilize in Arizona, it’s a little bit more challenging on the road from the communication standpoint. But some of those key drops, some of those plays that would have been conversions to keep the chains moving didn’t happen. So you put all that together ended up being and of course obviously Evan’s injury set us back, but we have to adjust and we will this week. That’s probably why things didn’t pan out the way we would have liked them to.”

5. SPAGS DISCUSSES APPLE SUSPENSION

Yesterday, the Giants announced that they suspended cornerback Eli Apple for the last week of the season. The second-year pro was notified Wednesday afternoon during a meeting with interim general manager Kevin Abrams and Spagnuolo. “We have suspended Eli for a pattern of behavior that is conduct detrimental to the team,” Abrams said yesterday.

Today, Spagnuolo, who is also the defensive coordinator, discussed the decision and said it was an “accumulation of things.”

“It’s unfortunate and I’m going to kind of leave it at that,” he said. “I know you all have a job to do. I know where the questions are going to go. I hope you can respect the fact that it’s a family matter. That’s the way I look at it and the other thing is there is a young man involved and I’m still in the business of restoring, rehabbing and not tearing down. This is just something that we felt we had to do at this particular time.”