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7 takeaways from Giants Media Hour (8/16)

Posted Aug 16, 2015

Giants.com's Dan Salomone highlights seven takeways as the team met with the media Sunday

1. Secondary moves forward.

Coming out of Friday’s preseason opener in Cincinnati, the Giants’ secondary took a few hits with injuries to safeties Landon Collins (knee sprain, day-to-day) and Mykkele Thompson (ruptured Achilles, out for season) and cornerbacks Trumaine McBride (hamstring, day-to-day) and Jayron Hosley (concussion protocol). Meanwhile, safety Nat Berhe (calf strain) and cornerbacks Prince Amukamara (groin) and Chykie Brown (knee) were unable to play altogether.

“It’s the NFL,” Amukamara said. “It’s 100 percent injury rate. Someone’s going to get hurt, but it just seems like it’s always been happening to us. The Giants are known for the ‘next man up’ mentality. It’s really, really unfortunate for the rookies [Collins and Thompson] because they’re just getting their feet wet.”

2. Jackson to still split roles at safety and nickel corner.

Despite the injuries, Bennett Jackson, who recently got looks as the nickel cornerback as well as safety, said he will continue to split roles in the defense. It’s been a busy offseason for Jackson, who was already making the transition from cornerback to safety. Asked if he has to remind himself what position he is playing, Jackson said, “No, I kind of lock myself in once they say we’re in our nickel group, I’ll know, OK, I’m going to go to nickel. I get that [part] down pretty simple just knowing which position, but it’s a lot at first. But once you start understanding the defense, it comes a lot easier.”

3. Jameel McClain is back.

Because of his history of neck injuries, the medical staff took every precaution when veteran linebacker Jameel McClain suffered a stinger in the first week of training camp. But it takes a lot to keep McClain down, who said he is full tilt until the trainers say otherwise after having to watch his teammates play on TV.

“Absolutely, that was my toughest part,” McClain said. “I know my teammates are mad at me, calling them, calling coaches and finding out what’s going on at Cincy, ‘How’s everything going?’ That’s the toughest part for me, but getting a chance to be here and get myself better and even more shape, doing some rehab, focusing on a little more of the football plays. But it was really tough to be here, it was really tough to watch it on TV, to be honest.”

4. Schwartz said there’s “no setback” after missing preseason opener.

After a dislocated toe and a broken ankle that required surgery defined Geoff Schwartz’s first season with the Giants, the offensive lineman was unable to make the trip to Cincinnati for a week of scrimmaging with the Bengals and the first preseason game.

“After both injuries I had last year, just kind of getting the body back to where it needs to be just takes time,” Schwartz said. “And that’s kind of what last week was. It’s kind of nothing more than that, didn’t have a setback. I have really no worries going forward that my ankle will be fine.”

5. Prince working his way back.

Amukamara on Friday ran for the first time since his injury and said he “felt good” and will try to do more as the week goes on.

“I think the biggest test for me is just exploding out and cutting and doing a lot of lateral movements because of my groin,” Amukamara said. “And then we’re going to go from there.”

6. Williams making plays he wouldn’t have made as a rookie.

Late in the first quarter of the preseason game against the Bengals, second-year running back Andre Williams caught a short pass and turned it into a 16-yard gain. It was a difficult play that running backs coach Craig Johnson said Williams wouldn’t have made as a rookie fourth-round pick out of Boston College.

“I would say he’s a much-changed player from the player I saw in the Combine coming out from Boston College to the player I see today,” said Johnson, who added that Williams has benefitted from pregame drills as well as working on his hand-eye coordination by catching tennis balls. “I think one of the greatest examples happened was the swing pass that he caught. It’s a very difficult catch in that he did not see the ball thrown, so when he turned around the ball was on him and as a back, that’s a tough situation. I would probably say in Boston College coming here, that would probably be a dropped pass. I think he’s worked really hard on his hands.”

7. Offense “unfazed” with Eli at the helm.

Coach Tom Coughlin was not pleased with the first-team offense, especially the receivers, after gaining just 28 yards on 15 plays with Eli Manning under center in the preseason opener. But that’s why there are three more games to go before they start to count in Week 1. Until then, it’s always good to have a two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback to lean on from time to time.

“You know you have a guy like Eli who has been to two Super Bowls, two-time MVP, he knows what he is doing, so you look to him as one of those guys who if he is unfazed, then we are all unfazed,” wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. said. “If something is worrying him, he is probably going to come tell us about it and we’ll get it corrected and move from there.”