7 takeaways from the final preseason practice

Posted Aug 26, 2014's Dan Salomone highlights 7 takeaways from the Giants' last practice of the preseason

1. The offense entered a new phase.
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After Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Patriots, the next game is the real thing. The Giants have 13 days until the season opener, and Victor Cruz feels the offense gaining momentum. “I think we’re hitting that phase where we’re reacting a little bit more,” the wide receiver said. “I think the playbook is starting to feel a little bit more second-nature to myself and some of the other receivers. You can see it kind of unfolding a little bit and we’re just reacting out there now as opposed to doing a lot of thinking.”

2. Prince Amukamara is feeling good; Brandon Mosley is up and moving.
Coach Tom Coughlin doesn’t want to make Amukamara’s groin injury a “three-week problem” by rushing him back but said that his cornerback is making progress and “feeling pretty good.” Meanwhile, Mosley is “up and moving, so that is a good sign” after missing the last two practices with a tight back. Coughlin said that John Jerry and Weston Richburg will be the starting guards while Mosley and Geoff Schwartz (dislocated toe) are out.


3. Josh Brown’s numbers went up during kicking competition with Brandon McManus.
Brown, who essentially won the kicking competition today after McManus was waived as part of NFL clubs reducing their rosters to 75 players, had nothing but praise for the promising young kicker. Brown said that McManus pushed him to be better and that he will end up on another NFL roster within 48 hours (which is precisely what happened when Denver traded for McManus before he was officially waived by the Giants). “Even where I was last year and everything I did kickoff-wise went up with him here,” Brown said. “Absolutely there’s positive benefit for me and positive benefit for him as far as just learning. It’s never fun. He was upset and it just very easily could’ve been the other way.”


4. The Giants’ overall goal never changes: win a championship.
With all the new players, coaches, and -- in the case of the offense this year -- systems, the expectations have not changed around the facility. “Our overall goal each and every year is to win a championship,” Cruz said. “I don’t think any team goes into any season thinking that they just want to make the playoffs or they just want to be 8-8. They want to go and make the playoffs and potentially win the championship. That’s our goal and I think that’s something that we can obtain if everybody is on the same page, and if we get this thing going the way we know how to.”

5. Ryan Nassib feels like a different player.
Coming off two strong preseason performances, the second-year quarterback said today that he feels like a different player than the one he was as a rookie. That stems from having a full offseason workout program. Coughlin has noticed. “It has boosted his confidence,” Coughlin said of Nassib’s work the last two weeks. “He came off a so-so game and then played very well for the last two. He works at it. He’s a worker, a grinder and doesn’t have a lot of emotion, whether it be good or bad. He is just a hard working guy.”

6. Mark Herzlich is prepared for life after football.
The tough reality of the NFL is that players never know which day will be their last. Linebacker Mark Herzlich, who originally made the team as an undrafted rookie in 2011, understands that now. “Being in, really kind of involved in the NFL and the NFL Players Association and being around a bunch of different guys and doing the different opportunities that player engagement has, you kind of see this wide spectrum of players preparing for their next career,” Herzlich said. “I’ve always been preparing for my next career, ever since I went to college because we never know when that’s going to come. We want to play the best we can right now to try to propel this career as long as we can. And then you make that transition when necessary.”

7. Coughlin is the 12th man on special teams.
As the Giants get set to announce the 53-man roster on Saturday, the best way to make a Coughlin team is by producing on special teams. “Coach Coughlin says he’s the 12th man on the punt team every single week,” Herzlich said. “That’s how much he cares about it. When we stand up in our meetings on Saturday, ‘First punt stand up,’ and coach Coughlin stands up. That’s kind of the feeling here.”