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Offseason program concludes; Giants talk progress made

Posted Jun 16, 2016

Giants coaches and players discuss the team's progress durng the offseason program: 


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – The Giants’ nine-week offseason program went by in an instant to Ben McAdoo.

“I blinked my eyes and it was over,” McAdoo said. “Very fast, very fast. Tough to slow things down in this business.”

The Giants today concluded their three-day minicamp and offseason work confident they had improved as a team and excited for the season that lies ahead.

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“I thought we got a lot accomplished,” quarterback Eli Manning said. “We got some new skill players in, so getting them up and running and accustomed to the offense and the adjustments and everything that goes on with it, so I thought we took some steps forward. (We are) looking forward to progressing and seeing where we can keep making improvements.”

“We started to establish our identity - without pads - but sound, smart and tough, committed to discipline and poise,” McAdoo said. “We know what it looks like now. We had a chance to sit down, we had a chance to define it and lay the foundation for when we do get the pads on.”

The team will next convene on July 28 when players report for the start of training camp (the rookies will remain here until next Wednesday for the rookie symposium).

“They have a little ‘prep-cation’ coming up,” McAdoo said. “They can prepare for what’s coming down the road, and we hope they all make smart and wise decisions.”

The offseason represented a period of adjustment for everyone on the team. McAdoo, of course, is a new head coach. His staff includes eight assistants who weren’t with the team a year ago. The coaches have integrated numerous new players, including veterans Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Janoris Jenkins, Keenan Robinson, plus a rookie class that includes six draft choices.

“The major part about this for me was just coming into the locker room and trying to find my place and fit in,” Harrison said. “Every single person in here has welcomed me with open arms and made my transition easy. That was the biggest part that I needed to get done this offseason, because the playbook and scheme and everything else really comes along in training camp.”

Perhaps the most distinctive blend of old and new occurred on the offensive line, where all five starters return, but the group is led by a new coach in Mike Solari.

“We kind of built a good relationship with our coach, which was important because he was new to our group,” center Weston Richburg said. “It was really easy. He is a guy that you can get along with really easy. He is able to relate things to us really well and we respond to him well, so it was easy to get in there and learn from the guy.

“As a group, I think the offensive line made a lot of progress. We have a better understanding of where our aiming points are in the run game, pass game, a better idea assignment-wise what we are supposed to do, and I think we made a lot of progress. I think there is a lot of recall since it is our third year in the system, so we are able to do a little more changing things up, changing blocking schemes, changing the route stuff or whatever, so we are growing and we are able to do different things than we did two years ago.”

Manning was asked if the Giants can expand their offensive repertoire in Year 3 in McAdoo’s system.

“I think just hopefully doing them better,” Manning said. “It is not so much doing it more, just executing better and making strides and having a great plan and avoiding the bad plays.”

Manning is hopeful Victor Cruz, who sat out the offseason drills as he continues to rehabilitate his surgically-repaired calf, can join Odell Beckham Jr. and rookie Sterling Shepard next month.

“We have talented players,” Manning said. “It is just a matter of getting the most out of their ability, letting them make plays and letting everyone step up and do their job.”
Defensively, the Giants struggled throughout the 2015 season, but coordinator Steve Spagnuolo yesterday expressed confidence that the unit under his command will be much-improved this year. Linebacker Devon Kennard today echoed that sentiment.

“I think we made a big jump this offseason,” Kennard said. “It is a great group of guys that came in through the draft and free agency and gelling with the guys who have already been here. It has been great so far.

“I feel really good right now. It is a work in progress every day and every step of the way, so I am excited for this year and what we are going to do as a defense, and where I am going to be personally.”

McAdoo will enjoy some down time in the next six weeks, but he will constantly be thinking about preparing for the 2016 season.

“I’m going to take a little break, be probably a little bit better and spend a little more time with my wife and kids,” he said. “But I’m going to get a little bit done each day and work a little bit. It’s hard to get away, especially when your passion and your profession merge.”

And when you are looking forward to your first training camp as a head coach.

“I’m in a constant state of excitement right now,” McAdoo said. “Everything is exciting. Anytime you get a chance to get the players out here on the field and get better and grow, it’s an exciting time.”