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Rashad Jennings has high expectations for 2016

Posted Jul 13, 2016

Rashad Jennings on maturing as a player, the transition at head coach, and 2016 goals:  

Count Giants running back Rashad Jennings among those with high expectations for the upcoming NFL season.

Appearing Tuesday morning on NFL Network’s NFL HQ, Jennings tackled a variety of Big Blue topics, including 2016 goals, changes under Ben McAdoo, the impact of free agency and the play of both Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz.

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“Year one [under Coach McAdoo], we implemented a system and last year we kind of made it ours,” Jennings said. “Year three, it’s now completely our system and you see a calm and a poise in every single player across the board. We can get in any play at any time and adjust.”

In 2015, the Giants finished sixth in scoring, seventh in passing and eighth in total yards. It was also a career year for Jennings. The eight-year NFL veteran ran for a career-high 863 yards during his second season as a Giant, and he crossed the 1,000-yard mark in total yards for just the second time in his career.

“A pro really understands how to take care of his body, and he understands the X’s and O’s and can play the game before it happens,” Jennings said. “I’ve been allowing my maturity to catch up. I’ve been excited as I get into my later years, and I’m just getting into my prime.”

Big Blue will need a strong season from Jennings and the entire running back corps to complement what’s expected to be a strong passing game. Last season, the Giants finished 19th in the league, averaging just 100.6 yards per game on the ground.

“We’re a good team and we just need to build,” Jennings said. “This is going to be a big year for us, and we have high expectations here.”

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Here’s a few other highlights from Jennings’ appearance on NFL HQ:

•  On what he’s seen so far from Ben McAdoo:

“He understands X’s and O’s. He has a way to command the room like nobody I’ve ever seen. Everyone looks up to him. He’s the first one in and last one to leave. He earns the respect of every single person he works with and he understands the architecture of the team.”

•  On the growth of Odell Beckham Jr.:

“He always has a chip on his shoulder. He always wants to get better. I’ve seen him come in as a rookie and take on so many opinions. Everybody has an opinion on this guy. He’s presented as a flash, understandable. But the work that he puts in behind the scenes when cameras are not around is exceptional. That’s something he doesn’t get credit for. He’s a first-in and last-out kind of guy. I just expect him to keep on growing. He has a lot more to prove.”

On how Victor Cruz has looked this offseason:

“The expectations are for him to come out and pick up where he left off. Everybody who knows him understands what kind of person he is. He’s still a free agent – he still has that mindset. He loves this game. It’s frustrating to see a guy work so hard behind the scenes of everything and not have that opportunity, but he’s right on track where he needs to be getting ready for camp.”

•  On what this year’s crop of free agents could add to the team this year:

“We’re bringing in more pros. Guys who want and understand what it means to work and lead the younger guys along. We’ve got some guys who can cover and some guys who can put some pressure on the quarterback. That’s going to help the defense get off the field and put the offense back on the field and give us an opportunity to get more points on the board. We’re going to be playing sound and collective team football this year.”