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5 things we learned at Giants practice (10/19)


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


Heading into Sunday night in Denver, Mike Sullivan followed the advice he has given so many players over the years: trust your training. The offensive coordinator was taking over playcalling duties from head coach Ben McAdoo, who walked into his office and notified him early in the week. Just like a player, Sullivan brushed aside the initial adrenaline and zeroed in on the call and the one after that, and so on. The result was a run-heavy, dominating victory over the No. 1 defense in yards.

"It was a great night for the organization," Sullivan said after Thursday's practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. "I'm so proud of the players and appreciative of their efforts and buying into the plan. The assistant coaches did a great job. And after all we've been through, for us to be able to go out there in that environment against that defense and to come out on top was something very gratifying and I'm very happy for those guys."

Did not practice: DE Olivier Vernon (ankle), C Weston Richburg (concussion), LB Jonathan Casillas (neck),
LB Calvin Munson (quad)
Limited: S Landon Collins (ankle), RB Paul Perkins (ribs), WR Sterling Shepard (ankle)
Full: CB Eli Apple (not injury related), LS Zak DeOssie (wrist/elbow), G John Jerry (tooth)


Eli Apple and Darian Thompson, two defensive backs from the Giants' 2016 draft class, have seen their share of ups and downs in their young careers. But both are currently on the upslope after Apple had three passes defensed against the Broncos and Thompson grabbed his first interception the week before.

"I thought they played really good games," defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "Look, in this game, at the level that they play, as competitive as it is, and everybody we go against has really good players, too. To me, when you can gain some confidence, then you automatically become a better football player, in my opinion.

"So I think both those guys, slowly but surely, have gained confidence. When you go to Darian, there's no denying it, in our minds, he's really a rookie. I mean, he only played a game and a half last year, then spent the whole year on injured reserve. He's finally finding his way."


With Brett Jones at center and D.J. Fluker at right guard, the Giants ran a season-high 32 times for 148 yards against the best run defense in the league. That effort followed a 152-yard performance from the week before, leading to an average of 5.26 yards per carry over the last two outings. The Giants could use the same lineup in their last game before the bye as Weston Richburg, the usual starter at center, has yet to practice since suffering a concussion in Week 4 at Tampa Bay.

"I guess we really don't have a choice but to run the ball," said Fluker, referring to the string of injuries at wide receiver. "But we've done a great job with just maintaining – I mean, we have guys that we can pass the ball to, but we want to focus on the run, get that done.

"And when we have to pass it, we're going to pass it. But we don't want the guys to be like, 'Oh, we're the New York Giants, we're just going to pass the ball.' We don't want to be that team. We want to be the guy on the team that's going, 'We're going to bring it to you, first two plays, the third down happens, but we're going to bring it to you because we're going to wear you down.' That's our goal."


Some quarterbacks run for yardage. Others run to extend plays before passing. Russell Wilson does both. That's the tough part about preparing for – and playing – the Seahawks' quarterback, who is 67-29-1 as a starter with two Super Bowl appearances and one ring. In his last game against the Giants in 2014, Wilson ran for 107 yards and a touchdown. As a team, Seattle racked up 350 yards and five scores – on the ground.

"He's doing both," All-Pro defensive tackle Damon Harrison said. "You have a guy like a [Tampa Bay quarterback] Jameis Winston, who's running just to buy time to make the throw. And Russell does the same thing, but he also runs to run, you know what I mean? And he picks up crucial first downs. So, it's on guys like JPP [defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul], [defensive end] Kerry [Wynn], and myself and [defensive tackle] Dalvin [Tomlinson] to keep him inside and force him to make throws from in the pocket."

A look at the playmakers of the Giants' upcoming opponent

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