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5 things we learned at Giants practice (10/30)

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Giants.com's Dan Salomone highlights five takeaways from Monday's team practice and media hour:

1. PERSONNEL USAGE WAS BYE-WEEK PRIORITY

"Self-scout" is the term you always hear going into and coming out of the bye week. The first thing Ben McAdoo did on the Giants' first open week since early August was evaluate personnel usage. The head coach said today that there will be some subtle changes beginning with their Week 9 home game against the Rams, but overall, your players are your players at this point.


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> [Fact or Fiction: Post bye-week predictions](http://www.giants.com/news-and-blogs/article-1/Fact-or-Fiction-Predictions-for-post-bye-week/a0bc5f93-a1d6-48fa-9993-6dde5a665700)
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PHOTOS
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VIDEOS
> [Here's the Diehl: Self-scout over bye](http://www.giants.com/videos/videos/Heres-the-Diehl-Self-scout-over-bye-week/f88c9d3b-f537-4d31-82c5-8c6e6ad1d6b4)


"Wanted to make sure we were using our players the right way," McAdoo said after the 1-6 start. "Is there an opportunity moving forward for us to interject maybe some younger players or even some veteran players into different roles that we haven't been using them? But, personnel usage [was the first thing].

"Wanted to take a look at things schematically. The schemes that have been working, the things that haven't been working and emphasizing what's been working for us and the things that haven't been working, either throw them out or is it a quick fix. Is it something we can fix over the second half of the year being smart with our time? Those are some of the things that we took a look at."

2. INJURY UPDATES

In the team's first day back from break, defensive end Olivier Vernon (ankle), center Weston Richburg (concussion protocol) and offensive tackle/guard Justin Pugh (back) did not practice. Running back Paul Perkins and cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple were excused for personal reasons, and are expected on the practice field on Wednesday. 

Vernon spoke today and said he is taking it day by day. "I felt good today," he added. "We'll see how I feel tomorrow." Meanwhile, Pugh, who said his back locked up against Seattle, is feeling better but will see how it goes this week.

"I couldn't get it to calm down in the Seattle game," he said. "It was bothering me going into it. So hopefully this week, it will be good. Having the week off was definitely helpful, so just go from there."

3. SHEP HOPES TO PLAY, BOLSTER WR CORPS

Sterling Shepard was one of the four wide receivers who went down in Week 5 against the Chargers, but he was the only one who didn't have his season end there. The second-year pro has missed the last two games with an ankle issue, but he's hoping to be ready this Sunday.

After staying in the area to get treatment over the bye week, Shepard ran individual routes on Monday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, a good sign for a depleted receiving corps that he's now the leader of with his experience.

"That's kind of the role that I had to take the last two weeks, not being able to be on the field," Shepard said. "I was just trying to make sure those guys were ready, staying in for extra film. If they have any questions, I'm there to answer them. Game day, just motivate them. So that's kind of the role that I took."

4. CASILLAS OPENS BASE PLAYBOOK TO START FRESH

The bye week provides an opportunity for players to get away from the facility for an extended period of time, their first chance to do so since before reporting for training camp in July. The idea is to come back fresh for the remaining grind, and linebacker Jonathan Casillas took it a little literally. The defensive captain cut his hair and shaved his beard, hoping that his fresh start carries over to his teammates.  

"We have the makings to be a great defense that we were last year, but we have to be consistent," said Casillas, who has missed the last two games with a neck injury. "We have to pay attention to details and I told a couple guys today, like I'm going to go ahead and look back at some of the original calls just because it's been a while since I actually opened up my base playbook to look at our base defense. Just to go over certain things and cross all my T's and dot all my I's and I'm trying to hit the ground running if and when I play this week."

5. BIGGEST DIFFERENCE WITH RAMS IS QB

The Giants have won their last seven game against the Rams, including a 17-10 victory in London last year. Safety Landon Collins and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie each had a pair of interceptions in that game, but a lot has changed since the last time they met. Case Keenum, who is now starting for the 6-2 Vikings after all of their injuries at the quarterback position, was under center for the Rams that day. Now it's Jared Goff, the top pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He is currently guiding the No. 2 scoring team in the league, averaging 30.3 points per game. 

"The biggest thing is their quarterback," safety Landon Collins said. "He's getting them going now. He's not afraid to throw it downfield. I would say he's not a rookie anymore and he's got experience and he's playing great ball, took that team to limits they haven't seen in a minute. He just keeps on pushing, so yeah, their quarterback is their biggest difference."

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