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5 things we learned at Giants practice (12/1)

12-1-jenkins.jpg's Dan Salomone highlights five takeaways from the latest team practice and media hour:



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Upon his arrival in East Rutherford this offseason, cornerback Janoris Jenkins immediately wanted to line up against wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in practice. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo obliged then and in every game this year when it comes to covering the opponent's top receiver. Sunday may be the biggest test of the season, though, as the Giants travel to face Antonio Brown and the Steelers. A year after having 136 receptions, tied for the second-most in a single season in NFL history, Brown leads the league with 82 catches for 998 yards and 10 touchdowns.

"He likes that challenge," Spagnuolo said. "He will be all over the place. All of [the defensive backs] are going to have to be challenged by a great wide receiver, but I know one thing, he does not back down from anything. He loves to compete. He likes competing out on the field here. Remember back in training camp? He wanted No. 13 to come out to his side because he loves that."


In East Rutherford, safety Nat Berhe (concussion), linebacker Mark Herzlich (concussion) and defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (knee) did not participate in practice. Offensive linemen Justin Pugh (knee), Brett Jones (calf) and Marshall Newhouse (knee) were limited. Wide receiver Dwayne Harris (wrist) was full-go. In Pittsburgh, guard David DeCastro (illness), wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey (foot) and running back DeAngelo Williams (knee) did not practice. Tight end Xavier Grimble (quad) and safety Shamarko Thomas (groin) were full-go.


In the last two games, the Giants have notched nine sacks in the fourth quarter alone. Jason Pierre-Paul, the NFC's Defensive Player of the Week, accounted for 4.5 of those while fellow defensive end Olivier Vernon had two in the final 15 minutes of games. That has added up to just 55 points allowed in the fourth quarter this season, tied for the sixth-fewest in the NFL.

"Well, I'll tell you one thing, most of those guys have done a great job conditioning," Spagnuolo said. "So when we get later in the fourth quarter, they are fairly fresh or have enough juice, I should say, to finish the game and that is important. We have kind of rotated guys in there. I know JPP and OV have played a lot of plays and we actually played more snaps this past game than we had the prior two. We were kind of cutting them down a little bit. The snap count got up there high, but at the end they were juiced up and finished it really well." Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said the same thing when speaking to Giants reporters this week.

"It just shows that they're a highly conditioned group and they're wearing their opponents down over the course of the contest," he said. "They're making significant splash plays at the latter part of the game."


After a four-game stretch in which the Giants rushed for 43, 38, 36 and 54 yards, the team has three consecutive games with more than 100 yards. That's their longest such streak since the early part of the 2014 season. However, the team still ranks 31st with 79.5 yards per game and 30th with 3.4 yards per carry. The Giants also have 41 negative runs, tied for sixth-most in the league. That's an area the Giants took a step back in last week against the Browns.

"You could probably say that's an accurate statement," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. He later added, "I think what happens is we also had some negative plays. We had a few more negative runs, the tackles for losses, those types of things that we hadn't had. And I think that kind of screws the stats and gets us to kind of take a step back."


The NFL today named Landon Collins the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for November, which included 30 tackles, three interceptions, five passes defensed and a sack from the second-year safety.

"You have guys that have been playing lights out," said tackle Damon "Snacks" Harrison. "Landon is the first name that comes to mind. You have guys like Andrew Adams coming in as an undrafted free agent and the guy is playing pretty good ball. He's not making the splash plays, but he's being consistent in doing exactly what's asked of him. JC [Jonathan Casillas] has also been making big plays. [Kelvin] Sheppard and Keenan [Robinson] as well. There are a lot of guys behind the scenes that don't make the splash plays but are just as important as the guys who do. That award is for Landon Collins thus far."

Photos from the all-time series between the Giants and Steelers

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