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5 things we learned at Giants practice (9/4)

0904-5thingscenter.jpg highlights five takeaways from Monday's media hour:

It's Game Week.

After setting the 53-man roster over the holiday weekend, the New York Giants returned to the practice field on Monday with their sights fully set on Dallas for the first time. No more vanilla offenses. No more base defenses. Now they count.

Here's what we learned today at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center:


Six days from the opener, coach Ben McAdoo gave his daily report on Odell Beckham Jr., who injured his ankle in the Giants' second preseason game against the Browns. It's too early in the week to talk game statuses, but the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver was on the bike today working with the training staff. "If he's cleared to play medically, then we'll play him," McAdoo said. "If he's not, then we won't."

Meanwhile, linebacker Keenan Robinson is still in the concussion protocol. Defensive tackle Jay Bromley (knee) and cornerback Eli Apple (ankle) were limited in practice.

DAK 2.0

At this time last year, Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott was just a fourth-round pick filling in for an injured Tony Romo. He went on to become the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year while leading Dallas to the No. 1 seed in the NFC. This time around, the Giants, who swept the season series, have plenty of film on him. 

"It's a better advantage," All-Pro safety Landon Collins said. "We've got film on him. We know what he likes to do, we know where his escape routes are, and we know his concepts and what he's reading. So it's big for us."

Prescott went 25 of 45 for 227 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in Week 1 against the Giants last year. He also rushed two times for 12 yards. Additionally, the status of running back Ezekiel Elliott, another one of the Cowboys' star rookies from a year ago, has been a topic around the league as his appeal process plays out. The 2016 rushing champion was suspended for the team's first six games for violating the league's personal conduct policy.

"Listen, our focus is on preparing for Dallas," McAdoo said. "All backs run the same way when there's nowhere to run. So our goal is to do our job and be prepared to stop the run. If he's playing, then great. If he's not, then that's great. We're going to play whoever suits up for them."


On cut-down day this past Saturday, the Giants traded a 2018 conditional draft pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for cornerback Ross Cockrell. The fourth-year pro, who started all 16 games and played 98 percent of the defensive snaps last year for the AFC North champions, knew something might be coming when Pittsburgh signed two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden, who was recently released by Cleveland. Cockrell, speaking for the first time in the Giants locker room, was asked for a scouting report on himself.

"I would see a guy that's on the line of scrimmage, likes to get hands on the receivers at the line of scrimmage, which I know is something that we do here with [Janoris] Jenkins and Eli [Apple] and DRC [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie]," said Cockrell, who has flexibility to play inside as the slot corner. "So I think I fit right in with that mold."


Coming off their first playoff appearance since winning Super Bowl XLVI, the 2017 Giants are looking to build on their 11-5 season that ended with a first-round exit. The level of success, as it usually does, depends largely on the play of the quarterback. The Giants have taken their preparation off cruise control, and Eli Manning is locked into a mode that has become familiar in East Rutherford over the last 14 years.

"Well, I've had a lot of time to prepare for Dallas," Manning said. "Really all of last week, they told me don't even look at New England and start prepping for Dallas. So I watched a lot of film and had some ideas. Coach McAdoo has told me some ideas, so I knew a decent amount of the plays that might be going in today. So I had a good feel for it and made some good plays. We have to keep that going."


Aldrick Rosas didn't win the kicking job on Thursday night with his 48-yard game-winner as time expired in Foxborough, but it certainly cemented his roster spot. Rosas, who was competing with veteran Mike Nugent all preseason, was perfect on all eight of his field goal attempts and six extra points in four outings.

"It's the full body of work," McAdoo said. "That was one kick in a pressure situation. It just cemented things."
McAdoo added: "We put him to the test. He was in a tremendous competition, and on Thursday night, he had an opportunity to respond to a great night by Nugent the week before and he answered. And that says a lot about a young player."

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