5 takeaways from Thursday's practice and media hour
1. ABRAMS SPEAKS
Interim general manager Kevin Abrams spoke with the media on Thursday for the first time since the dismissals of general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Ben McAdoo. Abrams, who has served
as the team's assistant general manager for 16 years, declined to campaign or interview publicly for the permanent job, but confirmed his desire and readiness to assume those duties. The Giants, who intend to hire their next general manager before bringing in a new head coach, are getting set to begin the interview process.
"Initially, it was a shock and surprise and emotional and uncomfortable a little bit," said Abrams, who has been told he will get an interview before the end of the season. "Now it's starting to take on more of a business as usual, but the circumstances aren't getting any less unfortunate."
On how his role has changed with the interim label, Abrams added: "Well, I don't have Jerry down the hallway to make all the final decisions right now and the job is to support the coach, support the staff, support the players. There's not a lot you can do the last four weeks of the season. You do what you can, but it's support. Support all day."
2. NEW GM WILL INHERIT 'HEALTHY' CAP
With three games left before entering a pivotal offseason, one that will also include a high draft pick, Abrams said the incoming general manager, whether that's him or not, will inherit a "healthy" cap situation.
Abrams initially joined the Giants in 1999 to fill the newly-created position of salary cap analyst. He came from the NFL Management Council, where he helped to monitor the league-wide salary cap and analyzed all new player contracts with respect to the rules and regulations of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. As a longtime assistant general manager, one of Abram's main responsibilities was managing the Giants' cap, but his role goes beyond that.
"I wasn't raised to be a cap guy," he said. "It was just the opportunity that was given to me and I was grateful of the opportunity and the Giants do a great job with everyone – not just me. But we're all encouraged to grow professionally and like everyone else, I was getting a lot of opportunities to do that and I try to take advantage of them whenever I could and a lot of that included being involved with our personnel departments."
3. ONGOING CONVERSATION TO PLAY WEBB
Even when it's not Eli Manning with his lengthy list of accomplishments, getting a look at a rookie quarterback when there is a veteran in front of him isn't as easy as, say, sprinkling in a defensive tackle here and there. There can be only one quarterback, which complicates matters. But Abrams said the Giants want to give all of their young players a chance down the stretch, including Davis Webb.
"Spags [interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo] and I talk about it all the time, [team president John Mara has] talked about it on plenty of occasions, and we know what we want to accomplish," Abrams said. "It's just not easy to do it necessarily. It's an ongoing conversation and hopefully we get an opportunity to put him out there, but it's got to be done the right way."
He added that it will ultimately be Spagnuolo's decision.
4. PUGH TO BE PLACED ON IR; INJURY REPORT
Did not practice: WR Roger Lewis (ankle), OL Justin Pugh (back)
Limited: S Nat Berhe (hamstring), S Landon Collins (ankle), CB Brandon Dixon (heel/hamstring), TE Rhett Ellison (finger), LB B.J. Goodson (ankle), DT Damon Harrison (not injury related), WR Travis Rudolph (hamstring), WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring)
Full: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger)
*After going to Los Angeles to receive a second opinion on his diagnosis and treatment, Pugh will be placed on injured reserve due to a back injury that has caused him to miss the last four and five of the previous six games. Surgery will not be required – just rest and rehabilitation.
Did not practice: WR Alshon Jeffery (illness), DE Steven Means (illness)
Limited: G Stefen Wisniewski (ankle)
Full: DE Derek Barnett (groin), TE Brent Celek (not injury related), TE Zach Ertz (concussion), S Rodney McLeod (quad), LB Joe Walker (neck)
5. SPAGS USES LANDON, OTHERS AS EXAMPLES
In sports, there's a line between hurt and injured. Collins, a first-team All-Pro selection in 2016, is playing through the former. And that is to be commended on a 2-11 team. Interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo, also the defensive coordinator, used Collins and others as examples this morning in a team meeting.
"I put up that a lot of guys had fought through yesterday's practice with injuries and are banged up and they did it again today," Spagnuolo said. "I wanted them to know I appreciated that. I think it says a lot about the character of the guy. I mean, they were still in there fighting. I think that's a great reflection of the players we've got in that locker room.
"Everybody is banged up this time of year in the NFL. It's easy to keep coming out here when you're winning. It's a little bit tougher when you're in the situation we're in, but I think for the most part this group we have loves playing the game of football. I think they like being a part of the New York Giants organization and that means something to all of us and if we keep functioning that way, I know we'll be okay."
Spagnuolo also recently made Harrison a team captain in place of linebacker Jonathan Casillas, who was placed on injured reserve earlier this month.
"We've got some men of integrity," Harrison said. "It means a lot to them. It doesn't always show on the scoreboard. We've had some bad breaks, some really bad breaks, to be honest. We got some guys that really care. It means a lot to them. We're still trying to win games and help us."