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5 Things we learned from Giants practice (12/7)


5 takeaways from Thursday's practice and media hour:


With all that has gone on this past week, there will be even more questions that need answering come Monday morning. But for right now, interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan are zeroed in on the Giants' Week 14 game against the Cowboys, who are looking to keep their postseason hopes alive.

"Then you take a deep breath and move onto the next one," Spagnuolo said following Thursday's practice. "I got scolded last night because Maria (his wife) said I better get home and get more sleep. She's right, I mean she is right. That is a big mistake I can make because you think you have to work more and work more. But I'm going to give it everything I got and do that and get through Sunday's game. And then you just re-load, take a deep breath and get ready to do it again for the next one."

"It goes beyond what's on Twitter or message boards, etc.," Sullivan said of the dismissal of head coach Ben McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese. "It's families. So it is sad and then you look at just the circumstances as they presented themselves and where we're at right now and just zeroing in on winning a football game. Just trying to do everything I can to support Spags and get the offensive coaches, get the players ready to go. So it's been a challenge, but we're moving forward."


The one-track mindset also applies to the quarterback position, which is on a week-to-week basis right now. With the decision to start Geno Smith in Oakland came an expectation for rookie Davis Webb to play at some point this season. But that was before the changes to the Giants' hierarchy. Now Eli Manning is back to No. 1 while Smith serves as his backup. So what does that mean for Webb?

"I really can't answer that and it's not because I can't answer because I have some information that I don't want to share that I'm supposed to keep top secret," Sullivan said. "Honestly, right now, with all that has gone on, I mean the major changes that have happened in this organization, on this team from a leadership standpoint – all the emphasis has been what do we have to do to get ready to beat Dallas.

"This is a huge game for us despite the record, despite how things have gone. It's really important. We're putting all of our energy and all of our focus into this week and then we'll let future weeks address themselves. So, it's not a cliché I promise you. It is totally just zeroing in right now and then in terms of what happens later on, I'm sure that will be something that will be discussed, will be addressed. But, for right now, it's just a situation where we're zeroed in on trying to find a way to beat Dallas."


Did not practice: CB Eli Apple (hip/back), RB Orleans Darkwa (illness), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (finger), Ol Justin Pugh (back)

Limited: RB Wayne Gallman (hip), LB B.J. Goodson (ankle), DT Damon Harrison (elbow), WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring), OT Chad Wheeler (concussion)


Justin Pugh has now missed four of the last five games with a back injury. The fifth-year veteran was able to practice on a limited basis to begin the week, but he was held out Thursday at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Pugh and the medical staff don't want to rush back into anything as they weigh his health both in the short and long term.

"That's part of it, and that all goes into the decision," Pugh said. "Talking with our medical staff, they always are making sure that I'm doing the best thing for myself. And talking to the coaches, everyone wants to make sure I'm healthy. And that's kind of where we're going. I don't want to make it even worse. It's not at a point now where I'm going to have to get surgery or anything like that, so I don't want it to get to that point."


As safety Landon Collins called it, Spagnuolo now has his "head coaching cap" on at practice and in team meetings. Collins, who was drafted the same year Spagnuolo began his second stint with the Giants in 2015, said practice has been a little faster this week.

"I think it's a big difference," Collins said. "If something's not right, he makes us all redo it right then and there and he will definitely come back to it. It's a little faster out there now and … just a more competitive feel out there. He tries to get us to be more competitive now."

On what Spagnuolo is trying to impart on the team, Collins added: "I would say pride. Just understanding pride is the biggest thing. And tradition that he's embed in us. Just knowing that this place has a lot of tradition behind it and a lot of pride behind it and we plan for not just ourselves, but this organization and the guys that came before us. So, just living up to what this organization has bestowed before us."

View the best photos from Thursday's team practice

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