- Coughlin's message to team: "This is it."**
It's officially game week at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center. While the on-field preparation for Week 1 against Dallas really ratchets up a notch on Wednesday, the Giants took the field on Labor Day for their first practice with the 53-man roster. Afterwards, coach Tom Coughlin gathered what amounts to nearly half the number of players from the summer and delivered an opening message.
"This is it," Coughlin said about what he told his team. "There's no 100 guys, there's 10 practice squad guys this year, and 53. We have to service each other, we have to help each other get better, and that's the whole purpose of this thing. There is a responsibility to each other and we always talk about unity over self, team above self, and that's what this was about."
2. Giants swap out Brown for Dahl at safety.
Photos of Safety Craig Dahl's Career-to-Date
Stevie Brown's second stint with the Giants lasted one week as the veteran safety was released today. The move made room for Craig Dahl, another safety who is returning to the organization. Dahl, who most recently played for the 49ers after four years with the Rams and two with the Giants, was a member of the Super Bowl XLII championship team as an undrafted rookie in 2007. He will be reunited with defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who coached him both with the Giants and the Rams.
"That was part of it," Coughlin said of Dahl's previous relationship with Spags. "We looked at him, obviously, on tape and so on and so forth, the fact that he's played back there, he's a veteran, he knows the system, and he can communicate well. He'll have a few bumps in the road just to get going, but he'll know what we're doing and he'll get us lined up."
3. Nix, Jackson picked up off waivers.
A day after the 53-man rosters were set around the NFL, the Giants claimed defensive tackle Louis Nix III and cornerback and return specialist Asa Jackson off waivers while releasing defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis and waiving cornerback Mike Harris.
"Well, Jackson, a guy that's played the nickel position, he started to play on the outside in Baltimore a year ago, so we thought that it was a good fit for us," Coughlin said. "The big tackle [Nix], we, of course, knew about him, discussed him thoroughly when he was coming out, and a couple years later he was available so we thought that this would be a good time to take him and work in. He had been at nose tackle, don't really think that's what he is, a three-technique, big guy who can move and who can run, so we were interested."
4. Still no JPP.
With the Giants' season kicking off Sunday night, Coughlin had no word on the return of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who suffered serious injuries during a July 4 fireworks accident.
"I have no idea," Coughlin said of Pierre-Paul's timetable to return. "When Jason comes and he's here, I'll be glad to talk to you about it. I don't have any information."
5 No update on Cruz; injury notes.
Wide receiver Victor Cruz's return from a season-ending knee injury has been delayed by a calf injury. After not playing in any of the preseason games, Cruz did not practice on Monday but has been working in the pool with the underwater treadmill.
Meanwhile, Coughlin said the team is "hoping" middle linebacker Jon Beason (knee) will play on Sunday, as will defensive end Robert Ayers Jr., who is dealing with an ankle injury. "Ayers actually looked pretty good today," Coughlin said. "Hopefully that's behind him." The first official injury report will be released Wednesday.
6. Giants "OK" with rotating right guard for now.
While four of the five offensive line positions remained consistent for most of the summer, right guard has seen John Jerry and Geoff Schwartz rotating in and out. Jerry started the first three preseason games while Schwartz took over in the finale.
"Right now people are working in and out of there," Coughlin responded when asked who the starter will be this season. "And I think we're okay with that."
7. Whitlock sweated out roster cuts.
No call is a good call when it comes to roster cut-down day. But you still need to have your cell phone to know one way or another. That wasn't the case on Saturday for fullback Nikita Whitlock, who lost his phone as NFL clubs had to reach the 53-man roster limit.
"So I was in here early that morning, and I'm looking everywhere, looking everywhere for my phone," recalled Whitlock, who played fullback, defensive tackle and special teams in the Giants' preseason finale. "The guy, you know the reaper, was cutting everybody and telling everyone to come in. He walked up to me, and I was like, 'Dang, here it is.' He was like, 'Man, don't worry about it, you're not on the list today.' I was like, 'Whew.' So, you know, it was exciting. The big surprise to me was that I was going to be a starter, and to be the only fullback on the roster. That was a big thing for me, it really blew my mind."
Photos of players during Mondays Practice