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Coughlin has high praise for Rookie Ereck Flowers


Ereck Flowers isn't one for words.

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His teammates may disagree with that statement, but it holds true in the public eye, which doesn't see him in the huddle and team meeting rooms.

Rather, to the outside world, he lets his actions do the talking on the field, not in front of a camera with a microphone in his face. The rookie first-round draft pick suffered an ankle injury early in the opener against the Dallas Cowboys, but that wouldn't stop the 6-foot-6, 329-pound University of Miami product in his NFL debut at left tackle.

Flowers gutted out the heartbreaking loss, returning to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center with the thought of missing practice not even entering his mind.

For that, coach Tom Coughlin will do the talking for him.

"Thank you for that question," Coughlin responded when asked about what he learned about Flowers' resolve. "Well, basically, he said I'm playing and I'm practicing. It's a breath of fresh air. Guy has an ankle, oh well. I started talking to him on Tuesday -- 'I'm practicing' and he did."

Is that rare for a rookie to make that statement?

"I don't know, but can we have a few more?" Coughlin said. "Whether they're rookies or veterans of whoever they are."

While listed as limited on Wednesday, Flowers practiced fully today as the team gears up for the home opener against the Falcons on Sunday. Atlanta coach Dan Quinn also took notice of Flowers and the improvements on the offensive line.

"Some of the people, you can see the difference in with the offensive line and I think they have some strong players on that left side," said Quinn, who took over this year in Atlanta after going to back-to-back Super Bowls as Seattle's defensive coordinator. "There is going to be [left guard Justin] Pugh and Flowers and how that group works, been impressive so far with what I've seen."

With Flowers' first game in front of his new home crowd less than 72 hours away, that was one of the many storylines buzzing around the Giants' facility today. Here are the three key takeaways from the day:

1. Beason upgraded; Cruz still out.

View the best photos from Thursday's Giants practice

After not practicing on Wednesday, middle linebacker Jon Beason was able to participate today on a limited basis as he deals with a knee injury. Meanwhile, Uani 'Unga (knee), the player who replaced Beason in Week 1, was also upgraded from limited to full on Thursday. As for Victor Cruz (calf), Coughlin reserved saying he would be ruled out of Sunday's game, but the wide receiver once again did not practice.

"He's working and he's doing more and more," Coughlin said. "But they're not even at the stage where they're really going to bring him out and turn him loose—let him run for a while—before they make a decision on whether he can practice. So that's all forthcoming."

Tight end Daniel Fells (foot), defensive tackle Markus Kuhn (knee) and defensive end Owa Odighizuwa (foot) did not practice as well.

2. More targets coming for Odell.

There weren't a lot of snaps to be had in a game in which the Cowboys controlled the clock for 37 minutes. But the Giants would like to get Odell Beckham Jr. more than eight targets, which is how many the wide receiver had in Week 1. 

"You'd like to have more, but let's face it, for the majority of the game, there wasn't a lot of snaps," Coughlin said. "Believe me, we're trying to maneuver the ball around. Everybody has an opportunity. If, in fact, any one individual gets doubled, that creates some opportunities for others, as you well know. That's all been discussed."

3. McAdoo flushed the Dallas game.

As expected, the last-minute loss to the Cowboys lingered longer than usual around the Giants this week. But once and for all, offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo flushed it. He began his weekly session with the media by saying that he was raised to be an aggressive play-caller, which is something he takes a lot of pride in and led to calling for a pass on third-and-one with 1:43 to play when he could have run more time off the clock.

"I decided to be aggressive and go for the fake and try to get the one-on-one with the tight end," McAdoo said. "The thing I failed to do was mention to Eli [Manning] that if it wasn't open to eat the football. And that's something I take responsibility with and I take ownership of. At the same point in time, we need to move on. We need to flush this last game. It's best for the players, it's best for the organization, it's best for the fans to move forward, and we need to focus on Atlanta."

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