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Giants Now: NFL's Crucial Catch brings awareness to catching cancer early

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NFL's Crucial Catch brings awareness to the importance of catching cancer early

For the 12th consecutive season, the National Football League and the American Cancer Society are working together to support the fight against cancer through "Crucial Catch:Intercept Cancer."The initiative, which kicks off in stadiums today and continues to be highlighted through Week 6 games, addresses early detection, getting screened, and risk reduction efforts across multiple types of cancers. This year specifically,Crucial Catchwill be a part of the League'sIt Takes All of Us brand campaign, which highlights the importance of everyone joining together to make a difference in the lives of others.

Crucial Catch helps people catch cancer early, when it may be easier to treat. This is a greater challenge than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on screening. Since March 2020, routine cancer screenings have dropped, resulting in a screening rate drop between 86% and 94% for some cancers. Through Crucial Catch, the NFL and American Cancer Society are allocating resources dedicated to safely restarting cancer screenings in communities with the most need. For many forms of cancer (breast, cervical, colorectal and prostate), the five-year survival rate is above 90% when detected early before it has a chance to spread.

"For the last 12 years, the American Cancer Society and the NFL have together been focused on providing resources and assistance to help ensure that more Americans have access to critical cancer screenings," said Gary Reedy, Chief Executive Officer of the American Cancer Society. "Having the support and partnership of the NFL and its fans through Crucial Catch will undoubtedly lead to more lives saved."

Since 2012, the NFL has funded ACS' Community Health Advocates Implementation Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity (CHANGE) grants, which have contributed to 370,000 screenings in underserved communities and reached more than 1,070,000 million individuals with education, screening reminders and patient navigation, bringing these life-saving messages and screening services to those who need them most.

All 32 NFL teams will have the option of supporting early detection and risk-reduction efforts for one or multiple cancers in-stadium and in their communities. In addition, players may wear cleats, shoelaces and wristbands in any color representing the type of cancer awareness they support and/or have been impacted by during their team's Crucial Catch game.

NFL-issuedCrucial Catchgameday apparel will feature a multi-colored logo representing all cancers. New this year, New Era and Nike have created newly designed Crucial Catch gear, highlighting the NFL's commitment to drawing awareness to and supporting multiple cancer prevention efforts. Fans can purchase NFL-licensed Crucial Catch apparel on NFLShop.com.

Beginning on Thursday, Oct. 1, and continuing through Week 6, NFL Crucial Catch games will feature:

  • Game balls with the Crucial Catch logo
  • Multi-colored equipment for players including: helmet decals, captains' patches, wristbands, sideline caps and quarterback towels.
  • Multi-colored ribbon pins for coaches and teams
  • Caps and pins for game officials
  • On-field multi-colored _Crucial Catch _stencils
  • Multi-colored goal post wraps in end zones; and
  • Field-wall banners in the color(s) of the cancer awareness movement(s) that each club supports

"Game-worn Crucial Catch merchandise will be auctioned on NFL Auction (nfl.com/auction). *The NFL does not profit from the sale of Crucial Catch merchandise. *Charitable contributions are donated to the American Cancer Society to support its CHANGE grant program."

Click here to read the NFL's full Crucial Catch press release.

Giants plan for possibly not having Jabrill Peppers

Three Giants coaches and two players spoke to the media today on Zoom calls, and it speaks to Jabrill Peppers versatility and value to the team that three of them were asked about him.

Peppers, the Giants' strong safety and punt returner, didn't practice for the second straight day because of the ankle injury he suffered early in the game last Sunday against San Francisco. His absence places his availability in doubt for the Giants' road game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday – Peppers' 25th birthday.

Without him, the Giants' safeties will be the same tandem that played most of the game against the 49ers – Logan Ryan and Julian Love. Both are converted cornerbacks, which defensive coordinator Patrick Graham suggested could work to the Giants' advantage.

But the safeties and the entire defense will be challenged by a Rams offense that is ranked third in the NFL in total yards (449.7 a game), tied for third in rushing (170.3) and seventh in passing yards (279.3).

"The good thing about those guys is they both can tackle," Graham said of Ryan and Love. "There's a willingness to be involved in the run game. They can still be interchangeable to a certain degree. The great benefit of it is the man-to-man coverage skills. Now you're working with something right there. You're dealing with the Rams, where these guys are all over the place. Their shift motioning, here goes the missile motion, and stuff like that. Now you have guys, (and you say), 'oh, he can play this coverage, he can play that coverage.' You feel a little bit more comfortable if you're going with all the man stuff. It gives you some more flexibility with stuff like that. Not saying we couldn't have done that with Pep or other guys. You're talking about true cornerback skills, that's a positive right there."

Peppers' absence will be felt not just in the back of the defense but on the entire unit.

"Honestly, he's the energy guy," defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence said. "He brings a lot of energy to the group, positivity, motor, things like that. Now you have to fill that void. Obviously, he's an amazing player and we'd obviously love to have him play. But now it's someone else's time to take on that role and have that responsibility just to be that guy. That's why you have second team or you have backup guys that can fill that role."

Joe Judge changes Giants' west coast flight plan

Since Tom Coughlin's first year as head coach in 2004, the Giants have followed basically the same schedule whenever they played in the Pacific time zone. They would depart the afternoon prior to the game – perhaps leaving an hour earlier – and return to New Jersey immediately. The only road trip exceptions were Super Bowls XLII and XLVI and when weather forced them to audible (an east coast blizzard forced them to spend two extra nights in Appleton, Wisc. in 2010).

This week, the Giants will follow a different itinerary for their game against the Los Angeles Rams in brand new SoFi Staduim.

When the NFL schedule was released in May, coach Joe Judge said during his eight seasons as an assistant coach in New England, the Patriots traveled to California, Seattle or Arizona on Friday, and the Giants might do the same. "We'll have a game plan to go out there early," he said then, "and be prepared to cancel the extra day if we need to as we get a feel for how our team goes throughout the season."

Today, he revealed a hybrid schedule – part old Giants and part Patriots, plus other elements.

"To be honest with you, we're going to kind of take a page out of a couple different teams' books, along with the place I was," Judge said. "We're going to go out there early Saturday. A lot of teams travel on Friday, kind of reset that circadian rhythm. We're going to go out there Saturday. We're going to get out there early, get our guys in the sunlight for a little bit, kind of get them in the UV rays, which should help reset their body clocks a little bit. Being as though it's not a primetime game at night, it's less than 24 hours of a trip for us. It shouldn't affect us overly in terms of that window we're going in there. We're going to go ahead and stay in east coast time as much as we can and wake up the next day ready to play."

The Giants' plans will change most radically on the return trip. Instead of flying through the night on Sunday, the Giants will leave Los Angeles "around lunch time west coast time" on Monday, Judge said. They are scheduled to arrive at Newark Airport around 8-8:30 p.m.

"The one thing I think that stands out that we're going to do a little bit differently, like several teams have done lately, is we're going to stay out there after the game on Sunday," Judge said. "Instead of returning back immediately afterwards, we're going to stay out and make sure the guys get a good night's sleep. We'll get the film graded that night, watch with the players the next morning and get that all cleaned up. We'll fly back, give us an opportunity as coaches to work on the next opponent going forward (Dallas, also on the road)), give the players a good amount of time between Monday night getting home and Tuesday as the off day.

"We're really looking to avoid some of that jetlag time coming back and trying to keep the players as fresh as possible. This is something we talked about in the offseason when the schedule came out with a lot of coaches around the league and things they've done in the past. It was something that we thought could really help our players, not just for this week, but also with next week's trip back to Texas."

View rare photos of the history between the New York Giants and Los Angeles Rams.

Practice Photos: Giants gear up for Rams

Check out the gallery below to view photos of Thursday's practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center as the Giants prepare to travel to Los Angeles to take on the Rams in Week 4.

View photos of Thursday's practice at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.

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