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Giants ready to work as offseason program begins


Eli Manning and Landon Collins give an overview of Day 1 of the Giants offseason program:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Today was meet-and-greet day at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center, where a roster populated with numerous recent arrivals met new head coach Pat Shurmur and his staff, as the Giants began their offseason conditioning program.

Shurmur held his first team meeting, and the offensive and defensive players met with their respective coordinators, Mike Shula and James Bettcher.

"I think it was good," said quarterback Eli Manning, who will soon become just the fourth player in the 93-year history of the franchise to play 15 seasons for the Giants. "I thought our attendance was good today. Everybody is obviously excited to get back together as a team and kind of see the direction that we're going. I think coach Shurmur did a great job of just talking about the focus on getting better, and everybody being here together and learning and getting things kind of squared away on playing better football. I think that's the mindset. You saw his enthusiasm, his excitement to have the guys back in the locker room, and I think you felt it with the players also with being here, and excited about getting better and winning more football games."

"Basically, just talking to the whole coaching staff and just all our coaches and just basically very stern, very serious, ready to get to work, excited to be back and ready to put this all together," safety Landon Collins said, "and ready to win some more football games and let's get off this losing streak."

Improvement, both short and long-term, will be one of the themes of this program.  Shurmur spoke of trying to "get better one day at a time." And the Giants have plenty of room to elevate after finishing 3-13 last season.

"You just clear the slate," Collins said. "Everything that happened back then, you just let it roll over. It's in the back of your mind, but it's a new team, new year, new guys, new faces and we're just ready to get this party on the road."

Collins, a Pro Bowler each of the last two seasons, is excited after getting his first look at Bettcher's defense.

"Today we went over two schemes, and it's perfect," Collins said. "While he was going over it, it was like I was in college again. It was back to what I knew like the back of my hand. It's going to play fast, because it's very stern.

"It's very plain; it's this way or no other way. There is no second-guessing it, and you can play faster that way without having the thought in your mind about second-guessing yourself about playing on the field."

Manning, as is his custom, was more circumspect when asked about Shurmur's offense.

"Still figuring that out," he said. "We've just got to see. Obviously we haven't had one practice and we've had one meeting, so we'll see what we're going to put in, what's going to be our best personnel and stuff. We'll have to see as things are going on."

Not only is the offense new, but so are many of the players that are running it. Manning today met two of them who will be very important, not only to the unit's execution, but in trying to reduce the number of sacks (31) he absorbed in 15 games last season.

"I got to meet (left tackle) Nate (Solder) today and (guard) Patrick (Omameh), two of the newer guys, and I talked with them a little bit," Manning said. "Both seem like good guys and obviously know their talent level on the field. They were easy to talk to, good guys, excited to be here and helping this team. Obviously, coming from two successful teams last year (New England and Jacksonville, respectively), and both those guys on playoff teams, so hopefully kind of bring that mentality to the Giants."

Collins and the defensive backs could also have used some, "Hello, my name is…" stickers on their jerseys. The Giants have signed five defensive backs this offseason. As the leader of the secondary, how will Collins get everyone on the same page?

"Really just understand each other," he said. "Know everybody's personalities, know what they like, where they come from, who they are. We just become brothers from that point on, because everybody has a background, everybody has a life, so it's just having that understanding between each other makes it a stronger bond."

The regular season begins in five months. The bonding started today.

*Collins, who fractured his forearm at Arizona on Dec. 24 and missed the season finale, said his arm is "doing great. … Everything is back to 100 percent."

*Manning on second-year pro Davis Webb, currently the only other quarterback on the roster:

"Davis has done a good job. Last year coming in and learning an offense and now coming in, and trying to get a new offense and just trying to get a head start watching film. He's been here a bunch in the offseason; we've watched film together of Minnesota (where Shurmur was the offensive coordinator last season) film, just trying to learn the offense. You're limited in the discussions you can have with coaches and this and that, so you're trying to kind of figure out things on your own a little bit. But he's done a good job, having questions, asking things and just trying to be as prepared as possible when these first meetings and practices happen."

*Dr. Allan Levy, who served as associate team physician for the Giants from 1976-2006 and later as team physician emeritus, passed away yesterday at a New Jersey nursing home. He was 90.

Levy joined the Giants in 1976. He was in private practice for more than 50 years in Westwood, N.J. and was involved in sports medicine for most of those years, initially as the team physician for Westwood High School.

He moved into professional football as team physician for the Newark Bears and then with the Brooklyn Dodgers of the old Continental Football League. Levy continued in football as team physician for the Westchester Bulls, a Giant affiliate in the late 1960s, and was the first team doctor for the New Jersey Nets when they began play originally as the New Jersey Americans. He has also worked as the team doctor for the New York Islanders hockey team of the NHL.

Levy was also the author of "The Sports Injury Handbook," professional advice for amateur athletes, and "Golf Injury Handbook."

Levy was born in Saranac Lake, N.Y. He received his B.A. from Columbia University in 1947 and his M.D. from Cornell University in 1951.

The Giants have returned to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center to begin offseason workouts!

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