EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** The Giants today concluded their offseason work and Tom Coughlin's message to his team and staff deviated slightly from the norm.
It will certainly seem that way. The coaches will begin their vacation after work tomorrow and must report for their pre-training camp meetings exactly one month later, on July 20. That is a shorter-than-usual break necessitated by the Giants' playing a fifth preseason game; they will face the Buffalo Bills in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3 in Canton, Ohio. The players will report on the 21st.
Coughlin spoke to the team at length today before the players scattered to begin enjoying their free time.
"The obvious is that they have one month, it's not like a six-week break," Coughlin said. "Really, this whole thing based on the extra preseason game, there is a responsibility for the players to each other. Be in great shape, be able to change direction - none of these soft tissue deals where guys can't practice. Our (roster) numbers are our numbers, they're not going to change a whole lot. You like to think you come in with three teams so that you can do a good job with distribution of plays, particularly early on. But that's where it is. That's the majority of what we said."
Like all teams, the Giants were limited by the collective bargaining agreement in the number of springtime practices they could have. But they will get an additional work week when they return.
"It's going to be a positive, no doubt," Coughlin said. "We can use the work. The obvious is that we need to stay healthy in order to be able to take advantage of it."
The best photos from the Giants minicamp practices!
- The Giants concluded their minicamp with a light jog-thru. That ended a two-month offseason program and a busy period in which the Giants installed a new offensive system, assimilated new coaches and added a large group of veteran free agents and rookies onto the team.
"We had a lot of goals, a lot of things that were objectives in this camp," Coughlin said. "The integration of all the new people, whether it be draft choices or free agents that we brought in. I thought the veterans did a nice job of trying to integrate everybody into the team idea and I think we made some progress there. That was certainly one of them. Of course, the offense and the offensive terminology and that type of stuff, so we've been hard at work on that, we've made progress. We're not there, but we're making progress."
- Coughlin also spoke to the players about avoiding trouble when they are away from the Quest Diagnostics Training Center.
"We always talk about being smart," he said. "The 'NY' never comes off. Be responsible. Don't let someone who has nothing invested in your future make decisions for you, who you're going to be with, where you're going, how you conduct yourself. And, of course, conditioning work in the heat is an important thing and the realization, obviously, that alcohol and driving, just that alone, and the hydration process can be set back. You've got to be very smart this time of year with how you're conducting yourself, what you're doing. You can never lose sight of the prize."
- Coughlin was asked if he will take a week off.
"I'll take more than that," he said. "By the end of the summer, I will have taken time. I think that's important. For me, a lot of times all I have to do is change the routine and I can get refreshed but you do need to get away."
- The Giants made a couple of roster moves before their break. They signed defensive tackle Everett Dawkins and tackle Demarcus Love and released defensive tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna and tackle Steven Baker.
Dawkins, 6-2 and 298 pounds, was a 2013 seventh-round draft choice by the Minnesota Vikings, the 229th overall selection, from Florida State. He was released at the end of training camp and signed to Vikings' practice squad. The Dallas Cowboys signed Dawkins on Nov. 6 and he played in one game (Nov. 10 at New Orleans) before his release on Nov. 26. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Dawkins to their practice squad on Nov. 29 and to a reserve/future contract on Jan. 6. Dawkins was waived by the Bucs on June 13.
Love, 6-4 and 315 pounds, is also a former Vikings draft choice (2011 sixth round, the 168th overall selection, from Arkansas). He has not played in a regular-season game. As a rookie, Love was inactive for all 16 games and he spent the 2013 season on injured reserve. Last year, he served a four-game NFL suspension at the start of the season, was waived on Oct. 1 and was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars' practice squad two days later.
The Jaguars signed Love to their active roster on Oct. 9. He was active for three games but did not play before his release on Nov. 4. He was re-signed to Jacksonville's practice squad on Nov. 6 and to a reserve/future contract on Dec. 30 The Jaguars released Love on June 9.