EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – When the Jacksonville Jaguars last played an important game, Nate Solder was on the opposing team. Solder's New England Patriots defeated the Jaguars, 24-10, in the 2017 NFC Championship Game to advance to Super Bowl LII.
On Sunday, the Jaguars will be in MetLife Stadium to open their 2018 season against the Giants, whose new left tackle is none other than Nate Solder.
Today, Solder did his best to discount any advantage he might have – or any information he could impart – by having played the Jaguars so recently.
"We're going to look at that film and evaluate it for what it is and how they run things," Solder said. "You don't want to draw too much on things, because you're going to take things for granted. So you do what they're doing currently, what they're most likely to do against us and that's what you got to be prepared for. You have to execute when the time comes."
Solder was asked about Jacksonville's defense, which last season ranked second overall (allowing 286.1 yards a game) and first against the pass (169.9).
"You got to have some exotic stuff, they have some base stuff, but overall, they're a very talented group," Solder said. "They play really hard, they have a lot of confidence in how they play and the guys that they play, so it's a really tough challenge for us."
*Soon after Pat Shurmur became coach of the Giants, he began talking to former players and coaches for their perspective on the culture around the franchise. One of those he spoke to was Tom Coughlin, who led the Giants to a pair of Super Bowl victories in his 12 seasons as the head coach (2004-15). Coughlin is now the Jaguars' executive vice president of football operations.
"I have a professional friendship with Tom and we've been able to communicate," Shurmur said. "One of the guys I talked to when I was talking to former players and coaches was Tom in the offseason, and I've communicated with him a few times in the offseason. I'm going to go to his fundraiser (the Jay Fund Champions for Children Gala) on (September) 21. I have great respect for Tom and what he accomplished, and certainly he left a very, very strong mark on this organization."
*Eli Manning said he hasn't spoken recently with Coughlin.
"I wouldn't think we would talk before the game unless I see him before kickoff sometime," Manning said. … "Obviously, still have a great relationship with coach Coughlin and cherish the time that we had, and appreciate those 12 years of him being my head coach. But besides that, I look at this game and saying it's the Giants against the Jaguars and I'm trying to get our offense prepared to against that defense."
*The Giants have added – and deleted – eight players to the roster since Sunday, including linebacker Nate Stupar this morning. Coach Pat Shurmur was asked if he was concerned about players on the roster seeing the turnover and that "creating a sense of them being on edge or uncomfortable."
"We are all on edge and we are all uncomfortable," Shurmur said. "When we had the 53 guys that made the team in here, we congratulated them for making the initial 53. But we're all trying to earn the right to stay here every day. It really doesn't matter your view of who you are and where you are on the roster, we're all fighting to stay here every day."
*Linebacker Olivier Vernon did not practice as he continues to receive treatment on his sprained ankle.
"He's making great progress," Shurmur said. "From what I've seen, he seems to be a fast healer, but he's working his way back. He's doing a good job of trying to get back. Certainly when we don't have OV in there, we've got to compensate and maybe two or three guys have to do what he does."
*The only other player to appear on the Giants' initial injury report was rookie linebacker Tae Davis, who did not practice because of a hamstring injury.
*Tight end Evan Engram is no longer in the NFL concussion protocol and practiced fully.
*Shurmur was asked about the Giants' six captains (Manning, Solder, Landon Collins, Alec Ogletree, Zak DeOssie and Michael Thomas) who were chosen in a vote by the players and assistant coaches.
"I think they chose well," Shurmur said. "That's the group of players that I will meet with, and those will be our game captains throughout the season. They chose well. We're talking about guys that can be an extension of this team. I told them this morning, it's going to be fun for me to watch your team work. They've got to take ownership of it and be an extension of me and our organization, and represent our players. I think they'll do that well."