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New-look placekicking battery has first practice


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Josh Brown knew this was a strange day long before he took the practice field.

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"I was more weirded out this morning when I came in the cafeteria," Brown said.

That's because for the first time in his three years with the team, Zak DeOssie wasn't there to join him. DeOssie, the Giants' long-snapper for every game since 2007, was placed on injured reserve this week with a wrist injury that will require surgery. He was replaced by Danny Aiken, who previously played four years for the New England Patriots.

"Walking in, I normally saw Zak, cut off shirt on, kind of sitting eating his bowl of oatmeal," Brown said. "I just remember that. I think it just lets me know that even when football is not the topic of the conversation or what it's about, you see the impact people have on your life. I was pretty keen on that this morning."

Throughout training camp, the Giants had the same three kicking game specialists they lined up with the previous two seasons: Brown as the kicker, DeOssie as the holder, and Steve Weatherford as the punter/holder. Brown was actually the most recent arrival, having joined the team in 2013. Now he's the last man standing. Weatherford was cut just prior to the season opener when Brad Wing was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh. And now DeOssie, who had played in 149 consecutive games since his arrival, is out.

"It is weird," Brown said. "I guess I've grown accustomed to understanding this league. And the guys that make an impact on life, I always stay in touch with. Obviously, Steve and Zak were both valuable guys to this organization and valuable guys to me. It definitely is odd, but that's this business."

The members of the new placekicking battery said they had a smooth and productive first practice together.

"It was great," Aiken said. "Great teammates. It's great to be in here and working with such a great team and organization. I just come in each and every day and try and get better."

"No alarms or anything," Wing said. "I think that Danny is a good snapper. He's got good experience and he's played in big games. There's no issues with that. You don't have to worry about him getting in a game and getting nervous or anything because he's played in Super Bowls; that's something I haven't done or a lot of guys haven't done. It's good we have a guy with some good experience under his belt."

With a new snapper, does Wing have more of an adjustment to make as a punter or a holder?

"It's a little of both," he said. "It's not so much the snap physically, it's more just getting used to Danny's rhythm - when he snaps the ball and everybody around kind of going on the snap, and getting used to when he lets it go. But as far as the snap goes and everything, there's really been no change."

Brown said it was "just another Wednesday." (Yes, he knows it's Thursday. It's Wednesday in the work week, because the Giants play Monday night in Miami.) He said he made every kick.

"It doesn't necessarily affect me a tremendous amount," Brown said. "The guy is doing a great job, Aiken's done a good job, but it's Brad who I really have to lay my trust into. And he did a great job. We've done a great job really building upon that trust. It's just a matter of staying with what gets me going, or what starts the movement and that's his hand. So for me, it's not a tremendous adjustment."

•  Tackle Ereck Flowers (ankle) and linebacker Devon Kennard (hamstring/foot) were the only Giants to miss practice today. Safety Brandon Meriweather (knee) and tackle Marshall Newhouse (back) were limited.

•  At his news conference this morning, Tom Coughlin broke out into jumping jacks when he was asked about Dallas' victory over Washington on Monday night, which put the Giants back into a first place tie in the NFC East.

"I have seen the jumping jacks," Eli Manning said. "They're impressive."

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