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Upon Further Review: Rookies ignite Giants vs. Eagles


*Coach Ben McAdoo recaps the Giants' win over the Eagles after viewing the game tape: *

EAST RUTHERFORD. N.J. – Last Monday, the Giants returned from their bye week break and Ben McAdoo hinted that they might have a different look when they faced the Philadelphia Eagles.

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"We're not going to shy away from playing young players," coach Ben McAdoo said. "Especially guys who are working hard to do it the way we ask them to do it."

Yesterday, McAdoo put his plan into action, and not coincidentally, the Giants stretched their winning streak to three games with a 28-23 victory against the Eagles in MetLife Stadium.

Rookies Roger Lewis, Jr., Paul Perkins and Jerell Adams saw their roles expand, and another first-year player, free agent Andrew Adams, continued to produce as the starting free safety. It's midseason, but the Giants have kicked off their youth movement.

"That's how I grew up in this business, to get young players and everyone involved in game days that is up (in uniform)," McAdoo said on a conference call today. "Give them all the support they need to be successful. The way to get young players acclimated to the varsity team is to get them out there and get them going. When the snaps get to December and January, it's not too big for them. It's not the first time they're on the field."

McAdoo is not concerned that young players have a propensity to make mistakes, insisting the benefits outweigh the detriments.

"You have to acclimate them early," he said. "You can't wait until December. You have to get them opportunities to compete in practice and get them in there in games. They have to earn the opportunity. They don't just get to play. They have to earn that opportunity and prove that they're trustworthy and accountable. I think it does a lot for your team. It gives 46 guys an opportunity to play. I think it helps the veterans and breathes some life in the veterans in the long season. They have young guys that are champing at the bit. They bring excitement and energy. It's fun to see the young guys have success."

And they had plenty of it yesterday. Adams started his fifth consecutive game and intercepted his first career pass, setting up the Giants' second touchdown.

Lewis saw more action than usual early in the game, and seldom left the field after Victor Cruz hurt his ankle in the second quarter. His only reception was a 30-yard touchdown. Six-year veteran Dwayne Harris, used almost exclusively as a return specialist, also took several snaps at wide receiver for the first time this season.

"I think it's always good to get everyone involved," McAdoo said. "Those are two guys that have earned some opportunities. They've been practicing hard. Look good in practice and have earned reps. We're going to give them some opportunities as long as they keep earning reps and working hard on the practice field and in games."

Lewis has scored touchdowns on two of his three receptions this season.

"He's a young and improving player," McAdoo said. "He's taking advantage of his special teams opportunities. He needs to continue to do that. As long as he continues to produce the way he has been producing on special teams and improving on offense, he will get the opportunity to play."

Perkins and Rashad Jennings each had a team-high 11 rushing attempts. But Perkins, the team's fifth-round draft choice this year, led the way with 32 yards. And when the Giants were looking to clinch the victory on the critical fourth-quarter possession that began with 3:51 remaining, Perkins ran the ball on four consecutive plays, picking up 17 yards and a first down.

"We balanced up the touches there a little bit," McAdoo said. "It's tough to feature one guy in the running game these days. You need a couple of guys that can carry the ball for you. He had some good opportunities in there. Some clean looks. On the toss crack, he did a nice job finding the seam. He kept his balance and had a nice run there at the end."

Larry Donnell, who had been the starting tight end, got zero offensive snaps yesterday. Tackle Marshall Newhouse was used as an extra lineman/tight end on seven plays.

"I think Marshall did a nice job in there," McAdoo said. "He used good technique and fundamentals. He was productive when he had his opportunities."

Second-year pro Will Tye and Adams absorbed the receiving duties. The former tied Odell Beckham, Jr. for the team high with four receptions, and Adams added three.

"Tye definitely had some wiggle after the catch," McAdoo said. "We knew that from last year. He showed up in a positive way for us yesterday in that regard. Jerell did a nice job for us out there. He did have a pre-snap penalty which we have to eliminate, but he made some progress, too."

Perhaps the only rookie who played and didn't fare as well as he would have liked was cornerback Eli Apple. The first-round draft choice missed a tackle and some other opportunities, prompting the coaches to replace him with Trevin Wade in the second half.

"We're going to dust Eli off, put him back out there," McAdoo said. "He's going to get better and learn from it."

Just like everyone else in his class.

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