EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –** In the NFL, one's man's injury is another player's opportunity. Regarding the Giants' wide receivers, multiple injuries have resulted in several players getting increased chances to demonstrate their capabilities to the coaches.
For the second day in a row, three wideouts missed practice. Victor Cruz (calf) and Rueben Randle (knee) were joined by Julian Talley (toe), who stepped out as Odell Beckham Jr. stepped back in (he missed the workout yesterday after having dental work the previous day).
With the number of available receivers reduced, players like Dwayne Harris, Corey Washington and rookie Geremy Davis have received more practice reps. And while they miss their injured teammates, they are grateful for the increased workload.
"It just gives me a chance to get out and work on my craft, and get a better understanding of the playbook, too," said Harris, the five-year veteran who joined the Giants as a free agent this offseason. "And get the feel with Eli (Manning) and how he works, and how he operates. It's a good feeling. It's good for me, it's good for my preparation, and it's good for Eli getting a feel for me."
Washington was one of the Giants' sensations last summer, when Beckham missed most of camp with a hamstring strain. He scored fourth-quarter touchdowns in each of the Giants' first four preseason games, including three game-winners. That production helped him make the final roster as a longshot rookie free agent. Washington caught just five passes all season, and is still fighting for a roster spot. He had just one catch for eight yards in the preseason opener last week in Cincinnati.
"I'm still considered a special teams player," Washington said. "So I have to perform on offense and special teams, and hopefully be able to make the team again.
"With the three receivers we've got in front of me - Odell and Rueben and Vic - I'm pretty sure the fourth receiver has to be a special teamer. That's what I'm aiming for, to be the fourth receiver. So, we'll see."
He seemed to help himself in practice this evening, catching several passes without a drop.
"I think every day is a good day for me," Washington said. "Once one guy goes down, another guy has to step up. It's a good opportunity for me because I get more reps.
"I'm just waiting to see when the season starts, to see if I made the 53-man roster and we'll go from there."
Davis was the Giants' sixth-round draft choice this year. But when the offense took the field for the first team period in practice, he was one of two wide receivers, along with veteran James Jones.
"One of the things my coaches used to say in the past, 'You want to never know that the starting guy is missing,'" Davis said. "So I'm trying to make sure I do that good of a job, that you can't even tell the difference. I'm just trying to fill in the role of some talented wide receivers, and just establish trust from the quarterbacks and just do my part.
"Once someone gets hurt, you're next in line. You never know, that second-string guy, if someone goes down in the first group, that preparation you did with second-string can help you out with first-string as well."
Davis didn't catch as many balls today as Washington, but he was grateful for the increased work.
"I wanted my reps to increase," Davis said. "I feel like we often get a lot of work in practice in general at the wide receiver position, if it's with the ones, two's or three's. In general, all the wideouts are getting good work."
It's up to them to take advantage of it.
- Safety Nat Berhe took another step toward a full return when he participated in a few snaps in the defensive period, and many more on the scout team (as the Giants prepared for their preseason game Saturday night vs. Jacksonville). He reported no soreness in the strained calf that has sidelined him for most of camp.
"It's been so long that getting back out there made me realize how much I've really, really missed it," said Berhe, a second-year pro. "It was one thing to say I missed it, but to actually get out there on the field, I'm like, 'Man, this is where I belong.' So it was good. I got a lot of reps today on scout, and on (special) teams. I was able to get in a couple toward the end of team, I was able to get thrown in for two, three plays. I was good. Just trying to make sure I ran to everything so I can get my cardio back, and just trying to get in shape at this point.
"Everything is really big. You can play your technique no matter what coverage you're in, or whatever they put you in on the paper. So I just try to make sure I get to the ball and go through my progressions and stuff like that. Just try to keep sharpening."
Berhe will not play against the Jaguars, but expects to practice fully on Monday.
"That's the plan – 100 percent, absolutely."
- In addition to the receivers listed above, several Giants missed practice, including safeties Landon Collins (knee) and Cooper Taylor (toe), defensive end George Selvie (knee), cornerback Jayron Hosley (concussion), and offensive lineman Brandon Mosley (back).
- Fans attending the Giants home games this season, including Saturday's preseason contest vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars, should be aware of likely postgame traffic delays due to ongoing construction on the Southbound entrance ramp at the 16W interchange to the New Jersey Turnpike. Fans who normally use this route to access the Turnpike will experience delays.
To avoid this construction, fans are advised to use either the 18W interchange to the New Jersey Turnpike or Eastern Spur of the New Jersey Turnpike via Route 3 East (Lincoln Tunnel / New York City / Secaucus).
- To provide a safer environment for the public while attending Giants games at MetLife Stadium, an NFL policy limits the size and types of bags AND purses that may be brought into the stadium.
The Giants strongly encourage fans to not bring any type of bags or purses. Fans will be able to carry the following style and size bags into the stadium:
One bag that is clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and does not exceed 12" x 6" x 12.", OR
A one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar) AND
In addition to one of the clear bags noted above, fans may also carry in a small clutch bag, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap.
An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at the Stadium entry gates.
Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, binocular cases, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, seat cushions, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
- Finally, all fans must pass through a metal detector prior to entering the stadium.