NY Giants: Recapping the Latest Buzz Heading into Training Camp
It won’t be too much longer now until the New York Giants begin their annual training camp—the players report on July 21, and the first practice is set for July 22.
Certainly, the Giants have a lot of work to accomplish this summer, between fine-tuning the new offense that was installed over the spring to resolving some burning player-personnel issues that have popped up because of injury and/or roster turnover.
Let’s take a quick look at five of the biggest storylines facing the Giants when they return to start training camp in less than two weeks.
Offensive Lineman Chris Snee
All spring, the Giants and offensive lineman Chris Snee remained confident that the 11-year veteran, who missed most of last season due to surgeries on both hips and his elbow, would be ready for 2014.
However, Snee ended up missing the last two weeks of the spring because of an unexpected flare-up in his elbow. That occurrence has cast some doubts as to whether Snee will be able to make it back.
“It was more involved than I thought it would be,” Snee told Conor Orr of The Star-Ledger. “The rehab has been longer and that is why there has been this approach.”
The approach has apparently raised some concerns with general manager Jerry Reese, who, in a radio interview with WFAN last month, said that the “jury’s still out” on Snee.
Reese also hinted that Snee might finally have to make that decision that all players eventually dread having to make.
“We’ll see in the next few weeks if he’s going to be able to help us or no,” Reese said. “I think he will make a decision one way or the other.”
The Giants could try to buy some more time by placing Snee on the PUP list to start camp. Regardless, it is a huge gamble for the Giants to count on Snee to make it through a 16-game season.
Running Back David Wilson
Another player who is anxiously awaiting some good medical news is running back David Wilson, who underwent surgery on his neck back in January to address a herniated disc.
Wilson, who has told anyone who will listen that he’s pain-free, is believed to be awaiting the results of an X-ray that will show that his fused neck bones have solidified and thus are stable enough for him to absorb the pounding that is typical of an NFL running back’s job description.
During his last checkup (in June), the news, while promising, still didn’t deliver the final clearance Wilson so desperately wants.
“There has been significant progress and healing since David had the fusion,” Dr. Russell Warren, the Giants’ team physician, said in a statement released by the team.
“But the reality is it has only been four and one-half months since the surgery. We anticipate that when David is re-evaluated at the start of training camp he will be cleared at that point.”
Wilson, who told reporters that he’s next scheduled to see the doctor on July 21, the date the team reports to camp, did participate in some of the spring practices, staying away, though, from any team drills where there was a chance for incidental contact.
While the Giants remain positive about Wilson being ready for camp, as I’ve noted before, other players who have had similar surgery haven’t bounced back within six months of having the surgery.
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning missed an entire season and Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley took more than eight months to receive clearance from a doctor for issues related to their necks.
The most likely scenario for Wilson is that he will begin camp on the PUP list in order to buy more time and then will be re-evaluated before the start of the season.
It would not be a surprise if Wilson ends up starting 2014 on the PUP list, where he’d have to remain for six weeks. However, that decision doesn’t have to be made yet.
Quarterback Ryan Nassib
Based on how the snaps have been distributed during the spring, it’s obvious that the coaches want Ryan Nassib to win the backup job behind Eli Manning.
The problem with that plan is that while Nassib has shown he knows what to do, doing it has been quite another story.
“I think he’s done a great job, especially in our no-huddle periods of just being able to get guys lined up,” quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf told reporters about Nassib’s showing this spring.
“He’s just got to keep working on executing, whether it’s a throw or timing with the receivers, he’s just got to continue to work with those guys.”
What remains to be seen, though, is how much of an opportunity Nassib will get this summer. Logic would dictate that with a new offense being installed, it would be more important to get Manning and the starting unit more snaps this summer so they can get into a rhythm.
Regardless if Manning’s snaps change or not, Nassib still figures to get the bulk of the reps with the second-team offense.
He’ll need to show he can make the throws being asked of him if he’s to convince the coaches that they can get by with just two quarterbacks.
Left Tackle Will Beatty
The Giants are hoping to have left tackle Will Beatty ready for the start of training camp.
Every time both Beatty and head coach Tom Coughlin were asked about the left tackle’s progress back from a broken leg, neither could say with any certainty when Beatty might be back on the field.
In his final press conference of the spring, Coughlin, when asked about Beatty, told reporters that “he seems like he’s making progress” and that he was “hoping for” Beatty to be ready for training camp.
Beatty hasn’t really addressed his situation since April, so there’s been no update regarding his progress. It was a good sign that he was able to work on agility drills on the sideline with a trainer and that he didn’t appear to have any issues with pushing off his leg.
The most likely scenario is that Beatty’s name will show up on the PUP list to start training camp. If that is indeed the case, the giants will be hoping he can make it back as quickly as possible, as otherwise, they’re potentially looking at a significant hole along the starting offensive line.
The New Offense
At the end of the 12 spring practices, new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo was asked for his assessment on how the players have taken to the playbook.
“They have a good feel for what we’re looking for at this point,” McAdoo told reporters.
“To say that we have things mastered after 12 practices, by no stretch of the imagination do we have everything mastered, but they understand the identity that we’re looking for moving forward, and it will be exciting to get them back here and get some pads on,” he added.
Besides trying to bring the new offense up to speed, McAdoo still has some looming questions that could potentially affect his initial plans.
For example, there is the unsettled offensive line, which could be looking at missing left tackle Will Beatty and right guard Chris Snee.
There is also the matter of the tight end position, where no one from a group that includes Adrien Robinson, Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells, Kellen Davis and Xavier Grimble has jumped out to take the lead in this competition.
Want more question marks? Take a look at the running back spot, where the team may or may not have David Wilson, and where it is no doubt hoping for rookie Andre Williams to show an accelerated understanding of the offense so he can get on the field a lot sooner than Michael Cox and David Wilson did in their respective rookie seasons.
The good news is that McAdoo seems to understand that every offense takes on a life form of its own based on the personnel.
Based on what he told reporters during his introductory conference call back in February, he seems willing to be flexible in that regard.
“At the end of the day, you have to make sure you’re flexible enough,” he said at the time. “It depends on what type of personnel you feed it to see what it’s going to look like.”