Here are some stories of interest to New York Giants' fans as we wait anxiously for training camp to begin at the University of Albany. Monday can't get here fast enough.
- First, a little self-promotion. Don't forget to join Inside Football's Pat Traina and I on 'New York Giants Talk' at 8 p.m. We will be talking with long-time Giants' beat writer Ernie Palladino, and we might have a couple of other surprises for you. So, remember to tune in.
- Safety Kenny Phillips told Ralph Vacchiano he knows he probably won't be ready for full-time duty when the season starts, but aims for "some type of playing time." The Giants plan to move slowly with Phillips, who is returning from micro-fracture surgery.
"What's important is for him to be on the field when we play Carolina (in the opener)," added GM Jerry Reese. "So we'll start him really slow at the beginning of training camp, get his feet under him. Obviously he's been doing some work while he's been away. We've been monitoring that. But we just want him to take it slow because we want him to be our starting safety when we line up against Carolina on (September) 12th."
- Keith Bulluck, the Giants' new middle linebacker, has been making the media rounds since his signing was announced over the weekend. Here is a spot Bulluck did for NFL Network.
- WFAN's Paul Dottino offers up a Giants' season preview. Here is some of what Dottino wrote.
The Giants - from the front office on down - are an extremely determined bunch as they enter the 2010 season. Team president John Mara made his feelings crystal clear immediately following last year's disappointing finish, an 8-8 mark that he said "felt more like 2-14. It is just not acceptable to perform like that."
Given the number of talented playoff-tested veterans on their roster, the Giants are expecting to return to the postseason for the fifth time in six years. They've tweaked the coaching staff and attempted to bolster their defense through the draft and free agency. Has GM Jerry Reese done enough to get the job done? It's realistic to think so - then you remind yourself of how a slew of early-season injuries quickly weakened last year's playoff blueprint, which slowly disintegrated as the defense fell apart and lost its identity.
If last season's failure isn't enough to put pressure on this team, there's the issue of coach Tom Coughlin, who's entering the next-to-last year of his contract (not that he ever needs added motivation). His long-term status likely will be determined at the end of this season since it's organization policy to avoid having a coach work in the final year of his deal. A playoff season translates into an extension, unless he decides to retire. A failure to qualify, might force the Giants to make a change.
I have said it before, and it bears repeating here. I'm not buying the 'Coughlin is coaching for his job' stuff. Unless the season is a complete 5-11 or 4-12 failure, which I just don't see happening.
- Since I mentioned Bulluck earlier, I should say that the 10-year veteran weighed in on Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant refusing to carry Roy Williams' shoulder pads as part of standard rookie hazing.
"It could be the fact that they may be giving him star treatment already down there," Bulluck said. "He’s wearing Playmaker’s (Michael Irvin’s) number; that’s a big thing in itself. … It’ll tell a lot about the Dallas Cowboys as a team to see how they handle that, their No. 1 draft pick acting the way he’s acting, being defiant."