The regular season begins for the New York Giants in just six days. With that in mind, it is time to once again channel my inner Peter King with a 'Five things I think I think' about the Giants
I think the comments by Mathias Kiwanuka about Tom Coughlin are very interesting. In case you missed what Kiwanuka said, here it is, courtesy of Newsday's Tom Rock:
"He's definitely more intense than I've seen him before," the defensive end said Monday. "He's back to the '07 Tom who was just 100-percent focused on details and not willing to let anything slide. He's taking everybody and holding them accountable."
Kiwanuka made it clear that Coughlin, who turned 68 Sunday, has never actually let things slide or allowed the players to get too comfortable. But after two years in which the Giants failed to reach the playoffs, it's clear that the cozy, cuddly Coughlin has had enough.
"You can see it in his eyes that he wants to win now," Kiwanuka said. "There's no waiting until next year, no waiting until whenever. It's about getting this group of guys right here to win now. He's trying to do it and I think that's going to bleed into the rest of the team."
Coughlin has always been a terrific, detail-oriented coach who expected physicality and mistake-free football. Too often in recent season he has not gotten it. I have wondered at times if the 'cozy, cuddly Coughlin' had gone a bit too far. Perhaps at 68 and knowing his time on the sidelines is growing short Coughlin feels the need to turn up the heat a little bit. He has talked about being re-energized this season by many of the changes the Giants have made. Perhaps that is a good thing for the Giants.
Jon Beason Returns To Practice
•Big Blue ViewThe Giants are excited about having their middle linebacker back on the field.
I think I've been right about Odell Beckham Jr. I have been saying for a while now that I think Beckham is going to be of little use to the Giants for the first half of the season. After Monday's rant by Coughlin in which he said the rookie wide receiver might be two or three weeks from returning it seems apparent that is correct. Beckham has barely practiced since being drafted and whenever he is able to practice regularly it stands to reason that it will take him several weeks to get into shape and to get caught up with the offense.
I think Corey Washington/Victor Cruz comparisons are inevitable but unfair. Cruz was an undrafted free agent who came out of a small school (UMass) and became a star. Washington is an undrafted free agent from Division II Newberry College who made the 53-man roster after becoming a preseason sensation with four touchdown catches. Let's slow the Washington hype train just a bit, though. To expect that he immediately turns into Cruz II, one of the game's best and most polished receivers, is unrealistic. He might one day, but at present he is a talented, but raw wide receiver with size and strength at 6-foot-4, 214 pounds, a willingness to be physical and an attitude that shows you he wants to be great. We still, however, don't know what Washington can do against the best corners in the league. Washington figures to be part of four-wide receiver sets and red zone packages initially. Yes, he might turn into a special find for the Giants. Then again, he might not. Let's see how he performs.
I think it will be interesting to see the playing time split between Devon Kennard and Jameel McClain once Jon Beason is back to playing full time The veteran McClain moved from the strong side into the middle when Beason was injured during OTAs. His presence and leadership ability helped hold the defense together while Beason recuperated. McClain's move to the middle, however, also opened the door for Kennard to get first-team reps on the strong side. Kennard took full advantage of them, impressing nearly every time he took the field. So, now what do the Giants do when Beason resumes full-time duties in the middle? Do they simply slide McClain back to the strong side and bench the impressive rookie? Do they tell McClain 'thanks a lot, but now take a seat so the kid can play?' The Giants need dynamic play-making ability in their front seven. I don't know if it will happen right away, but I believe that eventually the Giants will conclude that Kennard has to play.
I think Giants fans will be very interested in Eric Ebron Monday night. Every Giants fan knows that the team's tight end situation is less than desirable entering the season. Many were hoping Ebron, the No. 1 tight end in the 2014 NFL Draft class, would be available to the Giants at No. 12. Ebron, a Giants fan growing up, would have liked that scenario himself. The Lions, however, took him at No. 10. Ebron was not dominant in the preseason, catching seven passes. If the Giants' trio of Larry Donnell, Daniel Fells and Adrien Robinson and Ebron has a good night there will certainly be some gnashing of teeth from some Giants' fans.