Rightly or wrongly, one of the perceptions during the Tom Coughlin era as New York Giants coach was that young players had to wait their turn, only getting a shot when there wasn’t a trusted veteran for Coughlin to turn to.
Well, rejoice, Giants fans. New coach Ben McAdoo said Saturday he won’t hesitate in that regard.
“We’re not going to be afraid to play young players,” he said.
Indications are that the team’s top three picks, cornerback Eli Apple (Round 1), wide receiver Sterling Shepard (Round 2) and safety Darian Thompson (Round 3) could all play significant roles from the beginning.
"All the rookies understand that if you make plays, you'll be out there on Sunday's." - @sterl_shep3— New York Giants (@Giants) July 30, 2016
Let’s look at a few other takeaways from McAdoo’s post-practice meeting with reporters.
One of the questions the Giants have to answer is which of their cornerbacks will have primary responsibility for playing in the slot. McAdoo’s indication Saturday was that it could be all of them.
“We’ll use those guys fairly interchangeably,” he said. “I see our corners like I see our receivers. I see our corners as guys that have versatility, they’re smart, conscientious players who can play inside and outside.”
Defense will “have to go through some pain”
The massive spending spree that brought the Giants Damon Harrison, Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins and linebackers Keenan Robinson and Kelvin Sheppard doesn’t guarantee success.
“Just because we went out and signed a bunch of guys ... we’re gonna have to go through some pain together.,” McAdoo said. “We’re gonna have to go through pain and we’re gonna have to learn. To get the type of chemistry we’re looking for is gonna take some time.”
Five tight ends?
The competition for roster spots at tight end promises to be one of the most hard-fought of the entire preseason. The Giants currently have six players who all bring something useful to the table. How many will they keep? McAdoo wasn’t committing to a number on Saturday. He pointed out that during one of his seasons as an assistant with the Green Bay Packers, where he once coached tight ends, that the team kept five on the active roster.
“We’re gonna keep the best players. We’re not gonna hold ourselves hostage on what type of numbers we want at different spots. We told those guys that the numbers are gonna fluctuate based on how they perform,” he said.
“If we have five we’ll keep five, if not we’ll keep less. We’re gonna keep the best players we can keep.”