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Coordinator Corner: James Bettcher, Mike Shula, Thomas McGaughey offer insight

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Bettcher, Shula, McGaughey highlight Jenkins, Manning and Rosas in their press conferences

Green Bay Packers v New York Giants Photo by Al Pereira/Getty Images

New York Giants coordinators James Bettcher (defense), Mike Shula (offense), and Thomas McGaughey (special teams) spoke to reporters on Friday. Here are a few of the key items and players they addressed.

James Bettcher, defense

Cornerback Janoris Jenkins expressed his frustration with Bettcher after the Giants most recent loss to the Green Bay Packers last Sunday, saying to the media “Use me the way I need to be used.”

It remains to be seen if Bettcher will grant Jenkins his wish on the field, but for now Bettcher relies on praising the practice attitude and performance of the eight-year player.

“I have been places where we traveled all the time and I’ve been here where we’ve traveled at different times and in the course of different games and different situations,” Bettcher said. “The philosophy on that is if it works for everyone, it’s a great thing to do. If it works to where it allows our best guy to be on their best guy, but at the same time, the other guys that are on the field playing to have their feet settled and able to play the downs in whatever those man or zone, or whatever coverages you want to run on them, then it’s great ... Again, I love Jack, love working with him, he’s been competing his butt off and I look forward to him having a strong finish to the rest of the season.”

Even with a better rush defense the past three games though (opponents are under three yards per carry), the Giants secondary that Jenkins and other players are a part of, is still struggling. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers threw for 243 yards last week, Mitchell Trubisky of the Chicago Bears threw for 278 yards and Jets quarterback Sam Darnold threw for 230 yards.

“If someone rushes it 20 times for 150 yards or run it 30 times for 150 yards that changes the number of times they are willing to throw the ball,” Bettcher said. “Obviously, when people throw the ball yards per pass attempt is obviously a higher number. I’m excited that it’s gone in that direction that we have been getting better and better. I think some of that is we’ve been better with our gap leverage. We’ve been better with our eyes on pullers at the second level. Those are things that we’ve tried to identify and work in practice as much as we can.”

The fewer yards per carry might be an improvement, but it doesn’t matter much when teams throw the ball to achieve the same success.

Mike Shula, offense

For Shula, the focus and emphasis, as it should be, is on Eli Manning.

Manning has not played in a game since Week 2 against the Buffalo Bills. The last time he played the Philadelphia Eagles was November 25 of last year. The Giants were also at Philly for that game and they lost, 25-22.

Shula has no doubts about the veteran QB making the transition from backup to starter.

“He always has a good look in his eye,” Shula said. “He’s been great for me as a coach, to be around. I’ve learned a lot from him. I look forward to watching him on Monday night.”

Shula’s only concern for Manning, if any, is the communication being at Lincoln Financial Field. But other than that, Shula does not believe that Manning will have any trouble jumping back into the role that he assumed for so many years.

“I don’t think it won’t be, I just think it’s a matter of getting back out there, getting that first snap and going,” Shula said. “It’s kind of like, probably the same question you would ask me if we had taken a break from the end of OTAs to training camp, that type of thing. But like I said earlier, probably being on the road, the communication, making sure we’re really, really detailed, loud and clear and things like that.”

It will only help Manning that it looks the Giants will finally have all of their receivers back out on the field as Golden Tate (concussion) and Evan Engram (foot) are expected to be in the lineup alongside Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton. It will be Tate’s first game playing with Manning.

“I think what it does is it allows us to not necessarily go and feature one guy, Shula said. “I think it presents, hopefully for the defense, it presents a personnel grouping of, ‘Hey, we need to be careful here because if we focus our attention on this guy, then we have a one on one on that side,’ or ‘If we try to go split safeties, two-deep shell, where we’re trying to umbrella coverage or we’re trying to help out in cover, now we have to be careful about Saquon (Barkley) running the ball.’ Hopefully, that’s what it presents.”

Thomas McGaughey, special teams

Kicker Aldrick Rosas finally erased some doubt with his performance in the snow against the Packers last Sunday. Before that game, Rosas had a span where he missed an extra point attempt in three straight games. Then, he missed two field goal attempts against the Chicago Bears. Last week, Rosas was a perfect two-for-two on field goals and one-for-one on extra point attempts.

“It was really good,” McGaughey said. “We were talking about that the other day, as a staff, just in those conditions to be able to do what he did. Just to kind of move and operate a new operation, it was really good. It’s obviously a confidence booster for him and just trying to get back on track.”

McGaughey said that he hopes that Week 13’s performance acts as a reset going forward for Rosas.

“It was just one of those deals like he just had to get used to seeing the ball, seeing the ball where it’s going to be, where it’s going to be, and getting comfortable with it,” McGaughey said.

It helps that the former Pro Bowl kicker has a way of letting things slide off his back so he does not get too bogged down by his mistakes.

“It doesn’t matter to him,” McGaughey said. “If the football is on the ground, he’s going to kick it. He’s a hard charging bull, just a big strong man. He doesn’t let a lot of stuff phase him. He doesn’t get too high, doesn’t get too low, he just kind of stays even keel, which is what you want.”