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Giants’ notebook: Fake punt explanation, Carolina’s plan, more

Notable remarks this week from Giants’ assistant coaches

Los Angeles Rams v New York Giants
Giants’ center Billy Price
Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Thursday was one of those days when New York Giants position coaches and coordinators were available to media, along with head coaches Joe Judge and Matt Rhule. Here are some of the items from assistant coaches we haven’t been able to get to.

About that fake punt

The Los Angeles Rams pulled a fake punt on the Giants last Sunday where it looked like the Giants left a gunner uncovered. Turns out the Rams ended up penalized for hiding the gunner on the sideline and sneaking him on at the last season. Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey did not seem pleased by the Rams’ chicanery.

“They tried to sneak a guy on late. Typical. It is what it is,” McGaughey said. “You can’t have the intent to deceive inside the bench area. If everybody is on the field, and all of a sudden, a guy comes on to the field late, the guy has to come inside of the numbers, then go back out to get set. If he doesn’t go inside the numbers, illegal substitution, both flags come out. It’s illegal, you can’t do it.”

The play ended up in offsetting penalties because Giants’ assistant special teams coordinator Tom Quinn apparently entered a restricted area while trying to point the Rams’ violation out to officials.

“People don’t care”

Each week this season the Giants have had a different offensive line combination. It is impossible to build true consistency under the circumstances, but offensive line coach Rob Sale knows the expectations don’t change.

“That’s the theme right now. Trying to build consistency but right now it’s a little hard. It is what it is, gotta get the guys ready to play,” Sale said. “There’s no excuses. People don’t care, rightfully so. Get those guys ready to play and put a good product out there for Sunday, that’s the plan.”

“Phenomenal” Evan Engram

After a costly Week 3 fumble against the Atlanta Falcons, Giants’ tight end Evan Engram was booed whenever he entered the game and cheered when he left the field. Engram has had three productive games since, with 12 catches in 15 targets.

I asked tight ends coach Derek Dooley how Engram has handled fans turning on him.

“He’s been phenomenal, and been no different,” Dooley said. “He’s battle-tested. This is his fifth year in the league. When you’re in the league over an amount of time and you’re in the spotlight you’re going to be subjected to criticism. That’s the nature of our sport, the nature of our business. No different than coaching. It’s hard to really survive and last if your focus is on whatever is being said about you.

“It’s so important to be able to evaluate what you’re doing day-to-day internally and then accept what you’ve done, work on fixing it, acknowledge what you’ve done right and keep building on that. He’s had that approach. I’m really proud of him.”

“Hell no, it’s not misdirection!”

Panthers’ coach Matt Rhule was quoted this week saying he wants his team to run the ball 30 or more times every game, beginning Sunday against the Giants. Patrick Graham, the Giants’ defensive coordinator, is taking him at his word.

“Hell no, it’s not misdirection. A head coach does that, he’s letting you know. He’s letting everybody in that building know, giddy up, let’s go, we’re running the ball,” Graham said. “I can’t blame him. I think I’ve read the quote and I heard the press conference, ‘The first three games, two turnovers running the ball, blah, blah, blah. Last three games, eight turnovers. We’ve got to protect the quarterback. We’ve got to protect the o-line, blah, blah, blah by running the ball.’

“He’s letting everybody know – I’m so bad with sayings – everybody is on notice that we’ve got to run the ball. I take him for his word. Again, I don’t know the man personally, but I’ve heard about him and how people talk about him. I take him for his word. They’re going to come in here with the intent to run the football. He put the challenge down for those guys and I’m sure it was a motivating thing for his team.”

Do tight ends need more targets

The Giants have injuries at running back. They have a myriad of injuries at wide receiver. Engram is again dealing with a calf injury. Kyle Rudolph (8) and Kaden Smith (3) have only 11 catches so far this season. Rudolph (48 career touchdowns) has not been a red zone factor.

Do the Giants need to more heavily involve those players in the passing attack?

“We try every week. We have chances, we have opportunities. For different reasons maybe you don’t get as many as you want. Whether we have injuries or not we’re trying to go out there and really have a positive impact on the game,” Dooley said.

“We always create a menu where each position can have a big impact on the game and we see how it pans out.”

Kadarius Toney is “getting there”

The rookie wide receiver won’t play this week due to his ankle injury. We have, though, seen glimpses of what the first-round pick can do. Wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert thinks there is plenty more to come.

“He’s getting there. He’s not anywhere close to where he’s gonna be,” Tolbert said. “You still have to have patience with young guys. They’re still trying to feel the game. It’s going to be the first time he has a season this long. It’s a process with him, it still requires patience to be able to get him to do the things that we want him to do on a consistent basis.”

Expectations for Aaron Robinson, Elerson Smith

Both rookies, the third- and fourth-round picks respectively, returned to practice this week. They will not be added to the 53-man roster in time for Sunday’s game and expectations for how much they can contribute in the near future need to be tempered.

Here’s linebacker coach Kevin Sherrer on Smith:

“These guys have been practicing for three months live .. he [Smith] didn’t play last year, either, so I don’t have an answer for how long it’s gonna be. He could come out there today and look like a totally different person, or it could take a week or two.”

Defensive backs coach Jerome Henderson said “we’ll find out as we go” how far behind Robinson is:

“We liked him coming out and then lost him pretty quickly. This is really the first time to see him go out and practice. Excited for him. The kid has done a great job keeping himself mentally into it and prepared. Again, I’m just excited to see him out there in the mix.

“Hopefully we can get him up to speed quickly.”