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Giants honor fallen Fells after big win

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – One reason why the New York Giants particularly wanted to play well Sunday night was to honor a current teammate who is currently in a potentially life-threatening battle.

That teammate is tight end Daniel Fells, who last week was placed on injured reserve when he was found to have contracted the deadly MRSA infection. Fells, who has been hospitalized since Oct. 2, has had multiple surgeries thus far to clear his body of the infection with more reportedly still to come.

“We also wanted to win the game, and we dedicated the game to Daniel Fells,” Coughlin said. “On Skype in our team meeting today, we showed him the game ball that he will receive. Everybody was able to cheer him on and try to make him feel better.”

Coughlin revealed that Fells watched the game from his hospital bed and that the tight end was “very proud of the way that we finished it.”

While Fells is not yet out of the woods, according to Coughlin, the 32-year-old tight end has made progress in his fight against MRSA, which according to an NFL Network report, had him facing the possible amputation of his foot if doctors couldn’t get the infection under control with medication and the surgeries.

“I think he’s pretty much having a third day in a row where the progress is being made and he feels better than he has,” Coughlin said. “He’s gotten two or three straight nights of good sleep. I think that’s helped.”

That and watching his teammates do well have certainly been instrumental in boosting Fells’ spirits. After the game, several teammates, including receiver Rueben Randle and running back Orleans Darkwa, gave shout-outs to Fells via Twitter, with many others sending their warmest thoughts and wishes for a speedy recovery in their postgame comments to the media.

“As I said, we dedicated the game to him,” Coughlin said. “He was very gracious about receiving a game ball, and was excited about that happening. He told his teammates what he felt about them based on their game. It was nice.”

–When the Giants conduct their year-end review of the football operations — and they’re certainly hoping that the process won’t take place until after the Super Bowl — one move on which they’re certain to look back at with joy is the decision to sign running back Shane Vereen in the offseason to a three-year, $12.35 million contract.

At the time, the deal was a curious one given that the Giants had just the year before inked Rashad Jennings to a big contract to be their starter and who had also added Andre Williams in the fourth round in the draft.

But Vereen has proven himself to be the missing piece to the Giants offense, and he showed the world why in the 30-27 win over the 49ers he was so highly pursued by New York in the offseason.

The first thing Vereen gives the Giants that they’ve been missing for quite some time is a receiving threat out of the backfield. With 20 receptions for 208 yards and one touchdown, Vereen, who is third on the Giants in both receptions and yards, is on pace for 64 catches for 666 yards and three touchdowns at this rate.

In the win over the 49ers, Vereen led the Giants with eight receptions for 86 yards, including a two-yarder for the game’s first touchdown, and three catches that accounted for 51 of the Giants’ 82 yards on the game-winning drive.

He also had a key 24-yard reception that set up quarterback Eli Manning’s game-winning 12-yard pass to tight end Larry Donnell with 21 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

As a rusher, Vereen, listed as third on the Giants’ depth chart behind Jennings and Williams, has run the ball 25 times for 101 yards.

Vereen can also contribute on special teams, as he did against the 49ers when the coaches used him as the kickoff returner in place of Dwayne Harris. Vereen returned two kickoffs for 44 yards.

“Have we ever had a player like this, to be able to utilize his talents? Probably not to this degree,” head coach Tom Coughlin said of the 26-year-old Vereen.

When he signed with the Giants, Vereen kept an open mind as to how he might be used in the offense and focused on keeping his priorities straight.

“Me personally, I just knew I needed to come in and get my role down and get my plays that I needed to learn and get the playbook kind of situated and really feel comfortable with that,” he said.

“That was really my main goal coming in. Now that I’ve got that, I’m kind of able to play a little freer.”

The scary part about Vereen’s new relationship with the Giants is that the two sides are still going through a feeling-out process.

“I think it’s a learning process on both ends,” Vereen said of his fit into the Giants’ offense. “I still think I have a lot to learn and I still think there’s some things out there that we can improve on as on offense, me personally and as an offense as a whole.

“It’s still only the fifth week of the season, we just played our fifth game, so we still have 11 games to go. We still have a long way to go, so there’s a lot of room to improve, there’s a lot of room for adjustments and things to change throughout the rest of the season.”

Notes: Linebacker Jon Beason (concussion) was in “great spirits” Monday, according to Coughlin. Beason, who was injured after only five snaps when he collided with running back Carlos Hyde, must complete the league’s concussion protocol before he can return to practice, but it sounded as though he has a good chance of being back in the lineup for Monday night’s game at Philadelphia. … Wide receiver Victor Cruz (calf) was to meet with the doctors on Monday to assess whether the PRP treatment he received is working and what his next step would be. Coughlin did not have an update as to whether Cruz had that meeting or what was determined. … Wide receivers Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr., both of whom suffered hamstring strains, will be treated aggressively over the next two days in hopes that one or both can be ready for Monday night’s game against the Eagles. Coughlin sounded iffy regarding both men’s status, but the extra day of preparation should work to the Giants’ advantage.


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