NFL Wire News

Giants hope joint practices work better this time


The Sports Xchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The last time the New York Giants participated in a joint training camp practice with another team was in 2005 when the Giants, then headquartered at the State University of New York in Albany, hosted the New York Jets for a joint practice and scrimmage.

That collaboration, unfortunately, didn’t end very well as far as the Giants were concerned. The two sides picked up their respective intensity so much that by the time the Jets’ visit was over, the two sides had engaged in two on-field tussles and a heated shouting match between Giants head coach Tom Coughlin and former Jets defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson.

That sordid affair left a bitter taste in Coughlin’s mouth for a number of years until now as Coughlin’s Giants are about to embark on a two-day joint practice session with the Bengals, their 2015 preseason opening opponent, beginning on Tuesday.

“I just think going out and having a couple practices against somebody else, (there will be) a little more intensity, especially going into that first game,” Coughlin said about his change of heart regarding joint practices, which will see the players don full pads on Tuesday and uppers on Wednesday.

“Maybe have your ones take a few more reps than they normally would because of the way the game will be played. It will really benefit our team.”

The Giants’ players seemed to be looking forward to the change of scenery, and are anticipating the competition levels to be ratcheted up to new levels.

“I’m excited for it. I think it will be good,” said quarterback Eli Manning. “It’s always great for an offense to go against a different defense. All of a sudden, you are kind of going in not really knowing what they are doing, what they are going to be showing. It’s different from a game when you go in and you game plan and you have looks.

“They’re a very good defense and have good players and are good against the pass. So I think it will be a good challenge for us.”

“It’s going to be more chippy because it’s chippy at practice here,” said linebacker Jon Beason. “You see scuffles break out and it’s your own teammates, so imagine if it’s an opposing team. Cincinnati is a chippy group, which is why we’re going up against them. They’re tough against the run and they run the ball extremely well.

“They’ve been in the playoffs the last four years, so it’s a great opportunity to get an early gauge and get some live action. Because it’ll be faster, it’ll be more physical.”

Coughlin, whose team has already engaged in a small handful of brawls since the start of camp, doesn’t want to see the practices get too physical to where a player ends up suffering a significant injury due to participation in a fight.

“I’ve got a problem with all of them because they’re out there swinging,” said Coughlin, whose team has led the NFL in injuries the last two seasons. “I’ve been hurt firsthand by a guy who broke his hand in a fight. In the old days they used to wrap it up and play with it; they don’t do that anymore. The bottom line is you can’t afford to do it, to lose a guy.”

They shouldn’t have to worry so long as they remember that it’s a practice and not a regular-season game.

“Just go out there to compete and get better,” said receiver Odell Beckham Jr. “If they take it up to another level, then you just go with the flow. You just make sure you’re smart about it.”

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