NFL Wire News

Many questions as Giants prep for opener


The Sports Xchange

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin won’t have much time to let the dust settle from what has been a long and at times unsettling preseason in which more questions seemed to be raised than answered.

Starting Wednesday, Coughlin and his newly minted 53-man roster will get to work on preparations for their 2015 season opener in Dallas.

In that short time, the Giants are hoping to gain some clarity on defense, where they have been without starting middle linebacker Jon Beason due to a knee sprain suffered in Week 2 of the preseason.

They are also hoping that their starting safety duo of rookie Landon Collins and veteran Stevie Brown is ready to roll despite barely having any preseason game action together.

Offensively, the Giants’ offensive line held up better than anticipated, particularly in pass blocking.

However, quarterback Eli Manning, who did not have a preseason passing touchdown, wasn’t able to take advantage of things because he never had his big-three receiving corps — Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr., and Rueben Randle — on the field at the same time.

More important though on offense, the Giants’ running game had its share of issues. Starter Rashad Jennings and backups Andre Williams and Shane Vereen combined for 116 yards on 37 carries (3.13 yards) with zero touchdowns.

By contrast, Orleans Darkwa, the Giants’ preseason rushing yardage leader, finished with 131 yards on 30 carries (4.4 average) and one touchdown.

“There are certainly many, many areas where we need to improve, and I think we will improve,” Coughlin said.

“I think we have to zoom in on a particular team and see if we can’t clean up our issues in terms of execution and finishing the play and doing the things necessary to be successful.

“There are definite areas everywhere in our game that can be improved upon, but make no doubt about it: the season is underway and we’re going to have to get there in a hurry.”

–Fullback Henry Hynoski was among the surprise roster cuts made on Saturday by the Giants. Hynoski had been challenged right down to the wire by Nikita Whitlock, the latter of whom excelled on special teams and who even took some snaps at defensive tackle late in the preseason finale.

In the end, Whitlock had done just enough to edge out the popular Hynoski, who re-signed with the team for two years this past March.

“What’d he make, two or three tackles on special teams the other night (against the Patriots)?” Coughlin said of Whitlock. “That’s the thing; he’s a four-core special teamer (playing on the punt and punt return, kickoff and kickoff return teams). He’s had them all, and knows full well why he’s here.”

Of Hynoski, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2011 out of Pittsburgh, Coughlin spoke glowingly of his now former fullback.

“Henry is a very positive young man, he’s upbeat (and) he always has and always will do whatever you want him to do,” Coughlin said. “He has had a couple of years where he’s had some injury issues, but by and large, he’s out there every day. You get to appreciate those kind of guys.”

Hynoski finishes his Giants career having played in 46 games, his primary role being the lead blocker for running backs such as Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs, Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams.

Notes: Wide receiver Victor Cruz, who has been sidelined with a calf issue, remains questionable regarding whether he will be ready to practice Wednesday when the Giants begin preparing for their regular-season opening game against Dallas.

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