New York Giants
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There are a lot of new things that Ben McAdoo has introduced since succeeding Tom Coughlin as the team's head coach.
One thing in particular is that McAdoo has named certain segments of the team's practice in which they focus on various fundamentals after former Giants greats.
For example, there is "The Duke" named after the late Wellington Mara, the team's patriarch. That period focuses on ball security.
Then there is the "LT," named after Lawrence Taylor, the Hall-of-Fame linebacker and one of the greatest defensive players to ever play. That period focuses on tackling fundamentals and creating turnovers.
Lastly, there is the "Snee," named for former offensive lineman Chris Snee, who retired in 2014. That period focuses on teaching proper blocking techniques for both the offensive and defensive linemen.
"The game is about the ball. The game is about blocking and tackling and the more we can do to emphasize those three things, it's more important," McAdoo said.
"In those three areas, this organization has a lot of rich tradition. Putting names to the periods, putting a face with the period and with ball security and with tackling and with blocking, I think it hits home with players."
So far, so good.
"Those are guys that really set the tone for what it means to be a Giant, so it is cool to have that as the name of the periods," said center Weston Richburg.
"They're big on history here," said defensive tackle Damon Harrison. "Every chance they get, you're reminded of the history of what LT has done and what everyone else who came through here has done."
Harrison, whose nickname is Snacks, joked that he's hoping that one day the coaching staff will develop a "Snacks" drill.
And what would such a drill consist of?
"Sitting down," he said, as he left the podium to laughter.
Maybe it's age, but lately Giants quarterback Eli Manning's face has lit up every time he's asked about his 2016 receivers, a group that, in part, will likely consist of Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard and Geremy Davis.
That's because Manning has had an opportunity to work all spring with those receivers, throwing against air, and he sees the promise that those receivers have to offer.
Of Beckham, the two-time Pro Bowler whom Manning said back in April could improve, the 35-year-old quarterback said he's noticed growth in Beckham's game, particularly given all they ask him to do.
"It's just good to have him in that third season and having him healthy and going to all of the OTAs and just be able to go and move him around in different spots," Manning said.
"You kind of have a controlled set of plays just because you don't want to overload him and make sure what he does, he does it well, and then you can expand him in that and put him in different spots with matchups.
"I think now he can handle all of that. We put him in different routes and make sure he's doing them correctly. I think there's an understanding of the offense, of how things are supposed to go and the timing of things. I think that third year he should start really picking up on that."
Of Shepard, Manning was a little less certain as to what the rookie brings to the table given the newness of their working relationship, but he did offer this feedback: "I thought he's done a good job of picking things up. You can see he's caught on. He's caught everything that's been thrown at him these last couple of weeks on the field, so that's always a good start for a receiver if he can catch the football and he can definitely do that."
Davis, who was inactive in five out of the last six games last year, received the biggest praise from Manning.
"Geremy is a bright guy. He knows the offense very well. He studies hard. He's really in tune with what his assignments are. He's got great size. He's one of our bigger receivers," he said.
"You can move him around and put him in different spots. He's going to be really keyed into what his assignment is, so that's always helpful. Hopefully he can step up and get on a roll and make some plays for us come game time."
As for Cruz, Manning is still waiting for his one-time favorite target to get the green light to return to the field after nearly two seasons away. The quarterback was asked if it's been hard to wait for Cruz's return.
"It's not hard. You just understand we've got to get him healthy. We've got to make sure that everybody is being smart and everybody is understanding that he's had several injuries and surgeries and a tough past.
"Just make sure you're being smart with his workload and we've got to make sure we get him to training camp. When the doctors and everybody say he's cleared and ready to go or if he can do this and certain things, then it's a good thing."
At one point during the Giants' first OTA, there was a special moment when the projected starting defensive line of ends Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul, and tackles Damon Harrison and Johnathan Hankins, went off to a side field with defensive line coach Patrick Graham for a pow-wow.
It turns out, the little meeting had a story behind it.
"They were making fun of me because I messed up on the play that I was supposed to know," Harrison said. "I was supposed to run a lap and JPP tried to get everyone's attention to let them know I was supposed to run the lap.
"They say I did something on the field to distract everybody and nobody really paid attention, so what I did was I talked coach Graham into walking us over there and going over the play with me so I didn't have to run the lap."
Much to Harrison's dismay, his teammates were still on his back about running the lap even long after the team had left the field for the comfort of the locker room. But Harrison wasn't having any of it.
No, that doesn't mean he's going to be a rebel. All it means is that Harrison is aiming to reward the Giants for taking a big financial leap of faith in him when they gave him a five-year, $46.2 million contract this offseason.
That means doing everything correctly, even though that's a bit of a challenge right now given the lack of contact and the absence of padded practices in the offseason.
"It is tough because a guy like me, I am not finesse whatsoever," Harrison said. "I don't know how to go out here and just run around. I am physical. I want to put my hands on someone, I want to bull rush, I want to do everything. You can't do that out here, so you kind of just do what you can but it is tough."
Harrison, who recently gifted his mother with a brand new greenhouse in Lake Charles, La., is also trying to learn the system as quickly as possible so he can hit the ground running when the practice tempo gets turned up a notch.
"Coach Spags (defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo) has things that he does totally different from what I am accustomed to. You would think you would just be sitting in the middle stopping the run, which is what I am used to doing, but, no, there are some different things."