Happy Sunday, New York Giants fans! We're a little more than two weeks away from the start of training camp, and although it feels as if it's taking forever, we are slowly getting there. As we look to pass another day, we share the following headlines for you to enjoy over your morning coffee.
My "special teams health indicates organizational health" hypothesis gets plenty of support from the 2013 Giants. Special teams contributors from the 2011 Super Bowl run, like Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger, were torn between kick coverage and the starting lineup. With the Giants grabbing last-ditch running backs off the waiver wire, they had no hope of acquiring a quality returner. Injuries and confusion led to three punt return touchdowns early in the season, while the combination of Reuben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan and Michael Cox did nothing of interest on returns.
Trindon Holliday's arrival solves the return problem, and the Giants were already restoring law and order on the coverage units by season's end. Early in last season, Damontre Moore (who made himself useful on special teams with a blocked punt) could be seen lined up as a kick gunner on the wing, with reserve tight end Larry Donnell on the other wing. No wonder Dexter McCluster sliced through the first line of defense: The Giants were just throwing the best available healthy bodies at a bad situation. Later in the year, suitable youngsters like Cooper Taylor took over as gunners, and the long returns became less frequent. With some free agent arrivals and lots of rookies, the current roster is deep enough to keep the Giants from doing desperate stuff like make 250-pound pass rushers race up the sideline.
Kid Cruz, the 3-year-old colt named after New York Giants’ receiver Victor Cruz, scored a touchdown when he caught Captain Serious in the final strides to take the Grade 2 $200,000 Dwyer Stakes by three-quarters of a length at Belmont Park.
It was the biggest win in the career of the bay colt, who was claimed by Linda Rice for $50,000 on Nov. 22, 2013.
“I was a little nervous about whether they were going to go fast enough today,” Rice said. “Irad made a strong effort from the gate to make sure he got engaged earlier, so we just didn’t hand it over to a slow pace. He did a beautiful job. The horse seems to be getting better all the time – perfecting his trade.”
It didn't take long for rookie running back Andre Williams to get the message: the Giants need to be a cohesive unit "at all times."
Thanks to group text messages — one with his position players only and one that includes running back coach Craig Johnson — that memo has gone mobile.
Williams said group chat is used as an open forum, a learning place and a means to build chemistry. The linebackers and wide receivers have established similar group texts.
"Mike Cox, he's just a funny guy, we have a lot of fun with him," Williams said. "Mike is just different . . . He eats cheese and brown sugar sandwiches for breakfast. Like, that's his go-to breakfast. That just gives you a sense of what type of mentality he's got going into the thing. It's just fun to talk to him in a group chat."
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