Happy Monday, New York Giants fans! The wait is over — today is the day. Are you ready for some football? Big Blue returns to East Rutherford today and will officially report to training camp. They'll undergo physicals and some will be available to the media with the first actual practice coming on Tuesday. To start your morning, we offer the following headlines to get you geared up for a brand new season. Enjoy!
Head coach and quarterback are the two hallmarks of any NFL team, and stability and excellence in those positions is vital for short- and long-term success. In Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, the Giants head into training camp with their franchise foundations in place, but that does not mean this is a business-as-usual summer.
There is newness all around — from the wholly redesigned playbook put together by first-year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo to the revamped defensive backfield. There also is a heightened sense of urgency with the Giants coming off a 7-9 season short-circuited by their horrid 0-6 stumble out of the gate, stamping as official the fourth non-playoff season in the past five years.
The Giants report to camp Monday and hit the field for practice Tuesday, nearly a week earlier than most teams, a jump-start based on their participation in the Aug. 3 Hall of Fame Game against the Bills. Most years, having five preseason games elicits groans, but not this year. The extra game is welcomed, with McAdoo’s new offense to master and so many free agents to incorporate into a roster that is more than tinged with change.
The Giants begin training camp Monday with a new offensive coordinator, a new quarterbacks coach and upgrades on the offensive line, in the backfield and at wide receiver — all part of the quest to help their two-time Super Bowl MVP quarterback rediscover the magic that once preceded his place in the elite conversation.
Yet of all the faces, new and old, the one that matters most remains the face of the franchise and the linchpin to success.
“If you told me, ‘Go change Johnny Manziel or go change Eli Manning,’ I’m gonna run to Eli Manning,’Ÿ” Simms told The Record last week from his Franklin Lakes home. “Because there’s a lot there to go with and you could make a difference with some fine-tuning. He’s got to be willing to accept what you’re doing, and he’s been through so much, you have so many experiences to rely on and go from. All that talk about how you can’t change quarterbacks, change what he’s comfortable with for all these years, that’s just all crap. That’s not true. I changed in my 13th year under Jim Fassel. He showed me some things and I went, ‘Wow, that’s awesome. I wish I’d known this 30 years ago.’ ”
Dressed in a white T-shirt, beige shorts and blue sneakers, Eli Manning is the picture of calm as he stands outside the Giants' cafeteria after a recent offseason workout. He smiles and speaks enthusiastically about the upcoming season, one he hopes has a far different outcome than the mistake-prone 7-9 disappointment of 2013.
Even so, there is a hint of anxiety in his voice and in his words. The Giants have a new offensive coordinator, and Manning is learning a new system for the first time since his rookie season in 2004.
"It's definitely different," he said. "It's a different feel than we've had in a number of years. Learning a new offense, I might as well be a rookie. There are some concepts you know and there are things that I understand from being a football player and having experience. But there are still a lot of things that are different in this offense."
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Tags: Ben McAdoo, Eli Manning, Football, Jim Fassel, Johnny Manziel, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tom Coughlin