Happy Saturday, New York Giants fans! Gameday is upon us, but before we dive head-first into all of that, allow us to present you the following stories to enjoy over your morning coffee.
He has always been a part-timer, a nickel linebacker, only playing on passing downs, never playing in the entire game.
But this is the year that everything changes for Jacquian Williams. This is the year, according to the speedy Giants linebacker, that he finally delivers on all the promise he showed as a rookie during the Super Bowl run of the 2011 season.
“The goal is to an every-down linebacker,” Williams says. “I belong here. I worked for it, and it’s my time.”
The Giants certainly are hoping so. On Saturday night at MetLife Stadium, Williams will make his second preseason start against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the latest step in securing a starting job. It’s something the Giants want him to win; now in his fourth year, Williams brings sideline-to-sideline athleticism to the position. He’s the final piece of a revamped linebacking corps, a group that could make or break the entire defense.
The hope is that the results differ from last year as well. Manning threw a career-high 27 interceptions in 2013. The Giants finished 28th in total offense. It was a disaster of a season that ended with Manning's ankle mangled from a hit taken in the season finale against the Redskins.
After Sunday's preseason opener against the Bills, Manning mentioned he noticed one major difference in the lead-up to games.
"[The quarterbacks] sat down with him on Saturday morning and he kind of picked each of our minds on what plays we liked, what we were thinking, and what plays were maybe a little lower on the list," Manning told NJ.com. "He asked our thoughts and gave some of his thoughts on the game plan and what we were going to try and do. I think that was good. … We had never done that before."
He broke his leg in the final game of the 2013 season and had surgery to repair it, so it would be nice if he could take all the time he needed in training camp to rehab the injury and allow it to heal. But New York Giants left tackle Will Beatty doesn't feel as though he has that luxury.
"You can't forget about everything else," Beatty said Thursday. "You can't be like, 'Okay, I'm going to go out here and rehab,' and not tune into what the coaches are saying about the plays and the footwork and the protections. I have to make sure I don't have rehab as a crutch. Because when it comes time to full-go, you have to be ready. So I'm trying to get everything down now so when it is full-go, it's not, 'I need to practice this, I need to practice that.' I'm building everything at once."
Beatty's leg has allowed him to do more so far in training camp than the Giants expected him to do. He won't play in Saturday night's preseason game against the Steelers, but coach Tom Coughlin said that was the plan all along. If things continue to go well, the Giants hope to play Beatty in next weekend's preseason game in Indianapolis and have him ready in plenty of time for the regular-season opener Sept. 8 in Detroit.
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Tags: Ben McAdoo, Eli Manning, Football, Jacquian Williams, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Will Beatty