John Fennelly, Lead Writer
Tom Coughlin addressed the media at QDTC Thursday like a general sizing up his army for battle. Except, these Giants aren’t marching anywhere anytime soon. There are many internal battles to be fought – and won – first.
The premier battle that raged on last year was the one against injuries. The team’s lack of depth was exposed and they suffered their first losing season in nearly a decade.
Coughlin knows health will go a long way in determining if the 90th edition of the New York Giants will be championship timber. The first order of business is to get his quarterback, Eli Manning, and his rehabbing ankle back out on the field and working. So far, that’s happened.
“No. He’s so far ahead. When we started out I didn’t think I would have him for anything,” said Coughlin, when asked if he was surprised of Manning’s progress. “We’re about two or three days into phase two and he’s running around. I’m trying to slow him down but he feels good. I’m not surprised at all.”
With a new offense being installed, Coughlin was asked how beneficial it was to have Eli under center this early on:
“Huge. He can get the reps during the spring here and he will have the offense down by the time we break. Then come back and he’ll be comfortable with it. We’ll see it, we’ll communicate it by virtue of signals or whatever. So this is really good. The other quarterbacks as well. Ryan (Nassib) is getting a lot of work as you can see. That is a good thing.”
In early April, the Giants had earmarked Eli’s return for late May. Well, it’s late May. Manning simply sees himself as simply on schedule, debunking the remarks of his GM, Jerry Reese, who said Eli would not be ready until the summer.
“Today is seven weeks (since the procedure), I felt good,” Eli said. “Practiced the last two days doing everything so I’m excited to be back out there learning the offense and getting going. The last few weeks I have been doing most things from a practice standpoint. Running, doing roll outs, still being smart with some things, not trying to overdo it, not trying to have consecutive days where you’re doing a lot of pounding, a lot of jumping and landing on it. I’m doing the other football activities; I feel I can do them all full.”
Coughlin went down the list of injures the team is still dealing with…
On G Chris Snee, who missed the majority of 2013 with hip and elbow issues: “He looks good. He looks very good.”
On S Stevie Brown, who missed all of last season with a ACL tear: “Stevie’s had a good winter. He’s been in here rehabbing the whole time. He’s gone through both the first and second phases very well. He’s running very well so we’re very happy with that. He does have some… we’re watching him, let’s put it that way. He is what we call limited but he has been able to demonstrate that he has prepared himself well.”
On where things stand with OL Will Beatty (leg) and WR Mario Manningham (knee) and their health: “Supposedly they’ll be ready for the fall.”
On RB David Wilson (neck) who has not been cleared by doctors: “He is in an area where he’s not supposed to have any contact. He’s out there running and feels good. You’d never know that he’s having issues.”
On free agent OL John Jerry, who was not on the field Thursday: “Jerry’s here. He’s had a knee, he comes out here and the knee swells. We’ll hold him inside. He had a little procedure, a scope, so he might not work this spring but he’s here.”