Camp Risers: Kennard, Donnell, Thurmond making their mark

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

questOn this off day, it’s time to reflect on who had made an impression thus far at Giants’ camp and who has not.  Yes, there is still a long way to go until first cuts (from 90 to 75 by August 26, and then to 53 by August 31), but it’s never too early to take the team’s temperature.  The five preseason games will reveal a lot, too, but for now let’s cover what’s been going on…

“Good Vibrations,” the song I have traditionally started my summer off to for the past 47 years. Some of the players have given off those good vibrations in camp this summer are rookie LB Devon Kennard, TE Larry Donnell and CB Walter Thurmond III.

Kennard looks like a seasoned veteran out there – confident, savvy and quick to the ball. How he fell to the fifth round of the draft is puzzling, but who cares? He’s in blue now and just be thankful. The Giants have noticed, too. Kennard is getting a ton of reps at several positions. When Jon Beason comes back from his foot injury (he was running on a treadmill yesterday) he’ll be the MLB.

Free agent signee Jameel McClain, who looks fairly confident himself this summer, will be one OLB and unless my eyes need to be checked, Kennard should be the other. You finally have some LBs, Giant fans.

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Wilson out for a week, will not play Sunday

David Wilson is out for a week and will not play in Sunday’s game, the Giants announced.

Wilson suffered a burner during Tuesday’s practice and went to the Hospital for Special Surgery for a “battery of tests.”

He is expected to be re-examined on Monday by the doctor who did his spinal surgery in the offseason.

Morning Report: Speedsters on the shelf

The Giants are off today, but will resume workouts tomorrow and Friday before heading out to Canton on Saturday for their preseason opener vs Buffalo on Sunday night.

Injuries ruled the day on Wednesday, with WR Odell Beckham Jr. learning more about his troubled hamstring and RB David Wilson sustaining a “burner” to his surgically-repaired neck.

GEICO SportsNite: SNYGiants insider Ralph Vacchiano reports from Giants camp on latest injuries to David Wilson, Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle.

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Coughlin 7/29

The Daily Coughlin: Strahan, Wilson and Thurmond

Tom Coughlin’s presser on Tuesday was dominated by questions about former DE Michael Strahan, who will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canton, Ohio.

For Coughlin's comments on Strahan, click here...

Q: You [Coach Coughlin] and Michael [Strahan] had an interesting relationship over the years. What does it feel like for you to see how he began and now going into the Hall of Fame?
A: Incredible pride. Michael Strahan was a great football player. He had ability and was taught right from the beginning. He practiced hard, ran to the ball, was a great example for the younger guys in doing that, and excellent in the classroom. He was a dynamic leader and had one of those magnetic personalities where everyone was attracted to him. He was a superb player on the field in both the pass and the run. Yeah, we didn’t necessarily see eye to eye right away, but thank goodness we won Michael over. We spent some time together and went through some times that were good and bad. I think that he appreciated the fact that what we were trying to do was in the best interest of everybody and the team and being the best we could be. He became an outstanding captain and very good in the leadership council. He did a great job with us that way. Couldn’t be more proud of him as he made the transition out of football to life and how successful he’s been in the business he’s in now. To his family, mom and dad, nothing but congratulations and happiness for this wonderful, wonderful recognition. To be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a wonderful thing and gives us another great Giant. When we go out there and pass through the Hall of Fame, we can see the bust of another great Giant football player along with all the others.

Q: Was seeing eye-to-eye with Strahan, however you managed to accomplish that, one of the keys you think to that first Super Bowl?
A: No doubt, I think it was because of the fact that Michael was so strong in the locker room. I think also the way in which our organization handled that summer when he didn’t come right into camp and we still expressed the fact that – I know Michael and I had conversations in which I said, without a doubt, that we’d love to have him back but only if his heart was in the right place, and it was when he came back. Nobody was cheering harder in that last drive (of Super Bowl XLII) than Michael Strahan. Very, very proud of him, a very proud day for the New York Giants.

Q: Do you think he was rare because he played as well against the run as he was a pass rusher?
A: Rare, very rare. Not only that, but as he got into those 14, 15 years, he took his weight down. He was probably 252-254 [pounds], still playing with that kind of power over those right tackles with that punch and that great extension against the run. Just a great love of the game and competing with tremendous pride. His thought about fear of failure – I mean that’s a great motivator.

Q: Did his personality kind of influence you as you progressed in this job? He has such an infectious personality.
A: Well, so do I.

Q: You do, too. I’m just saying, the two of you playing off each other and just growing together.
A: Well he’s definitely himself and I try to be myself. The thing that I picked up on right away is that he’s one of the classic – I mean he has a great time with anybody if he wants to bust their chops, but he can take it. And they come right back at him; they can’t wait to get at him and he was always great with that, too. No hard feelings, in other words.

Q: He’s been gone for six or seven years now, but it seems like he still has a large shadow on this team.
A: Well only because when he comes over. He struck up a relationship with Damontre [Moore]. He was always here for [Justin] Tuck and all the guys in that room. Last year in the fall, we had him over and he sat in with the defensive coaches, sat in there with the players. We haven’t been able to get him over here yet this year, but I’m sure we will. I’m sure we will.

Q: It’s hard to take a young player and say, “look, you could be like Michael,” but is that a good goal to have for some of these young defensive ends? You know, “look what he did; maybe you can do some of that too.”
A: That’s a great goal. He sets a great example, let’s face it. The way he practiced, studied, worked at it. Very opinionated, no question about it. Very loquacious, one of those personalities that had a lot of fun but could get serious and could ask serious questions. You have to respect that. Always.

Q: How does it feel to have a guy that you coached now be a Hall of Famer?
A: It’s a wonderful feeling shared by our whole staff. What a great feeling.

Q: Does it also amaze you that he’s now a guy that even in retirement you will lean on to set an example? That’s a long way for a guy who I would imagine at first you weren’t sure where this was going to end up.
A: I don’t know what you’re trying to get me to say. I think I talked enough about that part of it. No matter what he felt like, he came to work and he worked hard and went out and played hard. I think that once he realized that we were all doing that and trying to do the best we can, there was never any friction after that. That last year was a tremendous experience for everybody.

Q: You got to go through the Hall last year when Bill [Parcells] went in. Are you going to take the team there this year?
A: Yes. We’re going there and we’ll travel through. The hotel is about an hour away and we’ll send the team on their way and we’ll stay for the ceremony.

Most of the other questions were directed to the injuries of the day. RB David Wilson went down after catching a pass and running into one of his linemen. Wilson was just recently cleared for action after undergoing neck surgery in the offseason. The injury – you guessed it – was to his neck, a “stinger”, or “burner”. He was sent off to NYC for observation after practice.

Coughlin was non-committal on the status of Wilson’s condition.

“We’ll hear what they (the doctors) have to say first,” he said. “We were all praying that he wouldn’t have an issue and come back to work. He was cleared, as you know. We’ll see. I’m not going to speculate what it is and see what the doctors say.”

Three WRs (Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham, Jr and Trindon Holliday) missed practice Tuesday due to various leg injuries. Coughlin said Beckham, who is not due back until next week at the soonest, came to speak with him today.

“We just had a discussion. Just player-coach, trying to get to know each other a little better. I see his frustration and he sees our frustration. But don’t make it more than what it is,” said Coughlin. “It’s a coach wanting a player on the field and a player wanting a player on the field. It’ll happen and when you’re cleared to go, you’ll go. You’re going to earn the respect of your teammates by what you do on the field and how well you study and work right now.”

Randle was held due to a sore hammy of his own. Holliday had an undisclosed leg ailment. TE Xavier Grimble (hamstring) returned to duty after missing several workouts.

Coughlin was asked his early impression of CB Walter Thurmond III, who was a member of the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl-winning team last February.

“He’s an aggressive player,” the coach said. “He comes from a program that just won. He’s done a nice job at the nickel and a nice job at the corner…but the fact that he was graded very well and we felt that he could be an upgrade was the most important thing (when signing him).”

Beason running on treadmill at practice

Jon Beason was running on a treadmill off to the side of practice on Tuesday.

Beason, who is working back from a broken bone in his foot, said he wants to play in preseason games, or at least play in week one of the regular season. He was able to avoid surgery on his foot.

Wilson suffers burner, walks off

David Wilson suffered a burner in practice on Tuesday.


4:45 pm: Wilson was sent to the Hospital for Special Surgery for a “battery of tests” (Vacchiano, July 29)


Wilson walked off the field toward the end of practice on Tuesday. Later, Tom Coughlin told reporters that Wilson suffered a “burner,” which is the term for an intense nerve pain near the base of the next.

The running back is coming back from neck surgery and was just recently cleared for contact.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

This is obviously disturbing news for the Giants. It took a long time for Wilson to be cleared this summer, and now he could be back to the start with this latest setback.

Wilson has looked very good in camp thus far, displaying the great speed and elusiveness that caught the Giants’ eye in the 2012 NFL Draft when he was their first round pick.

The Giants learned their lesson from last season and stocked up on RBs, so Wilson’s reps will go to someone else but none of them have the special skill set he possesses.

Randle, Holliday, Grimble out on Tuesday

Ruben Randle, Trindon Holliday and Xavier Grimble are among the players not on the field at Training Camp on Tuesday.

Grimble is wearing shoulder pads with the injured group, though.

Odell Beckham Jr. is on the field catching punts.

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Beckham has blood in hamstring, talked with Coughlin

Odell Beckham Jr. said that doctors found blood in his hamstring and is considered day-to-day.

Beckham went for tests on Monday after missing almost all of the first week of training camp with a hamstring injury.

The injury to the rookie wide receiver hasn’t gone over well with Head Coach Tom Coughlin, who sat down with the first-round pick on Tuesday.

Beckham said he wanted to assure Coughlin that he wants — badly — to be on the field and that he might have gone out too hard too soon in his first training camp. He also said he plans to play this preseason, but won’t play in Sunday’s game.

Manning wants to be like Jeter

As the New York Yankees shortstop looks to wrap up his career after his 20th season with the Yankees, Manning enters his 11th with the hopes of one day retiring just like Jeter: with only one team listed under his name (Daily News, July 28).

“He’s been a good role model and we’ve kept up with each other a little bit,” Manning said Monday. “On and off the field, what he’s been able to do as a player and the way he’s respected and the way he’s gone about his business — for a young player in New York, he’s a good role model.”

Jeter became Manning’s role model early on in the quarterback’s career. After a difficult six-game losing streak kicked off his pro career, Manning was surprised to get a phone call one day from the Hall of Fame bound shortstop offering encouragement.

“He was supportive of me. We had lost a few games and he was trying to get a feel for things,” Manning said. “He said to keep grinding, keep working.”

While Manning has many goals still left to achieve in his career, he  hopes to do them all as a member of the Giants organization.

“I think that’s always your goal, especially after you’ve been there a number of years, to finish with an organization,” Manning said. “I think that’s where you are comfortable, especially a terrific organization like the New York Giants. Obviously, you never know the circumstances that might pop up and what will occur. So you got to take advantage of the years that you are here and the years you are playing and make them the best.”

JPP said this weekend, "I feel like I’m at, I’d say, 75%" and is pain-free.

Is JPP back? The signs are there…

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Giants’ DE Jason Pierre-Paul has gone on an odyssey of sorts since his Pro Bowl season of 2011 when he recorded 16.5 sacks. Injuries to his back and shoulder have reduced the former wunderkind to just a shell of his former self.

But after sinking to unforeseen depths the past two years (only 8.5 sacks in 27 games), JPP is crowing that he’s ready to return to superhero status.

“My mind. I’m 110 percent. I’m not worried about anything,” JPP said last week. “My main goal is to start the season off healthy, which I am, get some preseason games in and play some football. I feel like I’ve been out for a year.”

He’s say he feels better than he has since the end of the 2012 season.

“I came here for minicamp (last year) and I felt terrible and then that’s when I had to go get surgery. That was a long time. Three years ago, right? But now I’m back and ready to go. I’m ready. It is what it is.”

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