Eli Manning will be learning a new offense for the first time in his career. Credit: Getty Images
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin is a football sage, having spent a decade in the coaching ranks. But even he feels he has a lot to learn about offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s new offense, which makes the veteran coach very excited.
“I like that part of it, because I have to study it, too,” Coughlin said. “The difference is the language; it’s foreign. And when that’s the case, it’s exciting and new, because simply put, in our previous offense, what we tried to do was taper down the verbiage. But with this offense, there’s a lot of verbiage. That’s the issue that keeps us all on our toes.”
Quarterback Eli Manning, who is trying to learn a new offense for the first time in his 11-year career, admitted he was “a little excited, energized and a little nervous.”
“That’s a good thing,” said Coughlin. “That’s what all this [change] was done for. We’re excited about studying and getting back at it. That’s a good response to be uncomfortable [because] we don’t want anyone around here to be comfortable.”
There were a handful of players who looked rather uncomfortable in the heat and humidity, as players were seen being taken back to the facilities — most likely for hydration and cramping reasons. But for speedy wideout Jerrel Jernigan, any extra reps he can get in the new system will be useful. The fourth-year receiver has been a bit of a disappointment since being a third-round pick in 2011.
Jernigan was a regular in former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s doghouse. But now under McAdoo’s watch, he feels a respite and will do all he can to make good on a clean slate.
“Without a doubt, this is great. I feel like I’ve got my confidence back up,” said Jernigan, who noted the new offense is receiver-friendly and doesn’t require a lot of reads. “I can’t complain about [the lack of reading coverages]. Less reads, so you can just go out and play faster and get the thing going and don’t have to think that much.”
Jernigan, like Coughlin, is excited about the uptempo pace and is looking to exploit defenses with his speed and quickness.
“This offense is different from last year, but not for me,” Jernigan said. “It goes back to some of the same concepts I had in college in the spread with Troy, so it’s going good, just learning different signals and stuff. We used to go four- and five-wide the whole time so it’s back to what I’m really used to. ... I’m excited, because I get to work the outside against bigger corners, using my quickness and executing routes, and I also get to swap with Victor [Cruz] and get some work in the slot, too.”
Big Blue notes ...
» As could’ve been expected, there were a number of men in blue seen leaving the field throughout the day, on the first day of training camp practice. But Coughlin said most were “heat related.” The grizzled disciplinarian also bristled slightly when asked about the overall conditioning of the team, noting he was “somewhat disappointed with the conditioning factor.”
» Coughlin did seem a bit anxious to see what the word will be on middle linebacker Jameel McClain, who was seen being taken back to the locker room due to an apparent foot problem: “He thought it was a shoe [issue] because there was an irritation in his foot, but it was over one of the metatarsal [bones]. He’s the one guy — out of all the heat guys — that I’ll be interested in seeing what the discussion is inside. … I’m not going to speculate on something that I don’t know.”
» Newcomer John Jerry, one of the key principles in the Dolphins’ bullying issue last season, hasn’t been able to work out with the team much as he’s recovering from a knee procedure. But if he’s not on the field any time soon, it could also be due to whatever new evidence that may be found in the investigation. As of right now, however, Jerry is in the clear: “There is no change in his playing status as of right now,” noted a league spokesman.
» The retirement of Chris Snee, and the slow recovery times for linemen Will Beatty and Jerry, have left the Giants’ offensive line in a bit of a pinch. Luckily for Big Blue, they have some versatile players who will likely take snaps all along the line this preseason. One guy to keep an eye on is rookie Weston Richburg. Coughlin said he’ll be a valuable interchangeable part: “He’ll have to learn both [center and guard positions]. He’s going to play. He played a lot of guard today and also some center. It wasn’t necessarily designed to be that way, but it’s happened that way.”
» Coughlin on rookie wideout Odell Beckham Jr., who appeared to pull up on a slight overthrow with a safety bearing down on him: “He has a lot of work to do. ... He stopped on the ball. I know that part.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter@TBone8.