Coughlin expects to use starters more on offense
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin expects to play his starting offense more in the next preseason game, and isn’t concerned about the team’s slow start under new coordinator Ben McAdoo.
"There are some things out there that definitely need improvement," Coughlin said Sunday in his weekly conference call with the media. "There are some good things and some bad things. We have to keep moving in the right direction and hope that there are more good things."
After the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-16 Saturday night, engineering a 12-play, 80-yard drive late in the fourth quarter behind third-string quarterback Curtis Painter, Coughlin said he hopes to get his first-string offense more opportunity to play together this week against the Indianapolis Colts.
"Of course, it’s important to have them out there more," Coughlin said. "We would like to see more with our ones (starters). We’re going to practice like that all week. We will let our offensive line play a little longer. I think that’s important to have them play together. We’re trying to get some consistency together. That’s why we play preseason games."
It means that starting quarterback Eli Manning will get more than four series against the Colts and will have the opportunity to throw more than just the two passes (both of which were incomplete) he attempted against the Steelers.
"I think we’ll get some of our vertical passing in, but we haven’t seen it yet," Coughlin said. "But I certainly think that’s coming."
If there is one item of concern, it is the glaring amount of penalties the Giants have been called for in the early going. The Giants were called for 10 penalties Saturday night and were flagged six times against Buffalo in the Hall of Fame game last weekend.
"We were told coming in that the officials were going to call things tighter," Coughlin said. "We had our meetings in the spring and voted on rule proposals. Then, when we returned to camp, they told us what was going on. We were told full well that they were going to follow the letter of the law in terms of illegal contact, in terms of pass interference. We knew full well. We were to expect the enforcement would be full-fledged. It’s not a surprise the way the games have been called."
Coughlin said he was pleased with the kicking game, as both incumbent placekicker Josh Brown and challenger Brandon McManus connected on long field goals. Other than the opening drive, Coughlin said he liked the effort of his defensive unit, including cornerback Prince Amukamara running down speedy Pittsburgh rookie receiver Dri Archer on a short screen that looked like it would become a score, and former Pro Bowl selection Jason Pierre-Paul’s strong performance.
"I thought JPP played well and gave good effort," Coughlin said. "He was in good position for most of the game. I thought Prince showed outstanding speed and had a great angle against a speedy wide receiver. Our guys played hard and that’s all you can ask for in a preseason game."
NOTES: Coughlin reported that the lone injury to come out of Saturday night’s game was a possible concussion to fullback John Conner. The former New York Jets draft pick, who joined the Giants’ roster late last year, was hit in the second quarter and came off the field. "We’re going to take the proper protocol," Coughlin said about the NFL’s strict policy on head injuries. "He seemed fine and his eyes were bright, but he will go through the proper protocol. It’s all about safety first, then we’ll see where he’s at and whether he can practice or play." A further determination about Conner’s condition will be done Monday.
Coughlin said first-round pick Odell Beckham, Jr., who has been slowed by a hamstring injury throughout training camp, will see some increased responsibility Monday and maybe begin to catch passes. The WR from LSU has been limited to just fielding punts in a standing position throughout training camp.
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