EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants hoped starting running back Rashad Jennings would be able to return from his knee injury and play Monday Night against the Colts. He will not.

 Giants coach Tom Coughlin said Thursday that there was no chance Jennings would be able to play Monday, leaving the running game once again in the hands of rookie Andre Williams and fading veteran Peyton Hillis. Jennings will miss his third game in a row since spraining his knee in the Week 5 victory against the Falcons.

The Giants rank 27th in the NFL so far in rush yards per attempt -- 3.7. And in that category, there hasn't been a perceptible dropoff since Jennings went down. They were averaging 3.7 yards per carry in their first five games and are averaging 3.8 in their past two, which are the two Williams has started.

However, when Jennings was the starter, they were averaging 121 rush yards per game. In the two games Williams has started, they're averaging 95. Part of that may be skewed by the fact that they trailed and lost by so much in Week 6 in Philadelphia, but the Giants' run game hasn't generated nearly as much confidence as they had in it when Jennings was healthy.

The coaching staff doesn't yet trust Williams as a receiver or a blocker in passing situations, so there's more juggling going on in terms of substitution and play-calling, and as a result, they haven't established the same kind of rhythm on offense as they had during their three-game winning streak.

Williams himself is averaging 3.1 yards per rush attempt and has caught four passes for 25 yards on the season. Jennings is averaging 4.4 yards per carry and has 11 catches for 109 yards. He's the more complete back and obviously the more experienced, and Williams has played like a rookie still finding his way in the league and the offense, which is what you'd expect. He could have a hard time getting things going Monday night against the Colts, who rank ninth in the league in rush defense, allowing 99.3 rush yards per game.

As for when to expect Jennings back, he's working on it. He was planning to do some running and cutting Wednesday to evaluate the strength in his knee and the surrounding muscles. It's not out of the question he could return for the Week 10 game in Seattle, though he obviously has to make significant progress before that happens.

Also not practicing Wednesday was defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins, who's likely to miss a few games with the calf injury he suffered in Week 7 in Dallas. Coughlin said cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who's been severely limited by back and hamstring problems, would continue to practice on a limited basis. Guard Geoff Schwartz, who's eligible to return this week from the toe injury that's kept him out since the preseason, is just starting to practice and likely isn't ready to be activated for this upcoming game.
Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad BradshawAP Photo/Stephen B. MortonHakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw and the Colts lead the AFC South with a 5-3 record.

The New York Giants let Ahmad Bradshaw walk after the 2012 season because they couldn't trust him to stay healthy and because they felt they had running back covered with younger, cheaper options in Andre Brown and David Wilson.

The Giants let Hakeem Nicks walk after the 2013 season because they were mystified as to why he'd performed so poorly in his contract year. They decided it was best to move on to younger, cheaper wide receiver options such as Rueben Randle and, ultimately, first-round draft pick Odell Beckham Jr.

Bradshaw and Nicks will return Monday night to the stadium in which they played home games en route to the Giants' most recent Super Bowl title. They are members of the Indianapolis Colts now, and they bring with them no ill will.

"It didn't take me long to get over it, but it just hurt me because I felt that was my family, that I was a big part of that team and that I still had a lot of football left," Bradshaw said on a conference call Wednesday, reflecting on the Giants' decision to release him two offseasons ago. "I knew it was a business. I know how this business goes. I gave everything I could to the Giants. Injury-wise, I just couldn't get out there on the field.

[+] EnlargeHakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw
AP Photo/Eric GayNicks (88) earned one Super Bowl ring and Bradshaw won a pair during their time with the Giants.

"When I left, at first I didn't know why. But I kind of sat back and thought about it, and it being business, money and injuries."

The injuries followed Bradshaw to Indianapolis, where he played just three games last year and ended up needing career-threatening neck surgery. He has managed to recover from that and so far lead the 5-3 Colts with 371 rushing yards. He also has 31 receptions for 264 yards and six touchdowns. He's eager to show off in front of Giants fans on Monday Night.

"Like I said, that was a family to me at one time, and that was like home to me," Bradshaw said. "And just to be able to go back home and be around old fans of mine and play in front of old fans of mine and family and just get back and see those guys and be in that atmosphere, it makes me anxious to be ready for this game and be ready to go."

Nicks was a former first-round pick who was one of the top wide receivers in the league for a time and a critical part of the Giants' Super Bowl run in 2011. But his disappearance from the offense in 2013 was one of the great mysteries of that disappointing season. He ended without a touchdown catch despite playing in all but one game. Other than a brilliant performance in a home preseason game against the Giants, Nicks' time in Indianapolis has been a disappointment so far as well. He's tied for sixth on the team with just 18 receptions for 168 yards, though he has caught two touchdowns.

"There's only one football, and we've got a ton of skill guys and a ton of playmakers surrounding our quarterback," relentlessly upbeat Colts coach Chuck Pagano said by way of explanation. "The numbers may not look outstanding at this point, but he's come in here and done a great job and worked his tail off. He's a selfless guy, and right now he's trying to do whatever he can to help the team win."

Nicks was known around the Giants as a hard worker and a selfless player, which is part of what made 2013 so difficult to understand. Looking back, he doesn't seem to have much of an idea what happened, nor any interest in discussing it. He did say he felt better physically than he has in years, but as far as anyone around the Giants knew he was healthy last year, so that doesn't make much sense as an explanation either.

"I'm in a new situation, and I've got a chance to prove to this team what I can bring to the table," Nicks said. "I take everything from the past and I learn from it. I don't dwell on it. It's life. There's going to be ups and downs, and you just learn from it."
New York Giants GM Jerry Reese might have just been playing to the fan base Monday when he said he'd like the offense to be more aggressive. Reese's frustration about the team's 3-4 record is understandable, and it's possible he might have been letting his inner fan show. More than once, he emphasized that he's not a coach and was only expressing his opinion, which he'd shared with the coaches as well. But Giants fans should hope the coaches listened to Reese, thanked him for his opinion and then proceeded to ignore it.

[+] EnlargeJerry Reese
Pat Lovell/USA TODAY SportsGiants GM Jerry Reese would like to see a more explosive offense, but now is not the time for wholesale changes.
Now is not the time for the Giants to change their offensive approach. First of all, it's basically working. No, the offense hasn't clicked in its last two games the way it was clicking in the three games before that, but how many offenses can weather the loss of their starting running back and top wide receiver without negative effect? Regardless of the way the Eagles and Cowboys games went, this year has provided plenty of encouraging signs about players like Larry Donnell, Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. The running game was working quite well when Rashad Jennings was healthy, and he'll return at some point. And quarterback Eli Manning seems extremely comfortable and efficient in a system designed to limit his mistakes. He's thrown only one interception since Week 2.

This is a young group that spent several months learning this system together, sharing in the joy of its successes, learning from its failures, getting used to each other and forging an identity. To tell such a group of players after only seven games, "OK, forget all that stuff we've been preaching about taking care of the ball; we're going to start chucking it downfield" would be a rash overreaction to a disappointing two-game stretch. And that's not the way the Giants roll.

Fortunately for the Giants, Tom Coughlin and his coaches are self-assured enough to keep the bigger picture in mind. There are teams in which a public edict such as this from the GM would signal trouble in the ranks, or prompt a skittish coach to change course midstream. The power structure in the Giants' organization is not beset with those kinds of insecurities, which means Reese's words Monday weren't a sign of discord but rather a manifestation of understandable in-season frustration.

A 3-4 start isn't making anyone in East Rutherford happy, but it's no reason to alter or undo decisions and plans that were made in sober times. This plan is about more than just one season.

The defining quote of the 2014 Giants offseason was owner John Mara's proclamation that the offense was "broken." In response, the Giants brought in a new coordinator, an entirely new offensive approach and new players at running back, wide receiver and tight end. They made a clear, reasoned plan for fixing what was broken, and it was always unreasonable to assume the fix could be made in as short a time as one year. It's not crazy to think Coughlin can coach nine wins out of this team and sneak into a mediocre NFL playoff field, but that's not the only goal for this organization right now, and it's surely not the most important one, either.

The goal for the Giants is to build a consistent, long-term contender that's capable of winning championships when it gets into the postseason. The people running the Giants have shown an ability to do that. But with the exception of the coach and quarterback positions, they're very much starting over in 2014. It's important for the people watching this team and the people running this team to maintain that perspective, and not to force changes before they're ready for them.

Giants brace for Colts' passing game

October, 29, 2014
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ESPN Giants reporter Dan Graziano says New York's greatest challenge on Monday night will be putting its depleted secondary in a position to contain Indianapolis' league-best passing attack.
The New York Giants didn't play in Week 8, yet somehow they still managed to drop one spot in ESPN's weekly NFL Power Rankings, where they now come in at No. 22.

It's a perfectly legitimate spot for the Giants in a Power Rankings. At 3-4, they're tied with the New Orleans Saints for the 21st-best record in the league. And especially coming off a week in which the Saints beat the Packers, it's fine to rank New Orleans ahead of them. But as we've discussed in recent weeks, the next four games will likely tell us everything we need to know about where the Giants rank among the rest of the teams in the NFL. This is their schedule over the next four weeks, with opponents' current power rankings:

vs. No. 9 Indianapolis

at No. 10 Seattle

vs. No. 11 San Francisco

vs. No. 4 Dallas

"When we looked at the schedule at the beginning of the year, we thought right after the bye was kind of like murderer's row," Giants GM Jerry Reese said Monday. "But in this league, every week is murderer's row. We have to go out there and execute and play more consistent football."
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It would be another 10 hours before previously-red-hot Dallas lost at home to battered Washington on "Monday Night Football." But had New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin been able to see that far into the future, he'd have found another useful data point for the passionate speech he was giving his team at the end of Monday's practice.

"You look around the league, and you see teams that are playing superbly that maybe hadn't been playing superbly," Coughlin explained a few minutes after the speech concluded. "So to me, we've got to play above the X's and O's. We've got nine games to play as well as we can possibly play. Anybody in that locker room can do that. They just have to realize the amount of the season and the schedule that's gone by and yet we have nine opportunities. Let's go."

[+] EnlargeTom Coughlin
Eric Hartline/USA TODAY SportsTom Coughlin isn't giving up on this Giants team, despite a 3-4 record to kick off the 2014 season.
The message: Yeah, you're 3-4 and coming off two tough division losses, but crazy things happen every week in this league, and you have to be ready to take advantage when they do. Just look at the Indianapolis Colts, who happen to be the Giants' next opponent. Two weeks ago, they looked incredible in beating the Bengals, 27-0, for their fifth win in a row. This past week, they gave up 522 passing yards and 51 points in a loss to Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers.

Coughlin's message to his players is the inconsistency around the league offers opportunity for a team in the Giants' position to get hot and take advantage. To "play above the X's and O's" is to outplay expectations. Don't just run the plays that are called, do something exceptional with them. Don't just win your individual matchups, dominate them consistently.

"This is exciting," quarterback Eli Manning said. "We have a good opportunity ahead of us. The way we've played to start the year, we've made it tough on ourselves. But we have to get hot. We have to handle our business and start playing at a higher level."

As you know if you read me regularly, I believe it's important for fans to look at this Giants' team in a broader perspective than just this one season. I think it's a rebuilding team that doesn't yet have all of its pieces in place and has developing players in key roles. But there's enough mediocrity in the NFL that you can make the playoffs during a rebuild, and it's not out of the question that this Giants team could get hot in the second half and sneak in.

More importantly to the current point, however, is that it's not the job of Coughlin or the players to take that broader perspective. It's their job to try as hard as they possibly can to win every game, not to worry about whether they're outmanned in a given week due to injuries and/or roster insufficiency. And this is where Coughlin remains this team's greatest strength. Coughlin's teams never play below the X's and O's. There's no coach better at consistently making sure his team wins at least as many games as its talent level dictates, if not more. And you don't need me to tell you that if Coughlin and Manning get into the postseason, they know how to win games there.

"One thing I'll never do: I'll never bet against Tom Coughlin," Giants GM Jerry Reese said Monday. "When his back is against the wall the most, that's when he seems to come out swinging and get his football team ready to go. And I expect him to do the same here going down the stretch. This is a big moment for all of us, the second half of this season. I think Coach will get it done."

If not, I don't still don't think cataclysmic change looms for Coughlin and the Giants in 2015. As long as this team shows progress by the end of the year (and honestly it already has), I think they'll get to continue the rebuild that began in March for at least another season. If they fall completely apart and finish 4-12 or something like that, then all bets are off. But Coughlin is hard at work on making sure that doesn't happen. And I agree with Reese that it's folly to bet against him.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants still have six days until their next game, so Monday's practice was a shorter one than usual, designed to shake off the rust from the bye week and see where everyone stands in terms of health and readiness for the final nine games of the season. Here's a recap of what we learned Monday on that front:
  • Jennings
    We already went through running back Rashad Jennings and the reasons it doesn't sound to me as though he'll be ready to play Monday night against the Colts. You can read more about it here, but basically, Jennings is a highly positive and optimistic person who admitted between the lines Monday that his optimism in this particular case is likely not going to turn out to be justified.
  • Guard Geoff Schwartz, who hasn't played since the preseason because of a toe injury, is eligible to come off short-term injured reserve and play Monday, but there's no guarantee he will. He was on the practice field and moving around, but he didn't appear to be doing much. Coach Tom Coughlin said, "He's started," meaning Schwartz was just now beginning the process of getting back on the field. The Giants have 21 days to activate Schwartz from the short-term injured reserve list, which means there's nothing compelling them to play him or even put him back on the 53-man roster in time for this week's game.
  • Rodgers-Cromartie
    Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was on the practice field, though Coughlin indicated Rodgers-Cromartie remained somewhat limited due to persistent leg and back problems. He has yet to miss a game, but he hasn't played a whole one in more than a month. Rodgers-Cromartie's injuries appear to be the kind that will bother and limit him all season, but at this point they're not considering sitting him for a long period of time. That could change.
  • In case you missed it, linebacker Jon Beason will have surgery on his toe and miss the rest of the season. "Hopefully we're not going to lose anything in terms of his presence," Coughlin said. "I think he's probably going to have to be away a little bit, but then he'll return and we'll have him in meetings, etc. I'm looking forward to that part, anyway."
  • And safety Antrel Rolle was struggling a bit with his left foot in the early portion of practice Monday, coming on and off the field while trainers worked on his foot and tried to adjust his shoe to alleviate some discomfort. But Coughlin said Rolle ended up taking every snap in the team period, and Rolle said after practice that he was fine. So that's something to keep in the back of your mind, but at this point it doesn't appear to be a major thing.

The Giants are off Tuesday, and Wednesday is an abbreviated work day with no media access, so the next time we check in with these guys will be Thursday.
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Kieran Darcy breaks down some injury concerns for the Giants and looks ahead to their matchup against the Colts in Week 9.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Don't think the New York Giants are taking enough shots downfield in their new offense? Well, you have some high-profile company. Giants general manager Jerry Reese agrees with you.

"I just think, as an offense, we have to be more aggressive," Reese said in his annual midseason news conference Monday. "At times, we're a little bit almost too cautions with what we're doing offensively. This is the National Football League. You've got to go out there and you've got to win the game. You can't expect something to fall into your lap. You've got to take the game. And I think we've got to be more aggressive offensively.

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
Matthew Emmons/USA TODAY SportsMore than two-thirds of Eli Manning's throws this season have been for fewer than 10 yards downfield.
"I appreciate Eli taking care of the ball and not turning it over, because that's what leads to wins a lot of the time. But you can't be too cautious. You've got to throw the ball down the field. You've got to score points in this league to win."

This was a startling comment because it runs directly counter to everything that quarterback Eli Manning, coach Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo have been saying about this new Giants offense. Manning spoke last week about how he's learned to get rid of the ball rather than take chances with tough throws he used to take (and how much he likes that change). And Coughlin spoke last week about the team's reliance on the run game as a means of avoiding turnovers following Manning's 27-interception 2013 season. Each made it clear that the plan would not change. But Reese made it clear Monday he'd like to see some changes.

"I'd like to see us be more aggressive going down the stretch," Reese said. "If you turn the ball over, you're going to lose in this league. But you still can't be too careful. You have to throw the ball down the field. You have to be more aggressive. You have to give your receivers a chance to make plays. You've got to score points. If you don't score points, it's hard to win."

The Giants (3-4) rank 22nd in the league in points per game. According to ESPN Stats & Information, 67 percent of Manning's passes this season have been thrown fewer than 10 yards downfield, up from 61 percent in 2013, 61 percent in 2012 and 60 percent in 2011. So this is a conscious and determined change, whether Reese likes it or not. That has not stopped him from communicating his opinion on the matter to the coaching staff.

"I'm just giving you what my opinion is," Reese said. "We talk every week about, 'How do we win the next game?' Every Monday we meet. And we don't sugarcoat anything. We go in there and talk real talk. So we've had conversations about this, yes."

Very interesting. My take on this is that, in an organization with less secure leaders, this could be an issue. With the Giants, less so. I found it surprising that Reese, who only makes himself available this one time during the season because he wants to let the coaches coach the team and not appear to be meddling, would admit publicly to disagreeing with Coughlin and his staff on such a significant matter. But I believe him that he's expressed his opinion in meetings, and it's obviously possible that the coaching staff has thanked him for it and told him they would continue trying it their way. And that such conversations will continue as part of the regular weekly course of things.

By the way, this wasn't the only such issue that came up. Reese shares an opinion with the vocal portion of the fan base about second-year defensive end Damontre Moore as well.

"I think he needs to play a few more snaps," Reese said of his 2013 third-round pick. "I think, when he gets into a game, he makes something happen. So I think he's progressing, but I think he needs to play a little bit more."

Again, on this matter, Reese has made his opinion known and then stepped back to allow the coaches to do what they want with it. Moore is still very young and hasn't yet earned the trust of the coaching staff to an extent that would allow his role in the defense to expand.

"We have conversations about everything," Reese said. "We don't sugarcoat anything. I don't coach the game. It's the heat of the moment. And those guys, they've been coaching a long time. They know who to play."

And they also, apparently, don't have to wonder who (or how) the GM wants them to play.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- A full calendar week remains before the New York Giants' next game, so this is by no means a definitive prediction. But after speaking with injured running back Rashad Jennings this afternoon, I would be surprised to see him playing against the Colts next Monday night.

Jennings
A week ago, Jennings said his plan was to start running during the bye week and hopefully practice with the team this week. But he did not practice with the team Monday, and after the team finished practice, Jennings said he hadn't done any running until Monday and that what he did was "a light jog."

"It's coming along," Jennings said. "It's getting better every day. Building on it, and when the time's right, I'm going to be out there ready to go."

Jennings is a relentlessly positive and upbeat person who will not rule out the possibility that he plays next Monday. But he never ruled out playing in Week 6 or Week 7, even when the team was making it clear he wasn't close. So his own personal optimism, by his own admission, is a poor guide. The facts of what he's saying are the true harbingers of what might happen. He said he wouldn't try moving laterally on his injured knee until Wednesday, and even then, he said, he won't be "planting my foot in the ground" and driving off the injured leg.

That's what makes it sound to me as though Jennings is at least another week away from returning from the MCL sprain he suffered in Week 5 against the Falcons. That and this assessment from Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who seemed surprised to even be asked about Jennings:

"He's not ready to go."

Rookie Andre Williams likely would get his third straight start at running back next Monday night against the Colts if Jennings has to miss a third consecutive game.

Jon Beason to have toe surgery

October, 27, 2014
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[+] EnlargeJon Beason
Andrew Weber/USA TODAY SportsGiants linebacker Jon Beason will have season-ending surgery to repair a toe injury that has troubled him since June.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The New York Giants made re-signing middle linebacker Jon Beason a priority last offseason, but he will not help them anymore this season. Beason has elected to have season-ending surgery to repair the toe injury that has troubled him since June.

Beason aggravated the injury in the team's Week 6 loss in Philadelphia, came out of the Week 7 loss at Dallas early and traveled during the bye week to see foot specialist Robert Anderson.

After his visit with Anderson, Beason said in a radio interview that he might have to have the season-ending surgery to finally take care of the problem, and that turned out to be the case. Beason tore a ligament and fractured the sesamoid bone in his toe in a June practice and missed all of training camp and all five of the Giants' preseason games.

He played in the first two games of the season but reinjured the toe and missed the next three before returning to play on a limited basis against the Eagles in Week 6 and Cowboys in Week 7. The Giants are 3-0 without him in the lineup and 0-4 in games he's played -- a fact about which Beason joked last week.


(Read full post)


The New York Giants will gather Monday for their first practice in more than a week, having enjoyed an opportunity to rest and heal during their bye week. It will be a short practice, and the real pregame work week won't start until Thursday (as opposed to the usual Wednesday) because the Giants' game this week is next Monday Night. But this Monday will be interesting for a number of reasons:

Giants GM Jerry Reese will hold his annual midseason availability session with the media. Reese only speaks once during the season, preferring not to comment on individual games or stretches and to wait until after the full 16-game season is over to make an evaluation of it. But Monday will offer a chance to check in with the GM and see what he thinks of the roster he remains in the process of rebuilding.

Schwartz
Guard Geoff Schwartz, out since the preseason with a toe injury, is expecting to be able to practice with the team for the first time since August. We're a long way from knowing whether (and how much) Schwartz might be able to play next Monday. And when he does come back, we still don't know whether he'll reclaim his left guard spot from Weston Richburg or take the right guard spot from John Jerry.

Running back Rashad Jennings, as of a week ago, was hoping to be able to practice this week and play next Monday Night. Jennings has been out since Week 5 with a knee sprain.

There could be news on linebacker Jon Beason, who last week was discussing the possibility of season-ending surgery on his own toe injury.

And there will surely be much talk from Reese and Tom Coughlin and the players about the standings. The Giants are 3-4, which puts them only a game and a half behind Green Bay for the NFC's second wild-card spot. The two straight pre-bye losses to division rivals Philadelphia and Dallas were damaging, and the upcoming stretch of Colts/Seahawks/49ers/Cowboys is daunting. But this is the NFL, where even last year's Giants team (which started 0-6) made it to December before mathematical elimination. Seattle and San Francisco have both looked shaky and, at 4-3, are the types of teams the Giants must surpass in order to contend for that playoff spot, so those games offer opportunity if nothing else. There's clearly no reason for the Giants to give up hope, and with Coughlin in charge, we can be certain no one will.
No game this week for the New York Giants. We will try to fill that emptiness in your life with a second Twitter mailbag. I hope it comes close.

@DanGrazianoESPN: The point I've been trying to stress in my writing, really since March, is that "one major move" isn't what the Giants need to help them for the long-term. The Giants are a team in the early stages of a rebuilding project. They are a team with a clear plan for what they want to be and how they want to play moving forward. They have stability in the front office, on the coaching staff and at quarterback. They have young and developing players in key roles, and those players need experience and time in order to get better. I understand the desire for the big splash, but the Giants don't tend to make those big splashes, and based on where they are right now, they shouldn't. There is talent on the team, but it's largely underdeveloped -- in the receiving corps, for instance, where Rueben Randle, Odell Beckham Jr. and Larry Donnell all show promise but need more work. The Giants will need to monitor those players' development and augment the roster with strategic free-agent or draft additions. But if you're a Giants fan right now, you have to be thinking along with the people running the team, who'd love to win in the short-term but are primarily focused on rebuilding a sustainable contender for the long-term.

@DanGrazianoESPN: This question is about Damontre Moore, the second-year defensive end the Giants picked in the third round of the 2013 draft. I agree that Moore shows "game-changing talent" at times (though not "every time"), especially on special teams and in strict pass-rushing situations where he doesn't have to think and can just use his speed, energy and athleticism to make plays. The answer to your question, however, is that Moore still hasn't progressed as a reliably disciplined player against the run, and therefore can't yet be trusted on early downs. And as talented as he is in the pass rush, there are still parts of his game there that have to be refined before he's a reliably consistent option even on passing downs. I wrote last week about the concept of development as it's applied to emerging Giants tight end Larry Donnell, and the concepts in that story apply to other players as well. Moore is extremely young. He didn't turn 22 until last month. The high sack total in his final year at Texas A&M was one of the reasons the Giants drafted him -- figuring they could deploy him as a pass-rusher right away and develop a good player around his raw instincts. At this point, that process is ongoing. And just because he's not a major contributor right now doesn't mean he can't or won't be eventually. The Giants believe in developing players, and they are working to develop Moore. If he shows more progress, he'll play more. If he doesn't, he won't.

@DanGrazianoESPN: Obviously, it can happen this year. They're nowhere near eliminated, and the NFL is impossible to predict. To this point, the Giants haven't shown an ability to beat the better teams on their schedule, but that doesn't mean they won't come roaring out of the bye week and start doing just that. The main issue they face, though, in comparison to the 2011 season, is that the teams ahead of them in the division right now have excellent records. The Cowboys are 6-1 and the Eagles are 5-1. The 2011 Giants limped through much of the season and were 7-7 through 14 games. But they were able to win the NFC East with a 9-7 record in an exceptionally down year for the division -- the full season in its history in which the NFC East's champion had fewer than 10 wins -- and get into the playoff field that way. That doesn't look to be an option this year, and even if the Giants find a way to finish very strong, continued success by the Cowboys and Eagles could make this year more like the 2010 season in which the Giants went 10-6 and missed the playoffs. But the fundamental answer to your question lies in the point I've been trying to make in the first couple of mailbag answers today -- that this is still a developing team. That 2007 team had already had some time to jell together, and of course the 2011 team relied on much of the core and the culture of the 2007 championship team. This Giants team still seems to be at the beginning of something, and likely needs time to develop its own personality and culture before it can build itself into a real championship contender. If Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning get into the playoffs, surely they'll be scary, because they know what it takes to win there. But this Giants group is not the 2007 or 2011 teams, and it may never be. Assuming it can or will be is a bit insulting to those teams, and it's an unfair expectation to put on this group as it works to come together.

Enjoy your football Sunday. I'll chat at you again Monday from East Rutherford.

A New York Giants bye week doesn't mean a break from the Twitter mailbag. And thanks to your curious and judicious use of the #nygmail hashtag, here it is.

@Dan GrazianoESPN: The Giants are going to have a decision to make next offseason on left tackle Will Beatty, who carries a cap number of $8.05 million in 2015 and $9.175 million in 2016. They could get out of the deal, if they wanted to, by making Beatty a June 1 cut next year. This could happen if (a) he doesn't play better, (b) they think Justin Pugh is ready to move to left tackle, (c) they find a better and cheaper tackle solution in the draft or (d) all of the above. If they decide to stick with Beatty, then you have to figure that at least four-fifths of next year's line is already on the team in Beatty, Pugh, Geoff Schwartz and Weston Richburg, and center J.D. Walton has a two-year contract, too. Now, can any of those spots be upgraded? Of course. And it's never a bad idea to look for building-block pieces on the offensive line early in the draft. Look at that Dallas Cowboys line that's getting all of that positive attention. Three of its starters were first-round picks in the last four years. It's no coincidence. If you invest in top-level talent on the line, it pays off. The Giants have shied away from doing that in recent years, but by picking Pugh in the first round in 2013 and Richburg early in the second this year, they're at least trending toward sensibility there. It wouldn't be crazy for them to add a key piece to the line next year via the draft or free agency.

@Dan GrazianoESPN: Other than the Giants (whom he's never played, obviously), the only three NFL teams Eli Manning has not yet defeated are the Colts (0-2), the Chargers (0-3) and the Titans (0-2). The first two are interesting connections, since Manning's big brother played for the Colts in both of those games and the Chargers are the team that drafted him and for which he famously did not want to play. I have no idea how to explain the 0-2 against the Titans. But the Giants do play both the Colts and the Titans this year, so there exists the chance that, by the end of the season, San Diego will still be the only opponent Manning has not defeated in his NFL career.

@Dan GrazianoESPN: I feel like I've answered this question a lot, but I guess not enough people have read my answers. Giants GM Jerry Reese is not on any sort of hot seat, nor in any danger of losing his job. The Giants do not fire general managers. They have employed a grand total of three of them in the past 36 years. They believe strongly in the importance of continuity in leadership positions, and they are pleased with the job Reese has done overseeing the direction of the franchise. They will not fire him because he's been a poor drafter, though you are correct in saying he has been. Since Reese took over as GM in 2007, only three Giants draft picks (Ahmad Bradshaw, Will Beatty and Zak DeOssie) have signed second contracts with the team. Reese has delivered Super Bowl titles but has not found building blocks in the draft, and that's the reason last year's roster was so hollowed-out and required a free-agent-centric offseason rebuild. The record is what it is, and it's not good. But rather than fire him and start over, the Giants will leave it to Reese to re-evaluate the manner in which the draft is orchestrated and make changes as need dictates. Prince Amukamara, the 2011 first-round pick you cite here, has a chance to stick around, as does 2010 first-rounder Jason Pierre-Paul. The way this year goes for both of those players (who are both off to good starts) will dictate whether either or both can earn a contract extension in the offseason. And if they become long-term building blocks, Reese's draft record has a chance to start looking a bit better than it does right now.

Thanks for all of the questions. Enjoy a weekend without angst. 

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