EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — This is the time to deliver messages to a football team.
Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff did so emphatically on Thursday, the final day of the Giants’ minicamp.
It was hardly a see-you-in-a-month moment.
Coughlin instructed all 90 of the players to “be responsible.”
“You tell them a lot of stuff, most of it is private,” the veteran coach said. “The obvious is that they have one month, it’s not like a six-week break or whatever and, really, this whole thing is based on the extra preseason game. There is a responsibility for the players to each other.
“Be in great shape, be able to change direction . . . none of these soft tissue deals where guys can’t practice.”
Training camp opens on July 21 because New York plays in the Hall of Fame game on Aug. 3 against Buffalo.
Coughlin and several assistant coaches very much liked the idea of having a fifth preseason game – even if the players will lose about a week from their vacations.
“By the end of the summer, I will have taken time,” Coughlin said. “I think that’s important. For me, a lot of times all I have to do is change the routine and I can get refreshed but you do need to get away.”
The Giants are installing a new offense under coordinator Ben McAdoo, so players took their playbooks with them, a few of them stored on iPads, the rest in notebooks.
They’re also eager to be ready for a fast start this season after losing their first six games of 2013. A strong turnaround, especially by the defense, only got them to 7-9.
So that was another bit of guidance offered to the players, 19 of them veterans who were elsewhere last season: be ready from the get-go.
“We had a lot of goals, a lot of things that were objectives in this camp,” Coughlin said. “The integration of all the new people, whether it be draft choices or free agents that we brought in.
“I thought the veterans did a nice job of trying to integrate everybody into the team idea and I think we made some progress there. Of course the offense and the offensive terminology and that type of stuff, so we’ve been hard at work on that. … We’re not there, but we’re making progress.”
Coughlin also had a message for his coaches: “Just leave everything like it is on your desk because you’ll be right back here.”
McAdoo in particular knows how much work is ahead. The quarterbacks coach in Green Bay last year, he is replacing Coughlin’s longtime offensive coordinator, Kevin Gilbride, who retired.
McAdoo saw progress in the 12 practice sessions (OTAs and minicamp) this spring, and he’s eager to ratchet up everything come late July.
He’s found his new job a challenge as he tries to meld aspects of the West Coast offense he learned under Mike McCarthy to the attack Coughlin and Gilbride have favored. He’s also liked the camaraderie he’s seen among his peers.
“Just a lot of input, we put a lot of time to gather the stuff,” McAdoo said. “It’s been great. A lot of us haven’t worked together in the past, but it’s a talented staff, a high-character staff, and we’ve spent a lot of time together before the players got here. It was a little bit of an extended offseason and that helped us as coaches.
“Certainly you want the players here as soon as you can get them here, but we spent a lot of time together and tossed around ideas. We all like football – we all love football – and enjoy talking about it and that helps and goes a long way.”
They won’t be talking football with their players for a month, however. They have to trust that separation won’t be tested by any off-field issues.
“Don’t let someone who has nothing invested in your future make decisions for you, who you’re going to be with, where you’re going, how you conduct yourself,” Coughlin said. “And, of course, conditioning work in the heat is an important thing. You’ve got to be very smart this time of year with how you’re conducting yourself, what you’re doing. You can never lose sight of the prize.
“We always talk about being smart,” Coughlin added. “The `NY’ never comes off.”
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