EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The New York Giants have been hit with so many injuries the past few seasons that coach Tom Coughlin is experimenting with practicing less.
Coughlin on Thursday held a recovery day for his players. They did some football-related things to get ready for Saturday’s annual preseason game against the Jets, but for the most part the soon-to-be 69-year-old coach staged a spa day.
Based on seniority, players had to do two of six recovery workouts: yoga; hot and cold baths; massage; self-massage stick rollers and bands; functional movement screen exercise; or air compression boots.
And this is being dictated by a guy who would want nothing better than to revert to two-a-day training camp workouts, and longer practices.
“A little different week for us,” Coughlin said. “We’ve had two hard practices, followed by basically meetings, walk-throughs and a recovery cycle. So all three — special teams, defense and offense — had good, long meetings, they had walk-throughs and we finished that up with a recovery cycle.”
“It is a unique kind of a day and I am interested in the feedback that I get from our leadership council, and also from the assistant coaches as we go through the day and, of course, the proof will come later as to how we perform,” he added.
Coughlin is also using data from GPS equipment worn by the players in practices to determine when they have to cut back on their workload.
“The whole purpose is to recognize someone who is headed for a strain, if you will, and try to do something about it,” Coughlin said.
There is no doubt if the Giants (1-1) get blown out by the Jets (1-1) recovery days are going to be short-lived.
“It’s definitely new, but I don’t think any of the guys are complaining anytime that we can get rest,” cornerback Prince Amukamara said. “But also, work on our soft tissue muscles and getting massage and stretching. And spend more time in the meeting room. So it’s more of a mental day. I think guys really like that.”
The key to the setup is that the team would do more on the field on Wednesdays and Thursdays during the regular season, then use Friday as a recovery day. Saturday would remain a pre-game walkthrough.
Offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz said the coaching staff at Oregon used recovery days when he was there and the team was always ready to play on Saturdays.
“It’s different for coach,” Schwartz said of Coughlin. “It’s different for all of us. I’ve never had a schedule like this in the pros. Obviously, we have to come out and play well on Saturday night.”
Most of the veterans who had first choice went for massages.
Offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse also used the pressurized boots, which are put on the legs and then inflate and deflate continuously over a 15-minute period.
“If guys feel rejuvenated, there is no doubt this will catch on,” Newhouse said, adding if the Giants play like they have cement blocks on their feet, it won’t catch on.
Running back Rashad Jennings said he has always used recovery periods when he works out on his own. This is the first-time the seven-year veteran has been on a team with mandatory recovery periods.
“This is type of thing, again as a pro, your body is your work,” Jennings said. “Having a focal (point), where it is demanded that you take care of it, I think you will reap benefits from it. Just like you do demanding in a class room, demanding on field and now demanding that you take care of your body to help the team.”
Second-year center Weston Richburg appreciated the day.
“I think they enjoyed kind of working on their bodies,” Richburg said. “It was a mental day as well. We had a little walkthrough, jog-through deal. So it was a mental day, kind of rejuvenation. I think guys like it.”
Richburg even joked that talking to the media was delaying his massage.
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