Opening day is right around the corner for the National Football League. What does that mean for the New York Giants?
Players are itching to get back on the playing field to take on the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night at Cowboys Stadium.
"You're talking about the first game of the regular season and the first time you've had your 53 and your practice squad together, so there's a nice feeling," Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. "It's a good, exciting feeling because the season is about to begin."
Big Blue's athletes have been dropping like flies during preseason. The organization's most recent hit was putting Andre Brown on short-term injured reserve. This news came shortly after they lost safety Stevie Brown for the season due to a torn ACL.
Luckily for the G-Men they are receiving some big time contributors back from the offensive side. The Giants are especially thrilled to see Victor Cruz back on the practice field. Cruz is one of Eli Manning's favorite targets on offense and is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL.
"He took as many reps as was planned for him to take," Head Coach Tom Coughlin said about Cruz's return. "Usually when they first come back, that word ("limited") appears anyway. Limited, but it looked to me like he took probably half, maybe more."
Cruz returned to the practice field but his status is still uncertain for week one against the Cowboys. Cruz had another impressive season with 86 receptions for 1,092 yards and 10 touchdowns and the Giants rewarded him with a five-year contract that is worth around $43 million.
It's still up in the air as to whether or not Henry Hynoski will return in time for Sunday's game. Coughlin believes his fullback will work hard to return in time for the Giants first game.
"If there's a will, there's a way," Coughlin said about his fullback. "I mean, this guy is all heart and he won't miss a beat. As soon as they gave him the opportunity to get back out there, he was trying to jump in on every snap. He can come back from these things. It takes a while.
Of course, not all is well in Giants land as their front seven is a major question mark, including the health of Big Blue's All Pro defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
"He's got to practice," Coughlin said his star defensive end has ways to go. "That's what that means. Practice every day. Put the uniform on. Play in the pads. See how he feels the next morning. Those are the things that he has to go through."
There are still a bunch of burning questions that have been left unanswered. Second year running back David Wilson now has the majority of the snaps since Andre Brown cannot return until at least week eight. How Will Wilson perform now that he's the go to guy for the running game? Coughlin believes his young running back will continue to improve.
"He's done a nice job of recognition," Coughlin said. "He's done a good job of chipping and helping in pass protection and he's got to continue to do that."
Wilson will be a duel threat that will most likely be used both in the ground attack and in the passing game. Wilson should see a large amount of playing time during his second year in the NFL. The Giants are heading into their clash in Dallas with a lot of injuries. Backups will have to step up and the veterans will have to continue to provide leadership in order for the Giants to survive the 2013 season.