Coughlin kicks off camp

Tom Coughlin was raring to go as he met the media to help kick off New York's 2005 training camp at the University at Albany. Here are some of the highlights:

TC: We are here to build our team, again the restoration of Giant Pride. We are at training camp so the price has to be paid. We have to maximize our opportunity with the selfless pursuit of the team above self-concept. So this is where we are as we begin our camp.

I will update you on some of the injury situations following last year's surgeries. Barrett Green, at this point in time, is set to practice once per day, Greg Walker once per day, and Derrick Ward who had that late surgery - late scope, at this point in time is set to practice once per day. We have them listed as limited, but will be allowed to practice without restrictions are Rich Seubert, Jamaar Taylor, Gibril Wilson, Curry Burns. With management, some of those hamstrings from last year - Tim Carter and Kenderick Allen. We expect that Michael Strahan, who practiced in minicamp and is very motivated, feels like he has an opportunity to prove again that he is the quality player. We expect that Michael will be able to practice from day one in training camp.

We have some obvious things that have to be improved upon. We have basically one month to put our team together. We're excited about that; we are excited to be here. We have a football team, which on paper is improved from last year, which through the course of the initial part of this camp will give us an opportunity to prove that. It is not any secret that – just to name a couple of areas – third down on both sides of the ball, the red and the green area have got to be improved. Our special teams, punt return area, the opponents kickoff drive start, and our net punt are areas in which I would like to see our special teams improve.

The rookie situation with Brandon Jacobs and Eric Moore both signed. We still do not have Corey Webster or Justin Tuck under contract. I know these young men are anxious to be here. It would be very sad and difficult for them if they do not get here for the start of camp because as rookies they really cannot afford to miss anything. And even though they have been away just one month, the recall because everything is new, it is not going to be what you would exactly like it to be.

We look forward now once we start the camp to watching our free agent acquisitions become solid, solid parts of our team. Through the padded work, through the difficult times of training camp – Antonio Pierce in the middle, Kendrick Clancy defensively, Kareem McKenzie, Plaxico Burress, Jay Feely our place kicker. So we do look forward to that.

The things which you will see as we start training camp that are going to different from a schedule standpoint is that that we are going to work Saturday and Sunday in shells with practice being exactly what you are familiar with from last year, the 8:40 and 3:20 starts. We will have Monday, which will be a big meeting-walk through day, strength program day. And then we will start on our camp schedule that we are going to employ this year, which is basically the early morning practice and then the practice being at 6:10. Now there are reasons for this. If you notice and understood what I did with the offseason program and the way in which the strength program and rehabilitation program and then in June getting on the field, you know that everything was dedicated to getting the players healthy. And I am not going to sit back and not try to do something about camp. If I can extend the time between the practices, if I can allow a little more rest to occur, if I can have a meeting before each session, I am going to do so and that is the way we are going to practice. On the two practice days, one will be in shells and one will be in pads and on the one practice day it will be in pads or it will be in uppers.

So that is the way it is going to work and I am anxious to get started. The coaches are ready to go, the players will arrive today and early tomorrow morning. The conditioning tests will be run tomorrow afternoon. And as I said in the spring, I am looking forward to everyone passing that test and proving the quality of their summer preparation and anticipation of the start of the 2005 training camp, one in which we are all very excited.

Re: Scheduling of practices

TC: That was something that, I combined a couple of things. One was the injury idea; the other is that the players have the maximum amount of time between practices. Those who have tried and done this, the response has been very good. And actually the evening practices, with the public being able to work a normal work day and still attend the evening practice, the public is going to be a little bit more involved, which I think will also motivate. And our evening practices will be at this time the ones in which we are in pads. So yes it is a part of that, but there are also other reasons as well. And I want the players to know that I'm going to do everything that I can to help them be in a position to where every practice is a quality practice. I think, if I could say one thing that I would challenge our players, our veteran players, is I would like our practices to get up to the next level. We all understand training camp, one play the defense will look good, one play the offense. But it could be that way at a little bit of a higher level and that's the way that it's going to have to be.

Well, it gives us the extra solid hour, 45-minute session, plus the special teams session, before we go on the field with that evening practice. In the past we've just had a brief meeting between practices, okay, with no real length of time to look at tape from the morning practice. All of that was saved up for the evening. Now, we are going to have that opportunity with every practice. So, we'll have extended meeting time, we'll have extended opportunity to review and correct, and then move forward with our installations rather than installing everything at night and then having to recall what's been put in for the afternoon session. So I think this is going to work better with regard to our quality, quality meeting time. We're not going to meet after practice in the evening. In the evening, we'll have our training room, we'll have our evening meal, we'll snack before practice, but then our evening meal will come afterwards. Also from a schedule standpoint, the strength program will be on the days in which we have the one session. So that will work out very well with regard to schedule.

Re: Camp Injuries

TC: That's the problem with our game. What is it that causes a guy to have an injury? The fact that he is 320 pounds and he's running faster than heck and the other guy is, too? I wish there was a simple answer. We've done, I will say this, we have, in addition to this type of thinking, the medical people really urged us at the spring league meetings to do a very good, thorough job of evaluating the shoes that the players are wearing. The bigger guys wearing shoes of support, of better support. Trying to change the direction that those types of injuries are going in – the foot, the ankle. That type of thing. We've done that through the offseason as well.

Re: Better knowledge of team this year vs. last year

TC: I do think, I do feel that way. I watched us play 16 games. I studied the offseason. I've been studying our free agent acquisitions, our rookies. We've had them on the field in the spring. So I look forward to this camp. I also got here without getting lost this year.

Re: What things are you looking for as signals that Eli is developing?

TC: Well, obviously how well we play, how well the other players respond to him. How quickly the communication system is in effect in terms of player to player. How much faster the assimilation of information and how instinctive Eli can be having heard these things a number of times before and throughout the offseason as well. Taking it to another level will mean not only the understanding of what's being presented but by understanding it, being able to adjust to what he sees the defense present at that particular time instinctively at the snap of the ball as well. All of these things.

Re: Strahan's recovery from injury

TC: It's a matter of attitude, really. It's physically being ready to go and then adjusting yourself to the fact that you have a training camp to put yourself in position again to be the kind of player that we believe Michael is and he believes that he is, getting back on the field. He's been a guy that's been relatively injury free so this is not something that we certainly want to spend a lot of time thinking about. We're certainly thinking that with his offseason rehab program that he'll come in and be ready to go. Hopefully it'll be one of those things that he takes as a great challenge, that this will be his best camp.

Re: Shockey being at full strength for start of camp

TC: I'm looking forward to having all of our players here, all together on the field progressing as one. Certainly I'd like to think that Jeremy is going to understand our system, be more comfortable with it, and get on the same page with the quarterback right away.

Re: Do you expect Webster and Tuck on time?

TC: I'm not in the business of guessing about that. All I know right now is that's not the case.

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