June 2014

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul says he feels in the best shape of his life, and is eager to show people that he is even better than the player he was in 2011, when he posted a career-high 16.5 sacks. JPP, as he is known, struggled through a disappointing 2013 season after undergoing back surgery and then being relegated to injured reserve with a shoulder injury. Pierre-Paul said on occasion he will "feel a little something," but he doesn't believe it will affect him on the field. The good news is Pierre-Paul is over that shoulder injury as well, which is why he's readying himself for a big year.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., the New York Giants' first-round pick from LSU, finally returned to practice without limitations Wednesday for the first time after missing at least the last week and a half of OTAs with a balky hamstring. Beckham, who was held out of the 11-on-11 portion of practice Tuesday, said after Wednesday's session that he is still only at about 85 percent with his hamstring, although he didn't seem slowed by the injury at all. So what made head coach Tom Coughlin, who initially seemed content with letting Beckham sit out the rest of the minicamp, change his mind? Another wide receiver, veteran Rueben Randle, who has worked primarily as an outside receiver, could see some more time in the slot this season if a preseason experiment works out.
Justin Houston, their talented young pass rusher, is entering the final year of his rookie deal. And in what's believed to be a negotiating ploy, Houston not only skipped three weeks of voluntary workouts, but he's also skipping this week's three-day minicamp. The Chiefs practiced Tuesday for the first time since releasing cornerback Brandon Flowers. The move last Friday saves the Chiefs about $7.25 million against the salary cap this season and $7.5 million next season, money that could be used in a deal for Houston.
While Jon Beason recovers from a broken bone and torn ligament in his right foot, a veteran and a rookie will get long looks as starting linebackers for the New York Giants. Beason will not need surgery, but is out at least through July - training camp begins late in the month - and perhaps a lot longer. It's conceivable that the man who helped stabilize New York's defense after being acquired from Carolina in midseason last year won't be ready by the season opener at Detroit on Sept. 8. That leaves plenty of room for Jameel McClain, entering his seventh pro season, in the middle of the defense.
Aaron Rodgers dropped back and threw a high-arcing pass, the ball just skipping off the edge of a net stationed in the corner of the end zone about 20 yards away. As the crowd swooned at Green Bay Packers minicamp Tuesday, the quarterback slapped his hands in disappointment as if he had just missed an open receiver for a touchdown at midseason.
Eli Manning looks out over the Giants' defense at practice and automatically knows what play to use. Well, that's how it was in the team's offense under coordinator Kevin Gilbride. The Giants won two Super Bowls with Gilbride's schemes. But Gilbride has retired, and while head coach Tom Coughlin always has had a strong hand in the offense - and still will - the alignments and plays under new coordinator Ben McAdoo are different enough that Manning has to think twice.
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants middle linebacker Jon Beason, who last week suffered a cracked sesamoid bone and ligament tear in his right foot, will not need surgery, the team announced. While there was no mistaking the huge sigh of relief that interrupted the humid conditions during the first of three minicamp practices, the fact remains that Beason is unlikely to see the field again until at least Week 1 of the regular season, which means that there will be opportunities for other players to step up and fill the void. Head coach Tom Coughlin confirmed that veteran Jameel McClain, who was with the Baltimore Ravens last year, and rookie Devon Kennard, the second of the Giants' two fifth-round draft picks, will be the two primary players he will call upon to fill in for the 29-year-old Beason this summer.
Sammy Watkins grew up roughly midway between Miami and Tampa Bay but settled on his favorite NFL team — the Buffalo Bills — the way a generation of athletes has come to be introduced to the NFL. Via the "Madden" video game. "At that time, they had the best wide receivers and Drew Blesdoe," Watkins told Shutdown Corner. "They could run the ball, too, with Travis Henry. They had the best wide receivers, [one of] the best running backs. They could do everything offensively and I have always been an offensive guy. "That was a team that I always liked growing up, and they were red, white and blue, so how could I not like them?" That was the early 2000s. A decade later, Watkins is a member of the Bills, and he could see history repeat itself. Bledsoe ran an up-tempo passing game throwing to Eric Moulds, Peerless Price and Josh Reed, with Henry handling the lion's share of the running. A decade before that, the Bill's "K-Gun" offense moved even faster — Jim Kelly had Andre Reed and James Lofton at wide receiver, and the running prowess of Thurman Thomas and Kenneth Davis. Might Watkins help spearhead another fast-pace, multi-faceted Bills offense that looks to get defenses back on their heels and become one of the more diverse units in the NFL? That's the rookie wide receiver's sincere expectation.
Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson intends to skip the team's mandatory minicamp this week. The Texans are coming off a 2-14 season. If Johnson does not show up for the minicamp, the team can fine him almost $70,000 and he may also have to forfeit a $1 million workout bonus. ---San Francisco 49ers tight end Vernon Davis explained the rationale behind his absence from the team's voluntary offseason workouts in a guest column he penned in Sports Illustrated's MMQB.
The New York Giants signed defensive tackle Jay Bromley and linebacker Terrell Manning on Monday.

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