SNY NFL Insider

Ralph Vacchiano

Ralph Vacchiano, award-winning sports reporter and columnist, joined SNY in 2016 as its NFL Insider. Vacchiano will cover the Giants and Jets beats for SNY.tv and be a regular contributor to "Daily News Live" and "GEICO SportsNite." Vacchiano comes to SNY following 15 years as the New York Giants beat writer and columnist for the New York Daily News.

 

Born in Brooklyn and raised on Long Island, Vacchiano graduated from Syracuse University in 1991 and began his professional career covering the Buffalo Bills for the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y., and later covered the Giants and Jets for the North Jersey Herald & News in Passaic, N.J.. During his 19 years at the Daily News, he also covered the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils (1997-2001), and in 2008 he wrote his first book, Eli Manning: The Making of a Quarterback (Skyhorse Publishing).

 

Vacchiano lives with his wife, Kara, and his daughter, Alexandra, in West Caldwell, N.J.

Aug 21, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) tackles New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) after a catch during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)
Aug 21, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden (23) tackles New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) after a catch during the first quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports (Scott Galvin)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

One of the Giants' two biggest nightmares occurred on Monday night when Odell Beckham got hurt in a meaningless preseason game.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (74) during the third quarter between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Giants won 27-13. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (74) during the third quarter between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Giants won 27-13. (Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

The Giants didn't look good in their preseason opener, but they were missing so many players it was unfair to judge. Eli Manning, Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard didn't play and Brandon Marshall only took a handful of snaps. On defense, the starters only played sparingly, too.

Things should be different against the Browns on Monday night in Cleveland, though. Manning will get a "big chunk" of playing time, according to Giants coach Ben McAdoo, and it's a good bet most of the healthy starters will last into the second quarter.

Tags: Cleveland Browns, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Orleans Darkwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and outside linebacker Darron Lee (50) celebrate after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)
December 11, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; New York Jets defensive tackle Leonard Williams (92) and outside linebacker Darron Lee (50) celebrate after the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. The Jets defeated the 49ers 23-17 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports (Kyle Terada)

The NFL has cleared Jets players Darron Lee and Leonard Williams of any violations of league rules after an investigation into an incident at a New York music festival in June turned up a lack of evidence.

The incident involved Williams dragging Lee away from what Jets coach Todd Bowles later described as "an argument with his girlfriend" during the Governors Ball on Randalls Island. The argument and the aftermath were caught on video and posted to social media.

The Twitter user who posted the video said the woman was "shaken and in tears" after the incident. The user also described Lee as "aggressive" and claimed the Jets linebacker "started to manhandle" the woman, "grabbed" her, and "started dragging her away."

Upon announcing that the league's investigation was closed, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email "Following a review, we concluded there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that there was a violation of the personal conduct policy."

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Dennis Schneidler)
(Dennis Schneidler)

The Jets are undefeated, which at the moment is insignificant. But really, given all the predictions of doom and gloom, some people probably thought they wouldn't even end up with one preseason win.

They did, but it wasn't pretty (7-3 over the Tennessee Titans at home last Saturday), and they barely answered any of the many, many major question marks surrounding their season and long-term future. Maybe their game in Detroit against the Lions on Saturday night will provide a few more clues about the direction they're headed.

In the meantime, here are five things worth watching at Ford Field tonight:

Tags: Bilal Powell, Christian Hackenberg, Dylan Donahue, Robby Anderson, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles answers questions from media at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Mandatory Credit: (Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - In the wake of the ugly riots in Charlottesville, Va., there's a possibility that more NFL players will decline to stand for the national anthem during preseason games this weekend, joining a protest started by Colin Kaepernick last year. So far there's no indication any Jets players will join them.

But if they do, their coach will have their back.

"We don't have a rule book on what's right to protest and not protest," Bowles said at Jets training camp on Wednesday. "You don't know those things until the course of time, whether it's sitting for the anthem, whether it's raising your fist, wither it's speaking out, a walk to Washington -- who's to say whose protest is good or bad?"

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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

John Morton seemed to like everything he saw with Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg on Saturday night. He liked his poise, his decisiveness, the decisions he made. It was clearly a step in the right direction.

But was it a big step toward Hackenberg getting the starting job?

That's a question that Morton, the Jets new offensive coordinator, wasn't willing to answer on Tuesday. In fact, Morton made it sound like Hackenberg still has a long ways to go.

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Jun 13, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) during mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)
Jun 13, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) during mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Brandon Marshall made a spectacular, one-handed catch in practice on Tuesday with a defensive back pulling at his other arm. He's made a bunch of outstanding plays in training this summer, actually.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- More than a week after being ripped by ex-teammate Sheldon Richardson for being "drama-queenish" and quitting on the Jets last season, Brandon Marshall took the high road on Tuesday and pronounced his feud with Richardson "dead."

"I wasn't surprised," Marshall said when asked for the first time about Richardson's shots. "But there's so much good energy here and the environment is amazing, I don't really have time to go back to that. That's dead. It's dead."

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Ralph Vacchiano
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Odell the leader 00:01:21
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR makes the case for Odell Beckham Jr.'s chances to lead the Giants to a championship.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Odell Beckham Jr. has put up crazy numbers in his first three NFL seasons, but he won't mind at all if those numbers suddenly go down. Because there's only one number -- and one thing -- that the New York Giants star receiver really cares about.

And he made that clear as he stood in the fieldhouse on Monday and stared at the five Super Bowl championship banners hanging on the walls, and told the Giants to clear room for No. 5.

"See that banner? That's all I care about," Beckham said as he looked around the building. "Honestly, there's one, two, three, four in here. I don't where they'd put the fifth one, but they're going to have to make room because we need it."

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. makes a one handed catch as he shows off his skills during the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown at Wide World of Sports. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. makes a one handed catch as he shows off his skills during the Pro Bowl Skills Showdown at Wide World of Sports. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The spectacular, one-handed catch that put Odell Beckham Jr. on the map as a rookie is now commonplace -- and really, just as spectacular as ever. During training camp practices, he warms up by catching passes one-handed; he fields punts one-handed; and occasionally he makes ridiculous, incredible, one-handed catches in team drills, too.

He did it again on Monday, making a leaping, one-handed, backhanded grab over Giants cornerback Janoris Jenkins -- very similar to one he made on Sunday, too. The crowd roared as it does with just about everything Beckham does.

Tags: Eli Manning, Janoris Jenkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard walks off the field after a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard walks off the field after a preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- The Sterling Shepard ankle scare is officially over.

Just 11 days after he was carted off the practice field with an ankle injury fearing the worst, Shepard practiced fully with his teammates on Sunday. There appeared to be very few restrictions on the second-year receiver, who also didn't seem to be favoring his injured ankle at all.

"They cut me loose today, so I am back to doing what I do," Shepard said in a statement released through the team. "I have been doing stuff leading up to this, so I felt like I was ready for a full practice."

Tags: J.T. Thomas, Keenan Robinson, Mark Herzlich, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers prepares to block Washington Redskins linebacker Preston Smith during the first half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers prepares to block Washington Redskins linebacker Preston Smith during the first half at FedEx Field. (Brad Mills/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Even by Odell Beckham Jr.'s standards, this was a spectacular play: a leaping, one-handed, almost-backhanded catch at the 5-yard line, followed by enough body control to hang on, switch hands and scamper untouched into the end zone. There was a gasp from the crowd, followed by the loudest cheers of the day.

There was only one problem: about 35 yards behind him, the play had already blown up.

Tags: Bobby Hart, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Olivier Vernon, Pittsburgh Steelers, Weston Richburg, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)
Aug 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg (5) throws a pass against the Tennessee Titans during the third quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports (Dennis Schneidler)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The last time anybody saw Christian Hackenberg in a game was the preseason finale almost a year ago. It was a disaster. He completed just 11 of 31 passes for 54 yards and threw an interception, too.

It was a much, much different and better Hackenberg that the Jets got to see on Saturday night.

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The good news is the Jets really have no choice but to play most of their starters in their preseason opener. Or maybe that's the bad news given the low expectations for this team.

But Jets GM Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles have promised competition all summer long for almost every job on the roster, and the competition begins for real against the Tennessee Titans at the Meadowlands on Saturday night. Not all jobs are up for grabs, of course, but quite a few are.

Here's an inside look at some of the battles and 10 intriguing players to watch:

Tags: Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Chris Harper, Christian Hackenberg, Juston Burris, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Erich Schlegel)
(Erich Schlegel)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The news that Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended for the first six games of the NFL season has the potential to cause a seismic shift in the NFC East. But it didn't cause many waves in the Giants locker room.

As far as the Giants are concerned, the Cowboys will be tough to beat in the regular season opener with or without the NFL's best young running back. So the news didn't change their outlook on the season one bit.

I don't care," said Giants linebacker Jonathan Casillas. "We get them how we get them. But they're still Dallas now. They still have a very good young quarterback who had a good, strong rookie year. They've got a strong receiver on the outside, one of the better slot receivers in the game, one of the greatest tight ends I ever played against. Those guys are still there. Their O-line is still intact."

Tags: Jonathan Casillas, Landon Collins, Olivier Vernon, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It's too early to make sweeping judgements, but the first impressions of the Giants offensive line on Saturday night were that they looked a lot like last year's offensive line.

And obviously that's not good.

Tags: Ereck Flowers, Paul Perkins, Weston Richburg, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants quarterback Geno Smith drops back during OTA practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Giants quarterback Geno Smith drops back during OTA practice at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Head coach Ben McAdoo said he plans to treat the Giants' preseason opener the same way he treated last year's. That means there'll likely be no Eli Manning, no Odell Beckham Jr., no Jason Pierre-Paul, no Landon Collins or many other starters.

And the starters that do actually play probably won't play much at all.

Tags: Darian Thompson, Geno Smith, Jay Bromley, Mark Herzlich, Owa Odighizuwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants open the preseason on Friday night, just two weeks after they opened camp. And with a veteran team with few training camp battles, very little has changed.

In those few battles, though, some very clear lines have been drawn. The action in the preseason games will determine everything of course, but as the games begin, here's a look at where the action stands in the five big battles I identified (hand handicapped) before camp began:

Tags: Bobby Hart, Darian Thompson, Eli Manning, Geno Smith, Jay Bromley, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The last time the world saw Geno Smith on a football field he was the embattled, former starting quarterback of the Jets, briefly given his job back by default. Then, he was carted away with a torn ACL and his time with the Jets - and maybe as an NFL starter - were over.

But here he is again, getting ready for another game at a familiar stadium, this time in a battle for the job of backup quarterback with the Giants. He feels better, stronger, smarter and healthier, and he certainly seems a lot happier than he was.

Tags: Geno Smith, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jerome Miron)
(Jerome Miron)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants have remained steadfastly committed to Ereck Flowers as their starting left tackle all spring and summer long. But on Wednesday afternoon, the door opened just a crack for a possible change.

Late in practice, Chad Wheeler, an undrafted rookie from USC, replaced Flowers with the first team offensive line and took the final three reps of full-team drills. The 23-year-old Flowers wasn't hurt, and there had been no previous signs of a regular rotation at tackle during the summer.

Tags: Ereck Flowers, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jun 13, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) and wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) talk during mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports  (William Hauser)
Jun 13, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) and wide receiver Brandon Marshall (15) talk during mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Losing can bring out the worst in people. It can make others see the worst in people, too. And that might explain why the Giants see Brandon Marshall as a leader who can bring their locker room together, while Sheldon Richardson sees him as a "drama queen" who ripped the Jets apart.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jets are down with Enunwa out 00:01:09
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR wonders how the Jets will ever be able to score without the injured Quincy Enunwa.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

Quincy Enunwa is nice receiver with decent size (6-2, 225) who can make tough catches. And his production last season as the Jets' No. 2 receiver after Eric Decker got hurt was unexpectedly good.

But he's never been thought of as one of the players the Jets could least afford to lose. He's never been considered irreplaceable.

Tags: Charone Peake, Chris Harper, Jalin Marshall, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Jets QB battle 00:01:35
Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty offer their takes on the Jets' QB competition after Saturday's Green and White scrimmage.

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The first play of the Jets' intrasquad scrimmage was a false start on the offense, which then went three-and-out on three of its first four drives.

It was a terrible, though hardly unexpected start. But there was a bright side.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)
(Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Jets entered camp with a dangerously thin receiving corps. On Saturday night, it may have gotten a little thinner.

 

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Jun 13, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) runs with the ball during mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)
Jun 13, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA;New York Giants wide receiver Sterling Shepard (87) runs with the ball during mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

On Thursday, Sterling Shepard wasn't sure if he'd be able to play at all this preseason on his injured ankle. Then on Friday he was back running on a practice field.

That's remarkable progress considering the 24-year-old is just three days removed from being carted off the practice field after rolling his ankle during a drill at Giants camp. He was admittedly screaming in pain and said "I was pretty worried."

 

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 (Ed Mulholland)
(Ed Mulholland)

Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - B.J. Goodson has hit as hard as anyone out on the field at Giants training camp this summer. He clearly has no problem delivering some punishment to his teammates on offense.

But has anyone told him that maybe he should dial it down a bit against his own teammates with another five weeks to go until the games start for real?

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jul 28, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws the ball during training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports  (William Hauser)
Jul 28, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) throws the ball during training camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)

 Ralph Vacchiano | Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After three days of full-padded, often-feisty practices, Giants coach Ben McAdoo gave his players a break on Friday. He even gave some of his older players a day (mostly) off.

For Eli Manning, that meant a chance to play offensive coordinator for a few plays, at least.

That's what Manning did during the Giants' light, hour-long walk-through practice at the Meadowlands on Friday. He took the walkie-talkie over and called plays right into the other quarterbacks' ears...

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 (Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)
(Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Sterling Shepard swears he wasn't crying when he was carted off the field on Wednesday afternoon. That, he said, "was a little bit of an over-exaggeration." But he was screaming. And he was pretty sure that his ankle injury was pretty bad.

"At first I was pretty worried," the Giants receiver said on Friday afternoon. "I had never really rolled my ankle like that before and I felt it pop. That was the main thing that pretty much scared me. The initial pain wasn't too good. … I was just kind of screaming. That's because I had never felt that pain before."

Thankfully for the second-year receiver, the pain died down, and despite his agony and the fact that his ankle "rolled" at a 90-degree angle, the prognosis isn't terrible. He said tests revealed "a little ankle sprain (and) a little bone bruise … but nothing too serious."

Tags: Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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JRSportBrief: Jets' Jamal Adams 00:01:33
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR cuts Jets rookie Jamal Adams some slack after his comments about dying on the field

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Roger Goodell had just finished telling everyone how much safer the NFL has become, and how aware his players are of the dangers of concussions. Then Jets rookie safety Jamal Adams reminded him and everyone else how far the NFL still has to go.

"I can speak for a lot of guys that play the game, we live and breathe (football) and this is what we're so passionate about," Adams said. "If I had a perfect place to die, I would die on the field."

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 (Charles LeClaire)
(Charles LeClaire)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Aldrick Rosas never allowed himself to get too comfortable, even after Giants training camp opened with no other kickers on the roster. He knew there were many other kickers out there waiting for an opportunity.

And he knew his one-man competition wouldn't last.

"When I got signed, they said we were going to have two kickers," Rosas said after Giants training camp practice on Tuesday. " I always knew in the back of my mind, just keep doing you and working on what you need to work on."

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New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis hands his gloves to a fan as he runs off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis hands his gloves to a fan as he runs off the field after a game against the Buffalo Bills at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- There were many ups and downs in Darrelle Revis' two tenures with the Jets, and last season's ending wasn't very pretty. But it sounds like the Jets are able to get past all the bad and will eventually honor him for all the good.

The first indication of that came on Monday when new Jets cornerback Morris Claiborne indicated he got some resistance from the Jets when he first signed and asked to wear No. 24 this season. That's the number he wore in Dallas, but it's also what Revis wore with the Jets. He said the Jets "weren't sure" what they wanted to do with the number and it sounded like they resisted -- if not outright refused -- Claiborne's request.

Tags: Darrelle Revis, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg attempts to pass during New York Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets quarterback Christian Hackenberg attempts to pass during New York Jets training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Noah K. Murray/USA Today Sports Images)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Jets GM Mike Maccagnan has said over and over again this offseason how he's trying to build a "long-term future" for the Jets, not just a team that can be competitive for one year. He's doing it the right way, too, getting rid of high-priced veterans who stand in the way of talented, younger players.

Then why are the Jets almost certain to open the season with a 38-year-old starting quarterback in Josh McCown?

It's a fair question in light of the Jets' rebuilding effort. In a locker room filled with young players, McCown doesn't exactly fit in with the plan. But he's still the one getting most of the first-team reps at training camp. And Maccagnan wouldn't even hint at when the transition to the 22-year-old Christian Hackenberg will likely begin.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
New York Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- Roger Goodell put a stop to all the talk about the Jets tanking the 2017 season to land the top pick in next year's draft. Because as far as the NFL commissioner is concerned, NFL teams would never tank.

"I don't think any team tanks. I really don't," he said on Monday at a fan forum inside the Jets' practice facility. "I think the teams, depending on where you are, go through transitions. They are looking to say, 'We need to build more talent here. We'll do this through the draft and let some of our veteran players go and develop some of our younger players.' That's always been part of football. That's always been part of sports."

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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The star of training camp on Saturday was clearly Odell Beckham, Jr., who caught almost everything thrown his direction and even turned on the jets for a long touchdown, too. Everything he did thrilled the small crowd gathered on the chilly afternoon at the Meadowlands.

And none of it surprised his new teammate, Brandon Marshall, who called him "obviously the best player in the NFL."

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Brandon Marshall still felt like the new kid in town a few months ago as he was learning a new offense and his new teammates' names. He was enjoying a chance at a late-career renaissance, a chance to maybe even feel young again.

And then a teammate reminded him he was old.

"It was pretty interesting," Marshall said. "A couple of months ago, walking in the showers and there's this guy who was like 'Man Brandon, I remember watching you when I was in middle school.' Like, 'What?' That tells how old I'm getting, right? I've got a teammate who was literally watching me in the NFL when he was in middle school. That kind of shocked me a little bit."

That's just the reality, though, for a 33-year-old receiver now in his 12th season and with his fifth NFL team. Marshall is old compared to most of his teammates. He's also wiser. And he hopes he's better, too...

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Giants Camp 00:01:55
Ralph Vacchiano reports from Giants camp about Odell Beckham's remarks on wanting to be the highest paid player in the NFL

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When Odell Beckham, Jr. stated his desire to be the highest-paid player in the NFL it was not the first shot fired in a contract war with the Giants.

In fact, Beckham insisted, there's not going to be any contract war at all.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

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The word that defined the Jets during the offseason was "rebuilding" - unless, of course, you were Jets GM Mike Maccagnan. To him, it was all about "competition". And with a roster in flux, he certainly has created a lot of that.

Whether that's a good thing remains to be seen, and depends on the talent he has assembled. He will have plenty of training camp position battles to watch, though.

Here's a quick look at the Top 5..

Tags: Brandon Shell, Brent Qvale, Buster Skrine, Christian Hackenberg, Jalin Marshall, Juston Burris, Lorenzo Mauldin, Ralph Vacchiano
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Loud Mouths: Odell Beckham Jr. 00:06:47
As camp opens, Dan Graca and Jon Hein discuss the continued distractions from Odell Beckham Jr. and if his talents are worth the controversy

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - John Mara had absolutely no problem with Odell Beckham, Jr. saying he wants to be the NFL's highest-paid player. That just doesn't mean it will ever actually happen.

But in the end, it sounds like even Mara knows Beckham might come close.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Bill Streicher)
(Bill Streicher)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - If you believe Odell Beckham, Jr., his desire to be the NFL's highest-paid player isn't just about him and his bank account. It's a noble fight for NFL players everywhere, to lift them from the ranks of the tragically underpaid.

It's a familiar fight, too, because the charge is sounded every NBA offseason as the salaries of those players go up and up and up -- and to an extent when some of the craziest baseball numbers come in too. By comparison, NFL players are underpaid, especially when considering the amount of guaranteed money.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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Loud Mouths: Boom or Bust Giants 00:07:08
With camp opening today, Dan Graca and Jon Hein debate what the expectations for the Giants should be this season

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There isn't a lot of uncertainty in the Giants' lineup, but there are still some lingering questions as they head into a pivotal year. They are coming off an 11-5 season and are expected to be a Super Bowl contender. But they are far from a powerhouse team without any flaws.

So you've undoubtedly got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part III:

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Eli Manning, Janoris Jenkins, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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GEICO SportsNite: Giants 00:02:23
The Giants arrived for training camp Thursday and SNY's Ralph Vacchiano was there to report on the team's expectations for 2017.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Justin Pugh still remembers sitting on the bench at the end of the Giants' 38-13 playoff loss in Green Bay, looking up at the scoreboard and thinking "That's not us."

"That's not this team," he recalled thinking as the Giants reported for training camp on Thursday. "The score didn't reflect how that game went. So I'm excited to get back to that point. I'm excited to go and play those teams, play in the big games, get back to the playoffs, and get back to where we need to be as an organization -- which is playing for a fifth championship."

Tags: Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jim O'Connor)
(Jim O'Connor)

Eli Manning has been the NFL's most durable quarterback, but even he is going to have to make some concessions to age.

That might be the biggest challenge facing the 36-year-old quarterback, according to Giants GM Jerry Reese. He has made 199 consecutive starts dating back to 2004 - 211 including the playoffs. To keep that streak going this season, there are a few adjustments he's going to have to make.

"Eli has to take care of himself and get himself ready to play mentally and physically," Reese said. "When guys get up in age, you have to take care of them when they get up in age. There are a few guys on the squad that coach McAdoo and our staff, we've talked about 'OK, let's make sure these guys get to the game, get to the season.' You've got to protect them in some ways."

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JRSportBrief: Giants SB-bound? 00:01:24
In the latest installment of JRSportBrief on SNY.tv, JR discusses the possibility of the Giants making a Super Bowl run.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - As the Giants reported to training camp early Thursday morning they all seemed to have their eyes sharply focused on the trophy case in the lobby. They are intent on adding a fifth Super Bowl trophy to the case. And they have many good reasons to believe they can.

But there's still one big reason to be skeptical about their chances, and it's really the issue on which this entire season can turn. If the Giants are really going to be Super Bowl contenders there's only one way that can happen:

They're going to need dramatic improvement from their beleaguered offensive line.

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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part II...

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Is this Eli's last chance? 00:02:35
The Daily News Live panel debates whether or not this season will be Eli Manning's last chance to win a third super bowl for the Giants.

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There isn't a lot of uncertainty in the Giants' lineup, but there are still some lingering questions as they head into a pivotal year. They are coming off an 11-5 season and are expected to be a Super Bowl contender. But they are far from a powerhouse team without any flaws.

So you've undoubtedly got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part I:

Tags: Eli Manning, Geno Smith, Paul Perkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

There isn't a lot of uncertainty in the Giants' lineup, but there are still some lingering questions as they head into a pivotal year. They are coming off an 11-5 season and are expected to be a Super Bowl contender. But they are far from a powerhouse team without any flaws.

So you've undoubtedly got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part I:

Tags: Bobby Hart, Brandon Marshall, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Jason Pierre-Paul, John Jerry, Justin Pugh, Weston Richburg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 ( Adam Hunger)
( Adam Hunger)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

At this point, the entire Jets roster, season and future can be summed up with one big question mark. No one seems to know - or at least fully understand -- exactly what they're doing and whether whatever plans they have can actually work.

So I know you've got plenty of questions. I'll take my best chance at giving you some answers here in my pre-training camp reader mailbag, Part I...

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 (Tim Heitman)
(Tim Heitman)

Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

The Giants' confidence heading into this season comes largely from the fact that they return almost every key player from an 11-5 season. That means, as players report to camp on Thursday, very few positions in the lineup are up for grabs.

There are some, though, and the battles for those spots could be fierce, even if they're not very high-profile. Here's a quick look at the five biggest battles that will take place during camp...

Tags: Bobby Hart, Darian Thompson, Geno Smith, Jay Bromley, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

The Giants' Super Bowl aspirations hinge on the belief that they will build off last season when they went 11-5 and made the playoffs for the first time in five years. They also hinge on the belief that the players who played so well last season won't go backward, and those that overachieved will step back up.

So here's a look at some of the key players whose performances could be key to the Giants' 2017 fortunes. Some underachieved last season, some overachieved, and some are newcomers with big shoes to fill.

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