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.

 (Jeff Hanisch)
(Jeff Hanisch)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Ereck Flowers definitely looks a little learner, and everyone has indicated that his work ethic and techiques are also much-improved.

But when the pads finally come on and the games start to matter, will any of that mean that Flowers is any better?

Tags: Ereck Flowers, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)
(Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - It's really quite an accomplishment for the Jets to come off a disappointing and perhaps disastrous 5-11 season and find a way to get worse. But they did it. They purged their roster of most of their veterans and replaced them with untested, unknown players. They're playing the long game, even though their short term looks rather bleak.

Who knows if they're "tanking" with their eyes on a top draft pick next season? Maybe they're just acknowledging the need to experience short-term pain for long-term gain. Whatever it is, there isn't a lot of hope for the 2017 season. Their eyes are on 2018, or perhaps beyond.

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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The Giants began the offseason with a heartbreaking playoff loss that left them with mixed feelings. They were crushed that they blew an 11-5 season and a terrific opportunity. But they were hopeful that they were on the verge of being a true contender again.

Everything they did this offseason was with that in mind. There's still a lot of work to be done when training camp opens on July 27, of course, and a lot can change between now and Opening Day on Sept. 10. But for now, here are five things we've learned about these Giants as their "offseason" officially comes to an end:

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Bobby Hart, Darian Thompson, Eli Manning, Ereck Flowers, Jason Pierre-Paul, Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Shane Vereen, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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Gilbride on tight end Engram 00:02:05
Giants tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride chats with SNY's Ralph Vacchiano about rookie Evan Engram.

Evan Engram, the Giants' first-round draft pick, will throw out the first pitch before the Mets game at CitField on Friday night.

After that, for the rest the Giants rookies who'll be there too, drinks are on him.

The 22-year-old Engram, whom the Giants selected 23rd overall in April, officially signed his rookie contract on Thursday, making him the last of the Giants' six-man draft class to sign. Engram's deal will be worth $10.7 million over four seasons, with a signing bonus of $5.9 million and a fifth-year team option for 2021.

Tags: Evan Engram, Ralph Vacchiano
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May 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants stretch at the beginning of practice during rookie mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)
May 12, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants stretch at the beginning of practice during rookie mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports (William Hauser)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Everything Aldrick Rosas has done so far this offseason has impressed his Giants teammates and coaches, and they have faith he can be a reliable kicker.

But the truth is, they can't possibly know that for sure because the 22-year-old Rosas has never kicked in an NFL game.

"I think that you kind of check boxes as you go along," Giants special teams coach Tom Quinn said at minicamp this week. "Are his times in the range? Yes. The height, the rotation, handling the wind? The different scenarios we put him in? The next step is handling the games. So that will be the next big thing."

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Tags: Aldrick Rosas, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Every NFL coach gives the same speech this time of year, as minicamp ends and the long, six-week wait until training camp begins. They beg their players to be careful, to stay safe and out of trouble.

Ben McAdoo's speech, though, couldn't possibly resonate as much as the example of what happened two years ago to Jason Pierre-Paul.

"I'm pretty sure they get the picture," the Giants defensive end said on Thursday, as the Giants officially concluded their three-day minicamp. "They understand the message. We had team meetings with a list of instructions with the better opportunities you are going to get. Trust me I am living proof of it. You know, two years ago … I probably wouldn't even be here."

Two years ago, JPP was about halfway through the six weeks between minicamp and training camp when a fireworks accident left him with a badly damaged right hand. He lost a finger and parts of several others. He said his life was in jeopardy at one point. And at the time, his career -- and any hope of a long-term contract he once seemed sure to land -- were in jeopardy.

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul, Ralph Vacchiano
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Aug 20, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Giants outside linebacker B.J. Goodson (93) waits for the snap during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Bills beat the Giants 21 to 0. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)
Aug 20, 2016; Orchard Park, NY, USA; New York Giants outside linebacker B.J. Goodson (93) waits for the snap during the second half against the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field. Bills beat the Giants 21 to 0. (Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV:

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The middle linebacker is supposed to be the leader of the defense, calling the plays and making sure everyone is lined up correctly. And B.J. Goodson, a second-year pro, seems to be settling into that role nicely with the Giants.

In fact, he might be settling into it a little too much.

Tags: B.J. Goodson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Jun 13, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins (21) during mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports)
Jun 13, 2017; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants strong safety Landon Collins (21) during mini camp at Quest Diagnostics Training Center. (William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.TV: 

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - When Dave Merritt, the Giants safeties coach, talked to Landon Collins about his potential, he told him he could be one of the all-time greats. And Collins agreed, saying, "My ultimate goal is to wear that [gold] jacket" given to Hall of Famers.

And he might, as long as he can learn to walk away from the banana pudding first.

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 (William Hauser)
(William Hauser)

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - As if there weren't already enough worries about the Giants' offensive line, now injuries can be added to the mix.

The thin line became even thinner this week as two starters, and one veteran backup have missed all, or part of, the first two days of the three-day minicamp.

Left guard Justin Pugh hasn't been able to practice with what he described as a "tweak" in his back, while left tackle Ereck Flowers and backup guard D.J. Fluker left practice on Tuesday with undisclosed injuries.

It's early, so no one is hitting the panic button. But with training camp only six weeks away, those injuries will certainly be something to watch.

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New York Jets quarterbacks Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty run during organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterbacks Josh McCown, Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty run during organized team activities at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

The old battle cry from venters that "You can't tell the players without a scorecard" has never felt more appropriate than it does now, heading into the Jets' full-team minicamp. So many familiar names and faces are gone. Really, almost every familiar name and face is gone.

The Jets might want to consider handing out nametags, too.

For better or for worse - and yes, it's likely for worse - the Jets get their first, full look at the purged roster that GM Mike Maccagnan has assembled when their three-day minicamp kicks off on Tuesday morning. They have so much work to do - work that likely won't be completed until 2018, or perhaps later - and so many questions to answer.

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Odell Beckham Jr. warms up before a playoff game. (AP)
Odell Beckham Jr. warms up before a playoff game. (AP)

Odell Beckham is back on Giants turf, so everyone can now stand down and move onto some of the other issues facing his team - assuming, of course, that he takes part in minicamp and doesn't bring more attention onto himself.

What other issues are facing the Giants, and what questions can be answered during their three-day, mandatory, full-team mini-camp that takes place beginning Tuesday morning? Here are five questions that they can begin to answer this week...

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Ralph Vacchiano Facebook | Twitter | Archive

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Paul Perkins made just one start last season, but he was impressive enough that Giants head coach Ben McAdoo didn't even wait for spring practices to start to name the 22-year-old the new starting running back. Perkins was understandably glad to hear that.

And then he went back to work.

Tags: Paul Perkins, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) during warmups before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) during warmups before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - In the end, Odell Beckham got close to the Giants' OTAs, just not close enough.

Despite being a mere nine miles away from the Meadowlands on Thursday night, at a promotional event in Manhattan, the Giants' star receiver did not show up at his team's 10th and final organized team activity session (OTA) on Friday. That completes what is believed to be his perfect non-attendance. He was definitely not at any of the three sessions open to the media over the last three weeks, including the one on Friday, and team sources say he has not shown up to any of them at all.

Of course, these are voluntary sessions, according to NFL rules. The only mandatory offseason activity for Giants players comes next week, when all players are required to show up for a three-day mini-camp (Tuesday through Thursday) or they can be fined. Beckham has promised to attend that mandatory camp (though it's not known if he'll actually participate in any drills).

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

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Whether he ever attends another OTA or not, Odell Beckham, Jr. is almost certainly going to get a lucrative new contract in the relatively near future.

And when he does, it's going to be big.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

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Whether he ever attends another OTA or not, Odell Beckham, Jr. is almost certainly going to get a lucrative new contract in the relatively near future.

And when he does, it's going to be big.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Julio Cortez/AP)
(Julio Cortez/AP)

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Even with the Jets in full rebuilding mode -- or "tank" mode, depending on your interpretation -- it's still likely that 38-year-old Josh McCown will emerge as the starting quarterback on Opening Day. Christian Hackenberg's time is coming, but it'll probably have to wait a little longer.

Whenever it comes, though, the former second-round pick insists he's ready to play.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (74) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. (Jeff Hanisch)
New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers (74) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. (Jeff Hanisch)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The pads aren't on yet, so there's not a lot to go on for Giants offensive line coach Mike Solari. But he's convinced, from what he's seen this offseason, that his much-maligned left tackle will be a better player this year.

Yes, the bar is low for Ereck Flowers after the struggles he endured during his first two NFL seasons. But the 23-year-old, who was the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft, showed a renewed desire and work ethic during the offseason. Solari saw how hard he worked at the Giants' facility during the offseason.

Tags: Bobby Hart, Ereck Flowers, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Odell Beckham 00:01:14
Ralph Vacchiano gives his take on Odell Beckham Jr.'s absence from OTAs and talks about how this might affect his contract negotiations.

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As Odell Beckham, Jr. skips his third week of OTAs, there is an increasing belief that he's "holding out" to send a message to the Giants that he wants a lucrative new contract.

If that's true, he's getting bad advice because the only message he's actually sending is that the Giants should think twice before giving him a lucrative, long-term deal.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Landon Collins was in the running for the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year last season, but his position coach, Dave Merritt, is grading him on a curve. The bar for Collins, he said, should be set higher than that.

Much higher.

Tags: Landon Collins, Ralph Vacchiano
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Beckham's contract negotiations 00:03:35
The DNL panel dissects Odell Beckham Jr's contract negotiation tactics by no showing OTAs until a new deal is worked out with the Giants.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Hall of Fame receiver Cris Carter believes he can do more for Odell Beckham than Giants receivers coach Adam Henry could ever do, and he hinted that Beckham feels the same way.

But Henry, who was also Beckham's receivers coach at LSU, wasn't interested in firing back at Carter when he spoke to the media on Wednesday. In fact, he said, he encourages his players to listen to other people and coaches so they can learn as much as they possibly can.

"My thing is I don't know everything," Henry said. "And I've never been the type of person who thinks he knows everything. So I encourage guys to get life lessons, coaching lessons from other people because the more coaching you get from other people, the better you can (be)."

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., 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)

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The NFL is investigating a weekend incident that involved Jets linebacker Darron Lee at a New York music festival, to see if he violated the league's personal conduct policy. But if he's disciplined at all, it won't be by Jets coach Todd Bowles.

Bowles said he had a long talk with Lee following the incident on Saturday, and excused it as just "an argument with his girlfriend." It occurred at the Governors Ball on Randalls Island and some of it was caught on a video that posted to social media. The highlight of the video was Lee's teammate, Leonard Williams, dragging him away from the unidentified woman.

Tags: Darron Lee, Leonard Williams, Ralph Vacchiano
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Harris led the defense 00:00:32
SNY.tv takes a look at former Jets linebacker David Harris and his motivational speeches to the team last season.

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The Jets' offseason purge has unexpectedly claimed another victim -- and Todd Bowles doesn't seem happy about that at all.

David Harris, a 33-year-old linebacker and perhaps the last remaining veteran leader on the Jets' increasingly young defense, was released on Tuesday, shortly after participating in what turned out to be his final practice with the team. He was cut after what Bowles described as a "breakdown" in talks about a pay cut from the $6.5 million salary he was due this season.

Tags: David Harris, Ralph Vacchiano
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Dec 17, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) runs the ball against Miami Dolphins corner back Bobby McCain (28) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
Dec 17, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) runs the ball against Miami Dolphins corner back Bobby McCain (28) during the second quarter at MetLife Stadium. (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - The Jets swear they are not listening to the noise outside of their locker room, where they are surrounded by a near-universal prediction of doom and gloom. Some are bracing for an historic disaster of a season. Some are embracing it, hoping that when the dark clouds disperse there's a rainbow leading to USC quarterback Sam Darnold.

But what if the Jets aren't just in a state of denial? What if they sense something different going on with their rebuilding team? What if their dysfunctional, ugly, 5-11 season last year was rock bottom, and now there really is nowhere to go but up?

Tags: Bilal Powell, Eric Decker, Matt Forte, Quincy Enunwa, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) stands on the field prior to the Giants' game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) stands on the field prior to the Giants' game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. (Geoff Burke)

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Odell Beckham, Jr. is free to do whatever he wants when it comes to voluntary workouts. Show up. Don't show up. It's totally his choice.

That doesn't mean he made the right one.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)
(Brad Penner/USA Today Sports Images)

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Jets players will report to training camp on Friday, July 28, kicking off a summer that will feature eight practices open to the public in Florham Park, N.J., and the annual Green and White scrimmage at the Meadowlands on Aug. 5.

The first open practice will take place on Monday, July 31, beginning at 1:50 p.m. They'll have one more open session at the same time on Thursday, Aug. 3, before their annual practice/scrimmage at MetLife Stadium, on Aug. 5 at 7 p.m...

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New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) drops back to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)
New York Jets quarterback Bryce Petty (9) drops back to pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the first half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez) (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - He appears to be the third man in a two-man quarterback fight that might not turn into much of a fight at all. It's hard to completely predict how the Jets' summer quarterback battle will turn out, but one thing seems certain: Bryce Petty doesn't have much of a chance.

Don't try telling that to the 26-year-old Petty, though. He may not be the newly signed veteran, nor is he the second-round pick who they hope is the quarterback of the future. But he is the only QB on the roster who actually played quarterback for the Jets last season.

And if that makes him the underdog … well, he doesn't quite understand how.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Jets running back Matt Forte catches the ball in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets running back Matt Forte catches the ball in the second half at MetLife Stadium. (William Hauser/USA TODAY Sports)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- What makes Matt Forte so dangerous, he believes, is his two-way ability as a running back. He can be as dangerous catching passes out of the backfield as he is at running the ball.

So why did the New York Jets throw to him so infrequently last season? Forte doesn't know the answer to that either.

He just knows things are going to be different this year.

Tags: Bilal Powell, Matt Forte, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Calvin Pryor was out on his field for the Jets' organized team activity (OTA) session on Tuesday, one week after he skipped the first one. He wasn't in his usual spot with the starters, though. He was on a backfield, working with the third team. Rookies Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye worked with the starters.

Significant? Maybe. Or, as Todd Bowles indicated, maybe not.

"No, we move guys around every day," the Jets head coach said. "It's a sign that we're moving guys around on both fields trying to get guys acclimated."

Perhaps that's true, but it was impossible to read nothing into the lineup, especially when even Bowles admitted that "some guys don't move" between teams. Pryor's situation is also unique and loaded with uncertainty, since the Jets used a first-round (Adams) and second-round pick (Maye) on safeties and then decided not to pick up the fifth-year option (for 2018) on his current contract.

Tags: Calvin Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Brandon Marshall and Odell Beckham, Jr. haven't had much time to work out together, especially since Beckham is skipping the Giants OTAs. But it didn't take long for Marshall to come to a big conclusion about his new teammate.

Beckham, Marshall said, is "a freak".

"That is one thing that I notice about him: He is a freak," Marshall said. "The first day when we were running sprints he was playing with the rest of the wide receivers. We are running extremely hard and at full capacity and he would just jog and be 10 yards in front of us and then stop and let everyone else beat him. It is just special to see this guy work. He is truly a freak."

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

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Sheldon Richardson may think that Brandon Marshall was the source of the Jets' unhappy locker room last season, but Marshall's new Giants coaches and teammates see him in an entirely different way.

"Brandon has been a breath of fresh air for us," head coach Ben McAdoo said on Thursday. "He comes out, he works hard at football, you can see he loves football. It's refreshing to have a guy that's been as productive as he has over his career and has played as long as he's played, being out here working the way he works; you can really see he loves the game."

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Sheldon Richardson, Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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JR Sport Brief: Defending Odell 00:01:34
In the latest installment of JR Sport Brief on SNY.tv, JR defends Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham for his absence from voluntary OTAs.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - The organized team activities (OTAs) are voluntary and Odell Beckham, Jr. is definitely allowed to skip them if he wants.

But it sure sounds like his coach would prefer if he were here.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Olivier Vernon, Owa Odighizuwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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Harrison on Sheldon Richardson 00:00:20
Giants DT Damon Harrison reacts to Jets DL Sheldon Richardson?s recent comments on Giants WR Brandon Marshall.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Brandon Marshall was well aware of the "15 reasons" Sheldon Richardson had to be glad Marshall is gone from the Jets, and he knew the questions were coming. He even began his first press conference with the Giants by saying "Sheldon Richardson questions, go ahead and open it up."

But Marshall tried not to open up about his running feud with his former teammate. He preferred to stay as much as possible on the high road instead.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Harrison on Sheldon Richardson 00:00:20
Giants DT Damon Harrison reacts to Jets DL Sheldon Richardson?s recent comments on Giants WR Brandon Marshall.

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EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Brandon Marshall was well aware of the "15 reasons" Sheldon Richardson had to be glad Marshall is gone from the Jets, and he knew the questions were coming. He even began his first press conference with the Giants by saying "Sheldon Richardson questions, go ahead and open it up."

But Marshall tried not to open up about his running feud with his former teammate. He preferred to stay as much as possible on the high road instead.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Damon Harrison, Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) during the fourth quarter between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott Galvin)
New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) during the fourth quarter between the Cleveland Browns and the New York Giants at FirstEnergy Stadium. (Scott Galvin)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Odell Beckham isn't spending his spring catching passes from Eli Manning. But he did have time to catch a few from Johnny Manziel.

While the Giants' enigmatic star receiver skipped the first two days of the organized team activities (OTAs) this week, he was reportedly working out with Manziel, the troubled ex-NFL quarterback. On Tuesday, Beckham's "custom cleat artist," who goes by the name "Kickasso," posted a picture of himself hanging with a shirtless Beckham and Manziel on an outdoor football field.

Then, on Wednesday morning, TMZ posted the picture and reported that Beckham and Manziel "hit the gridiron for some passing drills", along with several other unnamed receivers.

Tags: Odell Beckham Jr., Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kathy Willens/AP)
(Kathy Willens/AP)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - He's been a disappointment on and off the field for most of the last two seasons, and he knows the Jets have tried their best to ship him somewhere else. Yet as the Jets begin preparing for the 2017 season, Sheldon Richardson is still on their roster.

And the Jets believe -- or at least hope -- he's returning more motivated than ever before.

"After just one day in OTAs, and watching him move around, this guy -- I shouldn't say (he has) a chip on his shoulder," said Jets defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers. "I think he kind of has something to prove."

That seems obvious given how the last two seasons have gone. He's been suspended twice -- four games in 2015 for violating the league's substance abuse policy, and once last season after he was arrested for resisting arrest and other traffic violations when he was caught driving 143 miles per hour with a loaded gun and a 12-year-old in his car. He also had a disappointing five sacks in 11 games in 2015, and a dismal 1 ½ sacks in 15 games last year...

Tags: Sheldon Richardson, Ralph Vacchiano
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Unanswered Jets questions 00:05:26
Jon Hein and Sal Licata run through the latest Jets news, including Sheldon Richardson's recent comments and the battles for QB and safety.

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - On the first day of spring practice, the Jets' presumed quarterback of the future was relegated to a far field to work with the third-stringers, while a 37-year-old journeyman got the first-team snaps on the main field. That's probably the way it'll be when training camp opens this summer.

But not definitely, because the Jets continue to insist that their quarterback depth chart is subject to change.

As they have all offseason long, the Jets insisted again on Tuesday that their quarterback competition will be wide open this year, and new offensive coordinator John Morton promised the three quarterbacks will all get reps with the first-team offense. On Day 1, Josh McCown got all the first-team snaps and Bryce Petty worked mostly with the second team, while off in the distance Christian Hackenberg worked with everyone else.

Tags: Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kyle Terada)
(Kyle Terada)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Even after the Jets drafted safeties in the first and second rounds last month, head coach Todd Bowles insisted there was still a place for Calvin Pryor. He talked about his plans to use three safeties in some defensive packages. And he seemed to believe Pryor could handle the increased competition, too.

"If you're afraid of competition," Bowles said earlier this month, "you don't need to be here."

On Tuesday, the first day of organized team activities (OTAs) for the Jets, the 24-year-old Pryor wasn't here.

That's not to say that he's afraid of the competition he'll surely get from Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye, the Jets' first- and second-round picks. But with no reason given for why he was one of the very few Jets to skip the voluntary practice, it's hard to believe his absence isn't somewhat related. After all, the drafting of Adams and Maye was a clear signal that Pryor isn't in the Jets' future plans.

Tags: Calvin Pryor, Ralph Vacchiano
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GEICO SportsNite: Giants golf 00:02:22
Ralph Vacchiano chats with Zak DeOssie and Justin Tuck at the Giants' golf outing about their hopes for the future of the franchise.

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BAYONNE, N.J. - Justin Tuck was right there to witness the best of Jason Pierre-Paul -- his breakout, 16 1/2-sack season that was now six long years ago. JPP has been through a lot since then, including multiple surgeries on his hand, groin and back.

The injuries and time have undoubtedly taken a toll. But Tuck still believes his old teammate is even better than he was before.

Tags: Jason Pierre-Paul, Ralph Vacchiano
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Beckham misses Day 1 of OTAs 00:03:31
The DNL panel debates whether or not it is a problem that Odell Beckham Jr missed the first day of OTAs, even though they are not mandatory

The New York Giants took the field for their first time as a team this spring, but they were missing at least one of their most important players.

Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants' talented and enigmatic receiver, was a no-show for the first day of organized team activities (OTAs), a team source confirmed. The reason for his absence wasn't clear, but he doesn't necessarily need to give one. All 10 of the OTA sessions the Giants will hold over the next three weeks are part of the voluntary offseason program.

The only mandatory event this offseason for Giants players is the team's three-day minicamp, which is scheduled for June 13-15.

Still, Beckham's absence is notable if only because of the way he left off last season and Giants GM Jerry Reese's postseason declaration that it was time for Beckham to finally "grow up." Beckham ended last year with a disappointing performance in the team's playoff loss in Green Bay, which was preceded by his ill-timed trip with his fellow receivers to Miami, and followed by his decision to punch a hole in the wall outside the interview area in Lambeau Field.

Tags: Brandon Marshall, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Eli Apple, Eli Manning, Janoris Jenkins, Jonathan Casillas, Landon Collins, Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, Ralph Vacchiano
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New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants offensive guard Justin Pugh during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. (Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports)

BAYONNE, N.J. - The New York Giants' offensive line seen for most of last season will likely be the same at the start of this season.

And according to left guard Justin Pugh, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

No, the Giants' line did not play well last season, and no, the team didn't do much to improve the personnel this offseason. But as Pugh, a fifth-year veteran, said on Monday, continuity "is the most important thing with offensive line play."

Tags: Bobby Hart, Brandon Marshall, Daniel Fells, Ereck Flowers, John Jerry, Justin Pugh, Nikita Whitlock, Odell Beckham Jr., Weston Richburg, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

BAYONNE, N.J. - Aldrick Rosas may be a complete unknown to just about everyone outside the Giants organization, but it sounds like he's made quite an impression on his new team this spring.

"He's having one of the most memorable offseasons that I can recall," Giants long-time long-snapper Zak DeOssie said in an interview with SNY. "On that note, it's a different thing when they're kicking in front of an entire stadium. But I have full faith in him that he can get the job done."

That's quite a compliment coming from the 11-year veteran, especially for a first-year player who has yet to kick in an NFL game. But the Giants seem to have a strong belief in the 22-year-old who last kicked regularly for Southern Oregon, an NAIA school. He is the only kicker on their roster at the moment, and there's been no indication that they plan to bring in anyone else.

That would be an odd choice for a team that believes it's a Super Bowl contender. But so far, DeOssie -- speaking at the Newark Mentoring Movement golf outing at the Bayonne Golf Club -- really likes what he sees...

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 (Vincent Carchietta)
(Vincent Carchietta)

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It would seem odd for a team like the Giants, who believe they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender, to go into a season with an unproven kicker. But it's not out of the question, according to special teams coordinator Tom Quinn.

"No. It's very simple," Quinn said. "You have to be accurate. We've done a good job around here and we have to continue that trend. We have a guy that's a good snapper (Zak DeOssie) and a good holder (punter Brad Wing). Now, we just have to find a kicker. We like working with Aldrick so far."

Quinn was talking about Aldrick Rosas, the only kicker on their roster and whose NFL experience is limited to the Tennessee Titans training camp last summer. Rosas showed off a strong and accurate leg during his time at Southern Oregon, but the NAIA is a long way from the NFL. So even if he continues to show promise this summer, how can the Giants be sure he's ready to handle all the kicking duties in a real NFL game?

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Here is a full and official list of the undrafted free agent signees and the tryout players in attendance at the Giants' rookie mini-camp this weekend. Among the notable names among the tryouts are a veteran kicker (Travis Coons, formerly of the Cleveland Browns), and an Australian Rules Football Player who had a two-month tryout with the Arizona Cardinals last offseason (Joel Wilkinson):

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 (Matt Bush)
(Matt Bush)

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When the Giants took Evan Engram in the first round of the draft, they touted him as a dangerous weapon, a big target, and a player who they envisioned running deep routes up the middle of the field.

From what offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan can see, though, Engram can be much more than that.

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 (Kim Klement)
(Kim Klement)

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With the Giants rookies due to report on Thursday for the start of their first rookie camp, the team has agreed to terms with the first of their six draft picks.

Defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, a second-rounder out of Alabama, agreed to his rookie deal, according to his agents at Sports Trust Advisors. He is expected to officially sign his deal before the players hit the field on Friday morning.

Tomlinson's four-year deal is expected to be worth $4.57 million with a signing bonus of about $1.5 million...

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 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

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The Jets have seemingly been searching for a franchise quarterback since Joe Namath was wearing green. So it's no surprise that Namath doesn't want to see them waste any more time in their search.

The Jets legend made it clear that he wants to see Christian Hackenberg emerge as the starting quarterback for his old team this season, not the soon-to-be-38-year-old Josh McCown. Speaking before the United Way's Gridiron Gala in Manhattan on Tuesday night, Namath said he understands why the coaches might go with McCown.

But he said if there's a chance the 22-year-old Hackenberg is the future, then the future has to be now...

Tags: Christian Hackenberg, Quincy Enunwa, Ralph Vacchiano
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 (Noah K. Murray)
(Noah K. Murray)

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Cornerback Jeremy Clark, one of the Jets' three sixth-round picks in the NFL draft, officially signed his rookie contract on Wednesday. Now he can focus on getting on the field.

Clark, whom the Jets took with the 13th pick of the sixth round (197th overall), became the last of the Jets' three sixth-rounders to sign, joining Ole Miss cornerback Derrick Jones (20/204) and Lousiana-Lafayette running back Elijah McGuire (4/188). The 6-3, 220-pound Clark, though, isn't quite ready to join his teammates. He's still rehabbing a torn ACL he suffered early in his final season at Michigan.

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New York Giants outside linebacker J.T. Thomas (55) during the preseason game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)
New York Giants outside linebacker J.T. Thomas (55) during the preseason game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. (Vincent Carchietta)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

After an injury plagued first season with the Giants, J.T. Thomas finally felt healthy heading into the opener last year. He was ready for what he believed would be a big season.

But he didn't even last a full half of the first game before he was carted off the field with a torn ACL and torn meniscus in left knee. Sitting out and having to watch as his teammates returned to the playoffs hurt Thomas "more than words can describe."

Tags: J.T. Thomas, Ralph Vacchiano
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NFL legend Joe Namath arrives on the red carpet prior to the 6th Annual NFL Honors at Wortham Theater. (Kevin Jairaj)
NFL legend Joe Namath arrives on the red carpet prior to the 6th Annual NFL Honors at Wortham Theater. (Kevin Jairaj)

Ralph Vacchiano, SNY.tv

Woody Johnson thinks this Jets season should be measured by progress, not wins. Some Jets fans think the team should tank the whole season to secure the No. 1 pick in next year's draft. The expectations for this team could not be much lower.

Joe Namath understands all that. But count him among the few who believe the Jets will be a better team this year.

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New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith throws a pass during the pregame warmups for their game against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)
New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith throws a pass during the pregame warmups for their game against the Baltimore Ravens at MetLife Stadium. (Ed Mulholland/USA TODAY Sports)

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Geno Smith said he will not only be ready for New York Giants training camp at the end of July; he'll be ready to fight for a job.

He'll have to be because the Giants quarterback room is a little more crowded after the team drafted Cal quarterback Davis Webb in the third round of the NFL Draft last week. With Webb and Eli Manning locks to make the roster, it leaves veteran Josh Johnson and Smith battling for the backup quarterback job.

Tags: Eli Manning, Geno Smith, Ralph Vacchiano
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