New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has heard of team CEO John Mara's description of last year's offense as being "broken."
"Did I agree the offense was broken? I certainly agreed that some things had to be fixed," Coughlin said at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "But I wouldn't use that word."
Whatever word he would use to describe the NFL's 28th-ranked offense last season, Coughlin agreed that changes had to be made.
To that end, he, new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, and the rest of the coaching staff have been hard at work trying to design a new system that will restore the firepower that was lacking from the offense last year.
"He's very fundamentally sound," Coughlin said of McAdoo, who was part of a Green Bay offense that ranked in the top 10 league-wide in the last two seasons.
What McAdoo, who signed a two-year contract with the Giants, is not, according to Coughlin, is married to implementing a full-scale West Coast offense.
"He thinks more in terms of the ball going vertical or down the field if the opportunities present themselves," Coughlin said.
So where does that leave the direction of the Giants system?
"Anytime you have different people, personalities, play-callers you'll see some differences," he said.
However, all signs are pointing to a mix of what the Giants previously ran under the now-retired Kevin Gilbride, and McAdoo's ideas.
"We will maintain a commitment to the run," Coughlin said of one of the things that will remain the same. "That will be a factor no matter what. That has been agreed upon by all. As far as changes, they may be subtle. There may be some drastic ones."
Coughlin said he's been pleased with how the offense, which he described as a collaborative effort among the coaches, is taking shape.
"It's a very good exchange right now because we're doing the best we can to meld a couple of systems," he said. "Everyone has responsibilities and makes strong contributions."
That includes Coughlin himself, who while willing to turn the play-calling over to the first-time offensive coordinator, will remain involved.
"We're certainly listening to the entire system and Ben will have the final say on that and, of course, play-calling, but I'll be very much involved."
--The Giants and Buffalo Bills will kick off the 2014 preseason in the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, Aug. 3, the league announced Thursday.
The game (8 p.m. ET on NBC ) will be played at Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio one day after the Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 is formally enshrined. Two of the seven members of the Class of 2014 have ties to the participating teams.
Wide receiver Andre Reed played 15 of his 16 seasons with the Bills from 1985-1999, and was named to the Pro Bowl seven times. Defensive end Michael Strahan spent his entire 15-season career with the Giants from 1993-2007 and also was selected to seven Pro Bowls.
Joining Reed and Strahan in the Class of 2014 are linebacker Derrick Brooks, punter Ray Guy, defensive end Claude Humphrey, tackle Walter Jones and cornerback/safety Aeneas Williams.
This is the first time the Bills and Giants will meet in the Hall of Fame Game. The Giants played in the very first Hall of Fame Game in 1962 and followed with three other trips to Canton to play in the preseason classic (1972, 1985, 2002). Buffalo returns to Fawcett Stadium for the fourth time. The Bills started their preseason in Canton in 1974, 1989 and 2009.
--With it appearing more and more certain that receiver Hakeem Nicks, an unrestricted free agent, will not be returning to the Giants, general manager Jerry Reese was asked if Rueben Randle, last year's No. 3 receiver who started three games, could be a possible replacement.
"The jury's still out on that," Reese said. "I think he's a good player. I'm not sure if he's a one, if he's a two, (or) if he's a three, but I think he can contribute to our receiver corps."
--One of the positions where the Giants will need to address their depth is at running back.
Currently, the Giants have two unrestricted free agents, Andre Brown and Peyton Hillis, and have lost Brandon Jacobs to retirement.
The team does have two players under contract, including Michael Cox, who's entering his second season, and David Wilson, who is recovering from a surgical procedure on his neck.
The early thinking is that Brown will be re-signed. However, the biggest question mark is where Wilson's recovery will be when the time comes.
General manager Jerry Reese, in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, reiterated that the club believes the third-year running back will make a full recovery and resume his career.
"He's a young kid. If he was 33, he'd probably have to tap out. But I think he's 23 so the young guys -- I think they heal a lot sooner these days with modern medicine. So we expect him to make a full recovery and play for us this fall."
With that said, there is a bit of ambiguity regarding exactly when Wilson can expect to receive the green light to resume football activities. That's why Reese reiterated that the team is going to look elsewhere to add depth to the position just in case Wilson isn't ready.
"We can't put all of our eggs in one basket," he said. "Our No. 1 goal is for (Wilson) to be healthy. We'll continue to look for a running back, (and) a veteran, and there are some pretty good prospects in this draft as well."
Reese was asked about the team possibly bringing back Ahmad Bradshaw, whom they cut in a salary-cap related move last offseason.
Bradshaw is going to be 28 years old, but after playing just three games for the Colts, he landed on injured reserve to have surgery on his neck.
"We keep all of our options open, so we're open to whatever can help us win football games," he said.
--Nicks has hired CAA Sports to represent him in his upcoming free-agent negotiations, and Jay Z's Roc Nation to handle his marketing opportunities.
The 26-year old Nicks is coming off two sub-par seasons which saw him fail to record a touchdown pass in his last 18 regular-season games.
He's also dealt with significant injuries to his knee and foot, which were believed to be responsible for his production decline in 2012.
However, several sources have indicated that Nicks is unlikely to return to the Giants.
Head coach Tom Coughlin strongly hinted that the Giants might be ready to move on from the receiver.
"You'd basically like to have all of your free agents back. That doesn't happen," he said, adding of Nicks, "I'm sure that the market will be where Hakeem will go."
--Since Reese became general manager in 2007, the Giants have resisted the urge to trade out of their first-round slot, regardless of where they stood in the pecking order.
That could change, however, this year, as Reese indicated that the Giants are open to moving back in the draft, a move which if they were to make would be their first time doing so since 2006 when they exchanged the 25th overall pick with the Steelers, who drafted 32nd that year. As a result, the Giants were able to get defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College.
"We'll try and get the best player available on the board," Reese told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. "We'll keep our options open there. If someone wants to come up to 12 and entertain us moving back, we'll consider that as well."
--There's still some time before free agency begins on March 11, but the Giants' free agency strategy seems to once again hinge on being patient.
"The last couple of years it's been a pretty saturated free agent market," noted general manager Jerry Reese.
"If there are guys you like and you have the money, people go get them. If you can hold your water, we think there will probably be some guys available in that second and third waves."
With that said, Reese seems willing to allow pending unrestricted free agents such as defensive end Justin Tuck and receiver Hakeem Nicks to test the market.
"You never know, but those guys deserve to see what they're worth in the market," he said.
They could also be taking the same strategy with linebacker Jon Beason, with whom they've reportedly had preliminary conversations about a new deal.
However, Reese, who said that the 2014 roster is "going to be significantly different" stressed that if a team has the money to get a guy they like, they'll do so, but that, "We think right now it's best to wait and see what the market is and then make our moves from there."
--Head coach Tom Coughlin revealed that he has agreed to a one-year contract extension that will take him through the 2015 season.
Coughlin, who signed a three-year extension after winning Super Bowl XLVI in 2011, will turn 68 years old in August. That previous extension was due to expire after the 2014 season.
He said at the end of last season that he still has the desire to coach, and noted in announcing his forthcoming extension, which was agreed to prior to his arrival to at the combine but which hasn't yet been signed that he never had any concerns about it getting it done.
The Giants organization has long believed in providing a sense of stability as far as its head coaching position is concerned. As a result, it has historically ensured that its head coaches don't enter the "lame duck" status of their contracts.
--Head coach Tom Coughlin offered some updates on a few of the Giants' injured players.
On quarterback Eli Manning, who suffered a high ankle sprain in the regular-season finale against Washington: "The last I saw him he felt good. He could get up on his toes. I don't know if he would call himself 100 percent, but he was well on his way."
On defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul, who missed the final five games of the 2013 season with a shoulder injury: "At this point in time, he's on schedule. There was no surgery involved, so hopefully he's going to return back to feeling the way he has in the past."
On guard Chris Snee, who had surgeries on both hips and on his elbow last year: "He's progressing well. He's building himself back up. He feels good and he's looking forward to feeling better. All I can tell you is that he's making very good progress."
On running back David Wilson, who underwent spinal fusion surgery on January 21 to repair a herniated disc in his neck: "I really don't know the answer to that question," he said, contradicting a report by ESPN earlier this week that claimed Wilson could be ready for training camp.
"He's not going to be put out there unless he's ready for that. I'm not even sure how he's going to be limited in the spring. We're not going to put him out there unless he really, really believes in himself again and the doctors believe he'll be ready to go."
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--LB Jon Beason -- Is a top free-agent priority; preliminary discussions have reportedly commenced with his agents.
--G Kevin Boothe -- Although he was part of a poor offensive line, his versatility is invaluable.
--RB Andre Brown -- His production declined in final quarter of the season; still, he's believed to be on the team's radar.
--K Josh Brown -- Is interested in re-signing, but would like a multi-year deal.
--S Stevie Brown -- He will probably get a one-year minimum qualifying offer as he continues to rehab from ACL surgery.
--OL David Diehl -- The longtime veteran announced his retirement Jan. 24.
--RB Peyton Hillis -- He would like to be back, but his status could very well depend on what happens with David Wilson.
--RB Brandon Jacobs -- Jacobs has already announced his retirement.
--DT Linval Joseph -- Might be hard to re-sign at a reasonable price, plus team has Johnathan Hankins waiting in the wings as a successor.
--CB Trumaine McBride -- Played well enough as a starter to warrant a return engagement, but would have to compete for the job again.
--S Ryan Mundy -- Unlikely to return if Stevie Brown is retained and if Will Hill stays out of trouble.
--WR Louis Murphy -- After failing to contribute much to the offense, he's unlikely to be back.
--TE Brandon Myers -- He was never a fit for the Giants' offense; as such, the team is expected to void the final three years of his deal and look in another direction.
--WR Hakeem Nicks -- Two straight injury-filled seasons coupled with a change at offensive coordinator could be enough for him to move on.
--QB Curtis Painter -- If Ryan Nassib is further along in his development, Painter will no longer be needed as Eli Manning's backup.
--TE Bear Pascoe -- Versatile player who appears to have maxed out talent-wise. Could be eased out by Adrien Robinson and Larry Donnell.
--DT Mike Patterson -- He could be back on another one-year deal to provide depth if Joseph departs.
--OLB Keith Rivers -- Didn't play too poorly to not consider bringing back, but if an upgrade is available, Giants are likely to make a switch.
--DT Shaun Rogers -- After landing on injured reserve two seasons in a row, he's unlikely to be back in 2014.
--CB Aaron Ross -- His second tour of duty with the team is unlikely to continue.
--CB Terrell Thomas -- His thrice-surgically repaired knee held up over a 16-game season. He will probably be given a chance to compete for a roster spot again in 2014.
--DE Justin Tuck -- He played well enough to warrant another contract, but his injury history and age will need to be taken into consideration regarding length and money.
--CB Corey Webster -- After two injury-filled seasons, Webster is expected to have the final year of his contracted voided as the Giants look to go in another direction.
--C Jim Cordle -- Is coming off late-season knee surgery and could be the odd man out if the Giants opt to upgrade the depth at the center position.
--LB Mark Herzlich -- Fizzled out as a starting middle linebacker, but found his calling on special teams, which will probably earn him another year.
FB Henry Hynoski -- Claims to be healed from season-ending shoulder fracture and earlier knee surgery. If he hasn't lost any power or explosiveness, he could compete for starting job with John Conner.
LB Spencer Paysinger -- Improved by leaps and bounds, and showed that he could hold his own as a starter. Will be retained.
--OL Dallas Reynolds -- Will likely be retained and invited to camp to compete for a backup job.
GUARD: The careers of veterans Chris Snee and David Diehl are probably finished. James Brewer, Brandon Mosley, and Dallas Reynolds failed to emerge as possible replacements.
CENTER: David Baas' health and cap number is a concern moving forward. The team may want to get younger and healthier at that spot.
TACKLE: Will Beatty's broken leg could impact his 2014 season. Meanwhile, the Giants don't currently have much depth behind him or starter Justin Pugh.
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