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The Giants’ position coaches periodically speak to the media throughout the season, and today was offensive line coach Mike Solari’s turn to be grilled. Reporters asked him 11 questions – two on Justin Pugh, the left guard who is expected back in the lineup after missing five games with a knee injury, one on the team’s running game, and eight about left tackle Ereck Flowers.
After the Giants defeated the Dolphins in Miami last Dec. 14, Ereck Flowers and New York Giants jersey china Olivier Vernon exchanged jerseys. It’s become a fairly common postgame practice in the NFL, particularly for two players with the shared connections of Flowers and Vernon, South Florida natives who each played at the University of Miami.
It was simply Solari’s turn. Head coach Ben McAdoo and offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan were also questioned this week about Flowers. The second-year pro – and 2015 first-round draft choice – struggled in the first half of the Giants’ 10-7 victory last week against Dallas.
Eight months later, the two players are Giants teammates. And each day in practice, Flowers, the team’s second-year left tackle, grapples with Vernon, the right defensive end who joined the team as a free agent in the offseason.
“Flowers is going to be a really good player, man,” Vernon said today. “Right now, it is all about getting each other better. He helps me out just as far as when it comes to the pass rushing. As young as Flowers is, he is ahead of the game as far as what he knows and his athletic ability. Once he starts getting more knowledge of the game and he puts it with his athletic ability, he is going to be even better. I like going against Ereck, just to get each other better.”
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The Giants today signed three players to their practice squad: quarterback Keith Wenning, running back Jacob Huesman, and safety Ryan Murphy.
Wenning, 6-3 and 225 pounds, was a sixth-round draft choice by the Baltimore Ravens in 2014, from Ball State. He spent that season on the Ravens’ practice squad. After his release in June 2015, Wenning was signed by the Cincinnati Bengals, with whom he did stints on both the practice squad and active roster. He has not appeared in a regular-season game. In the 2016 preseason, Wenning completed 21 of 43 passes for 212 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. He was waived by Cincinnati on Sept. 3.
Huesman was a standout quarterback at Tennessee-Chattanooga. He holds school records for rushing yards with 4,051, touchdowns with 43, rushes with 788 and most 100-yard rushing games with 15. He spent time this year with the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the CFL, and has had several NFL tryouts.
Running back Shane Vereen (triceps) and quarterback Ryan Nassib (elbow) were placed on injured reserve. To take their place on the roster, the Giants signed linebacker Ishaq Williams off their practice squad, as well as running back George Winn.
For Vereen, it is a return trip to injured reserve that ends a frustrating season. He missed nine games with a torn triceps that he suffered against Washington Sept. 25. The Giants activated Vereen on Dec. 10 and he played in the victories against Dallas and Detroit. Vereen had two rushing attempts for 11 yards on Sunday against the Lions, but re-injured his triceps.
The Giants today terminated the practice squad contracts of running back George Winn and offensive lineman Laurence Gibson. They signed offensive lineman Adam Gettis to the practice squad. Gettis played in three games this season, including a start at left guard in Cleveland on Nov. 27. He was waived on Saturday, when running back Shane Vereen was activated off injured reserve.