EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — After three miserable plays in Tom Coughlin’s so-called ‘green-zone,’ New York Giants offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo let out his frustration at practice Monday.
The wording was something like ‘make a play,’ with a sharper word included for emphasis.
With two weeks left until the regular-season opener in Detroit on Sept. 8, the Giants’ new offense is struggling, and two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning does not look comfortable.
In the last three preseason games, the first-team offense has scored two touchdowns, one on a 73-yard run by Rashad Jennings and the other on Friday night in an impressive two-minute drill.
The rest of the time has been pretty brutal, marred by penalties, sacks and few yards gained.
Manning said after practice that there is no doubt everybody knows what to do. But getting everyone on the same page is still a work in progress.
Two of the three plays that miffed McAdoo were marked by confusion. On one, a receiver did not make a cut that Manning expected, and the ball landed in a vacant area around the 5-yard line. On another, the revamped offensive line didn’t give Manning enough time and he had to throw the ball away.
“You want everything done precisely, so we’re still, every day, we’re trying to get better at that,” said Manning, who threw a career-high 27 interceptions last season as the Giants (7-9) missed the playoffs for the second straight year.
“We need to be corrected on some things and do things more efficiently, so we’re getting there, we’re making small steps, but we’re probably not all the way where we need to be,” said the 33-year-old quarterback entering his 11th season. “I think there will always be things that we can improve on. It’s not something you’re going to master in four weeks. As the season goes on, we’ll know what we do well, we’ll progress, we’ll put new plays in, different things in, to attack certain defenses.”
McAdoo’s new West Coast offense is a major adjustment for Manning. It’s more up-tempo, features quicker releases, some rollouts and seemingly not as many deep routes as the old, balanced attack of former coordinator Kevin Gilbride, who retired after last season.
The plodding Manning does not look comfortable on the rollouts. He is even less comfortable scrambling.
CARDINALS’ Mathieu close to playing, FEELY CUT: In Tempe, Ariz., kicker Jay Feely is gone after four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals, and safety Tyrann Mathieu is close to making a quicker-than-expected return to the team.
Feely, quarterback Ryan Lindley and tackle Max Starks were among 13 players released by the Cardinals on Wednesday.
Coach Bruce Arians said kickoff ability was the reason he chose rookie Chandler Catanzaro to replace the 38-year-old Feely. Feely missed a 48-yard attempt in Sunday night’s preseason loss to Cincinnati.
Meanwhile, Mathieu and inside linebacker Kevin Minter were optimistic about being ready for Arizona’s season opener against San Diego on Sept. 8.
Both might play in Thursday night’s preseason finale, also against the Chargers. Other than those two, Arians said no other starters will play Thursday night.
redskins SAFETY Meriweather suspended 2 games: In Ashburn, Va., safety Brandon Meriweather has been suspended for the first two games of the regular season for a blow to the head to a receiver.
The NFL announced the suspension Monday, saying it was the sixth time Meriweather has violated rules aimed at improving player safety.
Meriweather was flagged for a personal foul when he hit Torrey Smith in the second quarter of Saturday night’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.
The safety will miss the regular season opener against the Houston Texans on Sept. 7 and the Sept. 14 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Raiders QB Schaub out again: In Alameda, Calif., Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Schaub missed his second straight day of practice Monday with a sore throwing elbow that has lingered throughout the preseason.
Rookie Derek Carr took first-team snaps for a second straight day with Schaub serving as a spectator.
Schaub’s status for Thursday night’s exhibition finale against Seattle remains up in the air but he and coach Dennis Allen said they are confident he will be healthy enough to start the season opener Sept. 7 against the New York Jets.
“It’s been something that’s been around and we’ve been managing it and taking care of it,” Schaub said. “It just got to a point where we need to figure out what is really happening and just take care of it.”
Schaub said he has never dealt with this kind of soreness in his right elbow before but said he had no concerns that it would impact him this year.
Schaub has struggled so far in the exhibition season, leading the Raiders to just two scores in 15 drives.
Jets’ Saunders practices, cleared after seizure: In Florham Park, N.J., Jalen Saunders is simply happy to be back on the football field.
The New York Jets rookie wide receiver was a full participant at practice for the first time in over a week Monday after suffering a seizure that hospitalized him for two days following a single-car accident.
“I’m blessed to be alive,” Saunders said.
Coach Rex Ryan confirmed that Saunders, a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma, had a seizure when he drove his car off the road on Aug. 15.
on his way to the team’s facility. The incident Saunders dealt with had been previously described only as a “medical event.”
Saunders was hospitalized and had been awaiting results of tests before being cleared to return to the field.
FALCONS RB Jackson returns to practice: In Flowery Branch, Ga., Steven Jackson practiced on Monday for the first time in almost a month, and Falcons coach Mike Smith said the running back is on schedule to be play in Atlanta’s season opener against New Orleans.
Jackson had not practiced since July 28, when he hurt his right hamstring. There was added concern because the running back missed four games with a left hamstring injury last season. Because it was the preseason, the Falcons took a cautious approach to Jackson’s recovery.
“I knew this injury was nothing like last year,” Jackson said. “But at the same time, you have to listen to your body. I wanted to make sure I did that. In the NFL season, you don’t get time. This time I had time to make sure I was right.”
Jacquizz Rodgers has started at running back in Atlanta’s first three preseason games. Antone Smith and rookie Devonta Freeman have been the top backups.
CHIEFS’ Berry, Charles return to practice: In Kansas City, Mo., running back Jamaal Charles and safety Eric Berry have returned to practice after dealing with injuries.
Left tackle Eric Fisher was absent Monday due to an illness.
Berry has missed most of the past couple weeks with a heel injury. Charles has been out the past two preseason games after hurting his foot while moving out of the dorms at the Chiefs’ training camp headquarters at Missouri Western.