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Practice Report: Preparing for Manning, Facing the Giants Secondary

Posted Nov 2, 2017

Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree discusses what makes QB Eli Manning so tough to face while wide receiver Sammy Watkins talks about the Giants' secondary.

Los Angeles held a padded session on Thursday ahead of the team’s Week 9 matchup with the Giants. Check below for three key takeaways from the afternoon’s practice.

INJURY REPORT

The team released its second official injury report of the week on Thursday. Safety Cody Davis was the only injury-related absence from the session, as he continues to rehab a thigh injury.

Left guard Rodger Saffold was a non-injury related absence, while wide receiver Josh Reynolds (concussion) was back to practice in full after being limited in Wednesday’s session.

On the other side, the Giants will be without two of their primary starters, receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall — who are out with season-ending ankle injuries. Other notable injured starters include offensive lineman Justin Pugh and defensive end Olivier Vernon, who both did not participate in today’s practice.

In all, New York had five players who did not participate with injury related absences and two players who were limited on Thursday. 

PREPARING FOR MANNING

Though the Giants’ offense has been off to a lackluster start through seven games this season — currently listed as No. 30 in the league in total offensive yards — the Rams defense is not counting it out on Sunday. 

New York is led by two-time Super Bowl Champion and four-time Pro Bowl quarterback, Eli Manning. Manning has completed 64.2 percent of his passes thus far this season — which would be his highest completion percentage in 14 seasons.

And though the team’s record at 1-6 may not show it, Manning’s offense is still a force to be reckoned with.

“He’s a savvy veteran and he could be a future Hall of Famer,” free safety Lamarcus Joyner added. “A guy like that can take over the game if you let him get hot.”

“He’s an excellent football player that has a great command of this game,” head coach Sean McVay said, “and when he gets hot it’s scary.”

That’s why one of the Rams’ primary defensive goals will be to stop Manning before he gets hot, containing the quarterback early on. Middle linebacker Alec Ogletree said that the team “has a lot of respect for what Eli’s done in this league,” but believes if the unit does “what it needs to do, we’ll be fine.”

“For us it’s just a matter of us doing our jobs the best that we can,” Ogletree said. “And trying to limit him from getting started. Because if he gets hot, he’s gone.”

FACING AN AGGRESSIVE SECONDARY

The Giants are already down one cornerback due to Janoris Jenkins’ indefinite suspension. Plus, according to Giants.com, the team could be without another cornerback: Donte Deayon who left practice on Thursday with an ankle injury. 

Despite their lack of cornerbacks, the Giants’ secondary still has the potential to challenge the Los Angeles offense — specifically its pass catchers.

“They have some good players and they throw a lot of different looks at you to try and confuse an offense,” tight end Tyler Higbee said. “But [overall] they have some good players on that side of the ball and they are better than what their record shows.” 

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins is expected to benefit the most from Jenkins’ inability to play on Sunday. The Giants primary cornerback was assumed to spend the majority of the contest covering Watkins, who is considered the Rams No. 1 receiver.

And though the wideout was looking forward to facing Jenkins in an effort to “test my game out and see where I’m at,” he says he will still prepare for Week 9 as if Jenkins was starting the contest.

“I’m going to treat it like any other game,” Watkins said. “Pretty much we know those guys, I even played with a couple guys that are over there. So [it’s about] getting on the right foot and for the wide receiver group, just going out there and dominating.”

But like Higbee, Watkins was quick to mention that several other players in the New York secondary will be difficult to match up with. The Giants still feature Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins and cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

“They play well and they have so many top guys,” Watkins said. “We have to be on point because they run so many different coverages. So we definitely have to be on our p’s and q’s with quarterback Jared Goff because they do a little bit more on defense than other teams do.”

“You can get beat any week in this game if you don’t come prepared,” Higbee said. “Everybody is good and they are definitely a better team than what their record shows. So we’ll be ready to go.”