While their Giants teammates commenced the next step in their combative preparation for the NFL season, practicing in full pads yesterday for the first time in this summer's training camp, Josh Brown and Brandon McManus began to sort out their competition in a more civilized way.
Brown and McManus are place-kickers. And, while theirs may not be as violent a duel for a spot on the regular-season roster as the linemen and backs, the kickers certainly are attending to serious business.
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Here's Brown, at 35 a veteran of 11 pro seasons, trying to hang onto his job after enjoying his best season in 2013. While McManus, 23, still of rookie status after failing to make the Indianapolis Colts last summer, is attempting to replace Brown.
"It is cordial," Brown said of their head-to-head contest. "But there is an understanding that you're trying to take something from me. I have three kids you're trying to take it from, too. That's purpose. But that's not his fault that he's here. He's good. And they chose to bring him in, so it's up to me to be efficient and apply the pressure to him personally."
Brown made 23 of 26 field-goal attempts last year, 31 of 31 extra points.
McManus, who set Temple University career records for points (338) and field goals (60) but barely got a foot into his struggle to unseat veteran Adam Vinatieri in Indianapolis, was signed by the Giants in January.
McManus did convert his only field goal attempt during the 2013 exhibition season: a 50-yarder. Against the Giants. In the Meadowlands.
He kicked a 55-yarder as a high school junior in Pennsylvania and a 54-yarder for Temple. Two weeks ago, he said, he hit a 75-yarder during workouts on the Lehigh University field.
At a minimum, he wants to get his kicking on film, so that if the Giants don't choose him, maybe someone else will. "I think, no matter what, you're always auditioning for 31 other [NFL] jobs," McManus said. "The kicking position is always a revolving door and people are always looking for kickers."
Brown, of course, would like to avoid the revolving door, but with a polite duel. "No Tonya Hardings out here," he said. "But you have to have that chip. Don't think that that's not there. And it's my job to make them feel they made the correct choice in signing me to a two-year deal.
"A lot of people have asked me, you know, 'You had the best year of your career; how does that make you feel?' It doesn't change the business aspect of this sport. So I hope what I'm doing and what I did last year and any attributes that I bring to it, and wisdom, those things will way in my favor.
"The way you approach practice is the way you're going to perform in games. But, going into a game, pressure's different, perceptions are different, situations are different. So I'm going to have a massive advantage because I've been in all these situations."
Giants coach Tom Coughlin, naturally, likes the idea of having "two strong legs competing against each other; that's good work there."
And Brown understands an old truth. "It's not a matter of what you do," he said. "It's a matter of what have you done lately?"