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Giants' difficult cutdown decisions a sign of progress

Giants coach Pat Shurmur isn't a fan of

Giants coach Pat Shurmur isn't a fan of cutdown day, when he has to tell players they didn't make the 53-man roster. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Tuesday was the Giants' final practice of the preseason, which means for a good many players it was the final Giants practice of their life. For more than a few it was their last football practice ever. After Thursday’s preseason game at New England the Giants and the rest of the 31 teams will go about the grisly business of trimming a 90-man roster to 53 by Saturday.

“I think we’re all sort of real about what’s going on here,” said coach Pat Shurmur, the one who often has to deliver the verbal body blow when a player is cut. “Each one of those conversations is as different as the player that you’re talking to, because they’re all at different stages of their career. Some of them are older players, some of them are younger players...We’re just open and honest about everything. We all go into it knowing that we’re going to have to have some of those conversations.”

Shurmur said the decisions will be more difficult this year than they were last year.

“I think that’s a good thing,” Shurmur said. “You want competition within the groups. A year ago, we cut from 90 to 53 and there was only a couple guys that ended up on other rosters. I sort of feel like this year we may end up cutting more guys that are going to be attractive to maybe another team, which tells me that our 90 is better...It’s going to be much tougher for me this year when we get to that point, having to say goodbye to some players that I am very fond of.”

Given the pending sense of finality, did Shurmur deliver any kind of message to the players at the end of Tuesday’s practice and the end of their summer together? Some of them have been practicing football their entire lives and never will again.

“No,” he said. “Not specific. I do that as we go along. Today, I’m more focused on the issues of the day."

It’s a cold business.

Notes & quotes: Shurmur said LT Nate Solder was excused from practice for a personal matter...WR Alex Wesley was carted off with an ankle injury during practice...Rookie WR Darius Slayton (hamstring) missed a second straight practice. He had returned from an injury to the same hamstring for about a week before aggravating it...CB Sam Beal (hamstring) participated in individual drills but did not practice. He seems unlikely to play in Thursday night’s game.

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