Avery Moss almost always was one of the best defensive players on the field. In the NFL, that makes him a little vulnerable.
That’s because as a rookie defensive end on the Giants, his first job likely will not be rushing a passer or stuffing a running back but covering a kickoff or blocking for a punt returner. In other words, something completely foreign to him.
“I’d never even watched a down of special teams before, until I came here,” he said Saturday. “It’s definitely an eye-opening experience for me.”
Moss got a taste of special-teams play in Saturday’s practice, a physical workout that included full-speed special-teams drills. It was good preparation for Friday’s preseason opener against the Steelers.
“Come preseason, that’s going to be the first live action we see, so it’s good to see how stuff goes full speed,” Moss said. “It gives us a good mindset to know what to expect.”
The Giants released their first unofficial depth chart of the season Sunday in preparation for Friday’s preseason game. Among the notable nuggets from the stack of players are the fullbacks (Jacob Huesman as the starter, Shane Smith as the backup, with neither having played on an NFL field), Rhett Ellison listed ahead of first-round pick Evan Engram at tight end, Darian Thompson starting at free safety ahead of Andrew Adams, and Aldrick Rosas listed ahead of veteran Mike Nugent at kicker.
The Giants did not practice and the players had the day off Sunday . . . Eli Manning had a chance to call plays on the walkie-talkie Friday as part of his day of rest while most of the team practiced. “I don’t like it,” he said of being a play-caller. “You are kind of just by yourself, you can’t talk to anyone else. As the plays go on, you get to watch it for a second, and then you are back down trying to figure out what’s the next play to call.” Manning said he is more comfortable hanging back and chatting with receivers about the plays when he is not an active participant as opposed to his one-time “coaching” duty. And it does seem to be a one-time activity. Manning said offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan asked if he would like to do it again. “I was like, ‘Nope, I don’t want to call plays anymore. Please let me go practice.’ ”