It's not very often the Giants' fullback is selected for the team's daily podium list, which is a select group of players chosen to speak to the media as a group, but this week, Giants fullback Eli Penny was selected and with good reason.
Penny has seen an increase in his snaps on offense the last two weeks and has also been instrumental in helping the running game get into a rhythm.
Penny, in his third season with the Giants, has served as a true all-purpose back for the Giants and has specialized in leading blocking up the middle on inside runs. That success has also helped make the Giants one of the most efficient teams in the NFL on converting on short-yardage situations.
"I think those situations in a ballgame are all about mentality, all about want to, and all about just beating your man one on one," Penny said. "When we're out there, I think the coaches do a good job of just harping on that area of the game.
"Being physical, beating your man one on one, and just having that want to and the grit to convert the situation."
Penny credits his work on special teams, where he's been a core member, as being a help to his work on offense.
"It definitely added value," he said. "I kind of use the same mindset I have on special teams, and I bring it to my mentality of playing fullback because when you’re going down on special teams, you can’t run slow, you can’t be timid, you can’t be afraid to initiate contact. With that mindset I have on special teams, I just bring it to the offensive side of the ball and try to be as productive as I can with it."
Penny, a Los Angeles, California native, will be returning to the West Coast on Sunday to face a familiar foe. Penny, a former Arizona Cardinal, once scored a go-ahead touchdown against the Seahawks in his last game as a Cardinal back in 2017.
The former undrafted free agent has seen a steadily increased role in the team's upcoming game against Seattle. If there is a situation in which he has the opportunity to carry the ball against the Seahawks again on a big conversion down, he would relish the chance.
"I always want the ball in those situations because I feel like I'm just going to convert it," Penny said. "I make it simple for myself. I get one yard. That's it. That's not that hard to do. I feel like I'm the perfect guy in those situations, and I always want the ball in those situations.
"Like I said, it's just a mindset type of thing. Beating your guy one on one, the want to, the will, nut-cutting time, just do your job and convert the first down."
Cam Covid Free
Rookie outside linebacker Cam Brown was held out of Thursday's practice as a precautionary after he had reported illness symptoms, even though he had been able to produce a negative COVID-19 test.
Brown returned to the Giants' facility on Friday and did not receive an injury designation on the team's final injury report, which means he's good to go for Sunday, barring any last-minute setbacks.
"I'd say he's been cleared on that list today," Judge said. "We had to take precautions. Anyone at this point that comes up with any kind of symptoms, we encourage our players and they've done a really good job. If they have symptoms they communicate with (Vice President of Medical Services) Ronnie (Barnes) talk it through."
The Giants are looking to avoid any further positive tests and prevent the roster limitations that come with it.
The Giants have had to place seven players on the Reserve/COVID-19 list this season and were without offensive tackle Matt Peart, tight end Kaden Smith, and wide receiver Dante Pettis last week. All three have since been cleared, which means the Giants don't currently have anyone else on the COVID-19 list, and they'd like to keep it that way for the rest of the season.
But should there be a breakout of COVID-19 cases, Judge has set up an emergency list of players at certain positions. The six players include receiver Alex Bachman, tight end Rysen John, offensive lineman Kenny Wiggins, defensive lineman David Moa, cornerback Jarren Williams, kicker/punter Ryan Santoso, and long snapper Carson Tinker.
"The players that have been kept away on, call it the emergency list, make sure they get one day on the field moving around with our guys," Judge said.
"That said, we have our masks on at practice. We've got those clear shields on the helmets as well. We're keeping our guys spaced out at practice to make sure there's not that much crossover.
"There's guys like (Carson) Tinker and (Ryan) Santoso from the specialists, they are going to come and they are going to get their work in kickoff periods and punt periods. They're not going to have too much contact with the rest of the team."
Giants wide receiver Golden Tate entered the NFL as a second-round draft choice by Seattle in 2010 and spent four seasons with the Seahawks, with whom he also won a Super Bowl.
This weekend, Tate will get the opportunity to go back to where it all started for him.
“Definitely a huge appreciation for the organization for drafting me and giving me a chance,” he said.
“Also, letting me experience our first Super Bowl, actually here at MetLife. Forever grateful to be a part of that and make memories with some of those guys."
A few weeks ago, Tate ran afoul of head coach Joe Judge's rules about being team first versus me first, has put that whole ugly incident that resulted in a de facto one-game suspension behind him and has seen a slight increase in his role on offense.
He's been targeted 13 times over the last two games and has caught six balls for 80 yards.
"I’m a professional," Tate said of putting that ugly affair behind him. "Ultimately, I don’t want to ever draw attention to myself. I was excited just to move forward and get the opportunity to help this team win. We’re on a three-game winning streak right now. That’s all that matters. As long as we keep winning, I’m fine with whatever that role may be."
(Additional reporting by Patricia Traina.)
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