New York Giants Notebook | Takeaways From Position Coaches

Notable leftovers from the Giants' position coaches on Wednesday.
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It's another tough week for the Giants' position coaches, as they're tasked with keeping their players focused and motivated after another tough loss while preparing for one of the most talented teams they will face all year.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming to MetLife Stadium on Monday night with the third-best defense in the NFL and an offense led by future Hall-of-Fame quarterback Tom Brady, who has plenty of his motivation to beat down the Giants this week.

Brady, currently on his latest statement tour to prove himself after an ugly split with the New England Patriots this offseason, will face the team that handed him his first two Super Bowl losses in a primetime opportunity to leave a new mark on that history.

The Giants defeated Brady in those two Super Bowls with a relentless pass rush. Can the 2020 Giants' pass rush rise to the challenge?

Defensive Line Coach Sean Spencer

While the Giants' defense did give up the game-winning touchdown last week against the Eagles, the unit has made strides in other critical situations.

One area was in the team's defense at the end of the first half, where it did not allow any points in the final four minutes, making a pair of stops.

While the defense did get some help from a missed field goal, it was able to keep the Eagles out of the end zone, which is something it hasn't managed to do in recent weeks.

The unit failed to finish the second half. Still, the resilience it showed at the end of the first half is something to build on for the unit's goal of becoming a full 60-minute defense that can finish games, according to defensive line coach Sean Spencer.

"We got to continue to show up in spots when necessary," Spencer said. "Whether it's finishing a game or finishing a half, those guys put a lot of pressure on themselves internally on top of the pressure that I put on them also.

"We're going to continue to put that burden on their back and they're ready to take the ride."

Another step forward the defense took last week was at the goal line in the fourth quarter, when it held the Eagles' offense out of the end zone on four plays to force a turnover on downs.

A clutch goal-line stand could have been the signature moment for the Giants' defense this year had they won the game. But even though they lost, it's still a play they can look back to for reference in their efforts to improve and finish.

"If you make a 3rd-and-1 stop you get excited but whenever you make a goal-line stand it's like they're trying to score and they're in scoring position and the odds are against you percentage-wise and you make that stop and you talk about it earlier in the week and it's exciting," Spencer said.

"When you're able to stop somebody in those situations it's a big plus for the defense and it's definitely a confidence builder because now you're saying the next time someone gets in those situations you know you can do it."

Outside Linebackers Coach Bret Bielema

The Giants' front office made a move to trade outside linebacker Markus Golden last week, sending the team's sack artist from last year back to the Arizona Cardinals.

The move has now left the Giants without their most experience edge rusher. Still, outside linebackers coach Bret Bielema believes that the team's younger players are more than capable of filling in, who Golden himself helped develop over the past few months.

One young player that has quickly become a favorite to get more reps with Golden gone is rookie Cam Brown, the Giants' sixth-round draft pick this year.

"Cam has been awesome," Bielema said. "He's seven games into an NFL career, and he's had a lot of growth.

"Every opportunity he gets to be on the field he wants to know what he can do better, at practice he continues to flash at times with the things he has as strengths. So what we have to do is continue to rely on the strengths that he has and minimize the things that he hasn't learned to do as well yet."

Bielema credits the work of the Giants' special teams coaches with the progress Brown has made, as that's where Brown has seen the bulk of his snaps so far this season.

One of the biggest knocks against Brown so far is his lack of bulk for an NFL outside linebacker with a 234-pound frame. However, Brown's overall height and length at 6-foot-5 is an asset for him, and Bielema believes that the bulk will come with age.

"He's a guy that's very lean, I think he's always going to have that body type, but I think that any added strength, power, his ability to have transitional power on the football field at the line of scrimmage will just increase with time."

Tight Ends Coach Freddie Kitchens & Inside Linebackers Coach Kevin Sherrer

It's been a rough week for tight end Evan Engram.

After dropping a crucial pass that would have clinched a win against the Eagles on Thursday night, Engram has become the subject of fan outrage, trade rumors, and general criticism by the media.

For Engram, improvement, and consistency is necessary for the sake of the entire offense. But he also will need to keep his confidence up amid his struggles.

Tight ends coach Freddie Kitchens believes that Engram has shown no shortage of confidence even after the drop and insists that Engram will remain a critical part of the offense.

"I don't think his confidence is lacking at all," Kitchens said. "You make some plays, and you don't make some plays, and Evan's confidence is fine, and he'll be fine moving forward.

"Evan's definitely a guy that we're going to continue to feed the ball to. One play doesn't define Evan and one play doesn't define our offense. Everybody understands that we're out there trying to get better and trying to put our best foot forward and Evan's going to continue to get those opportunities."

Meanwhile, linebackers coach Kevin Sherrer, who understands the players tasked with covering Engram, shares a similar sentiment to Kitchens in that the one drop shouldn't change anything about Engram's reputation his role with the Giants.

"You have to move on, whether you made a great player or whether you didn't," Sherrer said.

"[Engram] is a big athlete and that has a unique skillset, so it's one of those where; do you put a linebacker on him? Do you put a safety on him?

"For him to be a guy that runs as well as he does, to be the size that he just creates a huge mismatch for the coverage game."

Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert

Veteran wide receivers Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard each hauled in their first touchdown passes of the season on Thursday against the Eagles, and both passes illustrated their strengths as receivers.

He wasn't even necessarily open in the conventional sense on Tate's touchdown, with Eagles cornerback Cre'Von LeBlanc blanketing Tate in coverage.

However, at just 5-foot-10, Tate was able to go up and aggressively rip the ball away from LeBlanc and walk into the end zone.

"When you look at his career, he's always made the contested catch," said wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert.

"He doesn't have the biggest stature, but when you throw the ball to him, a lot of times at crucial times in crucial points in the game, he has a tendency to make plays on the ball.

Meanwhile, Shepard, who was making his return from a turf toe injury on Thursday, was able to get open in the back of the endzone in the fourth quarter for a touchdown catch that put the Giants up two possessions at the time.

Tolbert admitted that Shepard was able to do this despite not even being at a full 100% in his return from injury and was evidence of the veteran's toughness.

"Was he at 100% all the way? Probably not. But Sterling will still go out there and give you as much as he can," Tolbert said. "He probably played a few more plays than I thought he should or anticipated him playing, but it worked out well."