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Giants' Doghouse Is Full

August 13, 1996|NEIL BEST | NEWSDAY

Dan Reeves' doghouse is a notoriously unpleasant place to reside, but after Saturday's hideous 37-27 preseason loss to the Ravens, there were few vacancies available. The New York Giants coach watched the game films, then came out swinging Sunday in a conference call with reporters. He sounded more resigned and depressed than angry, but he pulled no punches in assessing several players. Among the wounded:

--Tommy Maddox. Public Whipping Boy No. 1 finally seems to have exhausted even Reeves' patience, and has gone from challenging for Dave Brown's starting job to trying to hold off Stan White as backup. Reeves admitted Maddox' poor performance (one first down in seven series) and White's impressive play (two long drives, one ending in a 37-yard touchdown pass), made the backup situation "more cloudy," even as it clarified the top job. "(White) definitely made a statement by the way he played," sa id Reeves, who indicated White likely will see significant playing time in the final two preseason games.

--Corey Miller. It appeared the strongside linebacker's days as a Reeves doghouse fixture were over because of the team's shortage at the position, but Miller struggled against the Ravens, particularly against the run. Asked how his linebackers did, Reeves pointedly mentioned two of the three starters. "I thought Corey Widmer continues to play well and Jessie 1/8Armstead) had a good game, but other than that our linebackers struggled," he said.

--Cedric Jones. The team's first-round draft pick and No. 5 overall selection played extensively, but not well in his debut. He frequently was pushed to the outside and generated no pass rush from right end. He finished with two tackles. "He's a long, long way from playing (well)," Reeves said. "He got manhandled pretty good. He's got to really improve and get better--quickly."

Of course, the same goes for the entire team. "We're not playing well," Reeves said. "When somebody possesses the ball for fortysomething minutes (40:40), you have to be really concerned."

The Giants break camp in Albany, N.Y., Wednesday, and open the regular season Sept. 1 against the Buffalo Bills. Barring a drastic improvement, particularly among the defensive front seven, it looks bad. The Giants will seek veteran help as other teams cut players, but Reeves said the club shouldn't "panic." For now, what you see is what they've got.

"Probably the most disappointing thing is all the mental mistakes we made," Reeves said. "We're not a talented enough team to afford the mental mistakes we made." He cited as examples Maddox' botched play call on a two-point try and blown defensive assignments.

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