EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Despite coming off one of the best years of his 12-year NFL career, Giants kicker Josh Brown is facing stiff competition from free agent Brandon McManus.
”I’m not fully surprised by it,” Brown said. ”It’s part of the business. I’m just a hired entity trying to keep up with the pace. I know I had a great year, one of the best years I’ve ever had. But that doesn’t mean anything now. I know what I can do. They (the Giants) have to do what they have to do.”
Brown connected on 23-of-26 field-goal tries (88 percent) and nailed all 31 of his PATs for 100 points last season.
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He’s confident his resume speaks for itself. He’s connected on 254 field goals in a career that includes stops in Seattle, St. Louis and Cincinnati before joining the Giants. He’s made 81 percent of his field goal tries over that span.
”I’ve missed one game-winner in 12 years,” Brown said. ”I’ll take that. At the end of the day, I know I have a piece of mind that I can get the job accomplished.
”I feel fantastic right now. Physically and mentally, I’m at the top of my game. I think mentally is what separates me from everyone. I know I’m the guy. There’s only one sharpshooter on each team and I’m the one.”
McManus would like his shot. He is Temple’s career leader in field goals and punting. He had a brief stint with the Indianapolis Colts in training camp last season.
”I think I have the leg strength to compete here,” McManus said. ”Hopefully I’ll get more chances here and we’ll see where it goes.”
Last season, McManus went against veteran Pro Bowl kicker Adam Vinatieri , but didn’t get many opportunities to prove himself.
”I only got to kick during the second half of preseason games last year and it was tough for the Colts to move the ball, so I didn’t get much work,” McManus said.
McManus did get one try. He nailed a 50-yarder against the Giants, which probably caught the attention of the Giants’ brain trust.
”I just want to open some eyes and get more people to talk about me,” McManus said. ”That has to help. I’m excited to be here and I’m getting a good opportunity to work with Josh. No matter what happens, there’s always auditions for the 31 other jobs in the league. Whatever happens has to help me for the future. You never know what’s going to happen.”
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin likes having the competition between kickers.
”It’s good to have two strong legs competing against each other,” Coughlin said. ”They give each other good work.”
Brown likes having McManus around.
”I encourage the challenge,” Brown said. ”I think it’s healthy. I think it’s good for both of us. I can’t be worried about challenging him. I have to accomplish what the coaches want. I have to be efficient with my job. I don’t think they need to see my resume. I would think what I did last year gives me an advantage.”
Despite his prowess as a punter in college, McManus is not competing with Giants’ incumbent punter Steve Weatherford, so the challenge lies solely within the uprights.
”I feel comfortable from 52, 53 yards and I can make 57 if I have to,” Brown said. ”At the end of the day, that has to mean something.”
NOTES: Coughlin is befuddled about the progress of first round draft pick Odell Beckham, Jr., who was unable to fully practice again due to a nagging hamstring. ”It’s more than disappointing,” Coughlin said of the wide receiver from LSU. ”We saw too much of that in the spring. I’m just hoping that it’s a real short amount of time that he’s out. The trainers are not going to let him go if he’s in danger of hurting himself. When they feel he’s ready to go, he’ll go.” Beckham did field some punts during practice and moved gingerly, but didn’t run . While Coughlin was not happy with the progress of his running game, rookie Andre Williams, the fourth round pick out of Boston College, did manage to break off a few long gainers to the outside . RB David Wilson, still bouncing back from off-season neck surgery, took a solid hit from rookie LB Devon Kennard, but didn’t flinch one iota and returned to the huddle. … The Giants continue training camp Monday and Tuesday before an off-day Wednesday. They travel to Canton, Ohio, Friday to begin the preseason with the Hall of Fame Game against the Buffalo Bills on Saturday night.