It was only one voluntary May practice in shorts (and in the case of Peyton Hillis no sleeves), but there are few things we can take away Thursday's New York Giants OTA -- the first practice media was granted access to. Let's list some of them.
-- The Ben McAdoo offense is vastly different that the Kevin Gilbride offense. Watch the Giants go 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 in recent years and the vertical pass was prominently featured. No session seemed to go by without several deep balls. During Thursday's practice the short, quick throw was heavily featured. There were plenty of mid-range 12-15-yard throws. The true deep throw was nearly non-existent. I did not chart them, but there were very, very few.
-- The three-receiver set is also prominent in the new offense. Once again I did not chart total numbers, but the Giants were lined up in 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) more often than not.
-- Another area of difference between the Gilbride and McAdoo offenses is pace. The Giants will be trying to get plays off more quickly, and maybe using more no-huddle.
-- The very first pass Eli Manning threw on Thursday was a screen, and there were many more to follow. Some worked. Some were incredibly ugly. The screen game was expected to be a point of emphasis in the new offense, and that is obviously the case.
-- Speaking of ugly there were quite a few ugly plays on offense (Ryan Nassib I'm looking at you and some of those awful throws), but in only their second day working against a defense that is hardly cause for alarm as the Giants work to install their new offensive system. Guard Geoff Schwartz, on his third NFL team in three seasons, told me it might take until the middle of training camp before the Giants are able to execute the offense comfortably.
-- Will Hill is participating in OTAs as he and the Giants await word on whether or not Hill will be suspended -- again -- by the NFL. The Giants are preparing for that possibility by having Stevie Brown work alongside Antrel Rolle with the first unit.
-- The center 'competition' might not be a competition at all. J.D. Walton, as he reportedly had on the first day of OTAs, took all of the first-team snaps. Second-round pick Weston Richburg took snaps at both right guard and center, including taking a couple of reps alongside Walton with the first unit. It seems apparent that right now Richburg is Plan B for the Giants at both spots in the event of injuries to Walton or Chris Snee. Snee, incidentally, took a lot of reps and looked healthy.
-- I mentioned above some ugly throws by Nassib. The second-year quarterback took far more reps, however, than either Curtis Painter or Josh Freeman. Of Nassib, head coach Tom Coughlin said "He can direct traffic out here. We just need to get the execution where we need it to be." Nassib struggled with accuracy a year ago, and a Nassib pass on Thursday that was picked off by Charles James provided one of the day's lighter moments. When James picked off the ball a reporter blurted out, and I'm paraphrasing, "that's progress. At least it was close enough to receiver to get picked off."