The New York Giants practiced in pads for the second straight day on Monday. Coach Tom Coughlin cut the workout short by about 45 minutes, however, sending players inside the Quest Diagnostics Training Center practice bubble for a half-hour practice-ending stretching session.
That is the second time in six practices the Giants have done that, something which is likely the result of the GPS monitoring of players they are doing. The Giants have also been taking five-minute 'halftime' breaks during many practices.
Let's look at the action on the field Monday afternoon.
Eli Manning And The 70 Percent Goal
Quarterbacks coach Danny Langsdorf caused eyebrows to be raised Monday when he said the Giants are hoping quarterback Eli Manning can approach the 70 percent completion rate this season, something that has only been done six times in NFL history. Manning has a 58.5 percent career completion percentage.
"We'd love to be there at 70 percent, it hasn't been done very often," Langsdorf said. "That's the ultimate goal. But we want to raise his completion percentage for sure."
So, how did Manning do in the completion percentage department on Monday? Manning completed 9-of-16 throws (56.25 percent) overall with one interception. The Giants took a decent number of deep shots Monday, and most of the incompletions were on longer throws. There was one missed screen to tight end Kellen Davis where it appeared Davis either stumbled or simply didn't get to the spot he needed to reach. Manning was obviously displeased after the play.
The interception Manning thew came on the first play of practice, a deep ball down the right sideline for Rueben Randle that appeared to hang up in the breeze just enough for Zack Bowman, who appeared beaten initially, to make a diving interception.
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Let's Get Physical
Fullback Henry Hynoski was in the middle of a skirmish with a linebacker on Monday. From our vantage point about 80 yards away it wasn't clear, but the tussle appeared to be with Jameel McClain.
The Giants are in pads, and hitting. Coughlin, however, wants players on their feet and does not want live tackling. On the final ply of practice rookie defensive tackle Jay Bromley pounded running back Kendall Gaskins to the ground, drawing Coughlin's wrath.
Guard John Jerry laid a pretty big hit on a defender (again, couldn't really see who) while pulling out in front of a running play.
Your Daily Nassib
This was a fairly non-descript practice for second-year quarterback Ryan Nassib. He did make one nice back-shoulder throw to Preston Parker. He also did not appear to make any major mistakes.
"I think already in training camp he's had some excellent throws, much better than the spring," said Langsdorf. "Now there's been some things he's missed. He's had a couple turnovers and some bad throws at times. But overall, I'm really pleased at how he's been throwing the ball as a whole in training camp. It's been pretty good."
Tight End Talk
Yes, of course we have to spend some time talking about the tight ends.
Larry Donnell made what was easily the play of the day, and maybe the play of camp thus far. Running a seam route with safety Kyle Sebetic in coverage, Donnell had to go into a full dive to catch a throw from Nassib. He held on despite doing a somersault after making the grab. As terrific as the catch was, maybe landing on his feet after the somersault was even better.
In the early no-huddle portion of practice veteran Daniel Fells showed up again, breaking across the middle to catch a touchdown pass from Manning. Fells, out of the league in 2013, has had a nice camp. Could he be this year's Trumaine McBride -- a player who goes from being out of the league one year to being a surprise contributor for the Giants the next?
Uh-oh! It must be the media jinx. After drawing a lot of media attention Sunday for muddying up the Giants' placekicking situation, rookie Brandon McManus missed his first kick of camp Monday. He had four field-goal attempts, and pulled the third one -- from roughly 35 yards -- to the left. McManus is now 11-of-12 in camp.
With the Giants in pads the past couple of days and installing more of their power running game there has been more work for the fullbacks. Monday was pretty much a toss-up between Henry Hynoski and John Conner. Whether you give Hynoski points for getting into a skirmish is up to you.
During an 11-on-11 inside running drill, each fullback had three lead-blocking opportunities. Hynoski had one solid block on linebacker Dan Fox, but appeared to almost run by safety Stevie Brown on another play, barely getting his shoulder. Conner set the edge nicely twice, and drove a linebacker into a pile of bodies while leading a third play. During individual drills both players caught the ball well.
The Lighter Side
Every so often there are light moments in practice. Victor Cruz and Antrel Rolle provided one today. After Cruz caught a short pass Rolle grabbed and wouldn't let go, basically steering him all the way off the field and bumping the pair gently into the chain-link fence that surrounds the field. Cruz took a moment to stop and wave to the crowd, getting a cheer from those nearby.
One hilarious moment I had completely forgotten about until I saw Dan Graziano of ESPN and Art Stapleton of The Record talking about it on Twitter was Johnathan Hankins, enjoying the spotlight of the podium, getting shooed off mid-press conference because Manning had come out to speak. The quarterback never waits.