EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- As expected, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul was a no-show and wide receiver Odell Beckham did not practice on Tuesday as the New York Giants held the first practice of their three-day mandatory mini-camp.
Pierre-Paul has not signed his tender after the Giants placed the franchise tag on him and since he is unsigned is not required to attend. Beckham has an ongoing hamstring issue. Asked if the second-year wide receiver, who missed four games due to a hamstring issue a season ago, would practice during mini-camp head coach Tom Coughlin said "I don't think so."
Other than stretching with trainers on the sideline, the most notable thing Beckham and Victor Cruz (torn patellar tendon) did was to toss a ball back and forth.
"Whatever the medical people tell me is what we do," Coughlin said of Beckham's status. "If he could go he'd be out there."
Of Pierre-Paul, Coughlin said "All I know is he's not here."
In addition to Cruz and Beckham, the other usual suspects were not practicing for the Giants. Larry Donnell (Achilles tendinitis) was still in a walking boot, Nat Berhe (calf), Devon Kennard (hamstring) and Owamagbe Odighizuwa (knee) did not practice. Damontre Moore (shoulder) made a brief appearance on the field during a defensive installation period, but for all intents and purposes did not really practice.
Berhe did do some running on an outdoor field. Practice was held in the Quest Diagnostics Training Center bubble following morning rain.
Defense 'a little better' on Tuesday
The Giants' defense is undeniably a work in progress. Coughlin, however, was happier with what he saw on Tuesday than with what he watched last week during OTAs.
"A little better than the other day, for sure. They were flying around." Coughlin said. "They've had a whole lot of stuff thrown at them and they've done decently with it. They weren't as good at the end of last week. Better here today."
"It is a little bit of force-feeding right now. I do think it is important to be multiple in this league because offenses are multiple and you have to have an answer for certain things. There will come a point as we get closer to that first game when we are going to have to make a decision and say, ‘This is it,' " defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. "If we do too much, we become less as a unit. You are always weighing that out on either side of the ball in anything you do in this league, is the too much, ‘don't let their mind clutter up their feet' is one of the sayings. I will always go back on that. I did even the other places I went to. We will be careful of that. I think our guys are handling it right now. There is a ways to go. We are going to make those kinds of decisions as we go along the way here. That is why we are fortunate that we still have four preseason games. Thank God. I wish we had another one to figure all that out. That will be an important piece of it, especially early."
Let's get to a few notes from Tuesday's practice.
- Corey Washington made two nice catches, one on a deep route from Eli Manning where he went over Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, another on a shorter catch in front of Prince Amukamara. Washington was also involved in what might have been a pick six where Manning threw behind him and Amukamara intercepted. From a vantage point blocked by players it was unclear what happened, but it may have been a miscommunication between quarterback and receiver.
- Daniel Fells got inside Landon Collins to catch a 20-yard touchdown pass from Manning right down the seam.
- The offensive line configuration remained Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, Geoff Schwartz at right guard and Marshall Newhoue at right tackle. The backups shuffled around a bit, with Brandon Mosley seeing some snaps at right tackle and rookie Bobby Hart moving inside to right guard.
- Defensively, Cullen Jenkins remained at defensive end with the first group. George Selvie and Kerry Wynn appeared to split time at the other end with Moore, Odighizuwa and Robert Ayers (ankle) continuing to sit out.
- Mykkele Thompson intercepted Ryan Nassib on a pass that glanced off the fingertips of Marcus Harris. Credit undrafted free agent safety Justin Currie with excellent coverage of Harris that gave Nassib a very small window to throw into.
- Stony Brook tight end Will Tye was the target on three straight passes from Ryan Nassib, with mixed results. He caught two short balls, and dropped a third.
- Amukamara was active, adding a couple of pass breakups to his interception.