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Giants mini-camp notes: 20 things we learned this spring

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It's vacation time for Giants players.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants mandatory mini-camp is over. Players are heading off for six weeks of summer vacation. Let's look at 20 things we have learned about the Giants this spring.

  • The Giants might be an old-fashioned, conservative franchise, That, however, doesn't mean they can't try new things. Witness the drone that was filming parts of practice on Wednesday. "It's another advancement," head coach Tom Coughlin said. "Maybe there are drills where it would help. I'm not ready to say one way or another."
  • The cornerbacks absolutely love the scheme being implemented by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Almost all of them have used some version of the phrase "cornerback-friendly" in describing it.
  • The Giants are undoubtedly anxious for their young safeties to develop the communication and leadership skills necessary to orchestrate the back end of a defense.
  • It might be time to be concerned about second-year linebacker Devon Kennard. Kennard missed all of OTAs and mini-camp with a hamstring injury. He missed time last season with hamstring and foot injuries, playing in 12 games with six starts. Health is the biggest thing standing between Kennard and stardom, and going back to his days at USC he has a long and varied injury history.
  • Even in shorts and t-shirts, tempers can flare when big, aggressive, competitive men go against each other.
  • The Giants appear committed to the offensive line of Ereck Flowers at left tackle, Justin Pugh at left guard, Weston Richburg at center, Geoff Schwartz at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle. Pine for Jake Long or Evan Mathis all you want, but the Giants have used the same line throughout the spring and seem ready to keep it that way.
  • Flowers has been impressive. No one knows what will happen with a rookie left tackle once the games start, and it is impossible to judge performance without pads on. The first-round picks's talent is obvious and his work ethic, attitude and desire to improve are also scoring him points.
  • Robert Ayers is healthy. There were concerns about the veteran defensive end's recovery from a torn pectoral muscle. He answered those by taking the field for the first OTA, but then injured an ankle. He returned to action on Wednesday, and took a full workload. That is good news for the defense.
  • Former CFL star Brett Jones appears to be settling in. Again, we have to wait until training camp to see what he can really do, but Jones is working at both guard and center and appearing more and more comfortable. Our profile on him is coming up soon, and will include some info from a chat yours truly had with him.
  • No telling how the Giants will split the workload at running back. What you can tell, however, is that when Shane Vereen touches the ball there is a difference between him and every other back on the roster. He could be more than third-down back.
  • Eli Manning's arm strength seems to have improved.
  • The Giants have no idea at this point who the backup offensive linemen beyond John Jerry and almost certainly Jones are going to be. Brandon Mosley, Michael Bamiro and Bobby Hart are among players who have worked at multiple positions. Emmett Cleary and Sean Donnelly have taken reps at left tackle. The picture here remains unclear.
  • Safeties coach Dave Merritt is a tremendous interview. Sooner or later I have to get around to transcribing the Merritt media session from Tuesday. I promise it will be worth the wait and will be a great read.
  • Spagnuolo is promising that the Giants' defense will be aggressive. We don't know if the group will be any good, but we do know it will try to attack opposing offenses.
  • We already knew Odell Beckham could hurt his hamstrings. Now we know that despite his fame and stardom, the young man can still get his feelings hurt.
  • Will Beatty is aware that things chance quickly in the NFL and that his future is uncertain, especially now that he is out with a torn pectoral muscle.
  • 'Grandpa' Coughlin still has a temper. He showed it during punt coverage drills on Friday, twice ripping into players in 'colorful' fashion after false start penalties.
  • Defensive tackle Markus Kuhn has added 8-10 pounds. He is now 320 pounds and feels as though his frame is now maxed out.
  • Not sure if it is a good or bad thing, but veteran defensive lineman Cullen Jenkins spent far more time at defensive end this spring than at defensive tackle.
  • Coughlin expects Victor Cruz to 'participate' in training camp, but doesn't know when or how much.