The New York Giants, such as they are constituted with the 2016 NFL Draft looming later this week, will take the field for the first time in the Ben McAdoo era beginning Tuesday. The Giants will hold a voluntary mini-camp Tuesday thru Thursday.
Media will have access to the first two days of the mini-camp, and Big Blue View will be there to document the first on-field work of McAdoo's time as head coach. Practices Tuesday and Wednesday will begin at 11:15 a.m. ET.
Teams with new head coaches are allowed to hold a "voluntary" mini-camp prior to the NFL draft. No contact and no pads will be allowed.
This mini-camp, coming in the third week of Phase One of the Giants' offseason conditioning program, will be a different experience for the Giants.
"It’s a little different this year with this mini-camp in two weeks and not really allowed to have any on-field work," quarterback Eli Manning said when OTAs began two weeks ago. "All of a sudden you’re on the field, going live 11 on 11 a little earlier than you typically would. We’ve got to make sure guys are up and running and ready to go."
What can we hope to learn from a mini-camp held this early? Here are some of the things to look for.
- Offensive line configuration: Will second-year man Bobby Hart see reps at guard? Tackle? Both? Will he work with the starters or the second group? Obviously, whatever we see will be preliminary, but it will give us a hint what the Giants may be thinking.
- Hey, that's my side! How will defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo align Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul? Vernon, the high-priced free-agent acquisition, has expressed a preference for remaining on the right side. Best guess is we will see Vernon on the right and Pierre-Paul on the left.
- Who runs with Landon Collins? The safety spot next to Collins is up for grabs. Will it be Nat Berhe, Bennett Jackson, or Mykkele Thompson getting first dibs? My guess is Berhe, but this is such an early mini-camp that any distribution of reps might have more to do with who is healthy enough to participate rather than any long-range plan.
- How players spent their offseasons: Media gets locker room access to players after both workouts. One of the fun parts of this is to find out how players spent their offseasons, see if anyone did anything truly unique in training or has any good stories of interesting things they did away from football. These guys are people, too, and sometimes it's easy to overlook that they have lives away from the game.
- Bands? "Bands" was always the call from Tom Coughlin at the end of Giants practices. How will those practices change with McAdoo and a new group of position coaches in charge? Granted, it's just mini-camp with players in shorts and t-shirts, but for me finding out how practices might change will be one of the fascinating parts of the two workouts.
A quick note of caution. Please don't look at anything that happens on Tuesday or Wednesday as "definitive" proof that a player is or is not going to start, or that what we see is a giveaway regarding the Giants' draft plans. These are early workouts that give the Giants a jump start, and give us something other than the draft to talk about. At least a little. Nothing more.