The New York Giants conclude the voluntary portion of their offseason Friday with their final OTA workout. The Giants will hold a mandatory three-day minicamp beginning Tuesday of next week. After that, players will be off until reporting for training camp on July 28.
Let’s take a look at what we have learned about the Giants thus far.
Bands? What happened to the bands?
The Giants have a new head coach, of course, and practices are different under Ben McAdoo than they were under Tom Coughlin. There is music every day, rather than just occasionally. There is a PA system that announces the changes in practice periods, including short rest periods during which the PA system blares “TV timeout.” There are different drills, especially when it comes to the fundamental areas of blocking and tackling. There are also no stretching bands. Coughlin used to end every practice with a cry of “bands,” whereupon players would cool down with the aid of stretching bands. There are no bands, and there is no cool down at the end of practice. The PA system simply announces the end of practice.
Status quo holding on offensive line
Much to the chagrin of Giants fans who have twisted themselves into pretzels worrying about it, the Giants appear to be holding the line on the offensive line. John Jerry at right guard and Marshall Newhouse at right tackle have taken all of the first-team reps to this point, as far as we know.
There is, of course, lots of interest in the progress of Bobby Hart, who has been working mostly at right tackle with the reserves. Let’s remember, though, that Hart is still only 21 years old. The only drafted player on the roster younger than Hart is 2016 first-round pick Eli Apple, who played only two years at Ohio State.
During this week's “Big Blue Chat” podcast I made the point that if someone other than Jerry or Newhouse is going to start on the right side of the offensive line, I believe that person or persons is not yet on the roster. Also, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Giants add a veteran offensive lineman to the roster as a reserve when we get close to the regular season.
Still waiting on Victor Cruz
We have seen wide receiver Victor Cruz, who has missed 26 straight games, post lots of inspirational videos and messages about his effort to come back from season-ending knee and calf injuries. What we haven’t see Cruz do yet is anything really related to football. All we have seen is Cruz jog straight ahead, in some cases using minimal resistance.
McAdoo said the “target” for Cruz is training camp. Maybe the Giants are just being ultra-cautious. Maybe, though, there is cause for worry. I root for Cruz and want him to succeed, because the Giants will be better if he can be a productive player. Something tells me, though, not to be surprised if both Sterling Shepard and Dwayne Harris catch more passes than Cruz in 2016.
Who is in the slot?
Right now, we don't know. Apple has been there some. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has been there some. Trevin Wade, who played there the majority of time for the Giants last season, has been there some. This is a work in progress.
The kids are alright, mostly
Shepard and safety Darian Thompson have probably stood out the most among the draft picks. Apple is getting a lot of work, and should be part of the rotation in the secondary. Jerell Adams has been up and down, with a few too many drops.
An undrafted player to watch is cornerback Donte Deayon, a slot corner who has had a couple of interceptions and has been working with the second unit. The question for Deayon, which can’t be answered until training camp and the preseason games, is whether or not he can tackle NFL players at just 5-foot-9, 158 pounds.
Second-year tight end Matt LaCosse keeps impressing, and wide receiver Geremy Davis has also made some nice catches.