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Giants Mini-Camp Practice Report: Justin Pugh Sits, Sterling Shepard Impresses Again

Here’s what happened during Day 2 of mandatory mini-camp

NFL: New York Giants-Minicamp
Justin Pugh has only been watching mini-camp practices.
William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Justin Pugh said Wednesday that he has been sitting out practice at New York Giants mandatory mini-camp because of “a little tweak in my back.”

“Not something you want to try to press too hard right now in mini-camp,” Pugh said. “We’ve got a lot of things to look forward to.”

Here is more of what went on Wednesday at mini-camp.

Offensive Linemen Turn To Boxing

Pugh said several of the offensive linemen, himself and Ereck Flowers included, turned to boxing this offseason to improve their hand use and conditioning. Pugh said that Weston Richburg and John Jerry once again trained at OLine Performance Center with LeCharles Bentley.

“Everyone’s working hard. It’s our livelihood, so it’s not like we’re coming out here not trying to work hard, not trying to be successful. Then you don’t have a job,” Pugh said. “It’s not for the lack of effort.

“It’s preference. How guys feel they can get ready to go out there and be successful during the season. Guys do what they want.”

By the way, I’m glad it wasn’t me who asked Pugh — for about the 800th time in his career — about the offensive line being the team’s weak link.

“I think we know that. That’s been a theme every season I’ve been here,” Pugh said. “We’ve added some pieces to the offense I think will help aid the offensive line, so that’s exciting. I’m excited about this group. We’ve got a bunch of guys that are willing to work hard, and Coach Solari is getting everybody right. It’s gonna be better, definitely see an improvement.”

Injury Updates

First-round pick Evan Engram did not practice Wednesday. No explanation for why he stayed on the sideline was given. Flowers left practice early, with the only explanation from offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan being that he was sore. D.J. Fluker went down at one point and then left with trainers. No official word was given, but Fluker may have suffered an arm injury.

Darian Thompson and Eli Apple (illness) were absent for the second straight day. Rhett Ellison (calf) and J.T. Thomas (knee) worked on the side.

What Practice Looked Like

Weatherford Pops In ... To Work Out, Of Course

Coordinators Speak

Offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and special teams coordinator Tom Quinn all spoke to the media on Wednesday. Spags talked about taking the defense to grad school. Oh, and my apologies to Spags. If you’re reading Steve, I’m the guy who was in your way when you were trying to get to the podium. My bad! Sullivan, by the way, talked about how the Giants should be able to be less predictable this season because of the added options they have.

Landon Collins Aims For Hall Of Fame

“My ultimate goal is to wear that gold (Hall of Fame) jacket at the end of the day,” safety Landon Collins said Wednesday. “That’s my goal. The work that I have to put in, the chemistry that I have to have with my coaches and my guys, the knowledge and the work I have to put in on the field has to be 10 and above. If not, I’m not gonna be there.”

Collins weighed 228 pounds as a rookie. He played around 215 pounds last season, when he was named All-Pro. He said this season he is hoping to get down to 210 so he can “fly around” more on the field.

“I’m gonna try. I don’t know if it’s possible,” Collins said.

A Little One-Upsmanship

Let’s just say there will probably be a little friendly “whatever you can do I can do better” kind of competition between Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall.

During a red zone drill Wednesday, Beckham torched cornerback Valentinto Blake and made a diving grab of an Eli Manning pass just inside the chalk for a touchdown. Later, in another red zone session, Marshall hauled in a fade from Manning Beckham style. His one-handed snag in the corner was in-bounds, again for a touchdown.

More Practice Notes

Here is more of what happened during Wednesday’s practice.

  • Sterling Shepard has had a busy couple of days. After a productive Tuesday, Shepard caught passes from Eli Manning on a number of crossing routes.
  • Speaking of Shepard, remember Tuesday when I said several Giants were “cross-training” in different roles? Well, during a bit of down time on Wednesday Shepard grabbed a ball and delivered two perfectly-placed long snaps.
  • Andrew Adams nearly picked off a Manning pass for Beckham in the end zone. Beckham beat Blake on a slant, but Adams jumped in front and tipped the ball away.
  • Undrafted cornerback DaShaun Amos picked off a deep pass from Geno Smith. I’d tell you who the pass was intended for, but I honestly couldn’t see.
  • Manning got a rise out of teammates when he took off running on what looked like (our view was partially blocked) a designed quarterback draw. Hopefully, we never see that in a real game.
  • Stop me if you have heard this before, but spring superstar Matt LaCosse had another productive day. He ran a beautiful route to catch a touchdown pass from Manning, driving safety Nat Berhe into the corner of the end zone, then coming back for the ball. What’s really interesting is how many first-team reps LaCosse has been getting. I didn’t count them, but it’s a significant number. Probably more than Will Tye or Jerell Adams.
  • Janoris Jenkins had a pair of nice plays. On successive snaps, he batted away passes from Beckham and Jerell Adams in the end zone.
  • Ah, the trials and tribulations of a rookie quarterback. Davis Webb threw a beautiful touchdown pass to Keeon Johnson, floating a pass to him over the hands on a defender. On the very next snap, though, he tried to hit Kevin Norwood on a fade and chucked a wobbly pass about five yards out of bounds. Let’s hope he was just throwing that one away.

The Giants will end mini-camp with a short practice, most likely a walk-thru, on Thursday. After that, players will be off until training camp begins in late July.