Whenever there is a new coach, or new regime, there will be changes. No two people do anything exactly the same way. Some changes are visible, others not so much.
After one OTA and a couple of mini-camps it is impossible to identify everything that is or will be different about the Dave Gettleman-Pat Shurmur regime when it comes to the conducting of work on the field. To give you a little peek behind the practice curtain, though, let’s talk about some of the noticeable differences identified on Monday.
First, a little history lesson.
During the Tom Coughlin era there was rarely music at practice. A horn would signify time to move from one practice period to the next. Sessions would end with the cry of “Bands” as players used stretch bands as part of a warm down. His daily press briefings, especially in his later years, were more entertaining than they they were uncomfortable.
Ben McAdoo introduced loudspeakers to announce a change in practice periods and music through practice. No more stretch bands. There was more science involved in how and when the team practiced hard or had a light day. His press conferences were uncomfortable, contentious ones during which McAdoo did his best to not really answer questions.
Now, present day.
There is music at a Shurmur practice, but only during the opening stretching/warmup phase. After that, down to business.
Loudspeakers still announce a change in periods.
There was, on Monday, what seemed to be great energy during practice. There was lots of talking from players, more than I remember last season. Of course, maybe you just couldn’t notice the chatter over the blaring music.
Eli Manning says that Shurmur likes to correct things during practice rather than wait until film sessions and you can see him during 11-on-11 hovering near quarterbacks and discussing with them what went right or wrong on a given play.
Gettleman is in the middle of things at practice. He isn’t coaching, but he is out there on the field. Sometimes right next to Shurmur. I don’t ever recall seeing Jerry Reese do that. Usually, the former GM would be off to the side somewhere.
Shurmur pressers are friendly and respectful. Not to pick on Ryan Dunleavy of NJ Advance Media, but he’s short and I’m not. Shurmur got a kick of Dunleavy trying to contort himself around me to be seen asking a question. McAdoo probably would have ignored Dunleavy altogether. It’s a simple thing, but a touch of respect and humor makes the working environment more pleasant.
Both Coughlin and McAdoo used to make media wait interminably. On Monday, Shurmur popped up at the mic and began to speak almost as soon as practice ended.
There was one more interesting twist to practice, at least on Monday. The final period announced was what I believe the voice over the loudspeaker called “rookie practice.” Veteran players were excused and only rookies remained, doing work with position coaches, for the final 10-15 minutes.
Kyle Lauletta and Saquon Barkley worked together on a variety of handoffs and short throws. Lorenzo Carter was taking instruction from linebacker coach Bill McGovern. Each rookie got a few minutes of intense instruction.