Thursday marked the first full-team practice of the New York Giants 2018 training camp. Unlike previous seasons, training camp under Pat Shurmur saw the team go through a walk-through in the morning, after which the team broke for lunch and press conferences before going through practice in the afternoon.
This is Shurmur’s first practice as the Giants’ head coach, and there are bound to be some changes. Likewise, with the team going through tremendous changes and looking to rebound from an embarrassing 2017, Shurmur’s time at the podium will be a high point of every practice.
Before the Giants ever got back on the practice field, Shurmur talked with the team about the reasons behind his approach to practice. Wednesday night Shurmur talked about his beliefs about what the game of football was “about” and how that informed his approach to practice.
“We talked about all of that in the meeting last night,” Shurmur said. “We constantly talk about making sure this game is about the ball, this game is about negotiating the ground, this game is about defeating your matchup. Those are the things that keep coming back to the forefront. This game is about competing and finishing. That really never changes. When I said globally yesterday, we’re going to keep the focus on playing football, those are the things we constantly look back on.
On getting back to practice
“This is terrific,” he said. “I really enjoyed working with our team in the spring. They came back in good shape – refreshed. As players and coaches, this is what we do. This is our livelihood, this is our passion, and it’s our hobby. Playing football is what we do, and training camp is a part of getting ready for the upcoming season. There’s a lot of excitement in the building; very competitive guys that understand it’s very important to train as a team and get ready to play. I’m looking forward to a very competitive practice this afternoon.”
Shurmur noted that the practices to start training camp won’t be significantly different from mini-camp. Or, rather, practice would be similar until pads go on.
But on that note, he did also confirm that the team would start fully padded practices this weekend.
“Not really,” Shumur said, “until we put the pads on. Really, all NFL practices look primarily the same whether you have pads on or not. I think it’s very rare when you see a training session where everybody is tackling to the ground or low blocking, and doing some of the things that you have to get in the preseason games. Again, it’s new, it’s fresh, it’s the first time we’re doing it. So, you have all of that enthusiasm that goes with it. I’m much like the players, I’m looking forward to having it.”
Since fans have never seen them on the field in Giants’ uniforms, reporters wanted to know about some of the Giants’ rookies going in to their first camp. The new head coach was asked about the Giants’ first three draft picks in particular.
“I think he needs to, number one, the last rookie that I was around was (RB) Dalvin Cook. They’re obviously different styles of runners. Dalvin was a guy that displayed a lot of the things that Saquon has showed us. He just needs to go through training camp, and work through the good days and the bad, and clear up the mistakes as they show up, and just keep competing. That’s really what we want to see from him.”
“I think the Pat Elflein comparison was very astute. Pat came in, and he and Will were very similar in the way they approach the game. Very similar in the amount of reps they got, and very similar how quickly they rose into the starting unit. So hopefully, Will can have that same path, because Pat had a great year last year.”
“We’re hopeful. He needs to develop, like all rookies. He’s an edge player. He played in a base when we’re in five on the line. We’ll also play him as a pass rusher in a four-man front. We’ll see how far he can come. Very talented young man. Like all rookies, he’s got to get in there, battle around, go through training camp. We’re hopeful he’s going to have a great career.”
Of course, Shurmur was also asked about a some veterans as well.
“Andrew is one of those selected vets we brought back early because he didn’t get a chance to do much in the spring – and he actually looked really good. He looked fast, he looked quick, and I can see there’s an excitement in him to get out there and get going. I’m looking forward to seeing him at full speed.”
“I think quickly when you get to know Nate, he’s all about business. He’s very thoughtful, he’s very competitive. He’s really interested the full process of football – from training, to playing, to recovery, everything involved with the game. That’s why he’s a true pro. Having been around him, he felt like we knew that about him. But having been around him now, it’s been confirmed for us.”